Executive MBA Programs: Columbia Business School vs. NYU Stern | TopMBA.com

Executive MBA Programs: Columbia Business School vs. NYU Stern

By Karen Turtle

Updated June 23, 2021 Updated June 23, 2021

The QS EMBA Rankings 2021 placed Columbia and NYU Stern's executive MBA programmes in the top 10 of the North America leader board (ranked eighth and ninth respectively). With both schools sharing the same city and elite status, what are the key factors that distinguish each executive MBA programme offering? Here are some differences to take note of, drawn in part from data supplied by the QS EMBA 2021 Rankings. 

How Elite? 

Columbia Business School, in eighth position, is one place ahead of NYU Stern in the QS 2021 EMBA Rankings for North America as opposed to last year’s rankings, where the two were in ninth and eighth position respectively. One reason Columbia Business School has gained a spot compared to last year is its performance in the Employer Reputation ranking indicator, on which 30 percent of an EMBA programme’s ranking score is based. 

Nevertheless, the tables do turn in the Executive Profile and Career Outcomes ranking indicators, which combined are worth 35 percent of the overall ranking score. NYU Stern surpassed Columbia in both categories.  

For candidates considering applying for an executive MBA at either school, the fees at Columbia Business School are currently listed at US$219,720, while full tuition at NYU Stern costs US$204,000. 

The Executive MBA Experience 

An executive MBA candidate considering either of these schools will first have to look at their work timetable. The Columbia Business School executive MBA programme has different formats, allowing candidates to opt for their preferred schedule, such as taking classes every Saturday, every other Friday and Saturday or even in five-to-six-day-blocks held once a month. NYU Stern, meanwhile, offers a 22-month programme with classes every other Friday and Saturday, beginning in either January or August. 

Once enrolled, you will be thriving as part of a community of peers, be it at NYU Stern's bohemian Greenwich Village in Lower Manhattan, or Columbia's Business School's location in Morningside Heights, Upper Manhattan. Each university will have its established network of well-connected alumni across the city. As such, classes are likely to be peppered with lectures from top financiers, bankers or entrepreneurs, taking time out to share their expertise. 

In terms of cohort diversity, Columbia received a much higher score than NYU Stern. 

Both institutions teach the essential core EMBA courses and offer a vast array of electives and specialisations with which students can build and tailor expertise. 

Post-Executive MBA Career Outcomes 

Be it at Columbia or at Stern, the opportunities you will have made available to you, because it's New York, and because you are a student at a top-tier business school will be countless – the key is to take them. The largest employers in the city will include banks and corporations, such as PwC, Deloitte, and Goldman Sachs – each of which have headquarters in New York. 

Lastly, the schools' alumni networks: Columbia Business School says it has 46,000 alumni worldwide in its MBA talent pool, encompassing MBA and EMBA graduates. NYU Stern, for its part, draws candidates’ attention to an overall alumni network of over 110,000. While an international network of highly placed contacts is undeniably important, however, in the case of two such prestigious and renowned schools, one group is unlikely to hold any real advantage over the other. 

Both schools can offer prospective students an excellent education through their executive MBA programmes and valuable contacts, especially within New York City. Choosing which business school is best is a subjective decision that needs to be based on preferences; how international or intimate you want your class to be, for example, where you want to be situated, who is in which alumni network, members of faculty you might be keen to study under, and so on.   

This article was originally published in March 2017 and was most recently updated in June 2021 to include new rankings data. 

This article was originally published in March 2017 . It was last updated in June 2021

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Written by

A content writer with a background in higher education, Karen holds an MA in modern languages from the University of St Andrews. Her interests include languages and literature, current affairs and film. ​


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