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Executive MBA Programs: Everything You Need to Know

Even if you've already taken a few steps up the corporate ladder, an executive MBA degree from an accredited university could be what you need to advance even further. Designed for working professionals with at least five years of professional leadership experience, most executive MBA programs are geared toward helping middle-level managers take a step up into upper-level and executive jobs.

Explore more Executive MBA programs from these sponsored listings:
Walden University | Strayer University | University of Phoenix
UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Executive MBA Degree: Courses and More

Students enrolled in an executive MBA program likely have already gathered business experience and leadership skills, so the coursework in these programs often build upon management skills and helps professionals learn about the intricacies of the cross-functional dependencies within many organizations. Individual classes might include specific aspects of business strategy, leadership, accounting, economics and performance measurement, as well as courses designed to fit into your precise career plan. Because most executive MBA courses are designed for working professionals, these programs offer unique flexibility and can often be completed in as little as 18 months. Though students will find a host of learning options including on-campus and accelerated programs, online executive MBA programs are often preferred by students managing college, career, and family obligations as these tend to offer the most accommodating courses and schedules.

MBA in Executive Management: Career Outlook

Though data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( indicates that competition can be tough for many chief executive jobs, the agency asserts that experienced managers whose accomplishments reflect both strong leadership skills and the capacity to the competitive position and efficiency of an organization will have the best opportunities for senior positions. Earning an executive MBA degree is one way professionals can prove themselves as great leaders. salary data shows the annual earnings of chief executives vary by industry, but the mean annual wage for employees in this sector was $173,350 in May 2010. If you have the required experience and the drive to get to the top, an MBA in Executive Management could be what you need to further accomplish your career goals.

What are the top ranked schools for executive MBA programs?

If you're interested in pursuing an EMBA program, it's a good idea to research a variety of business schools in order to pick a program and school that matches your educational and professional goals. One potential criterion to evaluate schools is a program's ranking.

Different publications offer different rankings of both business schools and specialized EMBA programs. Bloomberg Businessweek's EMBA Rankings are based on surveys of graduates and directors of EMBA programs. Former students comment on "teaching quality, career services, curriculum, and other aspects of their experience," while program directors provide their own top 10 EMBA rankings. Feedback for 2011 was combined with survey results from 2007 and 2009. The final scores are based 65 percent on student responses and 35 percent on program director input.

Top Executive MBA Programs (Bloomberg BusinessWeek, 2013):

  1. Northwestern University (Kellogg)
  2. University of Chicago (Booth)
  3. SMU (Cox)
  4. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
  5. UCLA (Anderson)
  6. Columbia University
  7. IE Business School
  8. USC (Marshall)
  9. The University of Ohio State (Fisher)
  10. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (Ross)
  11. IESE
  12. University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)
  13. University of Virginia (Darden)
  14. Duke (Fuqua)
  15. Norte Dame (Mendoza)
  16. Insead
  17. University of Maryland (Smith)
  18. Georgetown (McDonough)
  19. IMD
  20. Esade
  21. New York University (Stern)
  22. Emory University (Goizueta)
  23. Pepperdine University (Graziadio)
  24. University of Minnesota (Carlson)
  25. University of Texas-Austin (McCombs)
  26. Rutgers University
  27. Thunderbird
  28. Oxford (Said)
  29. Cornell (Johnson)
  30. Boston University
  31. University of Washington, St. Louis (Olin)
  32. London Business School
  33. Utah (Eccles)
  34. Georgia Tech (Scheller)
  35. Vanderbilt (Owen)
  36. UC Irvine (Merage)
  37. University of Washington (Foster)
  38. University of Texas-Dallas (Jindal)
  39. Rochester (Simon)
  40. Arizona State (Carey)

Executive Education Programs, BloombergBusinessweek, Rankings & Profiles, 2011,
"How We Rank the Schools," BloombergBusinessweek, Louis Lavelle, October 25, 2011,
"Top Executive MBA Programs of 2011," BloombergBusinessweek, Louis Lavelle, November 21, 2011,