Online Executive MBA Programs 2021

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Experienced managers often turn to executive MBA programs to enhance their business acumen and leadership skills. Earning an executive MBA degree, or EMBA, prepares managers to navigate today’s complex business environment. The curriculum emphasizes rigorous and specialized training, applied learning, and a global perspective.

Enrollees can continue their careers and apply for C-suite positions with an executive MBA degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), top executives earn an annual median salary of $107,680. The BLS projects jobs for these professionals to grow 4% between 2019 and 2029.

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This guide provides an overview on executive MBA programs, coursework requirements, and job and salary information.

Top 10 Online Executive MBA Programs

? This represents the average net price of attendance for full-time students as gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics. Individual costs may vary. Costs per credit hour may also vary by program or degree.
Rank School Avg Net Price ? This represents the average net price of attendance for full-time students as gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics. Individual costs may vary. Costs per credit hour may also vary by program or degree.
1 Missouri State University $4644
2 Purdue University-Main Campus $28333
3 The University of Texas at Dallas $12418
4 Texas Southern University $1600
5 The University of Alabama $10470
6 University of Hawaii at Manoa $15288
7 University of Nevada-Reno $4752
8 University of North Alabama $5598
9 Florida Atlantic University $5467

Executive MBA Students Ask these Questions

  • What is the difference between an executive MBA and an MBA?

    Schools design executive or professional MBA programs specifically for working managers. Executive MBA programs provide a condensed curriculum, flexible learning formats, and coursework customization that experienced leaders need.

  • Is the GMAT needed for an executive MBA?

    EMBA programs typically focus on enrollees’ professional experience, but some may require GMAT scores. Some schools offer GMAT waivers because of Covid-19 and applicants’ education and work experience.

  • Are all executive MBA programs full time?

    EMBA programs minimize the disruption of participants’ careers. Students typically do not attend classes full time.

  • Can I earn a Ph.D. after an executive MBA?

    MBA-holders can pursue a Ph.D. if they want to engage in research to advance the field or to assume faculty roles to train the next generation of business leaders.

Why Get an Executive MBA Degree?

Business leaders who want to take their careers to the next level can pursue an executive MBA. Executive MBAs cover many of the same concepts as a traditional MBA but offer more scheduling flexibility. Enrollees typically complete the curriculum around their work schedules. However, some programs require students and faculty to meet for in-person residencies.

Executive MBA programs use a cohort format, allowing business executives to move through the program in lock-step. Students learn collaboratively and build a powerful network of peers from various industries. The best online EMBA programs provide intensive support such as professional mentorship from an industry expert.

The Executive MBA Council finds that students eventually recoup their financial investment. Graduates from the class of 2019-20 report a 14.1% increase in compensation during their executive MBA program, and 39% received a promotion while still pursuing their degree.

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How Much Does an Executive MBA Degree Cost?

Students make a significant investment to earn an executive MBA degree. Program costs depend on factors such as school, location, and services provided. Some enrollees receive employer funding, while others fund the degree using loans, scholarships, and other financial aid.

Students may spend $400 to more than $1,000 per credit for an online executive MBA or professional MBA. Some programs charge all-inclusive tuition that may range from $36,000-$77,000. These packages typically include tuition, books, and other supplies. They may also include accommodation and meals during campus sessions. Some programs may require an international business trip.

Business executives without employer support can explore financial aid opportunities for graduate students.

Calculating the Cost of a College Degree

Prospective learners can use the calculator below to determine tuition costs and how much they can afford to pay for an executive MBA program.

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How Much Do Executive MBA Majors Make?

Compensation for MBA graduates varies substantially depending on their position, industry, experience, and location. According to the BLS, top executives earn a median annual wage of $107,680. The lowest 10% of these professionals earn less than $62,780 per year while the top 10% earn more than $208,000.

General and operations managers earn an annual median salary of $100,930, according to the BLS. The top-paying locations for these professionals include New Jersey ($167,600), New York ($156,260), Rhode Island ($155,910), Connecticut ($155,890), and the District of Columbia ($150,970).

