An Executive MBA (EMBA) degree is a good way for working managers to signal that they are ready to move into a more senior post in their organization, or indeed launch a new career altogether in the corporate world, or establish their own startup. They are not bad for making valuable connections, too, given that most EMBA participants are senior working executives.
Each year the Financial Times releases a global ranking of the best 100 EMBA courses worldwide. EMBAs are usually modular, with participants holding down full-time jobs while attending classes on the side. The ranking is based on data collected from business schools and their alumni who graduated in 2014.
While the joint EMBA run by Kellogg School of the US and HKUST in Hong Kong retained its top spot from last year, it is the EMBA-Global Asia course, delivered by Columbia Business School in New York, London Business School (LBS), and the University of Hong Kong, which stole the show this year. Its second-place spot comes in its first year entering the rankings, the first time in the FT’s history that a programme has been ranked so high on its first participation.
Alumni of that course, which was launched in 2008, have among the highest average salaries at $319,000 — an increase of 78% on their pay packet upon enrolment. Alumni are also in the top-20 for career progress, more than 80% held senior positions, and they have one of the highest satisfaction rates, 83%. In addition, the program, which is taught on three continents, was ranked seventh for international experience.
However, the Kellogg/HKUST course still boasts the highest average salary, $478,000, along with high satisfaction levels and top-notch faculty.
The Tsinghua University/INSEAD EMBA that came top in 2015 fell one place to third in 2017.
Completing the top five are two other intercontinental courses, a growing trend in the EMBA space, which suggests that jointly-taught programs are the best EMBAs. In fourth place is the EMBA-Global Americas and Europe delivered by Columbia and LBS. In fifth is Trium, which is taught by HEC Paris, NYU Stern in New York, and the London School of Economics.
The top riser in the rankings this year is HEC Lausanne, which surged 26 places to 70 after falling 13 spots last year.
Nine other courses have been ranked for the first time, or they are returning to the rankings. Michigan’s Ross School of Business is back in the ranking at 36, up seven places from its position in 2015.
An EMBA is a wonderful degree for career progression, with many graduates citing in the FT survey that the internationality of programs taught in different locations provided a valuable, global view of business. But the programmes require not only a significant financial commitment — the fees are typically higher than they are for MBA degrees — but also a personal one, with the balancing of work, study and often family life a huge challenge, according to EMBA graduates. For those who wish to take the plunge, here are the top-15 global EMBAs according to the FT: