Last Updated on August 28, 2023
Everybody in the business world recognizes the value of an Executive MBA, otherwise known as EMBA. The EMBA is a mid-career program designed specifically for managers and executives; it is made to discipline the students in leadership skills, improve the way they understand business matters and fast forward their career path.
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Best Executive Mba Programs
The Top 10 EMBAs in the UK
To help you with your research, we’ve compiled a top ten rankings list of the best EMBA courses available in the UK.
This list is in alphabetical order and is designed to provide a brief overview of the course content.
We highly recommend that before submitting your application, you undertake your due diligence to find out more information about the course content, teaching standards and potential return on your investment.
1. University of Birmingham (Birmingham Business School)
Study type: On-campus
Course location: Birmingham
Course duration: 2½ to 4½ years
Intakes per year: Two per year
Flexibility: Each module is taught on a four-day learning weekend (Friday to Monday) which is designed to be built around your work schedule.
Course focus: The University of Birmingham has six core modules on its EMBA course:
- Accounting and Finance
- International Business
- Operations Management
- Organisational Behaviour
- Human Resource Management and Strategy
Beyond this, students are expected to choose electives from a wide range of subject areas including (amongst others) Corporate Communication, Management of Change or Strategic Procurement and Supplier Management.
This structure means that you can find an elective that will impact your current working practices.
Once you’ve completed your modular learning, you will be expected to write an MBA dissertation or work-based project dissertation to complete your course.
Networking opportunities: The University of Birmingham is a Russell Group university. This means that you can build professional networks with others.
However, unlike many other EMBA courses, there is less focus on international learning, so your networking opportunities may be limited just to other peers.
2. University of Cambridge (Judge Business School)
University ranking: #18 in the Financial Times (FT) ranking of global EMBA programmes 2019
Study type: On-campus
Course location: Cambridge
Course duration: 20 months
Flexibility: The course is delivered via 16 weekends and four week-long learning blocks, taking place across five terms.
Course focus: The University of Cambridge describes its EMBA course as ‘highly practical’. It is designed for those who have already reached leadership level and are looking to enhance their skills and capabilities.
The course is based on building management principles, understanding how these apply in a global context and facilitating entrepreneurship mindsets which can enable innovation.
The course has been designed to include core modules and elective choices that allow you to immediately apply what you learn to your day job.
Core modules include:
- Management Science
- Managing Innovation
- Corporate Governance and Ethics
Electives vary from year to year; the university chooses the range of electives to fit the needs of that particular group of students.
Networking opportunities: As you can expect from Cambridge University, networking is a core aspect of the EMBA course.
As well as building connections with other students, you will also build professional relationships with many of the local businesses and sectors affiliated with Cambridge Judge Business School.
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3. City University of London (Cass Business School)
University ranking: #3 in London (Financial Times EMBA ranking 2019)
Study type: On-campus
Course location: London
Course duration: 24 monthshttps://2de71501e699d785ffb340f758db8168.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Flexibility: The course is delivered on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 18:15 to 21:00. If you choose the modular course, you can expect to study one long, four-day weekend (Friday to Monday) per month.
Course focus: The first year of the EMBA course is designed to focus on your existing expertise and understanding.
You’ll be given new knowledge that you can put into practice almost immediately, in subject areas which include accounting and financial reporting or operations management.
As you move into year 2, you’ll focus more on your electives, which tailor your learning to your needs.https://2de71501e699d785ffb340f758db8168.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
The key aspect of the Cass EMBA course is the Business Mastery Project. This is an individual research-led piece of work that you will need to deliver.
It is designed to showcase your knowledge of how to overcome a particular business challenge, by making the most of your new leadership capabilities.
There are also opportunities to gain global insights into business challenges through international study tours.
Networking opportunities: A key element of the Cass Business School EMBA programme is the continual learning that takes place long after graduation. Alumni can participate in one free elective every year. This will allow you to continually make new contacts and upskill yourself for many years to come.
4. University of Reading (Henley Business School)
University ranking: #21 in the world (The Economist, June 2020)
Study type: On and offline learning
Course location: Henley-on-Thames, London
Course duration: 21 to 30 months
Annual intake: 47
Intake month: Octoberhttps://2de71501e699d785ffb340f758db8168.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Flexibility: Henley Business School has a wide range of EMBA courses that offer great flexibility when it comes to choosing the right study programme for you.
Participants can choose between the EMBA – Global, the Flexible EMBA or the Flexible EMBA – Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship.
If you know that you are looking to boost your global connections and understand more about an international perspective, then the Global course is a clear preference.
In contrast, the Flexible EMBA is more about learning theory and practice.https://2de71501e699d785ffb340f758db8168.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Taking place over a longer time frame, this specific course is designed for those who may not be able to take considerable time away from the office.
