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What is the difference between a classic Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) and the Executive Master of Business Marketing (EMBM) program?

Similarities between EMBM and EMBA:

  • Target group: (future or current) executives and managers of companies who already have professional experience; in particular, applicants without an economic background;
  • Objective: To accelerate one's career; as a so-called 'terminal degree', a subsequent doctorate or scientific career is usually not the primary goal;
  • Contents: 'Theory-Practice-Transfer' (application to own professional practice) from a (strategic) management point of view; application-oriented (in contrast to, for example, scientific/research-oriented Master's programs (e.g. M.Sc.);
  • Forms of learning: Blended Learning; Attendance phases and distance learning phases; increased use of case studies;
  • Structure: modular (subject areas in blocks instead of spread over the semester); part-time;


Differences between EMBM and EMBA:

  • EMBA: general management studies; rather broad than deep; 'Business & Management in a nutshell': An overview of the entire business administration spectrum from a management point of view is conveyed; usually figureheads of (private or outsourced) business schools; Language of instruction usually English; Participants from all areas of the company; due to the internationality partly GMAT or other tests as an admission criterion for a better comparison of the degrees;
  • EMBM: specialized management studies; other corporate functions (e.g human resources, financing; accounting, taxation) are kept rather short in favor of a specialization in (business-to-business) marketing; despite the fundamental application orientation located at a research university; teaching language German; participants often work in the field of marketing (or wish to switch to marketing);


Advantages and disadvantages of EMBM and EMBA:

  • EMBA: no specialization in particular; typically suitable for already specialized long-term managers (e.g. engineers in middle management) without an economic background who want to advance to the top management of large international companies; 'general management knowledge' basically enables application in a wide variety of management functions and companies; important: should be awarded if possible by accredited business schools represented in international rankings (but then often quite expensive, since private business schools often have to co-finance large, profit-oriented organizational structures, especially marketing departments, through the fees); often close proximity to commercial enterprises (which can partly result in career advantages, but these companies have partly also influence on the program’s content); MBA degree internationally renowned; especially in Germany partly very 'young' universities and programs (positive: e.g. very flexible, high service orientation, managed as companies; negative: e.g. ambiguity about future reputation/existence; sometimes strong compromises regarding academic demands in favor of application orientation, especially since the last financial crisis increasing criticism of the 'moral compass' of MBA graduates, actual teachability of leadership qualities and soft skills within these MBA programs is disputable (see e.g. Henry Mintzberg);
  • EMBM: expert knowledge acquired through specialization prepares in particular for leadership function in (business-to-business) marketing; is located at the Department of Economics of the Research University FU Berlin, therefore very close to science ('theory-practice-transfer', application of the latest findings from economic research to practical cases); Renown and (alumni) network of a long-established, internationally recognized research university; 37th anniversary of the EMBM (constant further development); Balance between application orientation and academic requirements through system accreditation of the FU Berlin; in addition to general management knowledge, intensive teaching of very specific marketing instruments and methods ; since the fees at state universities are primarily intended to finance the non-consecutive, continuing education Master's degree programs themselves, the fees are rather low compared to profit-oriented private business schools; EMBM as an academic degree is not an internationally renowned 'brand';


You should also know that the MBA is always a generalist management degree and something like a brand, especially in the USA and Great Britain.

Although there is now often the possibility to give the MBA program a personal touch, for example through specialization subjects, the original idea of 'General Management' persists. The international MBA accreditation agencies (AACSB; AMBA, EQUIS/EFMD) therefore take great care in their guidelines to maintain this. The fact that there are some 'MBAs with specialization' in the rest of Europe and especially in Germany (e.g. 'MBA in Real Estate Management', etc.) is therefore often based on ignorance or misunderstandings. Such offers would usually not receive MBA-specific accreditation and would rather cause astonishment, especially in English-speaking countries.

Another point why the EMBM is very similar to an EMBA is that the term 'marketing' is not only about advertising and the marketing of products and services, but about a holistic, market-oriented management of companies. As a task of corporate management, marketing therefore includes the vast majority of corporate functions.

The EMBM not only conveys business know-how such as marketing and sales knowledge, which you need for the successful marketing of products or services to business customers, but also the fundamentals of strategy, management and controlling.

Basically, there is no 'better' or 'worse' here. It all depends on what personal preferences you have and what goals you pursue.