Most executive M.B.A. students have jobs — average work experience is 13 years; management experience 8.5. One might think that in tough times, the already employed would hunker down and hang on for dear life. But applications have risen slightly over the past five years and instead of investing in things like stocks or houses a lot of career hungry individuals have invested (sometimes hugely ) into EMBA

The palate of options attracts not only a broader range of students, but is also lucrative for the university. While the average cost of a degree is $65,000, the elites are pricey. M.I.T. charges $132,000 compared with $109,000 for an M.B.A. Many throw in books and breakfast and lunch. “It is a very compressed schedule,” Ms. Blanco says. “We don’t want students having to run out to find something to eat on their lunch break.” Johns Hopkins’s $108,000 program will include lodging. M.I.T.’s does not.

I know that I am learning a ton and meeting some really amazing people,” he says. “In the long run, it will be worth it. Right now it is more pain than gain.