Top 5 Executive MBA Programs in the United States

4 The Columbia Business School, Columbia University

Location New York City

Cost US$228,480

Executive MBA Program While Columbia comes eighth in the ‘best business school’ rankings, it delivers higher on the Executive MBA Program ranking, coming in at fourth. With typical class sizes of 152, and the largest Executive MBA student body in the US, Columbia EMBA students benefit from the same high-level coursework with many of the same professors, and offer unparalleled access to leaders across industries, drawing top execs from Fortune 300 companies to tech startups. More business leaders visit the Columbia campus than any other top business school with guest lecturers, executives from the Executives in Residence program, and a multitude of speakers offering students critical insights.

As well as the New York-based EMBA program, Columbia offers EMBA-Global in partnership with London Business School offering week-long classes each month alternating between London and NYC. Classes in New York are held over five terms on weekends, either every other Friday/Saturday plus two five-day residencies, or every Saturday over 24 months with three 3-day residencies. Students are assigned to a cluster of 30-70 students, further divided into learning teams of five students. Students also receive in-residence sessions of 3-5 days, at the start of each of the two years of study.

The EMBA delivers a core curriculum, designed as a blend of business theory and real-world practice, across corporate finance, managerial economics, marketing strategy, business analytics and global economic environment, among others. Columbia offers the largest selection of electives among business schools anywhere, the most popular of which include the economics of strategic behaviour, mergers and acquisitions, foundations of entrepreneurship and supply chain management. The school’s Career Management Center offers a dedicated EMBA support team along with one-on-one coaching sessions with advisors to formulate individual job strategies. Columbia Business School is expanding with the new Manhattanville Campus opening this year. There are two start dates, May and August.   

Notable executive alumni Gail Boudreaux, CEO of Anthem Inc.; Hugh Frater, chief executive of Fannie Mae; Sallie Krawcheck, former CEO, Citi Global Wealth Management and founder of female investment platform Ellevest; James P Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley; Xavier Rolet, the former London Stock Exchange chief; billionaire real estate mogul and former head of Wheelock and Company, Peter Woo Kwong-Ching; Henry Kravis, founding partner at investment firm KKR; Vikram Pandit, former CEO of Citigroup and chief executive of The Orogen Group; Jamie Kern Lima, first (and former) female CEO of a L’Oreal brand (It Cosmetics), which she founded.


5 The Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

Location Ann Arbor, Michigan and Los Angelos

Cost US$168,500 – US$173,500

Ranked number 10 in best business schools, The Stephen M. Ross School of Business is ranked fifth for its Executive MBA, a 21-month program that can be studied in one of two campuses – Ann Arbor in Michigan or Los Angeles. The program includes coursework, hands-on experience in a different industry, role or area of the world, and a leadership development program. The curriculum delivers 12 core courses, including business analytics, statistics for executives and competitive analysis, as well as 15 electives to choose from, among them, strategic marketing for the digital age and corporate financial strategy. Students also get to expand their influence as a leader via coursework, workshops and coaching sessions which are woven into the program, from resilience and thriving to learning change and innovation.

A unique part of the program is ExecMAP, a project immersion course, where students get the chance to explore a parallel industry or function role in the US or overseas, with past projects in collaboration with Microsoft, Nestle, Mattel and Dow. The Ross school emphasises action-based learning, a concept designed to reach students to ask pertinent questions, identify important problems and become effective leaders. Ross offers more than 70 student-run clubs and organisations, as well as a women’s initiative that offers support and programming for female students at the Ross school.

Notable executive alumni Bharat Desai, co-founder, president and CEO of Syntel Inc.; Stacey Stewart, US President of United Way Worldwide; Roger Frock, former general manager of FedEx and CEO of Quest Management; David Kellerman, former finance chief of Freddie Mac; David Bohnett, tech entrepreneur and founder and CEO of GeoCities.

2023 Best Graduate Schools ranking