New iPad & iPhone App for EMBA Applicants

Just new to the process of considering an Executive MBA program? Don’t know where to start.

Here’s a useful place: a new iPhone and iPad app released this week from the Executive MBA Council, the trade group for more than 300 business schools that offer EMBA programs?

When you first open the app, you’ll get some rather drab looking pages of promotional info on the EMBA. Among other things, you’re told that the degree is for “experienced business leaders who want to take the next step in their careers.” You’re also told that 35% of the students deliver a return to their organization that is at least three times the cost of tuition.

It’s slightly off-putting, but this is from the trade group composed of schools that offer these programs and it’s a selling opportunity. The clunky design of this app would cause Steve Jobs to fire a few people, but we’re mainly interested in the content, right?

Here’s what we liked: Skip to the very bottom of the app and tap on the globe icon above the words “EMBA Schools.” Up will pop a map of the world with red pushpins representing the B-school that offer Executive MBA programs and are members of the EMBA Council.

When you tap on the pushpin, you’ll get the name of the school. Another tap will get you all the basics on the program: When it starts, how often the classes meet, the length of the MBA experience, the cost, current class size, total alumni, whether an international trip is part of the program, average work experience of an EMBA student in the program, and a link to the school’s website.

It’s an incredible wealth of information right at your fingertips—and all of it is searchable. You can pull a menu down on program focus and have the map results filtered for EMBA programs with an emphasis on defense or engineering or finance or health care. You can pull down another menu of start dates and search by programs that begin by quarter, from January through March to October through December. Yet another menu allows you to search for programs by length, from those under 20 months to those that are 31 months or longer.

And then there’s the piggy bank icon. A tap on it will get you to a menu that allows you to search for programs by tuition cost, from under $50,000 (in the U.S., according to the app, there are only two EMBA programs that cost so little—) to programs that presumably cost more than $150,000. At one time, it pulled up only two programs in the U.S. that cost so little: CUNY’s Baruch College in New York and Purdue University’s Krannert School in West Lafayette, Indiana. Another time it pulled up more than 40. Go figure.

Another cool feature: You can compare up to three programs side-by-side by clicking the plus button on any program’s description page. It’s not pretty because the design of these pages is mediocre. But again, the basic info is there and it can be valuable to someone trying to contrast and compare different experiences. Of course, what you don’t get is any realistic evaluation of a program’s strengths or weaknesses—and no idea at all on where these programs rank if they are ranked at all. After all, the council doesn’t want to alienate any of its members.

The results aren’t always perfect, either. Searching for programs that cost more than $150,000, for example, brought up a window with the words: “The search produced no results.” Yet, when you look up Wharton’s EMBA program in San Francisco—which happens to be the most expensive MBA program in the world—you can see that it costs $172,200. Why didn’t it come up in the search for schools that cost more than $150,000? Probably some sloppy and incomplete data base programming in the app.

There equally sloppy writing and editing. Pull up the profile for Baruch College’s program and the description reads this way: “A cohort prprogram specializing in helath card Administration for experienced professionals.” Yikes! Has anyone at the EMBA Council ever heard of spell checker? And sometimes the program crashes. Click on the map pushpin for Rollins College business school in Florida and you’re kicked off the app. So this is a first iteration toy of sorts, not something you can completely rely upon.

Even so, it’s great fun to toy around with the map. As a starting exercise to see what’s available worldwide, it can be very useful. And let’s not forget, it’s free. You do get what you pay for.

Available as a free download via iTunes or directly through the App Store onto an iPad or iPhone.


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