Executive Education

The Impact of an EMBA on My Career: Alumni Stories from 11 of 2018’s Top EMBA Programs

impact of an emba

Going back to school for your Executive MBA is a big decision that will impact your life in a variety of ways. When you decide on an EMBA, you decide to give up one to two years of your life to focus on your education, so it better be worth the time and effort.

To get to the bottom of that answer, we’re taking a look at the ROI of the top EMBA programs in the US and Europe to see what alumni can tell us about the impact of an EMBA on their career.

Impact of an EMBA on My Career

Arizona Thunderbird

Graduates of the Arizona Thunderbird Executive Master of Global Management program, on average, earn 45% more than they did before school. This difference is thanks to the design of the EMBA program, which is focused on broadening the global outlook of experienced professionals. The curriculum teaches students to cross-cultural communications, negotiations, and international political economy, so they can be successful across borders.

“Thunderbird inspired me to think outside of my comfort zone,” said Tion Barnaby (’15). “The school truly has a global mindset and realizes that the world is becoming more connected. Thunderbird’s diverse student body provides international exposure to another degree. Thunderbird’s goal ultimately supports my goal: to be adaptable by gaining the necessary skills to thrive in any global climate.”

Broad Executive MBA

The Broad Executive MBA at Michigan State University offers graduates a great return on their investment in just 20 months. Alumni can expect to earn an average of 58% more post-graduation. The benefits can be attributed to many different elements including rigorous, integrated curriculum, a collaborative and team-focused environment, and in-depth global experiences.

As for the impact of the Broad EMBA, according to Spiros Assimacopolous, it cannot be overstated. “Learning is a rush. Learning in a room with a bunch of smart and successful people is even a bigger rush,” Assimacopolous said, adding that “the value of being a part of the Spartan family cannot be quantified. This culture of solidarity and pride really is the secret sauce at MSU.”

CU EMBA

Graduates of the CU EMBA program at the University of Colorado have 21 months to get the ROI they want. They do this by working and learning in a collaborative environment dedicated to invaluable continuity, mutual support, and the application of classroom learning. The program teaches students how to develop a broad business perspective that transforms them into strategic decision-makers.

“I chose the EMBA program to distinguish myself from thousands competing for senior leadership positions,” said Jim Barnes (’09), a United Airlines Assistant Chief Pilot. “I broadened my views, but the most value was from the regular interaction with a very diverse group of overachievers.”

Cornell EMBA Americas

Graduates of the Cornell Executive MBA Americas get a great return on their investment. After just 17 months, alumni walk out with an average salary increase of 59%. That’s because the Cornell EMBA Americas is a program that’s tailored to meet the needs of working professionals with a truly global experience and curriculum. The Cornell EMBA Americas also stands out with its unique and comprehensive career programming. The school offers advancement workshops, career development webinars, executive coaching, alumni panels, networking events, career forums, and more.

As for what alumni think of the Cornell EMBA Americas program, Vinay Sugunanandan (’17) believes it’s a program that fosters a “culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in a highly diverse environment.” He went on to say, “I chose Johnson at Cornell because I wanted to be in an environment that will further stimulate my innovative thinking and enhance my entrepreneurial skills to make me a successful business leader of tomorrow.”

Cornell Metro NY EMBA

Candidates that choose to attend the Cornell Metro NY EMBA program can expect an average 102% salary increase after graduation. This impressive ROI happens in just 22 months of in-classroom work where high-performance curriculum is the norm. Located in Palisades, NY, the Cornell Metro NY EMBA offers working professionals the chance to learn the critical leadership skills they need to succeed. The program also takes a unique and tailored approach to career development based on a student’s personal goals, life, job transition capacity, and preferred method of networking.

As for what alumni have to say, Dina McAfee, a vice president at BNY Mellon, explained that the program really challenged her to be better. “I’ve been really surprised at just how far I’ve gotten and how my thinking and approach to things have changed greatly,” she said. “It is a difference I notice, my coworkers notice, and my husband notices. I look at things a lot differently now. I try to take a step back and to take a much more professional, analytical, and managerial approach to things. I’m really proud of how much I’ve evolved through this program.”

