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Executive MBA on the rise

Not even ten years ago the Executive MBA (EMBA) world was quite different from today. Multi-school, multi-campus programs were rare, their development even endangered when - after the terrorist attacks of September 11 - travelling on international routes became less desirable. Despite those poor beginnings the EMBA programs have grown strongly ever since. The Financial Times reports that between 2001 and 2010 the number of courses in its league table has doubled, from 50 in the original classification to 100 in 2010.

Nowadays it is those multi-campus programs and studying at more than one business school in different countries that are in rising demand. The 2010 Financial Times rating for Executive MBAs has ranked several of those programs highly (see ranking below). 

The Executive MBA Programme

Executive MBA programs aim at managers who want to develop their career further. They are similar to traditional MBAs but differ in their schedules, rigidity of curriculum and networking opportunities. Executive MBA students take most classes with the same set of students to be able to establish business contacts with managers at different career levels and from different companies.

The Wall Street Journal Survey 2010 underlined the importance of networking as 35% of the participants said their top reason to do an EMBA was to switch careers or industries. Only 29% said they were seeking a promotion within their current company. Originally, the latter reason has been the main motivation for attending an EMBA programme.

Differences between a "normal" MBA and an EMBA

1.      Experience needed: An EMBA targets managers that have been in a supervising role for at least 5 to 10 years. Participants are therefore older and more experienced.

2.      More restricted schedule: As the participants are mostly working in managing positions, classes take normally place on weekends and fridays.

3.      Corporate Tuition Support: If a company sees enough benefit, it might sponsor a manager's EMBA. This is an important factor as EMBAs can be significantly more expensive than traditional MBA programs.

Top Schools for EMBA programs

In the following list MBA Channel compares the EMBA rankings of the top 10 Executive Programs listed in Business Week, Financial Times and the Wallstreet Journal. Highlighted are the two top performers mentioned in all three publications.


Business Week

Financial Times

Wallstreet Journal


Northwestern University (Kellogg), USA

Joint programme from:

Northwestern University (Kellogg), USA

Hong Kong UST Business School, China

University of Pennsylvania (Wharton), USA



University of Chicago (Booth), USA

Joint programme from:


Columbia Business School, USA



London Business School, U.K.


Washington University (Olin), USA


University of Pennsylvania (Wharton), USA


Trium - joint programme from:


HEC Paris, France 


LSE (London School of Economics and Political Science),  U.K.


New York

University (Stern), USA


Thunderbird School of Global Management, USA


Columbia Business School, USA


Insead, France / Singapore / U.A.E.


University of Southern California (Marshall), USA



University of Southern California (Marshall), USA


University of Chicago (Booth), USA

Northwestern University (Kellogg), USA



IE Business School,



London Business School, U.K.

University of Notre Dame (Mendoza), USA


University of Michigan (Ross),



IE Business School, Spain


New York University (Stern), USA




University of Pennsylvania (Wharton), USA


Johnson Cornell University, USA


Southern Methodist University (Cox),



Duke University (Fuqua), USA


Columbia Business School, USA


Duke University (Fuqua), USA


Chinese University of Hong Kong, China


UNC Kenan-Flagler, USA

Sources: Investopedia,, Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Financial Times

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