Executive Education

EMBA Graduate Programs That Will Help You Pivot Your Career

Graduate EMBA Program

EMBA students acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the competitive business world of the 21st-century. Employers perceive these graduates to be more capable of handling the ever-changing economy and increasing interconnectivity between national markets—which means the degree pays off in real capital and opportunities to advance.

On average, EMBA graduates see a 14.6% salary increase, and 41% of students also earned a promotion within a year of graduation. If you’re seeking new challenges and responsibility at work, or want to move into a new sector, an EMBA could be the key to advancing your career to the next chapter.

Industry Specialization

Certain EMBA graduate programs provide specialized instruction in one or two sectors. Others partner with companies that help define an industry, which means students benefit by learning from examples that relate to their chosen field. EMBA programs are also unique because of their emphasis on peer learning—it can be helpful to look at the industry backgrounds that are represented among the student body if you want to evaluate the types of topics that will be addressed in the classroom. All these factors contribute to an EMBA program’s industry specialization.


Graduate EMBA programThe Weill Cornell Executive MBA in Healthcare Leadership at Cornell University prepares leaders in the healthcare sector. Student testimonials speak to the collaborative nature of the courses and Cornell’s role in preparing students for future challenges. New York City-based students take weekend classes at the Tata Innovation Center on Roosevelt Island and work closely with the New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Instructors include hospital administrators, practitioners, and policymakers to give students a well-rounded perspective on the healthcare industry. In addition to earning an Executive MBA, graduates also receive an MS in healthcare leadership.

On average, students report a 50% salary increase after graduating from Ohio State University’s Fisher Executive MBA. Up to 40% of the cohort includes students who work in healthcare, and many graduates continue their careers with an affiliated organization, such as the OSU Wexner Medical Center, Cardinal Health, OhioHealth, or Procter & Gamble. The program fits into students’ schedules by offering three consecutive days of on-campus education once a month.


Michigan State University’s Broad Executive MBA focuses on teaching skills that students can immediately apply to their work. The program has a particular emphasis on manufacturing and engineering, preparing professionals who need to devise and incorporate a wide array of technologies into their operations. Classes meet on Friday evening and all day Saturday every other weekend for 20 months. About 20% of the students at Michigan State University’s EMBA graduate program have a background in engineering.

Another manufacturing-focused EMBA is offered at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. Attracting 13% of its students from the manufacturing sector, UNC EMBA graduates boast an impressive 90% salary increase after completing the 20-month program. Ivy Exec members also rate the Kenan-Flagler EMBA graduate program #11 in the world for career advancement opportunities and #13 for the strength of their curriculum.

Government/Public Sector

Auburn University’s Executive MBA gives students the tools to advance their careers in the public sector over the course of 21 months. One of Auburn EMBA’s stand-out features is their hybrid approach to on-campus work, distance learning, and international experience. The Auburn University executive education program includes the highest enrollment rate for students within the public sector; on average, 24% of incoming students work in a government position.

Kennesaw State University’s Executive MBA balances rigor with affordability, with students paying considerably less in annual tuition than in other domestic EMBA graduate programs. That doesn’t mean the program sacrifices innovation for students seeking advancement in the public sector, however. Instead, Kennesaw’s EMBA gears 40% of its coursework on experiential education, including a 12-day consulting trip to a South American program. About 12% of incoming students work in a government position.


Graduate EMBA programThe University of Oklahoma’s Executive MBA in Energy is different from other programs because of its 15-month, primarily-online delivery. It’s also centered exclusively around the energy sector, with course offerings like Derivative & Energy Trading, Energy Economics, and Alternative Energy. Mid-career energy professionals learn skills for a changing world and develop an international competency through the program’s International Module—a study abroad trip to Europe.

One-on-One Career Guidance

While EMBA programs emphasizing particular fields can be useful for many, some students want additional guidance before they narrow their focus to one sector. An EMBA graduate program with robust one-on-one career guidance can be particularly useful for students who want to shift into a new industry or specialty position.

Cornell University’s Executive MBA Metro NY program emphasizes one-on-one career counseling to help students identify their interests and develop a new career direction. Dina McAfee, a graduate of the program, talks about how Cornell Metro NY helped her develop professionally:

I’ve been in the same industry and job for a very long time, and have become so focused on what I’m doing. So, when I decided to do this program, one of the thoughts that came to my head was: I’m going to be taking stats and accounting and operations. I’m going to be doing all of these things that I may have never done or heard of before.

Ultimately, that’s the goal of an EMBA program—to introduce students to new ideas and strategies that help them develop into better business leaders. Classes are taught by Cornell faculty on Saturdays and Sundays in scenic Upstate New York.

Pivoting Into an International Role

According to the Financial Times, many students enter an EMBA to develop stronger global competencies to succeed in an increasingly connected world. Though many EMBAs include a study abroad component, the following programs are wholly focused on preparing students for international business. 

International EMBA Graduate Programs

The SP Jain School of Global Management has campuses in Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore, and Sydney. The biggest advantage to the SP Jain Executive MBA is its emphasis on creating skillsets with a global focus. It also introduces students to an international network of peers, with the majority of its cohort coming from countries outside the United States. The EMBA in Dubai also offers opportunities to specialize in one of the following concentrations: marketing, operations, finance, or general management.

The Columbia/LBS EMBA-Global Americas and Europe Joint EMBA may be the most unique program on our list. A joint EMBA developed in partnership between Columbia University and the London Business School, this program lets students take classes in four- or five-day chunks alternating between New York City and London each month. Furthermore, students can undertake projects with the EMBA’s partners in China, Chile, Greece, Russia, and elsewhere.

Another innovative program is INSEAD’s Global Executive MBA (GEMBA). While studying at “the Business School for the World,” GEMBA students take classes on all three of the school’s campuses in France, Singapore, and Abu Dhabi. By the second half of the 14- to 17-month program, the GEMBA cohort studies together in person, generating a collaborative atmosphere that helps students grow their professional network abroad.

Take Control of Your Career Destination

Whether you’re looking to change direction or advance in your current industry, an EMBA will be lucrative for a variety of career paths. Ivy Exec’s 2019 Executive MBA Rankings can help you find the best graduate EMBA program to suit your needs. You can even search by categories like geographic region, global experience, life balance, career advancement, and prestige.

For a preview of what you’ll learn at a graduate EMBA program, register for upcoming webinars at Ivy Exec.


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