Course focus: Henley Business School is clear that applicants only need to have a minimum of three years’ managerial experience to be considered for the programme.
This means that you can continue your study at a much earlier stage of your career development.
Much of the learning is based on strategic, holistic and integrated perspectives. There is also a great emphasis on personal development opportunities.
As a result, you’ll complete the course much more aware of how to be an effective leader and how to work in different situations.
If you choose to participate in the global programme, you can expect to study internationally, at campuses in Denmark, Finland and Germany. You’ll gain insights into global perspectives from a variety of sectors including charities, start-ups and large enterprises.https://2de71501e699d785ffb340f758db8168.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Networking opportunities: As a smaller cohort, you may find fewer networking opportunities than other EMBA courses, particularly if you choose to participate in the Flexible programme.
This is because a lot more of the study is completed off-line. However, those working towards the Global EMBA can expect to build a wide professional network from contacts that they meet across the different European campuses.
5. Hult International Business School
University ranking: #53 in the world (The Economist, June 2020)
Study type: On and offline learning
Course location: London
Course duration: 18 to 24 months
Annual intake: 190
Intake month: Septemberhttps://2de71501e699d785ffb340f758db8168.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Flexibility: As an international university, Hult specialises in offering global learning opportunities. You will study on the London campus, but you will be expected to complete at least one course at a campus in another country.
Hult has campuses in locations such as London, Dubai, Boston, New York and Shanghai. Therefore, it’s an effective way to combine work and study with travel opportunities.
You can choose to complete the EMBA course in as little as 18 months – and throughout the course, there is a mix of core and elective modules.
If you choose to fast-track your learning, you will simply undertake more elective modules within the first 12 months.
Course focus: Although the course only requires a minimum of three years of management expertise, the average student has over 11 years’ experience.https://2de71501e699d785ffb340f758db8168.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
This means that each student brings with them a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with others.
Core modules in the first year include:
- Financial Accounting
- Operations Management
- International Marketing
- Business and Global Society
In year two, this leads on to studying topics such as leadership development, organisational behaviour and analytics.
Networking opportunities: Diversity is the key to the Hult Business School EMBA programme.
The course has students from over 160 different nationalities, and thanks to the global learning opportunities, you will have ample opportunity to meet people from different sectors around the world.
Executive Mba Requirements
Get to know the admissions requirements for EMBA programs and discover whether or not the GMAT is required for an Executive MBA
By Kara Sherrer
You’re thinking about applying to an Executive MBA program, but it seems like every school has its own way of doing things. Some require an interview while others don’t, and you’re still not sure if you have to take the GMAT, Executive Assessment, or another test. So what exactly are the requirements for an Executive MBA?
To get the answer to the this question, we caught up with Juli Bennett, Executive Director for Executive MBA Programs, and Sarah Fairbank, Director of Recruiting for Executive MBA Programs. They walk prospective candidates through the 6 main components of an Executive MBA application and offer advice for completing each part.
If you’re wondering “is the GMAT required for an Executive MBA?”, the answer is increasingly “no.” While the GMAT was once the standard entrance exam for business school, the Executive Assessment (EA) is becoming more popular among EMBA candidates and programs. Bennett says that around 75-80% of Vanderbilt Executive MBA candidates now take the EA in any given application cycle.
“The Executive Assessment is designed for experienced working professionals. It is premised on the section that is called integrated reasoning, which are skills you develop throughout a career and they tend to be things that you can’t learn in an academic setting,” Fairbank explained.
“Integrated reasoning speaks to critical thinking, decision making, data analysis — all of those things are kind of compiled (into a score), which is the reason we really like (the EA). If you’ve developed those skills, you’re probably a pretty good candidate for the Executive MBA,” Bennett added.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted testing, Vanderbilt Business is also accepting expired GMAT and GRE scores on a case-by-case basis. Check with your top Executive MBA programs to see if they have changed any of their testing policies this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Like pretty much any graduate program, a resume is required to apply to Executive MBA programs. This document should cover your employment history and highlight your main accomplishments at each position. Executive MBA programs are looking for candidates who have increasing responsibilities and a clear career trajectory, so make sure that your resume demonstrates that.
The career essay is a chance for applicants to cover anything that didn’t fit in their resume, as well as to explain why they want to attend an Executive MBA program and how an EMBA program will benefit them professionally. “One of the things we’re looking for from an essay in particular is: is what we’re offering (at the EMBA program) going to help them with what their career goals are?” Fairbank said.
“We’re looking at (whether or not) they’re making upward movement, and that this will help boost that trajectory,” Bennett confirmed.
