Executive Education

Considering B-School? Here’s Why Location Matters

location emba

When selecting an EMBA program, finding a school with top-tier faculty working in your field is key.

While any school is likely to have some number of strong faculty members, the programs closest to industry hubs are likely to have the largest contingents—and, most importantly, many of them may still have active contacts in their field as opposed to being primarily embedded in the world of academia. That’s why as in Real Estate, location is everything.

Here are some of the top Executive MBA programs that benefit from their respective industry hubs.


The Sloan School of Management at MIT sits in the heart of Cambridge, just adjacent to Boston. With a city that houses some of the nation’s top hospitals—Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to name just a few—MIT is in a strategic position to have access to the industry’s top minds and talents. To that end, some 23-percent of the EMBA cohort at MIT comes from the healthcare or life science industries. One alumnus that demonstrates the dual business-medical acumen of the MIT EMBA students is Todd Astor. He’s now the medical director of the Lung and Heart-Lung Transplant Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. He plans to use his EMBA to pioneer his own start-up focused on innovative therapies.


It should come as no surprise that the top schools for finance professionals are just a subway or train ride from Wall Street.

The EMBA program at Columbia Business School makes the commute to from classroom to financial district even shorter. Nearly half of the cohort there comes from the financial services industry.

Daniel Eguche ’15 pursued value investing while at Columbia and found he had nearly instant access to some of the bold-face names in his field because they were consistently on campus. Daniel also found that while he always planned to focus on value investing while enrolled at Columbia, he found the school gave him the chance to broaden his perspective with courses on behavioral finance, personal leadership and management. He credits these courses with giving him a more balanced mindset and a better approach to conflict resolution.

The Cornell EMBA Metro New York offers students the full Cornell experience without the hike upstate to Ithaca. Instead, EMBA program participants can earn their degrees in Palisades, NY, just 12-miles north of the city with convenient weekend classes. Some 43-percent of the Cornell Metro class comes from the financial services industry.

While not a Wall Street worker, Dana Cole ’16 found that the Cornell EMBA, Metro NY program greatly accelerated his trajectory through his company. Within just four months of enrolling, he was promoted from district manager to regional manager. He also found that being able to commute so easily from his office in northern New Jersey made it even easier to achieve his goals.


The Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia sees the largest sector of its cohort coming from the government: 32-percent to be exact. Only a two hour drive from Washington D.C. and Langley, Virginia, Darden is well positioned to be an easy commute for current and aspiring government workers.

But Darden’s offerings to students particularly focused in government work do not end at the Beltway. Darden also requires EMBA students to participate in a week-long international residency program. Additionally, students can participate in a Global Business Experience elective. Students in that elective this year took a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Cuba.

Kwame Ulmer ’15 used the EMBA program at Darden to reposition himself for a career change. He credits the program with helping him transition from the federal sector to the public sector to work on medical devices. He also gives a hat tip to the program’s top-tier career services department for focusing on action-based initiatives: encouraging him to focus on what he was going to do next.

Bottom Line: Choosing an EMBA program within commuting distance of your industry’s hub can be a key factor in widening your post-graduate opportunities and network. By positioning yourself in a program whose location is favorable to your business, you’ll expose yourself to an unparalleled cohort from your industry and faculty that are continuing to work and influence your field.

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.