Executive Education

2018 Top EMBA Programs for Gender-Balanced Cohorts

emba programs for gender-balanced cohorts

Gender parity in the business world is something we’re still working toward. While we’ve made great strides in the last few years with women making up 26% of small business owners in the US in 2017 and 24 women leading Fortune 500 companies in 2018, there’s still a long way to go.

That’s why it’s so important to increase female representation in all aspects of business, including EMBA cohorts. According to the 2017 Executive MBA Council Membership Program Survey, the percentage of female students reached an all-time high of 30.1%. But that number isn’t where it should be. For full-time MBA programs, gender parity is much closer. Nearly half of the top 25 U.S. schools have 40% or more women enrolled.

Top EMBA Programs for Gender-Balanced Cohorts

So, keeping this in mind, where can you earn your EMBA where gender balance is a priority? We’ve talked about the top five EMBA programs for gender-balanced cohorts before, but has anything changed in 2018? That’s what we’re looking at now with six more schools that are working diligently toward gender parity, taken from Ivy Exec’s 2018 Best Executive MBA program rankings.

Chapman University EMBA

Gender Balance: 33% Female to 67% Male

The Chapman University EMBA program is 21 months long and known for offering a curriculum designed for mid-career managers and executives. Meeting every week on Thursday evenings and Saturday morning, the EMBA is ideal for busy professionals who want to gain a competitive marketplace advantage without sacrificing their lifestyle. That’s probably why the program ranks #19 for life balance.

As for why Chapman University ranks as a top EMBA program for gender balance, the school has very specific gender-inclusive policies, including hosting events focused on women. For example, in April, there’s the Annual Women in Focus Conference, which features prominent and talented businesswomen who are risk takers and unafraid to challenge themselves. There’s also the Women of Chapman groups that’s been around for nearly 50 years and has given over $.5.5 million in gifts to charities.

CU EMBA

Gender Balance: 29.8% Female to 70.2% Male

The University of Colorado EMBA program is well known by working professionals as a solid choice for education. The School takes a collaborative approach to study where students work in study groups through the 21 months to develop peer-on-peer connections and facilitate classroom learning. On aspect of the CU EMBA that really stands out is the ten-day international business trip that takes students around the world to learn about global economic issues hands-on, outside of the curriculum.

When it comes to women, CU is leading the way toward gender parity in business programs with their new initiative End the Gap by 2020. The goal of this program is to inspire women to attend business school until classrooms are 50/50.

Efforts to increase women in the CU EMBA program have included hiring more female faculty, connecting to the female business community, and offering more resources for women. “It’s important for women to understand that there are unlimited career possibilities available to people with business degrees—they don’t have to become investment bankers,” said Sharon Matusik, interim dean of the CU Business School.

Arizona Thunderbird Executive Master of Global Management

Gender Balance: 33% Female to 67% Male

The Arizona Thunderbird Executive Master of Global Management program is ranked #1 for global experience and third for prestige. Only 17 months in length, the program offers classes on weekends for professionals who want to broaden their global outlook and business experience. Each class in this unique program is taught from the global perspective, making it ideal for students who want to work internationally and cross-culturally.

As far as the program’s efforts to advance gender balance, it has a variety of programs focused on promoting women. For example, its home to the WE Americas Accelerator, which is an innovative program designed to drive women-owned business in Central America. Then there’s the fact that ASU has pushed to hire more women with approximately 45.4% of faculty being female.

Executive MBA at Loyola Marymount University

Gender Balance: 48% Female to 52% Male

The EMBA at Loyola ranked ninth for prestige thanks to its 20-month program designed for accomplished professionals looking to take their career to the next level. Students meet on Saturdays and spend their time in a collaborative learning environment that includes an international trip to a major business center around the globe. The program is best known for its experiential learning and small classes sizes that lead to a diverse array of industries.

In its goal to reach 50/50 gender balance, Loyola focuses on “inclusive excellence,” the idea that all genders and cultures are fundamental to the school. That’s why there’s a Committee on the Status of Women, that’s wholly dedicated to addressing issues and concerns for women students, staff, and faculty on campus with the aim to support, empower, and improve.

Pace University Lubin School of Business EMBA & Business Masters in Finance

EMBA Gender Balance: 50% Female to 50% Male

The Pace University Lubin School of Business EMBA offers a 20-month flexible format that’s ideal for mid-career executives. The format allows students to strategically manage their learning so that they can earn their degree without sacrificing their work or life. Students meet for ten, weekend residencies spaced ten weeks apart to learn about the evolving business landscape via projects where you “learn by doing.”

Masters of Finance Gender Balance: 41% Female to 59% Male

The Lubin School of Business Master in Finance is a 12-month program that meets just seven weekends spaced eight weeks apart. Students in this program walk away with a deeper understanding of the business financial environment. They complete team-based, real-life projects that turn financial theory into daily practice on topics such as corporate finance, blockchain technology, risk management, and big data.

As for why both Pace University programs have performed so well when it comes to ranking at EMBA programs for gender-balanced cohorts, it has a lot to do with the University’s focus on gender parity. There are various events specifically for women such as the Women Entrepreneurs Roundtable and the Women in Business Steering Committee.

Pace University is also home to gender-specific studies—such as the J.D. concentration in Women, Gender, & the Law—which tend to bleed over to the rest of the university. Including the creation of a Pace University chapter of HeForShe, which pushes the conversation around gender quality.


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.