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Best Online Executive MBA Programs

Online executive MBA programs give experienced managers a convenient way to earn a master’s and strengthen their leadership and business skills. Discover the best online executive MBA programs in 2023 and learn more about what you can expect from your degree program in this guide.

Author: Shannon Lee

Editor: Staff Editor

Search hundreds of schools for the master’s YOU want……

Are you a mid- or late-career manager looking to break into higher levels of management? Online executive MBA programs (EMBA) can provide you with the advanced strategic and leadership skills needed to make you a better manager and move you up the career ladder. And their flexible online formats make attending classes while working full-time possible.

This guide will help you explore today’s best online EMBA programs and find the one program that’s right for you. You’ll also learn about the coursework, how online learning fits in with your work schedule, and what you can expect in terms of program length and cost. Keep reading to take the first step towards your EMBA.

Top 3 Executive MBA Online Programs for 2023

Executive MBA online programs are popular and plentiful. To help you start your search, we’ve identified three standout programs that excel in terms of quality, flexibility, and affordability. Additionally, each program is fully accredited by the AACSB. Let these spotlights give you a good idea of what to expect from your online EMBA program.

Washington State University

Washington State University’s Executive MBA Online program offers the perfect mix of learning flexibility and networking opportunities. The AACSB-accredited curriculum is 100% online with no residency or on-campus academic requirements, making it a great choice for students intending to work full-time while earning their degrees.

Along with their fully-online coursework, students can participate in a number of on-campus events that provide opportunities for creating personal and professional networks with classmates and business leaders. In addition, an optional study abroad program is available for students seeking a more global perspective. The EMBA curriculum consists of 42 credits that can be completed in as few as 16 months. GMAT scores are not required for qualifying applicants.

University of Arkansas

The Executive MBA program at the University of Arkansas features a hybrid format in which most classes can be completed online. However, students must attend an on-campus interactive gathering one Saturday each month for additional learning and networking activities.

UA’s Executive MBA curriculum consists of 38 credit hours and typically requires two years to complete. Specialized tracks include Business Analytics, Healthcare Administration, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Retail, and Supply Chain. Admission requires GMAT or GRE test score, but the requirement may be waived for applicants with five years of eligible work experience and a compelling academic record.

University of Arizona

The curriculum for the University of Arizona’s Executive MBA consists of 43 credit units that can be completed in less than two years. All coursework is presented online with the exception of one weekend every month when students attend class on UA’s Tucson campus. Students additionally attend two immersive, in-person learning experiences – the Global Business Experience and the Innovation Experience.

The current total tuition cost is $77,000. Scholarship opportunities are available to help pay for EMBA students. GRE/GMAT scores are not required for admission. However, applicants must have a minimum of seven years of relevant business management expertise to be considered.

What to Expect from an Online Executive MBA Program

Most online executive MBA programs include basic courses in topics like accounting, finance, business operations, information system, ethics, marketing, leadership, and analytics. They also typically offer electives or concentrations in subjects such as mergers and acquisitions, international finance, real estate, entrepreneurship, product development, and derivatives. Some programs culminate with a capstone that involves applying knowledge from all classes to complete a business-related project.

Executive online MBA programs take two major approaches to online learning. One approach involves delivering all course requirements entirely online with no in-person requirements or on-campus visits. Classes are offered synchronously, asynchronously, or both. In the second approach coursework is delivered in a hybrid curriculum in which most classes are offered online, but a few must be completed in one to two days of on-campus classes each month.

All online executive MBA programs include courses similar in content to the ones described.

Common Online EMBA Courses

  • Financial Management

    This course builds on the student’s foundational knowledge in financial concepts by applying those concepts in a management context. Students are taught to employ financial theories to make strategic business decisions in mergers and acquisitions, lending policies, and resource management. In addition to classic theory, students study real-world examples through case studies.

  • Managing Ethics in Organizations

    Along with making profits, a great deal of attention is paid today to the ways in which companies earn their profits. This course provides a comprehensive review of the moral and ethical ramifications of how an organization operates. Students in this course explore concepts of corporate social responsibility and learn how to make business decisions that are measured not just by financial metrics, but also by social impact.

  • E-Commerce

    All aspects of digital business practices are covered in this class. Students learn how to complete business and consumer transactions over the Internet, as well as about the support services and operations that make those transitions possible. Topics include online marketing strategies, supply chain management, digital communications, and financing.

  • Strategic Management

    Students in this class learn how to develop and apply policies and strategies that bring about effective organization-wide changes. To achieve this, students identify complex issues that affect their organizations as a whole and then analyze and resolve those issues through the development of concrete and actionable plans. Much of the learning takes place by reviewing business case studies that demonstrate key principles and ideas students can apply to their organizations.

