Executive Education

2018 Top EMBA Programs at Public Schools

emba programs at public schools | public school emba programs

Choosing where to go for your EMBA is not an easy decision. There seems to be an infinite variety of options, all with their own pros and cons. That’s especially true when it comes to choosing between a public and private education. Which is better? The answer is complicated and depends on what you hope to get out of your EMBA experience, but there are myriad benefits when it comes to choosing to attend EMBA programs at public schools.

Benefits of Public School EMBA Programs

From lower tuition rates to a larger selection of program offerings, public schools tend to offer a wider range of specializations to fit a more diverse group of students. EMBAs enrolled at a public university can expect more faculty trained in a wider range of specialized technical fields, a wider academic focus, and access to a broader field of interests from liberal and fine arts to engineering, computer science, and more.

EMBA programs at public schools also tend to boast a more diverse student body. This offers better networking opportunities where you’ll be exposed to a greater collective knowledge base with insight from other cultures, backgrounds, and experiences. This collaborative and unique environment can be particularly attractive for EMBA students looking for a more global experience.

Public School EMBA programs also tend to be more competitive because public universities tend to foster and encourage competition. This means that, in many cases, you may be pushed harder to excel because when trying to gain state and federal funding, a public university’s only recourse is to develop the best and most competitive learning institution possible.

In the end, as you choose your EMBA program, it will be up to you to decide which school is best at helping you achieve your goals. But if you decide the public school route is appropriate, then these are four, top EMBA programs at public schools to consider (in no particular order) from Ivy Exec’s 2018 best Executive MBA program rankings.

1. Broad Executive MBA at Michigan State University

The Broad Executive MBA program at Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business is one of the top in the nation in terms of prestige (#10), career advancement (#10), and curriculum (#8). It’s a 20-month program where classes meet every other Friday and Saturday with a required weeklong global residency in countries such as Argentina, South Africa, India, Brazil, Hungary, China, and the Czech Republic.

Some of the highlights of this public school EMBA program are the small class size (just 150 students) and the impressive salary increase after graduation—56%. This EMBA program is really about providing a transformational student experience that gives graduates the tools they need to get ahead.

The Broad Executive MBA takes a team approach to its innovative curriculum. This makes it ideal for those students looking to create powerful networking connections that will last a lifetime. This also goes along with the school’s large alumni network and organizations composed of more than 78K engaged professionals.

2. The Fisher Executive MBA at Ohio State University

The Fisher Executive MBA at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business ranks fifth in the U.S. in terms of prestige. The program also ranked well for curriculum (#6), global experience (#8), and career advancement (#9). All of which is reflected in the school’s 50% salary increase post-graduation.

As an EMBA program at a public school, the Fisher Executive MBA stands out for its structured approach to education. Students can graduate in just 16 months with classes just three days every month, typically a consecutive Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. During these on-campus sessions, EMBA students delve into a comprehensive, integrated curriculum that examines today’s business challenges from every angle.

Unique to Fisher is the very small class size of just 38 students made up of more than one-third international candidates (35%). This diverse class is filled with experienced individuals (40 years old on average) willing to share their executive perspective from a variety of industries.

3. CU EMBA at the University of Colorado

The University of Colorado’s CU EMBA is a 21-month program designed specifically for dynamic working professionals. The program is ranked highly for life balance (#7), global experience (#16) and prestige (#16). The program also ranks well in terms of career advancement (#16), helping students develop a broad business perspective that produces bottom-line results.

The main highlight of the CU EMBA program is the small class size made up of just 27 students. These students are then taught real-world-focused, case-based curriculum that demonstrates business leadership skills, collaboration, and how to think strategically. Taught by outstanding faculty, EMBA students at CU are known for working as business professionals in a wide variety of fields with minimal career disruption.

One of the premier features of the CU EMBA is the ten-day international business trip to a country of your choice. During the trip, students tackle international business and global economic issues through first-hand experience with a diverse set of companies, factories, and managers overseas. And if that trip isn’t enough, EMBA students have three additional opportunities to travel the globe.

4. Executive Master of Global Management at Arizona Thunderbird

Ranked third in the U.S. for prestige, the Executive Master of Global Management at Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management is one of the best in the nation. It’s ranked first in its region for global experience for going beyond traditional business education and focusing on broadening its students’ global outlook and perspective. Every class is taught with a view toward the world with comprehensive instruction on a variety of global management disciplines, cross-cultural communication, negotiation, and international political economy.

The Thunderbird public school EMBA program also ranks highly for its curriculum (#6) due to its intense residence modules at the beginning and end of the program. Students meet over the course of 20 alternating weekends for in-person instruction while also participating in global field seminars where they receive hands-on learning focused on specific regions of the world.

With small class sizes of just 34 students—50% of those being international—the Executive Master of Global Management at Arizona Thunderbird is ideal for cultural leaders looking to do business on an international scale. Over the course of just 17 months, EMBA students are prepared to lead and manage people across borders and all levels of an organization.

Any student can benefit from attending EMBA programs at public schools. No longer do the many advantages traditionally associated with private education unavailable at a public institution. At these four, top public school EMBA programs, you can experience the same world-class education, small class size, and exceptional student experience that you’d find anywhere else.


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.