The Top 10 Executive MBAs in the US

The Top 10 Executive MBAs in the US

Updated 14 September 2020

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Do you know which business school has the best executive MBA (EMBA) course in the US?

There are many options available for those who wish to combine full time working with academic study. And as more of us start working for global corporations, it has never been more important to have an in-depth understanding of international leadership practices.

The EMBA is a postgraduate program that is specifically designed for participants who are working at a senior leadership level.

It provides the insights and understandings of how to become an effective leader and generate entrepreneurial and innovative ideas.

Those who complete an EMBA course at a US business school can expect to be rewarded with higher responsibilities and improved pay grades.

It is believed that EMBA graduates can improve their remuneration by as much as 14.6%.

If you’re considering applying for an EMBA course, how can you choose which business school is right for you? We’ve compiled a handy rankings list of the best EMBA courses in the US to help you identify the right program for you.

EMBAs in the US

How to Choose an EMBA

With many different business schools to choose from, it comes as no surprise that each school offers something different.

Typically, each program will be coordinated on a part-time basis. This is so you can continue to focus on your work, whilst continuing your study.

Some business schools will have a heavy emphasis on remote learning capabilities, whilst others will prefer more intensive face-to-face learning options.

As well as having ample opportunity to learn alongside peers from prestigious organizations, you will likely have the opportunity to study abroad in locations such as London, Shanghai and Dubai where you can gain global insights into business practices.

Typically, most students will have at least 10 to 15 years of leadership experience underneath their belts. EMBA courses in the US are designed to improve critical thinking and decision-making skills. Therefore, entrance criteria are based more on your resume than your GMAT scores and grade averages.

When selecting a business school to complete your EMBA program, you should consider the course structure.

  • Will it complement your existing job role and provide you with the necessary skills to improve your performance?
  • Does the course content allow you to build new connections and professional networks with relevant peers from across the world?
  • Will there be opportunities to travel?

Once you’ve taken a comprehensive look at what each business school can offer, you can decide which is the best US EMBA program for you.

The Top 10 EMBAs in the US

We’ve compiled a top ten rankings list of the best EMBA courses available in the US.

It should be noted that this list is in alphabetical order and is designed to be a brief introduction to each business school, and what individual EMBA courses can offer.

Ensure you undertake your own research before committing to further study.

1. University of Chicago (Booth School of Business)

University ranking: #1 in the US EMBA rankings (as ranked by US News), #21 in the world (as ranked by the FT EMBA Ranking 2019)
Course location: Chicago, London, Hong Kong
Course duration: 21 months
Intake month: June
No. core modules: 18
Tuition: $194,000

Course highlights: As one of the top three business schools in the US, students can expect to benefit from one of the top US EMBA programs.

With a strong global emphasis, students can choose to learn from the Chicago campus or in London or Hong Kong. Wherever you choose to learn, your study program will remain the same.

The course takes you through the fundamentals of business. You will start by learning the foundation skills of subjects such as analytics, psychology and financial accounting before moving into areas such as decision-making, negotiation and strategy.

As you enter the latter stages of your EMBA course, you’ll be asked to choose four elective modules. These are designed to tailor your learning to your requirements.

Options include data mining, portfolio management, technology and pricing structures (amongst many others).

At the end of the program, you’ll integrate all of your learning into a team-based capstone course.

Networking opportunities: The EMBA program at Booth School of Business in Chicago offers a truly global perspective. You’ll learn from a diverse group of peers from around the world.

Regardless of where you choose to study, you will be welcomed on international learning weeks where you will gain strategic insights into global business practices, building strong professional connections.

Find out more about EMBAs at University of Chicago

2. Columbia Business School

University ranking: #4 in the US EMBA rankings (as ranked by US News)
Course location: New York
Course duration: 16 to 24 months
Intake months: January, May, August (depending on course type)
No. core modules: 11
Tuition: $77,367 per year

Course highlights: The EMBA program at Columbia University is flexible. Students can choose between full-time study, alternate Friday/Saturdays or every Saturday.