Graduates may want to consider other fields such as advertising, promotions, and marketing. These professionals earn a median annual pay of $141,490.

Courses in Executive MBA Programs

Executive MBA programs typically require 30-48 credits and take 16-24 months to complete. These programs blend advanced core business coursework with specialized electives. The best MBA programs are accredited by organizations such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Enrollees use their knowledge to address contemporary business challenges presented in case studies and projects. Learners develop advanced proficiencies in subjects such as corporate finance, managerial accounting, financial management, and data-driven decision-making.

Many EMBA programs offer electives or focus study areas. Popular focus areas include finance, business analytics, and strategic management. Some programs focus exclusively on developing managers who can apply their business proficiencies in a sector such as healthcare.

Many online executive MBA programs require students to complete in-person seminars and workshops. Enrollees may also take business trips to enhance their knowledge. See below for three common courses in executive MBA programs.

The course focuses on managerial accounting concepts and how they apply to an organization’s strategic planning, decision-making, and operations. Learners study cost concepts, process- and value-based costing systems, and financial statement analysis.

The course examines how to develop, implement, and evaluate marketing strategies for products and services. Degree-seekers explore consumer behavior and how to conduct and use market research. They learn how to optimize brand management to create public awareness and increase sales. Topics include product development, branding, product positioning, and distribution channels.

The course explores key strategic management concepts and tools. Enrollees learn how to formulate and implement business strategies across functional areas such as accounting and finance. Learners study the strategic leader’s role, maintaining a competitive advantage, and implementing ethical and sustainable practices.

Certifications and Licensure for Executive MBA Students

MBA students and graduates pursue certifications to demonstrate competency in various business specializations. While top executives typically do not need a license to practice, they can cement their qualifications and value with certifications in areas such as finance and human resources. See below for three sought-after national certifications.

Chartered Financial Analyst

The CFA Institute administers this credential for investment professionals who meet required work experience and complete the CFA program. Candidates must subsequently pass three multiple-choice and constructed-response exams.

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Six Sigma Certifications

The Council for Six Sigma Certification offers several programs for business professionals to learn how to optimize business processes. Students choose Sigma or Lean Sigma Certifications training and complete corresponding exams at various levels.

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SHRM Senior Certified Professional

The Society for Human Resource Management offers SHRM-SCP for executives who lead HR functions within organizations. Candidates with a master’s degree need at least three years of HR-related experience to qualify to sit for a multiple-choice exam containing 160 questions.

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Scholarships for Executive MBA Students

Executives who do not receive funding from employers may want to explore scholarships and fellowships to help pay for their executive MBA degree. The funding organizations determine eligibility, which may include academic performance and career aspirations. See below for three scholarship opportunities.

  • Goldberg-Miller Public Finance Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) offers this scholarship to graduate students interested in pursuing finance careers in the public sector. GFOA specifies no course of study, but requires an emphasis in state or local government finance.

    Amount: $20,000

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  • Forté MBA Fellowships

    Who Can Apply: Forté advances women in business with the prestigious Forté Fellows program. Women apply to an MBA program (including online and executive programs) within an extensive Forté partnership of schools. Once admitted, students receive scholarships that vary with each school and a host of Forté benefits.

    Amount: Scholarships and extensive benefits

    Explore Here

  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Foundation Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: EAF awards merit-based scholarships to full-time graduate students enrolled in any master’s program. Applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA and must submit an application with supporting documents.

    Amount: Varies

    Explore Here

Online Executive MBA Programs 2021

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  1. Missouri State University

    Springfield, MO



    Students with 5+ years of relevant experience may be selected to participate in Missouri State University's program to complete an Executive MBA. Curriculum is customized to your academic and professional history in order to provide the most efficient path to graduation. Learners must maintain a 3.0 GPA in 18 credit hours of foundational work and 33 credit hours of business core classes. You will develop skills in managerial finance, business research, legal issues and the fundamentals of economics.

