The Best Executive MBA Programs 2021
| TBS Staff
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Executive MBA (eMBA) programs meet the educational needs of mid-career professionals and executives seeking to enhance their skills.
Executive MBA programs usually attract current business professionals seeking career advancement. These programs examine key areas of business, such as accounting, organizational behavior, and project management, while preparing students for leadership roles across industries.
Graduates can work as top executives: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for these professionals to grow 6% between 2018-2028 and reports a median income of over $104,000. However, actual income varies by industry. For instance, chief executives in scientific, technical, and manufacturing fields can earn a median salary of over $200,000.
This guide to executive MBA program rankings helps students find the right programs for their needs. It also covers important information for prospective students, such as common courses and potential careers and salaries for graduates.
The Best Online Executive MBA Programs
A public university that opened in 1874, Purdue currently teaches over 45,000 students annually.
Purdue offers an online master of business administration with six optional concentrations, including health care management, project management, information technology, and marketing. Courses last six weeks.
Students must complete 60 credits to graduate without a concentration and 76 credits to graduate with a concentration. Tuition costs $485 per credit.
Applicants must submit, at minimum, transcripts that show successful completion of a bachelor's degree.
Established in 1947, UNCW teaches approximately 18,000 students annually.
UNCW offers a master of business administration online with four optional specializations: business analytics, finance, healthcare management, and international business. Students can complete this degree in just 12 months.
Students must complete 36 credits to graduate. Tuition costs $414.72 per credit for in-state students and $1,092.62 per credit for out-of-state students.
Applicants must submit transcripts showing completion of a bachelor's degree with at least a 3.0 GPA and a resume demonstrating at least two years of professional work experience. Other necessary admissions documents include a statement of interest, two letters of recommendation, and GMAT/GRE scores or approved waivers.
Founded in 1830, UNA represents the state's oldest four-year public university.
UNA offers an online executive MBA program as well as a traditional online MBA program. Sample courses include information systems design and project management; corporate financial strategy; business ethics and responsibility in a global economy; and strategic marketing analysis.
Students must complete 34 credits to graduate from either program. Online MBA tuition costs $525 per credit.
Executive MBA applicants do not need to submit GRE/GMAT test scores but must demonstrate at least 5 years of professional/entrepreneurial experience and submit transcripts showing successful completion of a bachelor's degree. UNA prefers applicants with a minimum GPA of 3.0 but considers those with at least a 2.5 GPA.
Founded in 1965, CSUSB confers about 5,000 degrees annually.
CSUSB offers an online executive MBA for professionals. Core courses include accounting for managerial decision-making; financial theory and corporate finance; organization theory and behavior; and information systems and technology management. Tuition costs approximately $36,000.
Applicants must first submit a resume to confirm eligibility. The program requires at least two years of experience in a management or leadership role and a bachelor's degree with a GPA of at least 3.0 earned in the last 90 credits. After confirming eligibility, applicants must submit a statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation, transcripts and another copy of their resume.
Established in 1874, UNR consists of 13 schools and colleges, including the College of Business.
UNR offers an online executive MBA program that consists of 12 courses and lasts for two years. Courses include managing organizations in a global economy; information and communications technology in organizations; and strategic management for executives.
Students must complete 36 units to graduate. Tuition costs $,5000 per semester for a total of $30,000.
Applicants must submit transcripts showing completion of a bachelor's degree with a GPA of at least 2.75, GMAT/GRE scores or an approved waiver, and a resume demonstrating at least five years of professional work experience.
A public university serving nearly 20,000 students, WSU offers over 100 undergraduate majors and over 145 graduate programs.
WSU's online executive MBA program includes four optional concentrations: marketing, finance, international business, and hospitality business management. Sample courses include financial management; managerial leadership and productivity; and strategy formulation and organizational design.
Students must complete 36 to 52 credits to graduate. Tuition costs $855 per credit.
Applicants must submit transcripts showing successful completion of a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0, a resume, one letter of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and GMAT/GRE scores or approved waivers.
One of fourteen institutions in the University of Texas System, UT Tyler teaches around 10,000 students across six colleges.
UT Tyler offers its executive master of business administration degree program online with 7 weekend meetings. Students can complete the program in 12 to 24 months. The program includes an optional healthcare management concentration.
Students must complete 36 credits to graduate. Tuition costs approximately $16,650.
Applicants must submit transcripts showing successful completion of a bachelor's degree, GMAT/GRE scores or an approved waiver, and two letters of recommendation.
Founded in 1876, PVAMU teaches over 9,000 students annually.
PVAMU offers a hybrid executive MBA program that students can complete in two years. Coursework occurs online and through in-person meetings every other Saturday. Sample courses include economics in the global environment; business ethics and law; executive managerial communication; and executive topics in strategy and policy.
Students must complete 36 credits to graduate. Tuition costs $1,167 per credit.
Applicants must submit transcripts showing successful completion of a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75, a resume demonstrating at least three years of managerial or leadership experience, a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation.
Established in 1907 as the first UH campus, UH Mānoa teaches over 17,000 students annually.
UH Mānoa offers an online executive MBA program that lasts 22 months and consists of two tracks: health care management or travel industry management. Sample courses include data analytics and statistics for business; marketing management; and digital transformation with information systems and technology.
Students must complete 48 credits to graduate. Tuition costs $1,015 per credit.
Applicants must submit transcripts showing completion of a bachelor degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0, a resume showing at least five years of professional work experience, a statement of objectives, two letters of recommendation, and GMAT/GRE/EA score.
Founded in 1927, TSU teaches around 9,700 students in over 100 academic programs.
TSU offers a 100% online executive master of business administration degree program that lasts 2 years. Students can complete an optional concentration in energy finance.
Students must complete 36 credits to graduate. Tuition costs $6,000 per term for a total program cost of $36,000. Applicants must submit transcripts, a resume, a statement of purpose, and two letters of recommendation.
A private, non-profit institute associated with the Missionary Church, Bethel opened in 1947.
Bethel offers an online executive MBA program that students can complete in 21 months. Sample courses include statistical analysis, business ethics, managerial accounting, and organizational development.
Students must complete 36 credits to graduate. Tuition costs $394 per credit. Applicants should expect to submit transcripts, but do not need to submit GRE/GMAT scores.
A private, non-profit institute founded on Catholic principles, Carlow opened in 1929.
Carlow offers an online executive MBA program that students can complete in 40 weeks. Sample courses include advances in IT management, strategic analysis, and agile project management. Students must complete 30 credits to graduate. Tuition costs $675 per credit.
Applicants must submit transcripts showing completion of a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a resume demonstrating at least five years of work experience. The admission process also requires two letters of recommendation and a personal essay.
A private, non-profit institute chartered in 1934, JU teaches over 4,000 students each year.
JU offers an online executive MBA program with two tracks: executive accounting and finance, and executive leadership development. Students must complete 45 credits to graduate. Tuition costs $11,536 per semester.
Applicants must submit transcripts and a resume. Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 may need to also submit a statement of intent, letters of recommendation, and/or GMAT/GRE scores.
A private, non-profit institute, CIAM teaches "management as a liberal art."
CIAM offers an executive MBA program taught in a hybrid format. Students supplement their online coursework with campus meetings every 6 to 8 weeks. Each course lasts 16 weeks. The program includes concentrations in project management and business analytics.
Students must complete 36 credits to graduate. Applicants must submit transcripts showing completion of a bachelor's degree, a resume showing at least one year of professional experience, and a statement of purpose.
The California Institute of Advanced Management is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and Universities Commission (WSCUC).
Online Executive MBA Programs Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
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Featured Online Executive MBA Programs
What Is an Executive MBA Degree?
While an MBA program serves new and experienced professionals alike, an executive MBA program is primarily designed for mid-career professionals and executives seeking to enhance their skills. Executive MBA programs typically only admit students who are already employed and have significant professional experience. Many students in eMBA programs are sponsored by their employers.
Executive programs often skip the introductory material that MBA programs cover, since eMBA students have already developed that foundation through their professional experience.
If a traditional MBA better fits your needs, check out the 50 best online MBA programs.
Choosing a Program
Students should choose an eMBA program that offers coursework and concentrations aligned with their interests and goals. Candidates should also consider factors like graduation timelines, delivery format, cost, and admission criteria. For instance, some programs require GRE scores. Applicants without those scores need to take the exam or look at other colleges. For more information on school selection, check out the link below.
What Else Can I Expect From an Executive MBA Program?
Courses for executive MBA programs examine general MBA concepts, like organizational behavior, accounting, and business ethics, while heavily emphasizing leadership concepts, such as decision-making, economic analysis, negotiation, and strategic management. Courses vary by program, but the following section outlines some common courses found in eMBA programs.
Executive MBA Curriculum
- Ethical Leadership: This course covers ethical problem-solving and decision-making in business. Students explore the impact of culture on corporate dynamics and learn how to lead diverse teams. This class may incorporate case studies and examine models and theories of leadership.
- Strategy Implementation: In this class, students learn how to effectively implement business strategies. Students examine common employee needs during transitions and study methods for effectively communicating upcoming changes to business plans.
- Corporate Finance: This course covers common corporate finance topics, such as risk management, payout policies, pricing, and net present value. Students may also explore taxation and investment selections and learn how to use financial information for marketing and business planning.
Executive MBA Careers
Executive MBA programs prepare students for executive and administrative positions in fields like healthcare, education, government, and finance. The degree can also lead to careers in finance and human resource management. The following list outlines several common careers for eMBA graduates.
Top executives lead companies and organizations, making decisions about organizational policies, goals, and processes. Sometimes called C-level executives, they may also make hiring decisions for managerial positions, review financial reports, and determine ways to increase revenue or company performance.
These positions often require an advanced degree and significant relevant experience. Top executives also need strong leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills.
Administrative Services Managers oversee staff and make decisions about company goals and safety. They may also manage employee records and ensure company procedures adhere to health and environmental standards. These careers exist across industries like healthcare, education, finance, and government.
Administrative services managers typically need at least a bachelor's degree and relevant professional experience. They also need strong communication, problem-solving, and organizational skills.
Postsecondary education administrators usually work in student affairs, admissions, or the registrar's office in higher education institutions. Admissions administrators make decisions about enrollment, reach out to potential applicants, and help students with applications. Administrators in a school's registrar's office manage courses and registration, while student affairs administrators plan and organize student activities.
All of these professionals typically need an advanced degree and relevant experience. They also need strong communication, organizational, and problem-solving skills.
Executive MBA Professional Organizations
Executive MBA students and graduates should take advantage of professional organizations. Professional organizations offer benefits like networking, professional development, and continuing education opportunities. They may also connect members with job opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions
MBA programs often take 2-3 years to complete, though some schools offer accelerated timelines.
An executive MBA prepares graduates for leadership positions, such like C-level executive or administrator. These roles are found across industries, including healthcare, finance, and education.
Generally, students pursue an executive MBA part time and continue working while earning the degree.
Executive MBA programs focus heavily on preparing current professionals for leadership roles in business, while MBA programs attract new and experienced professionals alike, covering more foundational business administration topics. Which is the best degree depends on a student's goals, experience, and interests.
Executive MBA programs can lead to top-level roles with strong salary potential in a variety of industries, making these programs worth the investment for many students.
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