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Executive MBA Degrees

Growing in Popularity

In the past two decades, the number of Executive MBA Programs has grown tremendously throughout the world.

The Executive MBA Council, an association of more than 200 colleges and universities worldwide that offer Executive MBA Programs, tracks information about such programs. The number of its member programs rose from 124 at the beginning of the 1990s to 317 in 2006.

What makes Executive MBA Programs an attractive alternative?

Targeted Focus

Designed for executives and business leaders, the Executive MBA offers the same foundation and rigor as any MBA degree and the added benefits of a convenient format and a built-in network of experienced business leaders.

Executive MBA Programs share some common characteristics:

No matter where they are, business leaders can find Executive MBA Programs.

More than one-quarter of Executive MBA Programs are located outside of North America, with 67% in the United States, 16% in Europe, 7% in Asia, 5% in Canada, 4% in Latin American, and 1% in South America.

Growth in international programs remains high. More than 80% of programs that are located outside of North America began operating within the last 14 years. And one-third of all programs that are located outside of North America are offered jointly with other schools.

Value for All

Executive MBA Programs demand a commitment of time and resources from both students and their organizations. As a result, students and organizations are eager to know the value of pursuing an Executive MBA degree.

There is much good news to share about the impact of Executive MBA education on students and their organizations.

For example, on average a sponsoring organization receives a return on investment in only 17 months from the start of a student's program, according to research by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

Executive MBA Council research also helps document degree benefits. According to 2006 council studies:

The gain for business leaders comes in many forms: the ability to analyze complex situations and make tough decisions; deepened understanding of all business functions; increased confidence to lead a team and to tackle additional responsibilities; access to the latest in innovation, ideas, and approaches; global vision; and expanded professional networks.

Because business leaders attend Executive MBA classes while working, they often apply what they learn in classes immediately on the job. The Executive MBA allows them to bring best practices and new ideas to the organization and consider the impact of decisions on the organization as a whole.

The statistics also show satisfaction with programs. The overwhelming majority – 99% – of Executive MBA participants would recommend the program to others, according to council studies.

Frequency and Flexibility

Executive MBA Programs continue to adapt to meet the needs of students from throughout the world.

In the past several years, Executive MBA Programs have been making adjustments to formats and schedules, as well as incorporating elements of distance learning.

Because Executive MBA Programs serve experienced business leaders who are pursuing their degree while continuing to work full time, the formats of such programs seek to minimize the amount of time away from the job. Students typically attend classes in more convenient blocks of time, such as all-day sessions.

In 2000, more than 50% of programs finished in 21-22 months, according to Executive MBA Program Survey, which offers the most comprehensive data about Executive MBA Programs worldwide. In 2006, that number dropped to 29%, and the average program length was 20.4 months. The majority of programs – some 75% – offer programs that range between 17 and 24 months to complete.

In addition, more programs are incorporating some element of distance learning; in 2004, 17% of all programs used distance learning tools, but in 2005 that number increased to 36% and rose again to 43% in 2006. Those tools are helping programs improve access to students to may not work near Executive MBA Programs, as well as helping students expand their base of colleagues.

The Complete Leader

To bolster leadership abilities, many Executive MBA Programs are increasing their focus on strategy and leadership and on higher management functions. In addition, they are integrating the curriculum to ensure that students not only understand function areas, such as finance and marketing, but the ways in which the functional areas combine to strengthen an organization's competitive position.

Many programs also are emphasizing skill development in key leadership areas, such as communication and negotiation. The changing focus of programs will remain consistent in one goal: to offer the knowledge and tools that participants need to become complete business leaders.