What makes the EMBA programme at Wharton the best in North America? | TopMBA.com

What makes the EMBA programme at Wharton the best in North America?

By Niamh O

Updated July 6, 2021 Updated July 6, 2021

Campuses in two locations, lifelong learning, and highly experienced members of the executive MBA cohort are just a few of the reasons that make The Wharton School's EMBA programme so popular.

Released today, the QS Global Executive MBA Rankings 2021 reveal the top executive MBA programmes both globally and regionally, helping you find the perfect EMBA programme for you, wherever in the world you might like to study.

The Wharton School’s executive MBA programme reigns supreme yet again as the number one programme in the QS Executive MBA Rankings by Region 2021: North America.

Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the school received extremely high scores across all ranking indicators – especially for employer reputation, thought leadership and career outcomes.

TopMBA caught up with the executive MBA team at Wharton, to learn about the importance of EMBA programmes today and what makes the school a top provider of executive education.

The importance of EMBA programmes today

Taking that leap in executive education is one way to see participants progress up the career ladder to c-level positions should they wish. But why are EMBA programmes important today?

Wharton’s EMBA team said: “EMBA programmes are more important than ever. Employers are able to retain their employees while they gain new skills and knowledge. EMBA programmes enable employees to earn an MBA without disrupting their career progression or giving up their salary.

“This past year has taught us that we can’t control the world, but we can control how we deal with it. Preparing yourself to be ready to deal with uncertainty and change is a critical skill for leaders who want to make a bigger impact.”

More than just an executive MBA

Students can sometimes find the choice between undertaking an MBA or an EMBA a difficult one. However, executive MBAs are often aimed at professionals who have been in the business world for longer, and hope to move into c-suite positions.

But Wharton’s executive team said Wharton EMBA students earn the full Wharton MBA – making the decision-making process a little easier.

The team said: “The programme mirrors Wharton’s full-time program in terms of the number of credits, classroom hours, and faculty. In no way is it MBA light.

“The Wharton EMBA is one of the most robust and academically rigorous programmes with the largest selection of elective choices.

“Students have opportunities for hands-on experiential learning through week-long courses around the globe, leadership development, independent study projects, and individual career and executive coaching -- everything you would expect to find in a full-time MBA programme and more.” 

Why students choose Wharton’s EMBA

Wharton’s executive MBA team says there are many things that make Wharton’s EMBA program unique, but there are four main takeaways that students often highlight:

  1. Campuses in both Philadelphia and San Francisco, and second-year students can take classes on either or both coasts
  2. Wharton embraces lifelong learning; EMBA students can return at any point in their career to audit most elective choices at no charge
  3. The experience level of Wharton’s cohorts. EMBA students learn from highly experienced peers as well as from the faculty and coursework
  4. The residential component and the diversity of Wharton’s cohorts provides a unique and supportive learning environment. Students from a wide range of backgrounds, industries, life experiences, and geographic areas immerse themselves in the programme together every other weekend, sharing different perspectives and creating tight-knit bonds that last for the rest of their lives.  

Changes made over the past year

The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down, with the way we live, learn, and work changing forever.

Business schools and universities across the globe had to scramble to create brand-new delivery modules in the new virtual world we found ourselves.

Wharton’s EMBA team said they achieved executing Wharton’s challenging programme while students remained safely at home. by faculty setting up remote studios to emulate the classroom experience.

From professional sound systems and lighting to cameras allowing them to walk around their space similar to a real classroom, faculty at Wharton made the new online mode work.

The executive MBS team said: “For example, tools such as polling and the ability to view all students’ faces on the screen at the same time versus looking only at one section of a live classroom or an individual speaker have proven beneficial.

“Professors held virtual office hours, talks, course reviews, and advising sessions remotely. We will use learnings from this time period moving forward to further enrich students’ classroom experiences.”

Qualities Wharton’s EMBA team look for

Wharton’s EMBA team says the business school expects candidates to be professionally and academically well-rounded.

The team said: “We look to see what each candidate can contribute to a class in terms of experiences and perspectives. This doesn’t mean the same thing for every student in terms of transcripts and resumes.

“Some students may have had challenges in college or lacked access to opportunities and then excelled in their careers. Others may include years of post-graduate studies in their professional experience, coming to the programme with a PhD or medical degree.”

The team says the EMBA programme is an inclusive one, welcoming students from all types of backgrounds, with applications reviewed holistically. The EMBA team added: “The thing all of our students share is that they are smart, yet humble and demonstrate a desire to make a positive difference in the world and the lives of others.”

Wharton’s admissions team says the EMBA cohort is very much a diverse one, with each candidate’s application considered as a matter of uniqueness. The team said: “This includes personal and professional experiences as well as academic, geographic, and cultural backgrounds, among other things. We believe that diversity adds to the learning experience for everyone.”

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

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), 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.  

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