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Best Online Executive MBA Programs for 2023-2024

Best Online Executive MBA Programs for 2023-2024

Discover how you can advance your business career by earning an Executive Master’s of Business Administration (EMBA) through a quality, affordable, and convenient online program. This guide will introduce you to the best online EMBA programs and show you how to pick the right one for you.

If you’re a working business professional interested in turbo-charging your career, there’s no better way than to enroll in an EMBA program. And, since most schools have full-time working professionals in mind, you can complete the EMBA program in a convenient and affordable online format for the ultimate flexibility.

Online EMBAs are specifically designed to provide mid- to upper-level managers and executives, as well as business owners and entrepreneurs, with the advanced leadership skills needed to succeed in today’s highly competitive business environment. Here’s the difficult part. How do you choose the right one among the dozens of highly comparative EMBA programs? 

That’s where we come in. We’ve put together this guide with the current best online EMBA programs. Below you’ll find tons of great information on:

  • What to look for when choosing an online EMBA.
  • How much EMBA programs cost.
  •  Where you can get help in paying for your program.
  • Which career opportunities await you once you’ve earned your EMBA.

You will find plenty of other information too. So, if you’re ready to make your move up the career ladder, now is the best time for earning a graduate degree through a quality online executive MBA program.

Spotlight on 3 of the Best EMBA Programs Online

To get you started on your program search, we’ve spotlighted three of the best online executive MBA programs. We weigh a number of factors important to most students in selecting the three best schools. These factors include accreditation, program reputation, cost, study flexibility, and access to quality student academic and career support services. With these factors considered, here are the schools which stand out in the academic year of 2023-2024:

  • Rochester Institute of Technology

    Rochester Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Rochester, New York. RIT’s AACSB-accredited Online Executive MBA offers mid-level to upper-level business professionals the opportunity to develop their leadership skills by earning their EMBA online. The 17-month (four-semester) curriculum is cohort-based with all students progressing through the program as a single unit. Classes are delivered synchronously, meaning that students must attend class online at a specific time and days. However, the sessions are recorded, allowing students access to them at any time. While the bulk of coursework is completed online, students are required to attend a three-day on-campus orientation session prior to the first day of class, as well as an 8-to-10 day International Seminar near the end of the program. This provides a good cultural experience and networking opportunity for students, especially since lodging and airfare for the seminar are provided by RIT. 

    Applications for the program are assessed on a holistic basis with primary emphasis placed on the applicant’s relevant work experience. Other factors include undergraduate academic performance, student’s resume, and recommendation letters. Applicants are additionally required to submit a personal statement and sit for an admissions interview. However, GMAT/GRE scores are not required. The current total program cost is $78,000 (or $81,000 for the EMBA with Life Sciences electives).

  • Texas Southern University

    The Online Executive MBA program at Texas Southern University is particularly noteworthy for its accessibility and affordability. The entire program is presented 100% online through the use of virtual classrooms, online lectures, teleconferencing, and live chat sessions. Course schedules are structured to allow students to maintain their regular full-time jobs throughout their academic studies. The 36-credit EMBA program is available with two study track options: General Business and Energy Finance. Students also have the option of participating in a Global Immersion Experience.

    The current estimated total cost of Texas Southern’s AACSB-accredited EMBA program (including tuition, fees, books, and course materials) is $36,000, making it one of the most affordable online EMBA programs. Admission into the program requires a bachelor’s degree and substantial (ideally five years) “progressive and significant” supervisory or management experience in a relevant field. Applicants must additionally submit a resume, statement of purpose, and two letters of recommendation, all of which highlighting your interest and experience in the business field.

  • Washington State University

    Study convenience is also a major plus for the Executive MBA Online program offered by Washington State University. All coursework is delivered 100% online, and you can attend either synchronously or asynchronously. The course of study is designed to be completed in as few as 16 months. Courses are five weeks in length, allowing students to achieve a workable balance between their education, employment, and life obligations. There are no on-campus residencies or other in-person requirements of any kind. However, students have the option of participating in a number of face-to-face activities, including Carson College of Business’s annual EMBA Leadership Conference. A rewarding but optional international study experience is additionally available.

    Admission requirements for Washington State’s AACSB-accredited EMBA program include a bachelor’s degree with minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA and at least five years of management or executive business experience. Applicants exceeding minimum admissions requirements may be eligible for a GMAT waiver. The current total tuition cost for this 42-credit program is $55,776.

