Creative Leadership MBA vs EMBA: What’s the Difference?

The Creative Leadership MBA at National University is an interdisciplinary program that draws from the values of the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) and integrates it with the curriculum of the National University MBA program. 

Ultimately, the cornerstone of this program centers on leadership. 

This unique curriculum is informed by the work of CCL, a global nonprofit that partners with organizations to cultivate creative leaders who are focused on making lasting change in the world. The Creative Leadership MBA emphasizes hands-on experience that specifically examines real-world challenges. It applies the principles of “assess, learn, practice, and apply” to overcome obstacles and find solutions. 

Standing out from a traditional Executive MBA, the Creative Leadership MBA at National University boasts a curriculum focused on creative solutions in leadership, versus an Executive MBA, which tailors to working professionals who are looking to expand their skillset and learn new strategies for leadership, marketing, design, and negotiation. The former is ideal for those looking to pivot in their career and apply leadership theories and ethical responsibilities, implement quantitative analysis, and learn to communicate with clarity; the latter is ideal for those looking to optimize or double down on their existing aptitudes and apply lessons to existing careers. 

What is the Difference Between MBA and Executive MBA?

Each of these programs are of comparable value and renown in the workforce. It is common for companies to increase salaries after acquiring an MBA; in some cases, employers will even sponsor employees’ education. 

Fundamentally, the difference between an Executive MBA vs full-time MBA is the background of the programs’ students. 

Those seeking an MBA may come from various career paths—perhaps they’ve specialized in marketing, or strategic communication, or do not have a degree related to business administration at all. Sometimes it can be common for MBA students to enroll full-time. These are typically people who leave their jobs for MBA programs. At National University, students learn business acumen and specialize in one of 11 areas, ranging from financial management to mobile marketing and social media. They learn leadership skills, but are educated more broadly on the workings of a business—planning to distribution, decision-making to management—and how to implement economic and financial theories or principles. 

By comparison, those entering an Executive MBA vs regular MBA program often have as much as 10 to 15 years of work experience and might even belong in the C-suite already. A typical MBA candidate may have three to five years of work experience or none. This aspect varies greatly. Executive MBAs, meanwhile, ordinarily consist of people enrolled in part-time programs that cater to working professionals juggling courses with their current position and family lives; the result is shorter but more intense coursework. 

What is an Executive MBA vs MBA? The MBA and Executive MBA difference boils down to immersion in business practice versus an enriching of existing knowledge and expansion of network.

Creative Leadership MBA vs Executive MBA

The Creative Leadership MBA at National University has much in common with a traditional Executive MBA, while also boasting key differences.

Key Difference in Programs Creative Leadership MBA Executive MBA
Program Length 1 year with four-week online classes Up to 2 years, often with weekend classes
Testing Qualifications No GMAT Score required Varies
Course Content Emphasizes CCL Leadership Less focus on creative leadership development and multicultural team building
Background Flexible Working Professionals/Executives

The online MBA vs Executive MBA decision comes down to preference. The online MBA option—in Creative Leadership or the standard track—delivers a level of flexibility unmatched by Executive MBA programs that are already largely tailored to working professionals and work-life balance. The online program includes a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning, meaning students will get the most out of their time in class while being able to freely decide when to complete preparatory content like reading materials and assignments. Because of how accessible the online program is, it attracts a diverse array of candidates. Even international students are able to provide valuable viewpoints from a global perspective. 

Online MBA students at National University learn management skills in domestic and global business settings, with teachings on how to balance quantitative with qualitative data and find creative solutions. It’s a curriculum of MBA leadership online. In the Creative Leadership MBA, the principles of direction, alignment, and commitment are applied when crafting strategic plans. 

Online MBAs also offer competitive tuition rates, with the same salary benefits when examining Executive MBA vs MBA salary. As for Executive MBA vs. full-time MBA salary differences, they are difficult to measure because of the difference in work experience between the student types. However, each increases salary, and Executive MBAs are estimated to receive approximately a 14.6 percent pay bump from start to finish of their program.  

All MBAs offer an expansion of opportunity, whether through professional opportunity or personal growth. Demand continues to rise for MBAs—whether Executive/Corporate MBA vs MBA—in all sectors of the business world, from energy to finance. In a 2018 year-end employer poll from the Graduate Management Admission Council, 78 percent of respondents indicated they plan to hire recent MBA graduates, and half of companies reported they plan to increase MBA starting salaries. 

Furthermore, in a similar survey conducted in 2020, GMAC found that employers’ confidence in MBA graduates remained stable. Ninety percent of those surveyed pre-pandemic in 2020 reported a high degree of confidence about the ability of graduate business schools to prepare students to be successful in their organization. This dipped only slightly to 87 percent when surveyed later in the year, even after the effects of the recession had taken shape. MBA candidates are perceived as strong, resilient assets in the job market. 

To some extent, the debate isn’t whether Executive MBA vs traditional MBA will advance a career; any MBA will move a job candidate forward. It’s just a matter of how much and in what direction.

MBAs at National University

The Creative Leadership MBA at National University is forward-looking while encouraging creative thinking; it is among the best MBA for leadership. Upon completion of the program, students enter a Center for Creative Leadership alumni network of 750,000 worldwide. This partnership between National University and CCL is designed to give candidates a leg up in the job market while preparing them to lead in an increasingly global and solutions-driven market. All while being enormously flexible, with an all-online curriculum and an option to attend in-person Saturday courses in San Diego. 

Additional Sources:

https://www.nu.edu/ourprograms/college-of-professional-studies/center-for-management-and-entrepreneurship/programs/center-for-creative-leadership-mba/ 

https://www.nu.edu/ourprograms/college-of-professional-studies/center-for-management-and-entrepreneurship/programs/730-000/ 

https://www.nu.edu/resources/what-can-you-do-with-an-mba/ 

https://www.nu.edu/ourprograms/college-of-professional-studies/center-for-management-and-entrepreneurship/programs/730-000/ 

https://www.topmba.com/mba-programs/executive/mba-or-emba-which-ones-right-you 

https://www.princetonreview.com/business-school-advice/online-mba/five-reasons-to-get-your-mba-online

https://www.gmac.com/-/media/files/gmac/research/employment-outlook/gmac_corporate_recruiters_survey_sept_2020.pdf 

https://www.mbacentral.org/executive-mba-degrees/