Top 10 Largest Executive MBA Cohorts in 2019 |

Top 10 Largest Executive MBA Cohorts in 2019

By Niamh O

Updated April 18, 2019 Updated April 18, 2019

It’s a well-known fact the Executive MBA is all about learning from one’s fellow students. Whether intimate or sprawling, both cohort sizes have advantages for the individual.

Within a larger class on your EMBA, there is a greater opportunity to meet more people from different walks of life, industries, and functionalities that could help you in the future. A bigger cohort also has the added bonus of enhanced networking opportunities – an imperative factor for your future career.

While it’s never likely to be a decisive factor when choosing an executive MBA program, the QS Global EMBA Rankings 2019 provide us with an opportunity to identify which of the world’s best EMBA programs have the largest cohorts.

Top 10 Largest Executive MBA Cohorts in 2019




Number of students


GIBS (University of Pretoria)

Johannesburg, Durban



Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC)

Santiago de Chile, Ciudad de Guatemala



IAE Business School, Universidad Austral

Pilar, Buenos Aires




Fontainebleau, Abu Dhabi, Singapore



The Wharton School

Philadelphia (PA), San Francisco (CA)




Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Canberra



Warwick Business School

London, Coventry



Strathclyde Business School

Athens, Zurich, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Bahrain



UCLA Anderson School of Management

Los Angeles (CA)



Columbia Business School

New York (NY)



=9) Columbia Business School

Columbia Business School

Number of students: 137

Global rank: 14th

Columbia’s EMBA scored very highly for employer reputation, thought leadership and diversity in this year’s ranking (read more about the methodology here). The flagship Executive MBA program can be completed either through the 20-month Friday/Saturday option, or the 24-month Saturday schedule.

Students enter the program with an average of nine years’ work experience, and four years’ managerial experience. 35 percent of the class are women and 28 percent are international students.

Fees for students this year are US$208,680, with a noted 20 percent salary increase for graduates when they return to work.

Every April, alumni celebrating their one, five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50+ anniversary years come back to campus for a weekend of faculty-moderated alumni sessions and social events.

=9) UCLA Anderson School of Management

UCLA Anderson

Number of students: 137

Global rank: =9th

LA’s Anderson School of Management also has 137 students enrolled in its cohort and ranked among the world’s top 10 executive MBA programs this year, scoring very highly for three indicators in particular: employer reputation, thought leadership, and career outcomes.

Anderson’s students average 14 years’ work experience and nine years’ management experience. 30 percent of the cohort have C-Suite experience. 

The cohort also boasts 14 nationalities, with 21 percent of students hailing from abroad. Nearly a third of the class (30 percent) are female.

As classes are on the weekends with flexible scheduling, you’ll complete your EMBA in just 22 months.

Anderson’s 39,000+ alumni network features graduates from 75+ countries and 25+ chapters, meaning attending events in your community, networking mixers, and career programming has never been easier.

Fees for the two-year program are estimated at US$163,000.

8) Strathclyde Business School

Strathclyde Business School By PaulShannonSBS - Own work, CC/

Number of students: 140

Global rank: 101+

Strathclyde promotes the ‘one MBA' approach, whereby students around the world on its EMBA program will learn the same topics in an international center as they would if based at the school’s Glasgow HQ.

Participants on the 30-month (part-time) program at Strathclyde have an average of 14 years’ work experience and eight years’ managerial experience, while 15 percent have C-Suite experience.

More than half the students are international, with 38 nationalities represented in the cohort. 35 percent of students are female.

Tuition for the program totals around £31,450 (US$41,027), with graduates noting a 25 percent salary increase.

7) Warwick Business School

Warwick Business School

Number of students: 168

Global rank: 27th

Established in 1986, Warwick’s two-year EMBA program (can be extended to four years) earned a perfect score this year for career outcomes, and students can expect an astonishing 114 percent salary increase after graduation.

Warwick’s global community is a network of over 45,000 graduates and students in over 140 countries. Students can also get involved in global CASE competitions with students from other leading global business schools.

Students on Warwick’s program have an average of 12 years’ work experience, nine years’ managerial experience, and 51 percent have C-Suite experience. 29 nationalities are represented in the cohort, and 33 percent of students are female. Tuition fees total £45,230 (US$58,919).

6) Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM)


Number of students: 232

Global rank: 40th

AGSM’s Executive MBA program scored well across all ranking indicators. Although based in Sydney, the university also has campuses in Perth, Melbourne and the country’s capital Canberra.

Program fees are AUD$85,095 (US$60,515). Students can complete the EMBA anywhere between two-and-a-half and seven years, with most students taking three-and-a-half years.

You can enter the program by having a strong undergraduate degree and at least two years’ prior managerial experience, or by having at least six years’ previous managerial experience. The class of 2018 had an average of 11 years’ work experience, with finance, consulting and technology being some of the most popular previous industries.

5) The Wharton School

The Wharton School

Number of students: 234

Global rank: 1st

The Wharton School’s Executive MBA was ranked as the best in the world in the 2019 QS Global EMBA Rankings and it has a significantly sized cohort, with 234 students enrolled. The program features a required one-week Global Business Week, and students can also take part in Global Modular Courses at locations such as Israel, India, Brazil and more.

Wharton’s Class of 2020 has an average age of 35, 11 years’ work experience, eight years’ managerial experience and a median GMAT score of 700.

Students entering Wharton’s two-year program in May 2019 will pay US$210,900, but no need to worry, as Wharton grads have noted a whopping 84 percent salary increase – not too bad a return for the best EMBA in the world!



Number of students: 235

Global rank: =9th

INSEAD’s Global Executive MBA program – launched in 2004 – scores very highly for employer reputation, thought leadership, and diversity.

The school’s 2019 class ranges in age between 33 and 43 years old, with an average of 13 years’ work experience and six years’ managerial experience. 17 percent of students have C-Suite experience.

There are 59 nationalities represented in the cohort, with 89 percent classed as international students. A quarter of all EMBA students are female.

The GEMBA Europe tuition fees for the 2020 class intake total €123,000 (US$138,493), with graduates reporting a 34 percent salary increase.

3) IAE Business School

IAE Business School by Universidad Austral/Wikimedia Commons

Number of students: 262

Global rank: 67th

With its home base in Pilar, Argentina, IAE’s EMBA program is one of the few from Latin America to be included in this year’s ranking. Placing 67th overall, it scored particularly well for executive profile and career outcomes.

Established in 1981, IAE has three formats on the program: Mondays’ EMBA IAE’s Pilar Campus offer classes once a week; BAires EMBA Buenos Aires City – Pilar feature classes in Buenos Aires on Tuesday and Saturdays in Pilar; Regional EMBA in Pilar is three days every three weeks.

On average, EMBA students have 10 years’ work experience, 10 years’ managerial experience, and a whopping 79 percent have C-Suite experience (the highest in the top 10). The cohort boasts 22 percent female students, 11 percent international students and five nationalities are represented.

2) Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile by Taecilla/Flickr

Number of students: 309

Global rank: 32nd

Another Latin American executive MBA program, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile scored highly for career outcomes and diversity in this year’s ranking.

Students here can make the most of a wide range of international options, including exchange possibilities, one-week programs, study trips, among others.

EMBA participants have an average of eight years’ work experience and eight years’ managerial work experience, while 38 percent have C-Suite experience.

Females make up a quarter of the 18-month program, and there are 12 different nationalities represented in the cohort (22 percent of the class are from abroad).

Of the business school’s 2018 students, professional backgrounds were varied, with agronomy, architecture, journalism and civil engineering just some of the fields students came to the program from.

1) Gordon Institute of Business and Science – University of Pretoria

Gordon Institute of Business and Science - University of Pretoria by Ossewa via Wikimedia Commons

Number of students: 337

Global rank: 48th

Situated in Sandton, South Africa, GIBS Business School has the largest EMBA class of any institution in the world – think of all the opportunities that come with a class of more than 300 students. It’s clear to see why the program earned a perfect score for career outcomes and diversity.

Close to half of this year’s cohort are women (42 percent), while 19 nationalities are represented in the cohort. In terms of experience, students have an average of 12 years’ work experience and six years’ managerial experience, while 15 percent have C-Suite experience.

With an estimated tuition fee of US$20,000-$30,000, and an expected salary increase of 57 percent, this program offers a decent return on investment and countless networking opportunities.

This article was originally published in April 2019 .

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (;, creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.