The business school understands that students will be combining heavy workloads, and the greater flexibility means that there are more regular intakes throughout the year.

The weekend learning has been designed so that you can take your new knowledge into your business within days.

Each EMBA course intake is between 30 to 70 students and you will be broken down into smaller groups, allowing you to work and collaborate effectively.

You will work together on your core modules before immersing yourself in an international seminar. This international learning is designed to incorporate global perspectives into your study.

You will then be asked to choose your preferred electives which can either consolidate your existing knowledge or help you move into new areas of expertise.

Popular electives include Mergers and Acquisitions, Power and Influence in Organizations and Supply Chain Management.

Networking opportunities: With three distinct intakes of US EMBA students as well as full-time MBA students, there is a huge opportunity to build professional networks.

At various points in your learning you will build connections with fellow students, widening your contacts. You will also have the opportunity to attend conferences and speaking engagements and learn from titans of the industry within New York City.

With 46,000+ alumni, you can make the most of internships, mentoring and lectures from those who have attended Columbia Business School.

Also, the school has strong relationships with London Business School and the University of Hong Kong, giving you the chance to network on a global scale.

Find out more about EMBAs at Columbia

3. Cornell University (Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management)

University ranking: #15 in the Best US Business Schools (as ranked by US News)
Course location: New York City
Course duration: 17 to 22 months
Intake months: June, July (depending on which EMBA course you enroll in)
No. core modules: 20
Tuition: $195,498

Course highlights: Cornell University has three distinct EMBA programs:

  • The EMBA Americas
  • EMBA Metro NY
  • EMBA/MS in Healthcare Leadership

EMBA America’s course is designed to take place remotely, so is a great option for those wanting to learn through video conferencing. This helps students to build new connections wherever they are located.

The EMBA program is designed with sequential learning in mind. This means that you will be taken step-by-step through a series of core modules, each designed to facilitate building bricks of knowledge.

Once you have completed the core learning, you will participate in two electives, before working on an individual project and a team-based final capstone.

Networking opportunities: There are ample opportunities to widen your network thanks to Cornell University’s in-depth networking program.

Participants can take advantage of comprehensive EMBA career development services, as well as webinars, workshops and presentations.

You will also be invited to various alumni panels where you can mingle with fellow graduates and attend industry round tables. These are all designed to facilitate lifelong connections, far beyond the conclusion of your EMBA course.

Find out more about EMBAs at Cornell University

4. Duke University (The Fuqua School of Business)

University ranking: #6 in the US EMBA rankings (as ranked by US News)
Course location: Durham, North Carolina
Course duration: 21 months
Intake months: March
No. core modules: 10
Tuition: $148,000

Course highlights: The EMBA course on offer at The Fuqua School of Business comprises a mix of residential and online learning.

You’ll work closely with a diverse team of five or six peers and your learning will take place in residencies across the world: visiting locations in Asia, Latin America and Europe.

This is designed to allow you to broaden your perspectives and understand how new insights can improve your leadership approach.

The course will be a mix of core curriculum models, global business insights and personal electives. This means that you’ll generate a comprehensive insight into leadership and entrepreneurship.

Networking opportunities: As you work through international residencies, you’ll build a strong network of global contacts. You’ll work closely with your peers, who will come from a diverse background designed to extend your perspectives and help you generate new ideas and opinions.

As part of the course, you will be given extensive career support from the Career Management Center. You’ll be introduced to sector-specific teams and given opportunities to build connections with fellow students and alumni.

Find out more about EMBAs at Duke University

5. Northwestern University (The Kellogg School of Management)

University ranking: #2 in the US Executive MBA rankings (as ranked by US News)
Course location: Miami, FL, and Evanston, IL
Course duration: 2 years
Intake months: January, September
No. core modules: 18
Tuition: $106,782 per year

Course highlights: With two locations available and opportunities to study monthly or bi-monthly, there are plenty of options available to find the right EMBA course that fits your lifestyle.

