Executive Education

Top 5 Online or Low-Residency EMBA Programs

virtual EMBA program

Thinking about returning to pursue your Executive MBA can be a daunting task. You may worry about having to disrupt your life to attend regular face-to-face classes far from your home. Alternately, you may find a particular program appealing but aren’t willing to move to another city to attend. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, your health and safety may also be a factor when deciding if and where to attend an EMBA program.

If these sound like some of the hesitations you have, you’re not alone. Lots of professionals aren’t willing to completely alter their lives to go back to school. Luckily, you don’t have to. Many top EMBA programs have entirely online or hybrid online/low-residency course delivery options available.

There are several key differences between these types of programs. An online EMBA means that you’ll never have to come to campus; instead, all of your courses, interactions with your professors and mentors, and engagement with your classmates will take place virtually. A hybrid online/low-residency EMBA program is similar, except you’ll have regular in-person class sessions with your professors and peers. These “residencies” may take place regularly on weekends, during longer, multi-week sessions, or in a combination of both.

Here, we’ll talk about five of the best EMBA programs that offer these alternative course delivery options.

SP Jain School of Global Management 

SP Jain School of Global Management has campuses around the world but also has an entirely-online option. The 18th-month program has been designed for online learners using Online via Engaged Learning Online Technology. The idea is that you can experience a classroom environment no matter where you’re at.

For instance, a professor can stand at a podium and see her students from around their world on video cam. Then, she can answer questions, ask for student responses, and take feedback cues, just like she would in a face-to-face classroom.

Additionally, you’ll be put into peer groups, where you can study with other students around the world. After all, in an EMBA program, you’re not just learning from your professors; another benefit is engaging with other students who are industry leaders in their own right.

Auburn Executive MBA

Auburn’s EMBA combines the flexibility of online learning with the benefits of in-person sessions. After all, while it’s convenient to take classes online, it can be difficult to replicate the ease of talking with your peers and professors in less-formal settings.

That’s why Auburn’s EMBA program brings you to campus five times over the course of the program for week-long classroom/workshop learning. Students stay together on campus at The Hotel at Auburn University, where they can meet their peers and grow more connected during each one-week session. Then, they can use these relationships to stay motivated and inspired for the online portion of the degree program.

The Cornell Executive MBA Americas

The Executive MBA Americas, a partnership between Cornell University and Queen’s University, has one of the most unique course deliveries of any EMBA program. Every other weekend, you’ll take classes at one of the school’s distance “boardrooms” virtual meeting skillsaround the world. Cornell has 20 boardrooms in major cities across the United States, Canada, Peru, Chile, and Mexico.

Then, throughout your program, you’ll travel to four residential sessions to meet your classmates and instructors. The first of these takes place at Cornell’s Ithaca, New York location and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario locations for two weeks. Sessions #2 and #3 are five days long and meet in Toronto and New York City, respectively. The fourth in-person session is 10 days long and meets again at Cornell University and Queen’s University.

Michigan State University Broad College of Business Executive MBA

While most traditional EMBA programs require students to attend each weekend, MSU Broad’s EMBA program has a more flexible option, as well. In this delivery option, you’ll only attend in-person sessions on the weekend once per month. During those sessions, you’ll experience team-based learning and interact with your instructors. Outside of those sessions, you’ll have online learning options that let you complete your coursework at your own pace.

Oklahoma Price EMBA in Energy

A program that is uniquely-focused on energy can be a particular benefit to students in this sector. The University of Oklahoma’s EMBA in Energy adds even more value by being a primarily-online program with three week-long residencies throughout the program. Three times during your coursework, you will visit international energy leaders and global companies in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. These residencies not only teach students about the global market but also give you opportunity to interact with your classmates and professors face to face.


Ivy Exec has compiled information about the classroom experience for more than 140 EMBA programs around the world. Using our 2020 Best Executive MBA Programs rankings, you can consider not only career advancement and prestige, but also your options for program delivery. This way, you can weigh the pros and cons of different EMBA options most effectively based on your own goals and needs.

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