  2. Purdue University-Main Campus

    West Lafayette, IN



    Over the course of 19 months and 6 modules, students participating in Purdue University's hybrid Executive MBA program will complete 48 credit hours. Each module includes an 8-10 week online preparation period, 1-2 week residency and cumulative exam. Learners will participate in group projects and field experiences to apply skills and build a networking community. You will also be connected with a career counselor to assist in reaching professional goals. Applicants need to submit transcripts demonstrating completion of a bachelor's degree, proof of 5+ years of work experience and 2 letters of recommendation.

  3. The University of Texas at Dallas

    Richardson, TX



    The hybrid option to receive an Executive MBA at the University of Texas at Dallas emphasizes global leadership. The majority of curriculum is delivered in an online format through the use of live web conferencing. Students are also expected to participate in 2 international experiences and 3 weeklong campus visits. Enrollees can utilize the Naveen Jindal School of Management Career Management Center for networking and career opportunities. In order to qualify you must hold 6 years of professional and international experience, as well as a 3.0 GPA in your bachelor's degree.

  4. Texas Southern University

    Houston, TX



    At Texas Southern University, students admitted to the online Executive MBA program can specialize in energy finance or general business. Both pathways take 2 years to complete 36 credit hours in curriculum covering strategic marketing, management theory and global strategic management. You will also partake in an international business trip toward the end of coursework. Classes are delivered through Blackboard Academic Suites and utilize teleconferencing and live chat rooms. Prospective students must hold 5+ years of professional experience. Admissions also consider your GPA, statement of purpose, 2 letters of recommendation and resume when making a decision.

  5. The University of Alabama

    Tuscaloosa, AL



    The hybrid program to finish an executive MBA at the University of Alabama combines online classes with on-campus visits that take place 1 weekend each month. Over the course of 5 semesters, students fulfill 48 credit hours in topics such as negotiating, communication and supply chain management. Toward the end of your studies, all enrollees come together for a study abroad experience. Applications must demonstrate a minimum of 5 years working experience and a 3.0 grade average in undergraduate coursework.

  6. University of Hawaii at Manoa

    Honolulu, HI



    The online executive MBA program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa utilizes live videoconferencing technology to engage students and create an interactive experience. Learners fulfill 48 credit hours over the span of 22 months in classes such as Marketing Management and Accounting for Decision-Making. Applicants must possess 5 or more years of work experience and a minimum 3.0 grade average in their bachelor's degree. Around $140,000 in scholarships is awarded specifically to online EMBA students each year.

  7. University of Nevada-Reno

    Reno, NV



    The College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno is host to an online option for completing an Executive MBA. Alumni have entered positions as project coordinators and development managers at universities, research institutes and government entities. Over the course of 2 years, students work through the required 36 credits with the same cohort. You will develop skills in decision-making, branding and managerial accounting. Admissions eligibility is determined by 5+ years of relevant work experience, a minimum 2.75 GPA in academic history, GRE or GMAT scores, a resume, a personal statement and 2 letters of recommendation.

  8. University of North Alabama

    Florence, AL



    Professionals with a minimum of 5 years work experience and a 3.0 GPA in undergraduate coursework are eligible for admissions into the University of North Alabama's executive program for earning a master's degree in business administration. Curriculum is offered in a fully online format and entails 34 credit hours in topics such as career planning, marketing analysis and business ethics. The Success Center connects students to resources such as writing assistance, tutoring and advising services.

  9. Florida Atlantic University

    Boca Raton, FL



    Students enrolled in the Executive MBA program at Florida Atlantic University will spend 23 months working through 40-46 credit hours. Core curriculum explores accounting, leadership and global management. You can also select among concentrations including international business, health administration or big data analytics. Although certain classes are offered online, most are delivered in a weekend format, requiring students to visit campus once every 3 weeks. Applicants must possess 5 years of professional experience, as well as a 3.0 GPA in undergraduate studies.


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