The program is designed to enable EMBA students to fulfill their potential across general management and build skills in strategic thinking and leadership.

With 18 core modules to complete and a choice of up to eight elective units, it’s certainly a comprehensive course that will aid your knowledge and expertise.

What sets the Kellogg School of Management apart from other US EMBA programs is global insights.

With a network of seven campuses around the world, students can experience global learning tailored to their interests.

For example, students in Germany can learn about luxury brands and entrepreneurship, students in Tel Aviv can discover new technologies, and students in Canada can learn about governance and leadership.

The variety of choices mean that you can truly tailor your EMBA course to what you want to learn about.

Networking opportunities: The Kellogg alumni network will provide you with access to more than 60,000 graduates who may be happy to facilitate life-long introductions far beyond the EMBA course.

Not only can you continually attend lectures and conferences, but you will be offered lifetime career support from the Career Management Center.

Find out more about EMBAs at Northwestern University

Top US EMBAs

6. University of Michigan (The Stephen M. Ross School of Business)

University ranking: #10 in the US EMBA rankings (as ranked by US News)
Course location: Ann Arbor or Los Angeles
Course duration: 21 months
Intake month: March
No. core modules: 12
Tuition: $168,500 (in-state applicants), $173,500 (out-of-state applicants)

Course highlights: Michigan Ross EMBA students can choose to study in either Ann Arbor or Los Angeles.

Throughout the 21-month course, you can expect to undertake significant coursework, gain practical, hands-on experience in different sectors or geographical locations, and develop your leadership skills.

With 12 core modules and a choice of 15 electives, you can tailor your learning experience to what suits your interests and expertise.

Your learning will take place on your chosen campus once a month.

Michigan Ross is keen to push students out of their comfort zone and challenge them to learn new skills and insights. With a leadership development program that is intertwined throughout the EMBA course curriculum, you can feel confident that you are gaining the knowledge and expertise to transform your future career.

Networking opportunities: You can liaise with a diverse network of peers, allowing you to collaborate and learn from others’ experiences.

Find out more about EMBAs at University of Michigan

7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (The Sloan School of Management)

University ranking: #8 in the US EMBA rankings (as ranked by US News)
Course location: Cambridge, MA
Course duration: 20 months
Intake month: September
No. core modules: Four executive modules
Tuition: $77,168 per year

Course highlights: MIT’s Global EMBA Program is designed specifically for those who are mid-career.

You can expect to work closely with students from around the world, from a variety of different sectors and industries, giving you unique insights into global business practices.

You will learn ‘data-driven analytical methods’ and develop an understanding of how to lead change throughout your organization.

The learning style is based on 26-weekend sessions (Fridays and Saturdays), held every three weeks. On top of this, you can expect to participate in four executive modules which last between six and nine days and are held every six months.

This residential element to your learning allows you to facilitate working relationships with your peers.

The MIT approach is based on applied learning; you will be asked to apply methodologies to your organization/industry. This means that you can put your knowledge into practice throughout the EMBA course.

You will also have plenty of opportunities to work onsite at various organizations, allowing you to gain new perspectives and insights.

Networking opportunities: MIT Sloan prides itself on its networking capabilities; both for the Sloan Business School, but also for MIT itself.

Not only will you have the contacts with fellow peers and students, but you will also forge connections with the EMBA alumni who have now become leaders of many global organizations.

Find out more about EMBAs at MIT

8. New York University (The Leonard N. Stern School of Business)

University ranking: #5 in the US EMBA rankings (as ranked by US News)
Course location: New York City, Washington DC, Global
Course duration: 17 to 21 months
Intakes: Fall, Winter
No. core modules: 10
Tuition: $200,000

Course highlights: The EMBA course offered by Stern School of Business has three distinct choices. You can choose to study in New York City, learn in Washington DC or you can have a global experience, studying throughout London, New York and Paris.

