Executive Education

Top EMBA Programs for NonProfit Executives

Nonprofit executives meeting in a board room

Nonprofit executives perennially face tough challenges: public skepticism, fiscal problems, infrastructure constraints, funding sources, the competition – the list can go on.

Aside from acquiring new donors and retaining existing ones, nonprofits must also engage the community that supports them, as well as continually promote their brand to spread awareness.

Add in an ever-changing social climate, and nonprofit management becomes even more challenging.

For nonprofit leaders looking to better run their organizations through an executive MBA education, we’ve created a list of the top programs for nonprofit executives from Ivy Exec’s 2017 Best Executive MBA Programs rankings. The following schools offer nothing but top-notch education, a network of like-minded individuals, and international travel opportunities that can benefit you for life.

University of Georgia EMBA

Topping this Ivy Exec list is the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business EMBA program with 27% of its students from the nonprofit sector. Designed to turn leaders into great leaders, this 18-month program starts with assessing the leadership skills you already have, and through one-on-one executive sessions and instruction focused on leadership, by the end of the program, you will have cultivated the needed skills to help you make sound management and leadership decisions in tight situations.

Students who enroll in this course have an average work experience of 16 years, while 100% of professors have doctorates. The learning environment is a 50-50 blend of classroom and experiential learning.

Alberta-Haskayne EMBA (Joint) (University of Calgary and University of Alberta)

Next up is the joint EMBA program offered by two prestigious Canadian schools of business: the Haskayne School of Business (University of Calgary) and the Alberta School of Business (University of Alberta.) Students from the nonprofit sector comprise 20% of this program’s student population.

The overall goal of the program is to provide students with the necessary skills they can immediately apply at work, and build a network of contacts from around the world and across industries. The average work experience of Alberta-Haskayne EMBA program students is 14 years, and 82% of faculty members have doctorates.

Sobey EMBA (Saint Mary’s University)

At third place is the EMBA program of another prestigious Canadian university: Saint Mary’s University Sobey School of Business EMBA, where 15% of students come from the nonprofit sector. The goal of the program is to build on your current leadership success and further hone your ability to reason critically, thereby allowing you to make a purposeful impact in the nonprofit environment you operate in.

The program is 18 months long, offers the chance to travel to various countries, and is a blend of classroom and experiential learning (80-20). Students have an average work experience of 10 years, and 90% of the professors are doctorate holders.

Executive MBA Americas (Joint) (Cornell University and Queen’s University)

Joining at fourth place is the joint EMBA offering from Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management in New York and Queen’s University’s Smith School of Business in Ontario, Canada. A total 10% of the student population in this EMBA program hold executive positions in nonprofit institutions.

Students have an average 13 years of work experience. The learning environment is 40% classroom and 60% online, and students can attend classes from several different locations in the U.S., Canada, and international campuses. On the instruction side, 93% of the professors who teach this EMBA program have doctorates.

Villanova EMBA (Villanova University)

Tying with the joint EMBA program from Cornell and Queen’s at fourth place for the most students hailing from the nonprofit sector is Villanova University’s 19-month EMBA program. It offers flexible learning schedules, weekend schedules with multiple breaks between modules, which allow nonprofit management executives to also obtain their MBA while working.

Students have an average work experience of 14 years, bringing with them a wealth of knowledge and insights that fellow students can learn from. A healthy 90% of the professors handling this program are doctorate holders.

TCU Neeley EMBA (Texas Christian University)

Placing fifth on this list is Texas Christian University’s EMBA program from the Neeley School of Business, where students from the nonprofit sector comprise 8% of the entire student population. It’s an 18-month program split between classroom (80%) and experiential (20%) learning. Classes are conducted on Fridays and Saturdays, every other weekend. Travel destinations include countries in multiple continents: Europe, South America, Asia, and Africa.

Students in this program have an average work experience of 17 years, and 100% of the faculty members in charge of the instruction have doctorates.

Auburn Executive MBA (Auburn University)

Last but not least is the EMBA program from Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business in Auburn, Alabama. This 21-month program is a blend of distance learning and on-campus residencies, allowing nonprofit executives to continue their MBA education wherever they are in the world.

Students have an average 16 years of work experience, and 87% of the members of the faculty are doctorate holders.

Your chosen EMBA program will ultimately hinge on many factors. But if your aim is to learn alongside executives from the same industry as yours, the programs listed above for nonprofit executives are certainly worth considering.

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.