Costs of Online Executive MBA Programs

Pursuing any graduate degree is an expensive endeavor. This can be especially true when it comes to MBA programs, whether online or in-person. The range of costs for online executive MBA programs is substantial, as indicated by the current tuition costs of the five programs listed in the table below, as well as the prices quoted in the three program spotlights above. Major factors impacting cost can depend on whether the school offering the program is public or private (private colleges commonly charge higher tuition rates than public colleges) and the student’s residency status (some public colleges charge a higher tuition rate to out-of-state residents).

Regardless of your program’s tuition cost, remember that most students in online EMBA programs rely on one or more financial aid sources to help pay for their studies. So, be sure to contact your program’s financial aid office to explore the funding opportunities available to you. And visit OCM’s own financial aid, scholarships, and FAFSA guides to learn more on how to get help paying for your EMBA program.

How Much Your Online EMBA Could Cost

School NameNo. of CreditsCost per CreditTotal Tuition

Emory University
(tuition + fees)
(tuition + fees)

Howard University
(tuition only)
(tuition only)
University of Pennsylvania19n/a$223,500
(tuition, fees, books and materials)
University of Arkansas38$1,259.34
(tuition + fees)
(tuition + fees)
University of North Carolina – Wilmington 42$503.15

What to Expect in Your Online Executive MBA Program

As we mentioned earlier, the overall focus of online executive MBA programs is to provide mid-level and upper-level business professionals with advanced leadership and management knowledge and skills to prepare them for senior executive positions throughout the business world. To give you an idea of the types of subjects you’ll cover in your EMBA program, we’ve provided below descriptions of five common courses in the EMBA programs. They will be courses that are standard in similar programs. In addition, most online EMBA courses of study culminate in the completion of a capstone project. Capstone projects usually give students hands-on experience where they identify a specific business management challenge and, through the use of research and analysis, explore and propose ways of resolving that challenge.

In terms of program structure and delivery, the goal of online EMBA programs is to provide students with the convenience and flexibility needed to continue working, with some even able to keep working full time at their current jobs. To accomplish this, all or most program content (class sessions, assignments, course materials, communications, etc.) is accessed online through the use of learning platforms like Blackboard. Class sessions and other course elements are delivered in either (or both) synchronous or asynchronous formats. Synchronous classes are typically scheduled in the evenings during the week or in full-day sessions on weekends. It’s also common for online EMBA programs to include required or optional short-term on-campus residencies or other in-person activities. 

It’s important to note here that most EMBA programs use a cohort model, meaning that you’ll progress through your studies with the same group of students at the same pace. This will allow you to develop working relationships with those students that will likely carry over to your professional lives once you’ve graduated.

Common Online Executive MBA Courses

  • Accounting for Executives

    Examination of the theory and principles governing financial and managerial accounting with a particular emphasis on advanced financial analysis and managerial decision making. The course employs the case analysis method that allows students to apply concepts learned in class to real-world accounting issues.

  • Advanced Marketing Strategy and Management

    This course provides a deep dive into marketing planning and implementation, including how marketing decision-making affects and is affected by all sectors and phases of business. Topics include the identification and assessment of marketing opportunities, the development of effective marketing strategies and campaigns, the selection of target markets, and the issues unique to international marketing and operations.

  • Financial Management

    Comprehensive review of the principles and practices underlying the raising and management of funds needed for businesses to operate and grow. Topics include corporate financial policy, capital cost, capital valuation and budgeting, cash flow techniques, investment decision making in consideration of risk and uncertainty, market efficiency, and shareholder considerations and dividend policy.

  • Global Strategy and Management

    The course is designed to provide students with the skills necessary to effectively manage the business operations of multinational organizations. Through the use of tools of international finance and trade, students gain a working knowledge of how globalization impacts the strategies and performance of businesses and the nations that host them.

  • Operations Management

    Overview of the fundamentals of business operations and supply chain management, and the critical link between operations and business performance. Students examine a variety of external and internal organizational factors that impact operational efficiencies. Specific topics include project management, production capacity, lean production and lean supply chain, and the best practices for service processes and product manufacturing.

FAQs About Online EMBA Programs

  • What’s the difference between an online EMBA and traditional MBA program?

    The two major differences between traditional MBA and EMBA programs are starting point and curriculum content. Regarding the starting point, an executive MBA is geared toward mid-career business professionals with a number of years of executive or management experience under their belts. This, in turn, impacts curriculum content. Curriculums in traditional MBA programs typically offer an overall survey of business topics (economic theory, finance, marketing, accounting, leadership skills, etc.) and may also include specialization options. EMBA curriculums, on the other hand, focus on the development of advanced management and leadership skills that prepare graduates to fill senior executive positions across all industries.

