By Jason Bramwell
The executive master's degree in business administration (EMBA) programs at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Illinois, took top honors in the inaugural EMBA ranking by the Economist magazine.
The Northwestern business school has four of the top ten EMBA programs around the world, including the number one ranking in a partnership with the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto, Ontario, according to the study.
Two other Kellogg partnerships – one in Asia with Hong Kong University of Science & Technology and the other in Germany with WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management – ranked sixth and seventh, respectively. Kellogg's standalone EMBA program ranked eighth.
The Economist compiled its rankings based on personal development/education experience and career development data. Within those two categories, twenty-seven criteria were examined, such as the quality and diversity of students, quality of the faculty, the percentage of students who receive a promotion after they graduate, and the average salary increase graduates can expect. The data comprise a mixture of student-reported figures, student ratings, and data provided by the schools.
Joint programs seemed to be favored by students. Seven of the top sixty-two EMBA programs and four of the top ten are partnerships. Participants in the Kellogg/Schulich program gave high marks for the quality of their classmates as well as for faculty and facilities. It also received top scores from alumni, who were asked how well the program helped them achieve their pre-MBA career goals.
The joint Kellogg/Hong Kong University EMBA program received the top ranking for overall quality of its students. According to the report, students who enroll in this program earn an average salary of $261,000 with fifteen years' work experience.
A school's joint EMBA will often rank higher than its standalone program, as is the case for Kellogg. The standalone program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Anderson School of Management ranked eleventh, eight spots behind the business school's partnership with National University of Singapore (NUS). NUS's own program was ranked forty-third.
One reason joint EMBA programs rank higher than standalones is they are generally more international, according to the Economist. For example, the UCLA/NUS EMBA partnership asks students to take at least four, one-week assignments overseas during the program. Results show students in the UCLA/NUS program will have, on average, three years' more work experience and earn close to $40,000 more than those in UCLA's own EMBA program.
American EMBA programs dominate the rankings, with thirty-four of the top sixty-two programs solely or partly based in the United States.
While EMBA students are recruited from around the world and come from a variety of industries – eighteen of the programs surveyed comprised students from at least eleven different industry sectors – one criterion in which all schools fared badly was the percentage of female students in their classes. None of the schools ranked by the Economist enroll more women than men. The John Molson School of Business at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, had the highest percentage of women EMBA students at 41 percent. IMD in Switzerland had the least amount of female students at 12 percent.