The Vanderbilt Executive MBA program requires candidates to submit 2 letters of recommendation with their applications. For almost all candidates, at least one of these letters will be from their boss or direct supervisor. The other one should also come from an individual who relies on the candidate’s work, but it doesn’t have to be a supervisor — it could be a teammate, a client, or a vendor. “It doesn’t have to necessarily be straight up the org chart. It can be someone lateral or someone who depends on their work in a different way,” Bennett said.
Generally speaking, Executive MBA programs are less interested in academic references than other degree programs geared towards less experienced candidates. Because EMBA applicants have been in the workforce for longer, professional references are a better reflection of their current skills than academic references from degrees that were completed years ago.
Not all Executive MBA programs require an interview, though many of the more competitive ones do. At Vanderbilt Business, the personal interview can occur at various points in the application process. In some cases, the interview may be held before all of the other application components have been received. It’s important to note that the application is considered incomplete, and therefore an admissions decision cannot be issued, until the interview has taken place.
“When we have enough information to know that someone is probably a good candidate, we will go ahead and do the interview so that we have another data point pretty early in the process. Sometimes it’s when we’ve seen just a resume and I’ve talked to them, but often it’ll be (when we) only have one letter of recommendation in or… before they have actually taken an entrance exam,” Fairbank explained.
Executive MBA programs will want transcripts from any previous degrees you have completed. For most people, this will be their undergraduate degree, but some people have additional degrees as well. Vanderbilt Business requires a separate unofficial transcript from every college or university the candidate is attending or has attended. If you’re offered admission, then you will be required to provide official transcripts from each institution you have attended.
To learn more about Executive MBA requirements, visit the admissions page.
wharton executive mba cost
How Much Does an Executive MBA Cost?
Joining an executive MBA program is an investment in your future and it will continue to pay dividends throughout your career. At Wharton, the cost of the two-year EMBA program for the class entering in 2021 is $210,900. Because the University of Pennsylvania is a private university, there is no difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition.
Executive MBA Cost Breakdown
The Wharton executive MBA cost is designed to cover more than just the price of courses. The total two-year cost includes:
- Executive MBA tuition
- Executive MBA course fees
- Room and board
- Boarding for all required class days is provided at the Steinberg Conference Center or the Inn at Penn in Philadelphia, and the Le Meridien Hotel in San Francisco.
- Program staff handle most of the logistics surrounding room and board, such as hotel reservations and meal planning.
- Most course materials
- Case study room for you and your study team
- Land Package for the MBA for Executives Program’s Global Business Week
- Airfare is not included. The registration charge and travel costs for the elective Global Modular Courses offered during holiday breaks are not included.
Compared to competitor programs, Wharton’s executive MBA price maximizes our students’ investment because the semesters run longer with more available elective courses, and EMBA students spend more time with professors in the classroom and in student cohorts.
The Case for Self-Sponsorship
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Wharton is committed to helping you explore financing options so that you make informed decisions. Wharton’s MBA for Executives Program requires your employer to sponsor your time in the program. We also encourage you to secure financial sponsorship from your employer.
Sponsoring students in the program, from partial to full financial support, can develop and strengthen a company’s leadership talent pool, while retaining the employee during and after the program. Find out more about requesting and negotiating sponsorship.
The Benefits of Sponsorship at Work
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Why Paying for Your MBA is Worth the Investment
How This Alumna Earned Sponsorship
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You can make tuition payments by check, electronic fund transfer, or American Express, Discover, or MasterCard credit card (fees apply). Program tuition is due in six equal installments before the beginning of each term of the University of Pennsylvania academic calendar.
To reserve a place in the program once admitted, you are required to submit a nonrefundable deposit of $2,500, which is applied to the first year’s tuition. Complete information regarding fees and payment schedules will be provided in the acceptance materials.
For California Residents: Due to California BPPE regulations, California residents in the WEMBA San Francisco cohort will submit a $250 nonrefundable deposit. In addition, California residents should review the catalogue and the enrollment agreement for additional deposit and refund information.
Wharton encourages you to explore your financial options to select the financial resources that best fit your needs. Understand that most students rely on multiple funding sources; financing options typically include personal resources, educational loans, external scholarships and sponsorship.
As an MBA is a long-term investment, most students rely on loans to cover some or all of their education or living costs. Students typically borrow from one or several loan programs, and you have the right to select the educational loan provider of your choice.
Wharton does not endorse any specific lender nor receive compensation from any lender, and we encourage students to compare the fees and terms of all student loan products to determine which ones are best suited to their individual needs. Information on loan programs and links to loan applications are available on the Student Financial Services website.
Earning your executive MBA is a long-term financial investment, and as such, it’s important to plan for how you’ll cover the cost of the program. Student, or other executive education loans can be a good option.