Executive Education

The Top 5 EMBA Programs for Cohort Diversity

With globalization, there is a workforce that’s increasingly becoming diverse – different age groups, social backgrounds, work experience, and even management preferences.  

An oft-cited research study by McKinsey & Company illustrates the importance of diversity in the workplace:

  • Gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers financially.
  • Ethnically diverse organizations are 35% more likely to perform better than their counterparts who are yet to embrace diversity.

Diversity in the workplace, however, comes with its own set of difficulties. Without the training and know-how to work your way through various backgrounds and expectations, you’re missing out on diversity’s many benefits.

Thankfully, numerous EMBA programs now put a focus on cohort diversity to help their students navigate their way around the challenges of the modern workforce and, hence, become more effective players in the global economy. For professionals seeking this type of learning environment, here are the top five MBA programs that emphasize cohort diversity from Ivy Exec’s 2017 Best Executive MBA Programs rankings.

Also read: The Top 5 EMBA Programs for Gender-Balanced Cohorts


Cohort diversity: 100% international

Travel benefits: You start with the campus of your choice: Europe (France), Asia (Singapore), and Middle East (Abu Dhabi), and by the second half of the program, you and your fellow students come together as one class and graduate in Singapore.

Ranked by Ivy Exec as #1 for global experience, INSEAD’s Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) program is a modular approach to learning through diversity. The entire program takes anywhere from 14 to 17 months of intensive training. The accompanying Leadership Development Programme (LDP) feature includes group coaching, team activities, and a 360-degree feedback system, all aimed to help students develop a leadership style that’s uniquely their own and, ultimately, accelerate their way up the career ladder even further.

“The LDP journey is a unique platform where you take ownership to discover the best of who you are, the true leader in you,” says Professor Vincent Dominé, director of INSEAD’s LDP. “This is where GEMBA participants connect the dots between the content and what it means to them in mobilizing people towards impacting an organization.”

ISM EMBA (ISM – International School of Management)

Cohort diversity: 80% international

Travel benefits: Students can attend seminars in New York, Paris, Shanghai, São Paulo, New Delhi, Cape Town, and other emerging markets.

Ranked by Ivy Exec as #8 for global experience, the International School of Management’s International MBA (IMBA) program provides the foundation for business professionals to further their careers. With campuses in New York and Paris, and seminar programs in different cities in emerging markets, ISM empowers students to network with fellow students from different parts of the world for a truly diverse learning experience and valuable life-changing outcomes.

Jennifer Morrison, a digital marketer for a Silicon Valley-based marketing agency specializing in technology, started her MBA with ISM in April 2013. About ISM and the program, she says, “My objective in completing the MBA at ISM was to gain diversified international experience and to accelerate my career growth […] Having the ability to study in multiple countries with students from all over the world was a huge draw for me.”

EMBA – Global Americas and Europe (London Business School and Columbia Business School)

Cohort diversity: 87% international

Travel benefits: Classes meet 4-5 days per week in New York or London, and students get to learn how businesses are run in Chile, Argentina, China, Germany, Dubai, South Africa, Greece, and the Russian Federation.

Also ranked #1 in Ivy Exec’s top programs for global experience, this EMBA program from two of the most prestigious business educational institutions, London Business School and the Columbia Business School, happens in two of the world’s major business hubs: New York and London. Students have an average 11 years of work experience, allowing you to network and learn from senior executives from a range of industry and cultural backgrounds.

Says Natalie Simonenko, the Co-Founder and Chairman of Movavi, a software company based in Siberia, Russia, “Today, whenever I go, there’s a very big chance that I know someone – not only know, there’s a friend of mine in this country and this city. Now I feel … myself like a more international person, like a citizen of the world. That’s a journey. That’s amazing opportunity. That’s luxury opportunity in life.”

London Business School EMBA

Cohort diversity: 80% international

Travel benefits: Classes meet in London and Dubai, and students have the opportunity to travel to Beijing, Argentina, Mexico City, South Africa, and the Russian Federation.

Taking the Ivy Exec #2 spot for global experience is the London Business School Executive MBA, which prepares students for more senior leadership roles no matter where they operate in the world. With the program, which you can take either in Dubai or London, you gain access to groundbreaking research that you can immediately put into practice, work with experienced executive coaches to develop the coaching style that fits your professional needs, and learn from a diverse pool of highly talented professionals.

Says Neils Hamelink (Dutch, EMBA 2015) of the Cape Town international assessment (IA),” The Cape Town IA really gave me great practical insight into an emerging market like South Africa, with all its opportunities and the challenges.” Matt Hogan (American, EMBA 2015) also has great things to say about the Cape Town IA experience: “I like the Cape Town IA. I thought it was very rewarding personally. It was a good mix between having some social opportunities and having some opportunities for learning.”

IMM Global EMBA (Purdue University Krannert School)

Cohort diversity: 60% international

Travel benefits: Travel to seven countries on four continents with your cohort to experience and learn from actual business practices in each location.

Listed by Ivy Exec as #4 overall when it comes to global experience, the IMM EMBA program is a partnership between five world-renowned business schools, namely:

  • Purdue University (Krannert School of Management), Indiana, U.S.
  • Tilburg University (TIAS School of Business and Society), Tilburg, The Netherlands
  • Tianjin University (The College of Management and Economics), Tianjin, China
  • Fundação Getulio Vargas (EBAPE), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:
  • Politecnico di Milano (MIP Graduate School of Business), Milan, Italy

Program schedules are flexible for working executives, and with participants who are also acknowledged leaders in their fields, you become exposed to a diverse range of perspectives, technical backgrounds, and collaborative opportunities.

Aside from the flexibility, Alejandro Parilli from the IMM Global EMBA Class of 2015 points to the global aspect and the ability to network with different cultures, countries, and industries as a huge benefit. He adds, “The most enjoyable thing about the program for me has been the ability to link career experience with academic concepts.”

About the Author

Maricel Rivera is a research writer with 15+ years of professional writing experience. Her fields of interest include business, technology, online marketing, and continuing education.