The Top 10 Executive MBA Programs for Proportion of Female Students 2019

The Top 10 Executive MBA Programs for Proportion of Female Students 2019

According to the Executive MBA Council, just 30 percent of all executive MBA students last year were women. This number may sound low, but it’s a record high, and although there’s a long way to go until gender parity, several EMBA programs deserve credit for increasing their proportion of female students.

There are usually several factors linked with gender disparity on EMBA programs. Most commonly cited is that family and household duties often fall to women, so the work-life balance can make it more difficult for women to pursue an EMBA.

Another potential setback is that programs are often extremely expensive. As the gender pay gap means women generally earn less than men, high fees associated with EMBA programs may be more daunting for women.

As well as ranking the best EMBA programs around the world, the QS EMBA Rankings 2019 also collected data on the percentage of women enrolled on each of the ranked executive MBA programs.

You can see the overall Global EMBA rankings here, and the Joint Rankings here.

QS Global EMBA Rankings 2019 – Top 10 for Proportion of Women




Female Students (%)








Hong Kong



Miami (FL)



Phoenix (AZ)



College Park (MD)



Barcelona, Madrid



Beijing, Singapore, Fontainebleau, Abu Dhabi



Kingston (ON)



Johannesburg, Durban



10) Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria

University of Pretoria

Proportion of women: 42 percent

Global EMBA ranking: 48

Kicking off the top 10 is the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) at the University of Pretoria, where 42 percent of students on the Executive MBA program are female. The program achieved perfect scores for career outcomes and diversity.

The 24-month program has both evening and weekend classes. In fact, it’s the only South African EMBA program to appear in the global rankings. The average participant has 12 years’ work experience, with six years’ managerial experience.

The total tuition fees are R260,700 (approx. US$18,660), plus an additional US$4,620 to US$6,820 for a compulsory global module.

9) Smith School of Business at Queen’s University

Smith School of Business

Proportion of women: 44 percent

Global EMBA ranking: =37

Next in the table is the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University, which achieved a perfect score for diversity and high scores in other ranking indicators, particularly career outcomes.

The 16-month program is taught on Fridays and Saturdays every other week. You can learn from anywhere in Canada, not just Queen’s Kingston campus, studying at one of their Boardroom Learning Centers or online at home or the office as part of a ‘virtual boardroom’.

The average age of participants is 38, with 15 years’ work experience. Total program fees are CND$102,000 (approx. US$76,250).

=7) Tsinghua/INSEAD

INSEAD (Fontainebleau campus)

Proportion of women: 45 percent

Joint EMBA ranking: 5

Tsinghua University School of Economics & Management and INSEAD’s (pictured) joint program scored highly across all ranking indicators, including a perfect score for employer reputation.

The 22-month program has tuition fees of US$125,000, with 12 weeks of on-campus classes equating to 59 days out of the office. Participants will spend five weeks in Beijing, three weeks in Singapore, two weeks in Fontainebleau, one week in Abu Dhabi and another in Shenzhen.

The most recent cohort has an average age of 37, with 14 years’ work experience. Financial services are the most common background industry (29 percent), but healthcare and technology are also well represented (13 percent and 11 percent).




Proportion of women: 45 percent

Global EMBA ranking: 17

The Executive MBA program at ESADE achieved a perfect score for diversity and very high scores for employer reputation and career outcomes.

The 16-month program has weekly, biweekly or monthly learning options, as well as four international weeks across four continents (South America, North America, Europe and Asia). Tuition fees for the program are €64,000 (approx. US$72,120).

As well as having 45 percent female students, 80 percent of ESADE students are international, explaining their perfect score for diversity. Participants have an average of 11 years’ work experience and 40 percent have c-suite experience.

6) Robert H. Smith School of Business, Maryland University

University of Maryland

Proportion of women: 46 percent

Global EMBA ranking: 53

The Smith School of Business at Maryland University are committed to gender equality, with their ‘50/50 by 2020’ initiative pledging to achieve gender parity in their MBA programs. Their Executive MBA achieved a perfect score for career outcomes and high scores for executive profile and diversity.