  • Business Administration Capstone Project

    Typically taken at the end of their courses of study, students in this course create a new product or service and oversee its development from conception to commercialization and sale. Students examine all aspects of the development process and present their findings and conclusions in a business plan.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Executive MBA Programs

What’s the difference between an executive MBA and a standard MBA program?

An executive MBA is typically designed for current managers with significant work experience, whereas the standard MBA is intended for aspiring managers with little or no management experience in a corporate or business setting.

Because of this, executive MBA programs feature curriculums that support students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their studies. While both executive and standard MBA programs are available online, EMBAs typically offer additional scheduling options to accommodate full-time workers.

What are the admissions requirements for an online executive MBA?

Admission into MBA programs is competitive and applicants meeting only the minimum admissions requirements may not be accepted. Specific admissions requirements vary from program to program. There are, however, core admissions requirements common to most programs. They include:

  • An admission application
  • An application fee
  • Official transcripts showing completion of a bachelor’s degree
  • A resume or curriculum vitae
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • A personal statement or admissions essay
  • GMAT or GRE scores
  • Significant work experience

How long does it take to earn an executive MBA?

The time it takes to complete an online executive MBA program depends on how many credits are needed and how the program is formatted. The fact that a program is online instead of on-campus has little or no impact on program length.

Most online executive MBA programs require 36 to 42 credits requiring 16 to 24 months of part-time study. However, shorter programs, such as the one-year online Executive MBA online program at Tennessee State University, do exist. Self-paced study is normally not an option since most executive MBA programs are presented in a cohort format allowing for continuous collaboration between students.

Can I earn my executive MBA 100% online or do I need to visit campus?

Some executive MBA programs are 100% online with no on-campus or other in-person participation whatsoever. Most EMBA online programs, however, include in-person learning components that require visits to campus one or two days a month. In-person activities provide students with the opportunity for face-to-face interaction with faculty and each other resulting in professional connections that can last an entire career.

Costs and Financial Aid for Online EMBA Programs

Earning an executive MBA online is a great way to increase your earning potential. If you’re like most students, though, you’ll need financial aid to help pay for your program. Some of the most desirable funding opportunities include grants, scholarships, fellowships, and employer tuition assistance programs, none which are paid back. Private and government sponsored student loans are also commonly available, many featuring low interest rates and deferred payment plans. Learn how these funding resources work and how to apply for them by visiting OMD’s financial aid page.

How Much Your Online EMBA Could Cost

School Name No. of Credits Cost Est. Total Tuition Cost

36

$6,000/term

$36,000

36

$5,000/semester

$30,000

36

$765/credit

$28,000

Accreditation for Executive MBA Master’s Degrees

Accreditation is the process through which independent agencies review a school or program to confirm it meets basic standards of academic quality. Academic accreditation occurs at two levels. Regional or institutional accreditation is where the school itself gets accredited, and programmatic accreditation concerns the vetting of degree programs in a specific field of study.

Before enrolling in an executive MBA online program, it is critical that you confirm its programmatic accreditation status. The two accrediting bodies for MBA programs are the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Institutional accreditation is administered by a number of accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

You can check current programmatic and regional accreditation status using this U.S. Department of Education Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.

What You Can Do with an Executive MBA

An MBA is a great way to take the next step in your business career. Students learn about recent developments in business analytics, data mining, financial derivatives, and other important aspects of the business world. They additionally develop strong management and leadership skills leading to increased opportunities for career advancement.

Earning an executive MBA usually results in additional job responsibilities as well, particularly when it comes to managing other workers and making major organizational decisions. Below are descriptions of common career opportunities for EMBA graduates:

Sales Manager

A sales manager oversees the work of a company’s sales team. In deciding how to best utilize personnel, sales managers analyze sales data and consider customer needs, as well as create company policies and procedures under which salespeople operate.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$61,090

$127,490

$208,000+

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Top Executive

Simply put, top executives run companies. They design and implement policies and procedures impacting their entire organizations. Top executives must possess a solid understanding of foundational and advanced business and management principles to effectively carry out their duties.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$43,260

$97,970

$179,520

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Industrial Production Manager

An industrial production manager ensures the smooth and efficient operation of one or more production lines. They may also review production data to identify potential changes to the process or take directives from higher-level management to improve the production process.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$64,150

$103,150

$170,470

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Human Resource Manager

Human resource managers work with other executives to oversee the personnel decisions in an organization. Job duties include designing and implementing new recruiting practices and advising others within the organization about employment rules, policies, and laws.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$75,000

$126,230

$208,000+

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Financial Manager

Financial managers work with financial data to help their organizations achieve certain objectives. This requires preparing and analyzing financial information before making recommendations that are passed on to top executives or other managers within the company.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$77,040

$131,710

$208,000+

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021