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Best Executive MBA Programs & Schools

Traditional MBA programs include core courses in basic principles that many business professionals have already mastered. Executive MBA programs are designed specifically for professionals who already have extensive work experience and want to expand their knowledge and skills in the management field. With the variety of programs available, it is possible to earn an executive MBA online or by attending a traditional classroom-based program. Whether a student gets an executive MBA online or on campus, the degree is very valuable.

Top Executive MBA Schools/Programs

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business has the distinction of having the best executive MBA program in the country as of 2011, according to the Bloomberg Businessweek rankings. The program lasts for 21 months and consists of 17 courses, two of which are electives chosen at the end of the core program. The curriculum includes study groups, group assignments, and other learning methods used to emphasize teamwork and camaraderie. This school also offers concentrations in strategy and finance.

Northwestern University offers one of the top executive MBA programs in the country. Classes meet twice per month at the Evanston campus and once per month at the Miami campus. Students can start their coursework in September or January, giving them flexibility in obtaining this degree. In addition to the core course requirements of this program, students have the opportunity to take courses in negotiations, advanced strategy, entrepreneurial finance, game theory, and intellectual capital management.

The University of Pennsylvania Wharton MBA program is among the top executive MBA programs in the United States. First-year students take core classes that build the groundwork for success in management. The second year of this program is filled with electives chosen by each student. The program emphasizes the use of case studies, group work, and discussions so that students gain valuable experience in public speaking, working with team members, and other important business skills. Classes are held at campuses in Philadelphia and San Francisco.

When searching for the top executive MBA programs, New York University is sure to make an appearance. This program lasts 22 months and requires a minimum of 60 credits to graduate with a master’s degree in business administration. One of the advantages of enrolling in this program is that students are given the opportunity to register for a variety of electives offered by the NYU School of Law, The Real Estate Institute, The Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, and other NYU schools. Core courses in this program focus on the principles of management, accounting, finance, business law, statistics, economics, business ethics, marketing, and strategy.

Why Should You Get an Executive MBA?

The best executive MBA programs prepare students for the challenges they will face on the job. Students benefit from their coursework because they learn new skills that can give them an edge in the job market or help them achieve salary increases or promotions. Executive MBA online graduates also learn critical communication and team building skills that will help them as they advance in their careers. One of the major differences between executive MBA programs and other graduate programs is that students can immediately apply their new knowledge to real-world situations in the workplace. This makes them more valuable to their employers.

General Executive MBA Courses

Each school has a core curriculum that helps students learn the basic principles of business management. While the course names and credit values vary from one school to the next, each program emphasizes the same knowledge and skills. Students learn about marketing, management principles, accounting, finance, statistics, economics, and other concepts related to business management. Some schools also allow students to pick specific concentrations in marketing, finance, healthcare management, or other topics. Students who select specific concentrations typically complete core courses in their first year of study and move on to elective courses in their concentration during the second year.

Executive MBA Career Opportunities

There are a variety of careers available to those who graduate with a master’s degree in business administration. Graduates often become business managers or work in the fields of finance, marketing, or healthcare administration. Some choose to focus on research in the fields of economics and statistics, where they help identify consumer trends and shape new business practices. If a graduate has a lot of work experience, it is also possible to start a career as a consultant or work with several clients on a contract basis. This makes it possible to use a variety of skills on the job.

General Executive MBA Admissions and Educational Requirements

The specific entrance requirements for an executive MBA program depend on the school, the number of applicants, and other factors. However, there are some general admission requirements applicants must meet. In addition to an application and official transcripts, executive MBA applicants must also submit résumés and professional letters of recommendation that document their achievements in the workplace. Some schools also require applicants to take the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Records Examination (GRE). Minimum score requirements vary based on the school and the program.

Accredited Online Executive MBA Schools

Some students find it difficult to attend on-campus executive MBA classes. This is why many accredited schools now offer online executive MBA programs. Students enrolled in these online executive MBA programs take classes online and submit their assignments via e-mail or a Web-based interface. Some traditional schools also offer online executive MBA programs, giving students access to world-class faculty members without having to travel to a campus. Some of the best accredited schools with online executive MBA programs are Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Maryland University College, and Washington State University.

Professional Organizations for Executive MBA Graduates

There are a number of professional organizations that help executive MBA graduates network with others and learn more about management. The American Management Association is one of the largest. Students who concentrate in areas such as marketing, finance, and healthcare administration also have a variety of professional organizations available. Marketing students should consider the American Marketing Association, Marketing Research Association, American Advertising Federation, or Direct Marketing Association. The Financial Management Association, Association for Financial Professionals, American Bankers Association, and Financial Planning Association are available to finance students. The American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management, Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals, and Health Care Administrators Association are major organizations in the field of healthcare administration.