Executive Education

2018 Top EMBA Programs for Experiential Learning

emba programs experiential learning

Many business schools are developing programs that let students tailor their degrees to their career goals and earn some practical experience in the meantime. For some MBA programs, that means adding more international experience, so students can learn different business customs while for others, experiential learning involves helping local companies write business plans – and executive MBA programs are no exception.

“Full-time candidates traditionally haven’t had the advantage of immediately applying what they learn in the classroom. That’s changing rapidly as programs build in experiential learning,” explains U.S. News & World Report. “Some b-schools are borrowing a page from the corporate book to build skills through outdoor experiences… At the same time, educators are realizing that a simple field trip is not the answer to understanding global business.”

Here are some of the top EMBA programs for experiential learning:

TRIUM Global Executive MBA

The TRIUM Global Executive MBA is an 18-month program offered through a partnership between New York University’s Stern School of Business, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and the HEC Paris School of Management (École Des Hautes Études Commerciales De Paris). It is ranked 1 in the world for prestige and 3 overall.

This EMBA program consists of six modules. They last for 10-2 consecutive days and take place once every three months. During this time, you would rotate between the different school locations. In addition, you are also tasked with a Capstone Project. You will be asked to identify an opportunity in the market and create a business to fill that niche.

“Capstone will either bring the INTRApreneur out of you even more or will unearth the ENTREpreneur in you,” says Capstone Co-Director Chris Burggraeve. “One is not better than the other. They are just different dynamics and life choices. In TRIUM, [the] fact is most of us are working for big companies, and will, in the end, most likely continue to do so – but in a different way than ever before. TRIUM will have changed you.”

Cornell EMBA Americas

Cornell University and Queen’s University partnered to form the Executive MBA Americas program. It takes 17 months to complete and is ranked 4 in the world. Classes are held every other week on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Cornell EMBA Americas is unique because you will be asked to attend classes in a wide range of locations throughout North America and beyond. In the United States, your classroom will include Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Ithaca, Los Angeles, New York, Salem, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, and Washington, DC. In addition, you will also have classes in Canada – Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver – as well as Mexico City, Monterrey, Lima (Peru), and Santiago (Chile). There are additional international opportunities as well.

You will also be asked to complete two projects – the New Venture Project and the Global Business Project. The former will require you to develop a comprehensive business plan for a venture that you create. In addition, you will need to find sources of capital and create your case for the business, helping you explore entrepreneurship. The Global Business Project focuses more externally. You will have to look at a business issue that companies outside of the US and Canada experience and develop an in-depth analysis that includes field research in the affected location.

IESE Global Executive MBA

The University of Navarra’s IESE Business School is home to the IESE Global Executive MBA. This 16-month program is ranked 5 in Europe overall and 4 for career advancement. If you choose the IESE EMBA, you will have the opportunity to choose electives in eight business hubs as well as study on four continents. There are two tracks – American and European. Both programs start in Barcelona and they do converge at different points, allowing you to enjoy smaller classes when you are apart and the experience of a large classroom when the tracks are together.

In addition, you can expect to spend lots of time outside of a classroom. IESE Business School prides itself on helping students cultivate a variety of hands-on experiences, from cooking in a professional kitchen to going on tours of companies from technology to retail who have best-in-class approaches to their respective businesses.

London Business School Executive MBA

The London Business School Executive MBA is London Business School’s EMBA program. The 20-month program is ranked 2 in Europe and 5 in the world. There are two options. The first is the EMBA London. Classes meet every other week on Fridays and Saturdays. There is also an EMBA Dubai option. If you choose this program, you will have monthly modules that last four to five days. Most of these will take place in Dubai but there is some travel to London.

During your studies in the London Business School EMBA, you will be asked to complete a Global Business Assignment (GBA) and the opportunity to do two. The GBA will have you choose from five international locations, each with a different assignment theme. You will travel there and work with other EMBA students as well as local companies to develop a greater understanding of the issue at hand.


Earning your MBA may help qualify you for certain jobs – but there is more to the degree than the paper upon which it is printed. Business schools around the world are discovering that graduates today need varied experiences to be competitive in the current market. Make sure that the EMBA program you choose measures up.

Ivy Exec’s goal in releasing its annual EMBA program rankings is to support its members and the broader, global professional community in making better-informed decisions when selecting the best-fit Executive MBA program for themselves. Pursuing an EMBA is a significant investment of time, not to mention money, so these rankings may help a professional consider potential ROI ahead of time.

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.