1. Time: Chen, who also teaches global economics at Marshall, encourages prospective students to think about time management when entering a global EMBA program. "It is very important and very challenging," he says.
A typical student at Marshall, for example, is 38 years old and has 15 years of work experience, he says. Students must juggle a career, family obligations and working with classmates who are in a different time zone.
"Your classmate is around anytime you want to talk to them," says Chen of EMBA students. For global students, something like meeting at a local coffee shop to finish a group project can be much harder to do.
"Those things that seem very normal become a luxury," he says.
To make group work easier, students can use Google Docs or Dropbox, Web-based programs that allow multiple users to access the same file, says Rasor of Columbia.
At Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, global EMBA students can have 20 hours of reading, course work and assignments some weeks, says Liz Riley Hargrove, the associate dean for admissions.
"We encourage our students to speak with alumni and current students in the program to get a sense for how they'll need to arrange their lives to make this happen," she says.
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2. Curriculum: Case studies in an EMBA class are often based on transactions and decisions made by companies located in the United States. In a global program, that could change.
"Instead of U.S.-centric companies, we use companies in different parts of the world," Chen says.
Students at Marshall have done case studies on companies such as the U.S.'s Pepsi and China-based company Goodbaby. "We mimic a multinational environment," he says.
3. Interactions with classmates: In an EMBA program, it's highly unlikely that students will take a plane to get to class. Many will come from the school's surrounding area or elsewhere in the U.S. In a global EMBA program, U.S. students could be the minority.
At Marshall, about 25 percent of students hold U.S. passports, Chen says. Students must be prepared to work with classmates whose background greatly differs from theirs.
"They need to learn how to work in a diverse culture," he says. "You're not in a familiar environment. Their native language is not the same as yours."
For Rasor, having classmates who lived far away proved beneficial. They would often organize social and educational class trips in a student's home country.
A classmate from Holland planned a trip to Amsterdam that included a meeting with MTV Europe's CEO, he says. During a Moscow trip, students were able to network with the CEO of the investment business VTB Capital.
"They were just opportunities for schoolmates to spend time together, do some extra study groups and share each others' networks," he says.
Columbia student Rasor admits the global EMBA experience can be challenging, particularly because of all of the required traveling. He encourages students who choose this route to be prepared to work hard.
"If you're committing to a program of that nature, you might as well go all in," he says. "You realize what's possible in a 24-hour period."
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Corrected 7/29/2013: A previous version of this article misidentified when the Anderson School at UCLA graduated its first global executive MBA class.