Executive MBA

Executive MBA programs combine some of the most attractive features of part-time and full-time MBA programs. Executive MBA programs allow highly qualified and very experienced professionals to earn an advanced business degree in two years while continuing to work throughout the program. Classes are held on evenings and/or weekends in order to accommodate the demanding schedules of executives. These programs generally have an international focus and involve more academic travel than most other MBA programs, although they do not permit as much specialization as full-time programs. These features combine to equip executives for the leap from regional or national management experience to the highest level of international business.

When to Pursue an Executive MBA Program

Executive MBA programs are ideal for high-level managers looking to take the next step in their careers and move into the realm of international business. These programs are specifically designed for highly capable and experienced professionals who wish to engage in rigorous academic study without foregoing the income and experience provided by their current positions. As a result, the cohort you will study with in an executive MBA program will often have as much to teach you as the professors at your business school. If taking your seat in a classroom of executives poised to leap into global marketplace appeals to you, an EMBA is the right choice.

When to Avoid an Executive MBA Program

Executive MBA programs typically accept applicants with five or more years of experience, as compared to an average of two years of experience in other MBA program types. This first hurdle to participation narrows the student body down to a select group. Executive MBA programs are also designed for professionals looking for vertical motion in their careers, rather than a sharp change of direction. Those looking for a career change would be better off considering a full-time MBA program. Finally, the rigorous and concentrated nature of executive MBA programs can make it difficult to sustain other obligations, so applicants should carefully consider how they will meet these requirements.

What an Executive MBA Program Means to Your Career

The MBA degree typically brings with it higher earnings, accelerated promotions and an expanded professional network. What sets an EMBA apart is its international focus, the higher level of professionals with whom you will network and share your studies, and the ability to complete the degree quickly while maintaining your current position. EMBA students average a 16.3 percent salary increase and an annual salary of $157,423 at their first post-graduation positions, according to Businessweek. When you emerge from the program, you should be more than ready to take the next step upward within your organization or any other.

Executive MBA Program Rankings

Several publications compile rankings of the top MBA programs each year according to various metrics. Each of these rankings differs to some degree, although the same cluster of elite business schools tends to appear near the top each year. These rankings are useful as a rough indication of the quality of various institutions, but they are not precise enough or individual enough to tell you what business school is right for you.

According to U.S. News and World Report the top 10 EMBA programs are:

  1. Northwestern
  2. Chicago
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. Duke
  5. North Carolina
  6. IMD
  7. UCLA
  8. Texas Austin
  9. Duke (Global EMBA Program)
  10. Emory