Interest in EMBA Programmes Remains Strong – EMBAC Survey

Applications to Executive MBA programmes increased in 2021.

Interest in EMBA Programmes Remains Strong – EMBAC Survey

Executive EMBA programmes remained popular among seasoned managers and executives in 2021 as evidenced by a growing number of applications, according to the 2021 EMBAC Membership Program Survey.

The results show that the average number of applications received per programme increased by 17% in 2021 compared to 2020. “Despite the uncertainty of the global pandemic, interest in EMBA programmes
remains strong
,” said Michael Desiderio, executive director of EMBAC. In addition, inquiries rose 3% in 2021 compared to 2020. However, average class size decreased to 44 in 2021 from 47 in 2020, which means that more inquiries and applications didn’t necessarily translate into increased enrolments, EMBAC said.

EMBA programmes embrace technology

The survey also revealed that EMBA programmes made greater use of technology and format adaptations. Nearly 90% of schools reported they offered some form of distance learning compared to 74% in 2020 and just 55% in 2019. “Clearly the global pandemic is driving acceleration in the use of technology, and is evidence of how adaptable our member programmes are,” Desiderio said.

Nearly 48% of EMBA programmes indicated a change in delivery in 2021, compared to 30% in 2020, mainly involving online and virtual or blended and hybrid additions. Programmes have expanded their use of technology in other ways, too – the purchase of electronic books rose, as did the use of other electronic course materials.

Read more: FT Executive MBA Ranking 2020: Applications Remain Strong

Female enrolment hits record high

According to the poll, the percentage of female enrolment in EMBA programmes is at its highest ever – reaching 33% in 2021, compared to 30% in 2017. Desiderio said there is a lot of work to be done, but EMBA programmes are chipping away each year at closing the gender gap.

Additional insights from the 2021 EMBAC Membership Program Survey include:

• Executive coaching continues to be an integral part of EMBA programmes: 88.1% of EMBA programmes offered executive coaching in 2021, up from 83.3% in 2020.
• The percentage of students who received full financial sponsorship dipped, while self-sponsorship increased slightly. The percentage of self-funded students rose from 54% in 2020 to 56% in 2021, and 15% of students received full sponsorship in 2021, compared to 18% in 2020.
• Almost 60% of programmes offer scholarships or fellowships, and almost one-third of EMBA students receive scholarships or fellowships.

The EMBA Council currently includes nearly 200 colleges and universities that administer close to 300 programmes in more than 30 countries worldwide. EMBAC has been conducting a Membership Programme Survey using the current methodology annually since 2003. In 2021, the survey was conducted by Percept Research, held from 22 June to 29 August 2021, and was completed by about 84% of the EMBA member programmes.

Source: EMBAC