Joint Executive MBAs: What is the ROI? |

Joint Executive MBAs: What is the ROI?

By Ann Graham

Updated August 12, 2016 Updated August 12, 2016

Executive MBA programs, especially those with a global perspective, place a particular emphasis on building an international network and relationships. This goal is reflected not only in the programs’ curriculum, and some programs’ joint degrees, but also in their very structure, up to an institutional level. Of utmost importance for an EMBA is the return on investment (ROI) from international partnerships’ programs.

Executive MBA business partnerships

Earlier this year, The University of Ottawa in Canada announced it was partnering with the Queensland University of Technology in Australia to offer two three-year, part-time degrees in complex program leadership and strategic procurement, with a particular focus on skills needed in the defense sector. This is the latest example of a long line of EMBA partnerships.
Such international network relationships are something from which the schools and their EMBA students certainly see a return on investment; a quick glance at EMBA business school rankings reveals the top spots in the 2013 Financial Times Executive MBA rankings are all claimed by partnership programs.

Entering into business partnerships to offer an Executive MBA provides an institution with a number of practical benefits. By pooling resources, schools in different regions can:
•    Create new synergies that are more appropriate to a global outlook
•    Ease financial and administrative burdens on one single institution, thus increasing the ROI
•    Offer students the chance to immerse themselves in a truly global business environment
•    Target a wider geographic range of candidates

But what are the benefits for the candidates themselves?

EMBA student ROI

EMBA programs offered in partnership use multiple global facilities, and have international outlooks and approaches to business woven into their curriculum; two aspects which candidates can’t help but benefit from when they build an international network. Candidates on a joint EMBA program also have the opportunity to experience first-hand how business operates in different regions and cultures around the world, thus broadening their perspective, while at the same time earning a joint degree from some programs’ partnerships.

However, such experience does come at a cost. Candidates on a joint EMBA program must be willing - and able - to do a considerable amount of travelling, and the overall cost of this type of EMBA degree should be carefully weighed up against the return on investment (ROI).

It is also important for candidates considering a jointly-offered Executive MBA to investigate what type of partnership the institutions have, whether the program is offered as a joint degree (and from which institution) or a dual degree, whether all institutions involved are accredited, and what the respective reputations are of the partnership institutions.

Joint degree EMBAs top business school rankings

As mentioned earlier, the top spots in the 2013 Financial Times Executive MBA business school rankings are held by those programs offered jointly. The top three ranked joint-EMBAs are:

1.    Kellogg-HKUST - This program is tailored primarily to the needs of senior executives in Asia and offers traditional management education with a particular focus on behavior in learning organizations, international management, and managing groups of cooperating firms. The program’s strength lies in its global reach. With a broad international network of partners in North America, Europe and Asia, the program encourages a ‘global classroom’ where students can complete up to two electives at a partner school abroad. Successful Kellogg-HKUST EMBA graduates come away with a joint degree from the US institution at Northwestern University and Hong Kong’s University of Science and Technology Business School (HKUST).

2.    TIEMBA - A collaboration between China’s Tsinghua SEM and France’s renowned INSEAD has the ambitious goal of providing students with a ‘fast track between China and the world’. The TIEMBA focuses on the ever-increasing in significance of China in today’s economy as well as equipping students with the skills and knowledge to be successful in today’s global business environment. TIEMBA students have the opportunity to study on four campuses in Singapore, Beijing, Abu Dhabi and Fontainebleau, France. Upon graduation of the 18-month degree, students are awarded two EMBA degrees – one from each institution.

3.    Columbia & LBS - At rank number three is the Executive MBA partnership between New York’s Columbia Business School and the UK’s London Business School. Bringing together two business school rankings powerhouses, this EMBA program provides an Americas/Europe focus and, in partnership with a third institution – HKU Business School – the EMBA Global Asia. As with other partnership programs, students have a range of options in terms of where to study and are offered a broad and comprehensive global outlook in their business studies.

This article was originally published in August 2014 . It was last updated in August 2016

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Written by

Ann is the senior features writer for the QS TopExecutive Guide and anything Executive MBA related.

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