The 19-month program holds classes all day Friday and Saturday every other weekend, with two one-week residencies at the beginning and end of the program. Fees for the program are US$129,900.

Participants have an average age of 39, with 17 years’ work experience (10.8 of which are managerial). Technology, consulting and financial services are among the most popular background industries.

5) Eller College of Management, University of Arizona

Arizona (Eller)

Proportion of women: 52 percent

Global EMBA ranking: 101+

Eller College of Management, University of Arizona is the first in our countdown to have a higher proportion of women than men in their Executive MBA cohort with 52 percent female students.

The 21-month program is based in Phoenix, Arizona. Classes meet Fridays and Saturdays every four weeks, beginning with a four day launch and including a five-day entrepreneurship immersion week and a 10-day international trip.

Participants on the program have an average of 11.4 years’ work experience. Fees for the program are US$68,000, which includes tuition, class materials, most meals and some accommodations.  

4) Chapman Graduate School of Business, Florida International University

Florida International University

Proportion of women: 57 percent

Global EMBA ranking: 70

In fourth place is the Executive MBA program at the Chapman Graduate School of Business at Florida International University. FIU achieved a very high score for diversity, plus high scores for executive profile and career outcomes.

Located in Miami, Florida, the 16-month program features a week-long international residency through the EMBA Consortium for Global Business Innovation, with locations including Brazil, South Africa, Italy and India.

Fees are US$48,000 for Florida residents and US$52,000 for non-residents and international students. Participants have an average of 17 years’ work experience and 55 percent are international students.

=2) HKU/Fudan

Hong Kong University

Proportion of women: 60 percent

Joint EMBA ranking: 13

Among the top three EMBA programs with the highest proportion of female students in our rankings is the joint offering from Fudan University School of Management and The University of Hong Kong (pictured). This program scored particularly highly for thought leadership and career outcomes.

Taught in English and based in Shanghai, the program takes between two to four years to complete. Classes are taught in four-day blocks, Thursday to Sunday, once a month.

The total program cost is RMB436,000 (approx. US$65,030). As well as having 60 percent female students, 36 percent of the class are international. The average participant has six years’ work experience.

=2) Henley Business School, University of Reading

Henley Business School

Proportion of women: 60 percent

Global EMBA ranking: 72

Henley Business School also made its way into a top three position for recruiting female students, achieving a perfect score for diversity and high scores for executive profile and career outcomes.

Located in Henley-on-Thames (just outside of London), the program takes between 21 and 27 months to complete. Classes are taught in three to four-day intensive workshops once a month, plus international trip options.

Fees for the program are £39,500 (approx. US$51,410). Participants have an average of 17 years’ work experience, 11 of which are managerial. The diverse class profile boasts 60 percent female students and 33 percent international students.

1) BI Norwegian/Fudan

Fudan University

Proportion of women: 62 percent

Joint EMBA ranking: 16

The top ranked program for proportion of women is the joint offering from BI Norwegian Business School and Fudan University (pictured), where 62 percent of its 126 students are female. The program achieved particularly high scores for employer reputation and thought leadership.

The two-year program consists of 15 four-day modules. All 11 core modules are taught in Shanghai at Fudan, except for the final module which is taught in Oslo, Norway. Participants also complete four elective modules, with some international trip options.

Participants have an average of 11.5 years’ work experience (6.3 managerial), and 20 percent have c-suite experience. Fees for the program are RMB338,000 (approx. US$50,400) which includes tuition, class materials and accommodation for the final module in Oslo.

This article is based on 2019 data, check out the latest Global Executive MBA programs rankings here.

Written by Julia Gilmore

Julia is a writer for TopMBA.com, publishing articles for business students and graduates across the world. A native Londoner, she holds an MSc in Marketing Strategy & Innovation from Cass Business School and a BA in Classical Studies & English from Newcastle University.

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