Frequently Asked Questions

How is the executive MBA different from the evening or weekend program?

The main differences are in the class characteristics, program structure and program duration.

Class characteristics: Each cohort is made up of seasoned professionals with broad management experience.

A profile of a current executive MBA class:

  • Average of 15 years of professional experience
  • Average age is 39
  • Executive and general management, IT, sales/marketing, human capital, law, finance, government, non-profit, and accounting are some of the sectors represented.

Program structure: Executive MBA courses are carefully crafted to cover business problems and concepts from the perspective of high-level company decision-makers. The program is made up of three unique but interrelated and interdependent components:

  • The Foundation – Smith School’s strong MBA core courses establish a broad functional knowledge framework for participants to build on.
  • The Projects – The action learning projects allow participants to tie their learning directly to specific company needs by tackling a real-time problem currently facing the participant's company. Projects focus on business problem solving, change management/leadership, and entrepreneurship.
  • Mastery – This component covers a range of topic areas related to leadership and management excellence. A formalized leadership development program complete with individualized executive coaching is integrated into the curriculum.

Program duration: The executive MBA is completed in 17 months (versus 28 to 36 for the evening or weekend MBA programs). Participants will receive comprehensive administrative support from the executive education staff.

Are there scholarships available?

Yes. The school offers partial merit-based scholarships designed to help executives attain their career and leadership goals. Executives in all industries are encouraged to apply. Applicants will be judged on merit and an essay.

Is this an accredited degree I’ll receive?

Yes. The Smith School of Business is accredited by the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and your diploma will read Masters of Business Administration.

Are the executive MBA professors Smith School faculty?

Yes. The same faculty that teach the full- and part-time MBA students will be teaching the executive MBA course. In addition, influential visiting speakers will participate in special presentations and group discussions.

What kind of access will I have to professors?

All professors will be available online and through scheduled appointments. You will work one-on-one with a Smith faculty member for your action learning project, and each participant will have an executive coach they will work with throughout the entire 19-month program.

How much of the program is done online?

None of the course work is done online. All teaching happens in the classroom. Groups, however, may choose to work virtually between classes. Virtual team interaction and group collaboration are facilitated through Blackboard.

Do I need to have a laptop?

Yes. The laptop should have a wireless network card (802.11 G preferred) and Microsoft Office installed.

What is the cost of the EMBA Program?

Executive MBA tuition for January 2021 is $129,900. Tuition includes a $2,000 nonrefundable deposit. Tuition is all-inclusive and covers all books and required materials, student and administrative fees, parking, accommodations, and breakfast and lunch on class days. There is no differentiation between in-state and out-of-state tuition.

How can I learn more about the program?

We are hosting information sessions throughout the Washington, D.C., metro area. You may also contact us with questions at 240-464-8597 or by e-mailing Shelbi Brookshire, director of EMBA recruiting.

When do classes meet?

Classes generally run Fridays and Saturdays, beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at approximately 6:30 p.m. Classes are held every other weekend.

Where are the classes held?

Classes are held at Van Munching Hall on the College Park campus.

How many hours a week will I be in class?

You will be actively engaged in academic work for up to 21.5 hours each session (every other week). In addition to classes, you will be spending time in team meetings and other group work.

What about homework?

You will average approximately one hour of class out of classwork for each hour spent in class plus approximately five hours per week for the action learning project.

What’s the timeframe for each session/semester?

The program is divided into five terms, each lasting between 12 and 14 weeks. The action learning projects take place in terms 2, 3 and 4.

Are there any vacation breaks?

No, this is an accelerated program. There is, however, a short break during the winter holiday season.

Do you have residence sessions? Where are they?

During each weekend block of classes, participants will reside at The Hotel at the University of Maryland. The program begins and ends with one-week residencies.

What if I travel a long distance to attend classes? Where can I stay?

All participants will be housed at The Hotel at the University of Maryland. These accommodations are included as part of the tuition and are required as part of the program. Arrangements can be made for early arrivals.

Do I have to stay at The Hotel at the University of Maryland? What if I live nearby?

Staying with your classmates is a required part of the program and most teams will appreciate the chance to work together on site. It is also the perfect opportunity to build personal and professional ties that will last a lifetime. Accommodations are included as part of the tuition.

What are the required qualifications?

Most of our applicants are individuals with at least a 4-year undergraduate degree with a 3.0 GPA, between eight and twenty years of professional experience and significant management experience. Each candidate will be reviewed as a unique individual and the sum of his or her experiences evaluated during the admissions process.

Do I have to take the GMAT?

The GMAT is not a mandatory requirement. Because we limit the size of each class to approximately 40 participants, we are able to evaluate each applicant on an individual and very personal basis. However, applicants must demonstrate an ability to successfully complete quantitative course work. Candidates without demonstrated success in undergraduate or graduate quantitative course work may be asked to demonstrate abilities in other ways (e.g., GMAT).

Are there any pre-skill courses I can take to be ready for the program?

We require that you complete prep courses in finance, accounting, statistics and business mathematics. You will successfully complete an online exam in each area prior to the start of the program. Information regarding these learning modules will be sent via mail once a deposit is received.

Who in my company should I talk to about sponsoring me?

Choosing to take part in an executive MBA program is about your own personal growth, as well as how your participation can help the company grow. Seek out support at the highest levels — not just your immediate supervisor — and be ready to point out the extra benefits of the Smith Executive MBA program, specifically the action learning project.

How do I explain the program benefits to my company?

While most executive education programs talk about students being able to immediately apply newfound knowledge to workplace situations, Smith makes such a connection even more immediate and relevant. From the start, the action learning project allows participants to tackle a real-time issue facing their company as part of their coursework. The company will have a team of executive MBA students and Smith faculty applying knowledge and manpower to company issues. This is more than just an immediate return on investment from the sponsored employee – the company is essentially receiving full-blown consulting services at a minimal price. In addition, the mastery coursework will have an immediate impact on your managerial and leadership skills.

Is financial aid available?

The Robert H. Smith School of Business does not offer financial aid for the executive MBA. First, work with your company to see if they are willing to cover part or all of your tuition. If you will be covering all or part of your tuition you may want to investigate financial aid options available to MBA students.

Assistance is available through the Office of Financial Aid — they can be reached at 301-314-9000.

The Smith School of Business awards scholarships based on scholastic merit, evidence of leadership, and work experience.

Which of my skills will be assessed?

The executive assessment process is designed to tap a variety of competencies critical for leadership success, including: oral communication, interpersonal sensitivity, customer service orientation, analysis/problem-solving, strategic thinking, judgment/decision making, decisiveness, process leadership, persuasion and influence, dealing with conflict, teamwork, initiative, delegation, coaching and developing, planning and organizing, self-confidence, and stress tolerance.

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