Whatever you choose, you can feel confident that you are learning directly from CEOs, entrepreneurs and C-Suite executives from global organizations.

You will study a core curriculum of ten modules, including business ethics, accounting, statistics and management communication before choosing your elective choices in year 2.

Networking opportunities: There are over 110,000 Stern alumni, representing over 130 different countries. This means that you can facilitate working relationships with many EMBA graduates who have used their new-found knowledge and skills to enhance their career progression.

Find out more about EMBAs at New York University

9. University of California Los Angeles (The Anderson School of Management)

University ranking: #9 in the US EMBA rankings (as ranked by US News)
Course location: Los Angeles
Course duration: 22 months
Intake month: September
No. core modules: 18
Tuition: $167,992

Course highlights: UCLA offers flexible schedules for all EMBA students. Typically, you can expect to have weekend learning sessions on campus once or twice a month, along with a week-long international residential course to solidify your global insights.

You can choose to visit either Asia, South America or Europe, where you can learn from business professionals and government leaders.

Throughout your study period, you will learn how to self-evaluate your leadership style. You’ll get to know your strengths and discover how to overcome your weaknesses.

You’ll also complete a capstone leadership course along with your peers where you will participate through simulations, giving you immediate insight into current business challenges.

Networking opportunities: As well as building relationships with fellow EMBA students, you’ll also work closely with MBA and FEMBA students. You’ll be invited to on-campus conferences and events, and you’ll facilitate working relationships with many UCLA alumni.

Find out more about EMBAs at University of California

10. Yale School of Management

University ranking: #9 in Best Business Schools (as ranked by US News)
Course location: New Haven, CT
Course duration: 22 months
No. core modules: Three core subject areas
Tuition: $193,500

Course highlights: The EMBA course on offer at Yale focuses on three core subject areas:

  • Asset management
  • Healthcare
  • Sustainability

Students will learn how to understand the societal context in order to develop leadership skills.

Taking place across alternate weekends, alongside four week-long residential sessions (one of which is abroad), students can expect to learn more about stakeholder perspectives rather than functional disciplines.

Teaching focus is on getting a fresh view and perspective of your sector and learning how others can view different business challenges.

There is a strong international component to the EMBA program. Yale has partner links with over 30 schools across the globe and the network facilitates introductions between students as they complete their learning journey.

EMBA students can join fellow MBA peers on a week-long international residential trip where you learn about local insights across an international business environment.

Options include trips to the Philippines, Germany, China, Japan, Ireland or South Africa (amongst others).

Networking opportunities: As a prestigious Yale alumnus, you will have the opportunity to build fulfilling professional connections with your fellow peers and faculty staff, beyond the scope of the EMBA program.

Find out more about EMBAs at Yale

Final Thoughts

As you can see from our list of the top US EMBA courses, there is a lot to consider before choosing which business school is right for you.

You may wish to focus on the learning schedule – if you are juggling work and personal commitments, you may be looking for an EMBA program that facilitates remote learning.

It is also wise to look at the course curriculum.

As you have seen, there is no set definition for what makes the best US EMBA course; each school has its own priorities. You may be looking for something which offers more core modules, or you may prefer to tailor-make your own bespoke learning experience.

If you’re looking to improve your international insights, you may want to look for a school that has renowned global partnerships.

It is expected that most EMBA students will participate in some form of international learning. However, you should look at what travel options are available and find one which suits your interests.

Choosing to study for an EMBA is a significant investment. The tuition fees of US EMBA courses are expensive.

In some cases, you may be able to apply for company sponsorship, or you could apply for scholarship opportunities to reduce your financial burden. However, it is pleasing to note that on graduation, you will feel confident that you can take immediate strides into progressing your career.

By Amy Dawson Amy Dawson