Executive Education

8 Research-Driven Executive Education Programs

executive education

When you evaluate an executive education program, there are many factors to consider. For most students, one of the most important considerations is how the school stays ahead of industry developments, as well as how those findings are incorporated into the curriculum.

If this type of advancement is important to you, find an EMBA program with research opportunities and faculty publications. Research universities are forward-thinking and prepare students to enter the workforce ready to innovate.

Knowing what’s going on in your industry is crucial to keep up with the market pace. Understanding things like consumer habits, developments in technological offerings, insights into cultural phenomena, and more all play a critical role in developing a well-rounded worldview and setting yourself up for an executive role. By opting for an EMBA program that has the same ideals and goals, you’ll be one step ahead of other graduates, giving you the tools and edge needed to increase your career trajectory.

The following guide outlines a few of the top executive education programs that center their curriculum around ongoing research.

8 Research Universities With Cutting-Edge Executive Education Programs

1. Rutgers University EMBA

Rutgers University’s executive MBA program is backed by extensive research covering every topic from pharmaceutical management and social innovation to fashion and real estate. Students have access to on-campus research labs and centers, which are regularly updated with the latest industry findings and materials, to further their education and aid in their coursework.

The school also offers the Capstone Consulting Project to give cohorts an opportunity to conduct their own studies. The culminating project, which is worth six academic credits, involves studying a specific vertical of the student’s choice. At the end of the program, students write a paper and present on their findings.

2. Pace University’s Masters in Finance for Executives

Pace University’s Masters in Finance program involves a focused six-module curriculum; the final module requires students to conduct a research project based on the theories and evidence presented in the weeks prior. Cohorts will study concepts like fixed income analysis and investments and portfolio theories, in addition to engaging in interdisciplinary studies and experiential assignments.

Faculty members at the Pace University Lubin Business School have recent bylines in Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNN, and more. Their published work addresses topics related to the California AB 5 legislation, blockchain, investor and consumer behavior, and accounting fraud—just to name a few.

3. The University of Oklahoma Price Executive MBA

The University of Oklahoma Price’s EMBA program is the best resource for understanding the evolving energy sector. To ensure cohorts understand global initiatives, the university offers a combination of international modules and residency weeks where students can study new technology on-site. The University of Oklahoma Price also hosts an annual Energy Symposium, which features experts from industry giants, management consulting firms, and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The following courses are particularly involved with research statistics and case studies:

  • Economics of Energy Value Chain
  • Technology & Innovation
  • Data, Analytics, & Decision-Making

4. University of Notre Dame EMBA

executive educationThe faculty at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business set this program apart from other executive education courses. Through their tireless work and research, instructors offer cohorts world-class findings and data. The faculty at Southbend consists of three award-winning data scientists and a behavioral research program director, all of whom have expertise in structured and unstructured data analysis, procurement, and management, as well as research methods and field experiments.

The University of Notre Dame also has a behavioral lab where students can conduct experiments and access high-performance processors.

5. Chapman University EMBA

The Chapman University executive education program offers a number of research centers for students, including:

  • The Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research, which generates economic forecast data and draws from 3,000 local business experts.
  • The Institute for the Study of Religion, Economics, and Society, which facilitates interdisciplinary research between leaders in business and the humanities.

The school also participates in the ACG Cup and the CFA Research Challenge, which are case-guided competitions with international exposure.

6. SP Jain Executive MBA

SP Jain’s executive MBA program offers a robust curriculum full of courses designed to introduce students to data-driven business strategy, including:

  • Research Methodology
  • Operations Research
  • Global Immersion Project

An Applied Business Research (ABR) assignment is also incorporated into the curriculum and requires students to conduct empirical research with actionable takeaways that would be suitable to use in a consulting report. In 2014, SP Jain opened the i2i Innovation & Insights Centre, which is an international hub for research and consulting.

7. Broad Executive MBA at Michigan State University

Backed by a faculty with firsthand experience, the Broad Executive MBA at Michigan State University is a perfect opportunity for those students seeking a grounded and insightful approach. The school offers seven research centers and institutes, including the Burgess Institute For Entrepreneurship And Innovation and the Institute For Business Research.

To ensure their faculty can facilitate an in-depth and nuanced discussion about the challenges that business leaders face today, MSU launched the Broad Integrative Fellows (BIF) program. Designed to enhance integrative thinking, the system pairs instructors with business leaders for interviews and field visits.

8. University of Connecticut EMBA

Executive MBA students at the University of Connecticut have the opportunity to work alongside business executives and faculty to solve real problems. Cohorts have access to a trading floor designed like Wall Street’s, real-time data from the stock markets, and high-tech classrooms and computer equipment. The program also offers a tech-forward curriculum, featuring courses like managing information technology and leveraging digital technologies.


Learn more about executive education programs worldwide by reviewing Ivy Exec’s annual program ranking.


With the right research, education, and resources, the world is at your fingertips. Getting a head start at a school with an executive education program designed to provide thoughtful and accurate insights is the best way to further your career path and give yourself a competitive edge.

About the Author

Isabel Blake is a writer, editor, strategist, and content manager. She works with businesses to develop meaningful connections with their clients through targeted, impactful content and helps working individuals further their careers with effective, actionable advice.