Weill Cornell Healthcare EMBA

The Weill Cornell Executive MBA and MS in Healthcare Leadership is a one-of-a-kind dual-degree program focused on facilitating change and driving innovation. Graduates leave the program with a far deeper understanding of the healthcare industry and with the possibility of advancing their careers in meaningful ways. With a diverse class composed of 50% clinical practitioners and 50% nonpractitioners, the degree offers diverse perspectives and a dynamic learning community.

For Nick Gavin (’19), the Weill Cornell Healthcare EMBA is the future of healthcare. So far, the program has allowed him to expand his network to not just other organizations in NY but around the country. “It’s not just a general EMBA program,” he said. “It offers a true complement of learning from the faculty at Weill Cornell and the faculty at Johnson.”

EMBA-Global Americas and Europe

Graduates of the EMBA-Global Americas and Europe program at the London Business School and Columbia Business School can expect great ROI. In fact, after just 20 months of school, the average graduate earns 86% more than before their EMBA. This impressive impact is thanks to the fact that graduates earn two MBA degrees from two world-class institutions in London and New York. This offers a unique and premium business network of over 81,000 alumni.

As for what students have to say about the EMBA-Global Americas and Europe experience, they are very positive. Since graduating, Angelina Jiang (’14) has been able to take on more responsibilities in her job and implement small but effective changes that have made a big impact. “We all want to change the world, even if only in a small way,” she said. “I’m filling gaps in my professional knowledge by learning about disciplines and industries that I haven’t previously had exposure to and it’s such a privilege to learn from classmates across other sectors and industries.”

IE Global Executive MBA

The IE Global Executive MBA is designed to help experienced executives and managers become even better leaders at their organizations. The idea is to help executives maintain and expand their competitive business edge by providing students with the practices, frameworks, tools, and techniques they need to run business on a global scale. The IE Global EMBA program is internationally ranked as one of the best business schools in Europe.

“When you start the GXMBA, the most immediate goal is boost your management career and increase your knowledge, so you go in ‘guns blazing’ ready to compete,” said Catalina Ramírez, the director of global client finance at McCann Worldgroup. “What you quickly realize, is that your professional development is intrinsically linked to your personal growth, thus it is in listening and understanding your classmates that you will become a leader professionally.”

Loyola Marymount

The EMBA program at Loyola Marymount is designed to help accomplished professionals take their career to the next level in just 20 months. During this time, students broaden their understanding of what it takes to be a leader in today’s complex global environment. They also work alongside highly-motivated, mid-career executives for a dynamic and collaborative learning environment that leads to success.

“Getting my MBA has been a life changing experience for me. It gave me courage,” one alumni said on an LMU video. Another alumni said, “Professionally, it’s opened up my network. It’s a great investment in myself.” And another said, “You owe it to yourself to grow. You owe it to yourself to become better at what you do. It really was life-changing for me.”

Pace EMBA

Graduates of the Pace University EMBA program at the Lubin School of Business enjoy a flexible, 20-month program that’s designed to advance the careers of mid-level executives. To do this, students are taught through a “learn by doing” method that enables and challenges them to think strategically about business challenges.

“As I neared graduation, I landed a new job at Deutsche Bank which resulted in a promotion to Vice President,” said David B. (’06). “This would not have been possible without the Pace EMBA…I highly recommend the program to anyone seeking to advance their career, develop their business and managerial skills, or broaden their professional horizons.”

Pace Masters in Finance

The Lubin School of Business, Masters in Finance for Professionals from Pace University offers a 23% return on investment when it comes to average salary pre- and post-EMBA. This ROI is attained in just 12 months of schooling through a mix of classroom, online, and experiential learning. Designed for individuals already working in a business or financial environment, the program enhances a student’s skills and expertise.

“I pursued my MFP at Pace to enhance my skills and broaden my knowledge in finance,” said Mark T. (’10). “The accelerated one-year program allowed me to continue to work full-time while earning my degree…I developed my presentation skills, analytical skill, and gained a close network of classmates and professors who pushed me to succeed.”


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

Kelly Vo is a full-time freelance writer specializing in digital marketing, personal development, and content creation. A social media and brand development expert, you can find Kelly at http://kevowriting.com/ where she helps businesses and executives develop their authentic voice.