Masters programs in business administration have at many schools been fragmented into specialty areas. Today there are MBA degrees available with curriculums that specialize in accounting, finance, project management, information technology and marketing – and that is a partial list. The Executive Master’s of Business Administration is a degree targeted at people in middle management who wish to acquire the skills to move towards the top.
An Executive MBA is a degree in management. The course work includes many aspects of management, but the principal focus is strategy. Students pursing this degree will learn what strategies prompt certain business decisions, what sort of data is required to come to that decision and how to acquire and analyze that data.
For more and more American corporations today, operational decision making must be made within a global framework. It is no longer just the major U.S. industrial firms; many mid-sized manufacturers and even agricultural interests have offshore competition bringing products into this country and thus foreign economies and labor situations can have an impact. An Executive MBA program addresses this new reality, the “globalization” of the economy and expands the decision making process to an international scope.
Beneath the operational considerations of any business there should be a policy that helps guide the decision making process. Executive MBA candidates will look at case studies and track the decision making process that company leadership used. As with any business administration degree program, the course work will include looking at the experiential data that was used in the decision making process. In an executive business administration program, the use of the computer as a decision-making analytical tool is a key component of the curriculum.
Other important areas of study may well include the ability to recognize and analyze potential ethical issues involved in decisions facing the executive, and if necessary to seek alternative courses of action. The fundamentals of business law will probably be incorporated into the course of study. The overall goal of an executive masters in business administration is to teach the participant how to integrate different functional areas in solving business problems.
Statistical analysis will be a point of intense scrutiny: learning how to thoroughly extract information from available data. Transactional analysis may be a course topic entirely of its own. Strategic finance is an important component of an executive MBA program: understanding the positioning that drives mergers and acquisitions, stock repurchases and restructuring. Risk analysis and risk hedging are also introduced as a component of capital budgeting and reviewing investment options.
Some institutions are beginning to offer executive master’s in business administration degrees that have areas of specialty just as standard MBA programs do. There is a university in Texas that offers an Executive MBA specializing in global energy. Another emerging specialty area for EMBA curriculums is health care, as managed care has made the industry rife with standardization and corporate mergers. These are programs, however, for executives with a very specific career in mind. The Executive Master’s in Business Administration is an overall preparation for leadership, much like officer’s candidate school or better yet, West Point.