wharton executive mba

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

The Wharton MBA Program for Executives provides you with the knowledge, skills and network you need to accelerate your career. In this post, we share top tips on navigating the application process, with a focus on highlighting key differences between the EMBA program and other MBA programs.

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Wharton Executive Mba

When discussing top business school programs, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business is often on the list. This business school offers both a full-time MBA program and an MBA program for Executives. 

The Wharton EMBA is aimed at those who have more than 10 years of professional work experience, and the average work experience at the time of enrollment in the program is 12 years. However, you don’t need to hit the 10-year mark to consider applying to the EMBA. We’ve seen a handful of clients who were successful with only 7 or 8 years of work experience. This resource page lays out the basics on the Wharton EMBA program, and covers all you need to know about whether the program is right for you.

Wharton EMBA Class Profile

Class Size222
GMAT ScoreMedian: 710
Middle 80% GMAT Range: 660-750
EA ScoreMedian: 157
Middle 80% EA Range: 151-164
Sponsored by Employer
(>50% financial support)
20%
Average AgeAge: 37
Under 30: 3%
Under 40: 20%
Average Years Work Experience13
DiversityWomen: 30%
Underrepresented Minority Students: 12%
Countries Represented: 34
Pre-MBA Median Salary and Bonus$221,000
Students Holding Advanced Degrees49%

The data above is a profile of the Wharton EMBA class of 2023.*
See the full report: Wharton EMBA Class Profile

Wharton EMBA Student Experiences

The Wharton Executive MBA

If you’re looking into EMBA programs, you may also be wondering how the coursework is structured, and how you can realistically balance working full-time with completing academics and other program requirements. This is one the most frequently asked questions among potential EMBA applicants, and so we’re here to give it to you straight. Although the Wharton EMBA program is every bit as rigorous as the full-time MBA, it is formatted to suit the needs of senior professionals who cannot afford to take two years off from their work life. Essentially, you will not be the only one in this position in the program—far from it. 

To ensure that you will be able to balance work and business school during the EMBA program, classes are held every other weekend so that you can maintain your work schedule alongside your EMBA. Additionally, you will only take 3.5 credits each term (as opposed to 5 credits in the traditional MBA), which makes the course load more manageable when you’re working full-time. To complete the program in two years, you continue attending classes during the two summer terms, making the program a total duration of six terms spread across two years. 

Wharton EMBA Class Format

The Wharton EMBA program spans across a total of 24 months. Classes generally meet alternate Fridays and Saturdays. During these days, you are expected to spend time assimilating into your EMBA campus. This is an important part of the EMBA experience, and to this end, the Wharton EMBA includes Friday night housing built into its tuition. If you’re within commuting distance and are planning to spend Friday night at home, think again. Wharton requires you to spend some time on campus to take full advantage of what they have to offer. This promotes networking, offers time to meet with your classmates, and establishes a stronger sense of connection with the business school. 

Logistics for a Non-Traditional MBA Program

When considering Wharton’s Executive MBA program, here are some other logistics to keep in mind to help you make your decision:

  • Tuition. The cost of Wharton’s EMBA program is $210,900 for two years. This cost includes meals and housing for the program during the weekends you are in residence. 
  • Career Development. As part of the EMBA program, you will have access to Wharton’s career services and resources with the MBA Executive Career Advancement Team. It’s important to note that internships are not permitted during the Wharton EMBA program, and only certain eligible students may recruit along with the full-time MBA students.
  • Employer Approval. Since you will be enrolled in the EMBA program part-time while working, each applicant is required to show proof of endorsement from their employers for time away from work. You do not need to show financial support from your employer unless you are a Fellows applicant, but you do need to show that your employer is willing to give you the time off from work that you need to attend the program.

Wharton EMBA Curriculum

The Wharton EMBA curriculum is geared towards students who generally have several years of work experience, and therefore, you will not be required to declare a major as part of your degree. However, if you would like to structure your coursework, you may be able to pursue a more general major such as Marketing, Management, or Finance.

Each student enrolled in the EMBA program must complete the core course curriculum. The current core courses are:

  • Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership
  • Management Communication
  • Responsibility in Global Management
  • Microeconomics for Managers
  • Regression Analysis for Business
  • Managing the Productive Core of the Firm: Business Analytics
  • Business Foundations

The Business Foundations coursework covers topics such as Marketing Strategy and Corporate Finance. If you’re enrolled in the EMBA, you will also get the opportunity to participate in the Global Business Week, which is required of all students. The Global Modular Courses, on the other hand, are optional.

During the second year of the program, you will also take elective coursework. The elective classes that will be offered in the EMBA format are determined collectively by the students through voting. Some courses that have previously been selected include Introduction to Real Estate, Financial Derivatives, Pricing Policy, and Negotiations.

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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.

Test Score

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.

Sarah Fairbank

“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.

Resume

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.

Career Essay

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.

Recommendations

Juli Bennett

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.

Personal Interview

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.

Undergraduate Transcripts

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.

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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

READ LISA’S STORY

EMBA Sponsorship and Financing Options

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.

Sponsorship

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

READ EDMUND’S STORY

Why Paying for Your MBA is Worth the Investment

LEARN MORE

How This Alumna Earned Sponsorship

READ MARIAM’S STORY

Payment Schedule

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.

DEPOSIT

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.

Financing Your EMBA

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.

EMBA Loans

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.

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