Executive Education

Choosing an EMBA Program? Location, Location, Location is Key

Deciding where you want to go for your EMBA program is a major decision. If you are like most students, you work through a few common considerations.

According to Forbes, your journey to decide on a graduate school will likely start with the prestige of your school. Most business school students want to go somewhere that people have heard of and respect. In a ranking of program attributes, it was “twice as important as any other attribute, a difference that was statistically highly significant.”

But, while prestige may get you far, there are many great schools and experiences you are going to overlook if you only look at the prestige of a school – and it is not the only attribute to consider. For the best EMBA experience, you should also look at your business school’s location.

The Importance of Location

The location of your graduate program matters for a lot of reasons. While you probably expect some amount of travel to your chosen EMBA program, you may not have thought about what its location means for your life and lifestyle.

Think of it like searching for flights. You might be able to find some great deals out of Seattle, but you have to get there first. The process of finding your way to Sea-Tac is going to cost you in many different ways. You have to physically travel to the airport. In order to make that happen, you might need to take an extra day of your hard-earned vacation time and you will have to arrange to drive, fly, take a train, or otherwise get there. That’s also more time away from family and friends, more time in traffic, and more time waiting for your planned departures.

In addition to time, you are going to spend money finding your way to Sea-Tac. You have to pay for your fares, fuel, parking, and transfers – and your personal care, dining, and entertainment throughout it all. It all adds up.

Proximity to Home

Ideally, you will want to choose a school with a comfortable proximity to home. Let’s say you live in Fort Wayne, Indiana. You are three hours from both Columbus, Ohio, and Chicago, Illinois and over two hours from Indianapolis, Indiana. Sure, you could go to any school in the world you like. You are a short drive away from major airports. The world is open to you – but that costs money.

A better alternative is to look closer to home. The Purdue IMM Global EMBA Program is two hours away in West Lafayette, Indiana and the Fisher Executive MBA Program at Ohio State University is approximately three hours away – and they aren’t just EMBA programs, they are good MBA programs that don’t require boarding a flight to attend.

While each EMBA program has a different structure – some meet on weekends, some require two-week residences – the savings of choosing an EMBA program close to home can be considerable, once you include travel costs.

Location and Lifestyle

You might also want to choose a location for your EMBA that takes into account your lifestyle. Remember, you have the option to choose a graduate school that is located in the right place to let you do that.

Imagine you are a museum junkie. Why not consider going to George Washington University in Washington, DC? The program requires three-day seminars. Extend your trips to school by a day each time and you could visit each one of the Smithsonian museums by the time you complete your degree.

Prefer spending time outdoors? Go to the University of Colorado’s EMBA program. Sessions meet on Fridays and Saturdays, every other week. Take that Sunday off too and you could spend time skiing, hiking, and exploring downtown Denver. At the end of that 21-month program, you might have been able to try all the major slopes and visited the parks.


Having an EMBA can open a lot of doors for you, but it can also help you discover new worlds. Think of your required attendance as an opportunity to explore the world, or at least one of your interests. The University of Georgia is one option. EMBA classes meet on the Atlanta campus, where you will enjoy a perfect mix of Deep South charm and urban living.

Have you always wanted to experience the rocky coast? You have the option to do that too. Sobey Saint Mary is located in Halifax, Nova Scotia and it is one of the best business schools in Canada. Sobey is a bit north of Maine and offers all the best that the Atlantic has to offer. From lobsters and ports to saltwater beaches and lush forests, there is no shortage of things to do and experience.

Choosing the right EMBA program involves many factors. You’ll need to choose a school that supports your goals and fits within your price range, but you will also need to get there. Remember to look at school location before making a decision about where to attend.

About the Author

Renee Ann Butler is a business writer whose writing has appeared in numerous outlets related to finance and investing, from TheStreet to SCORE. She has an MBA, degrees in psychology, and over 15 years of experience working with hedge funds and startups.