Executive Education

Best EMBA Program for Finance Executives

finance executive mba

Home to Wall Street and long considered the financial capital of the world, it should come as no surprise that the top Executive MBA programs for finance execs are in New York State.

A cohort from a diverse set of industries can be beneficial but a strong, program-wide commitment to one particular industry can be a networking goldmine.

Columbia Business School has the most dominant financial services presence in its Executive MBA class of those surveyed by Ivy Exec. With some 48-percent of its students coming from the finance industry, the saturation of program participants from this sector guarantees strong post-graduation networking opportunities from within one’s own cohort. Furthermore, with a home base in Manhattan, EMBA students at Columbia Business School can readily interact with program alumni who are also living and working in town.

A less convenient commute to Wall Street but still within the confines of New York State is the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University in Ithaca. The program attracts a strong contingent from the finance industry with some 43-percent of its class coming from that sector. While Cornell’s program does not rank quite as high overall on our rankings as Columbia’s, it does have one key advantage that may sway a prospective student: at Cornell, the average program participant has 13 years of experience in his or her field compared to only nine years at Columbia. Consequently, the average Cornell EMBA student is more than likely to be in a cohort with several others from the financial industry who have well over a decade of experience to draw upon.

After Columbia and Cornell, the next Executive MBA program with the largest number of participants from the finance sector drops significantly in terms of percent saturation. The Stern School of Business at New York University draws about 28-percent of its class from the finance industry. While that number might not be as impressive as Columbia’s 48-percent, Stern is unbeatable for its proximity to the Financial District in lower Manhattan.

Tied with Stern at 28-percent for the number of financial industry students represented in its program is the Mendoza School of Business at the University of Notre Dame. What Notre Dame lacks in proximity to Wall Street relative to Stern, it makes up for in value. With an overall ranking at number 20 on our list, Notre Dame is only eight places behind Stern—but is three months shorter and $56,200 cheaper. Notre Dame also has a slightly higher average number of years of experience in its class than Stern: 15 years to Stern’s average of 14 years.

Because London rivals New York City as the financial capital of the world, it’s no surprise that the next program on our list is the Saïd Business School at Oxford University, just 90 minutes from the city. Coming in at number 10 on Ivy Exec’s overall rankings, Oxford’s average class sees some 29-percent of its participants coming from the financial sector. At $97,413, the program is nearly half the cost of Columbia’s without sacrificing on name recognition or prestige. If travel to London for work is already part of a prospective student’s work itinerary, Oxford could be a way to ultimately save money on the EMBA program with its rare, five-figure price tag. Furthermore, the program will enable a student to connect and network with alumni on both sides of the pond, giving access to a global perspective that could ultimately prove invaluable.

Another strong option for the Executive MBA student from the financial sector is the London Business School. With 22.3-percent of its class working in finance, the London Business School has this industry strongly represented—and is ranked by Ivy Exec overall as the number four EMBA program worldwide. Slightly more expensive than Oxford at $109,175, the London program remains more economical than many of its counterparts in the US.

Overall, choosing an Executive MBA program will come down to a variety of factors. But for those prospective students seeking a cohort that best represents one’s colleagues and counterparts working in finance, the programs in the New York and London areas will be the strongest options. What’s more, these locations offer the best possible networking opportunities for a strong return on investment after graduation.

About the Author

R. Kress is an Emmy Award winning journalist whose reporting and writing has appeared in national media from NBC News to the International Herald Tribune. She has covered news from cities around the world including Jerusalem, Krakow, Amman and Mumbai.