  • Can I work full-time while pursuing an online EMBA?

    Yes. Executive MBA programs are designed with full-time working professionals in mind. Online EMBAs feature part-time curriculums, synchronous classes scheduled in the evenings and on weekends, and a lot of asynchronous components like pre-recorded class sessions, readings, projects, and exercises. These components provide maximum flexibility in terms of when and how students access and complete their coursework. Nevertheless, pursuing your EMBA will require you to put to use those highly developed time management skills you’ve gained as a seasoned business pro to balance your studies with your career and family obligations.

  • What types of accreditations should I look for in an online EMBA?

    There are two types of accreditations to look for in your online EMBA program search. The first is institutional accreditation which concerns the academic quality of the college or university taken as a whole. Institutional accreditation of U.C. colleges and universities are administered by a number of independent regional and national accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    The second accreditation type, programmatic accreditation, has to do with the individual business schools and departments within colleges and universities, and the degree programs they offer. Programmatic accreditation of U.S. business schools and MBA programs in the U.S. is primarily provided by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), and, for a small number of programs, the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). You can check current accreditation status by using the DOE’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs search engine.

  • What are the admissions requirements for an online EMBA?

    Admissions requirements for online executive MBA programs vary from program to program, but there are a lot of similarities. Common requirements include:

    • Bachelor’s Degree: A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Most programs accept bachelor’s degrees in any major. Some programs additionally require a minimum cumulative GPA on undergraduate coursework.
    • Professional Experience: A major admissions requirement of all EMBA programs is substantial professional work experience in management or supervisory positions. Minimum requirements vary, but typically five years is the standard. Some programs will accept students with as few as two years of experience.
    • GMAT/GRE Test Scores: Some programs require them, and some don’t. Some also offer waivers for applicants who meet the minimum requirements such as exceptional undergraduate GPA or high number of years of work experience.
    • Additional Application Requirements: Other common application requirements include a current resume, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and admissions interview. 
  • How long does it take to earn an Executive MBA?

    The vast majority of online executive MBA programs require between 1½ to 2 years of part-time study. There are exceptions. Programs offering full-time study can sometimes be completed in as little as a year. Examples include Faulkner University (one year), Carlow University (10 months), and the University of North Carolina Wilmington (one year). Keep in mind that most online EMBA programs are cohort-structured and require you to be enrolled for a specific program length, meaning you can self-pace.

  • Can I earn my EMBA 100% online or do I need to visit campus?

    Again, this will depend on the specific program you choose. Some online EMBA programs (like those at Washington State University and Texas Southern University spotlighted above) can be completed 100% online with no required campus visits or other in-person participation of any kind. Conversely, some programs include short-term on-campus residencies or other in-person activities to supplement online study. An example of an online EMBA program with major in-person requirements is the University of Pennsylvania’s Global EMBA which includes five (one week long) in-person residencies scheduled throughout the course of the program. The point to remember here is to make sure you have a clear understanding of possible in-person requirements before committing to any online EMBA program.

What You Can Do with an Online Executive MBA

Given that online executive MBA programs are geared toward mid- to upper-level business professionals with substantial professional work experience, it’s no surprise that students in those programs are much less likely to be thinking of a change in careers or employers than traditional MBA students. Put another way, the primary incentive for most EMBA students is to move up the career ladder (and into the C-suite) within their current places of employment. The advanced and highly valued skills gained in an EMBA degree program prepare graduates for top-tier executive and managerial positions like the following:

Chief Executives

The chief executive officer (CEO) is the highest-ranking executive in an organization. CEOs are responsible for carrying out organizational policies, overseeing all facets of company operations, and meeting organizational goals as directed by, in most cases, the company’s board of directors. In other words, the CEO is the “big boss”.  

10th PercentileMedian Annual Pay90th Percentile

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

Financial Managers 

Financial managers are responsible for overseeing the financial activities of an organization, including accounting, banking, securities management, investments, insurance, and fundraising. In most cases, financial managers have an educational (bachelor’s degree) and professional background in finance or accounting In larger companies, financial managers often hold the title of chief financial officer, or CFO.

10th PercentileMedian Annual Pay90th Percentile

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

General and Operational Managers 

In simple terms, general and operations managers are in charge of the daily operations of a business. Common duties include supervising daily operational activities, hiring and training of new employees, overseeing schedules and assessment of staff, assisting in budgeting and ensuring operations stay within budget limitations, coordinating marketing efforts and sales departments, preparing and updating operations policies and manuals, and more.

10th PercentileMedian Annual Pay90th Percentile

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022