The Economist Releases 2020 EMBA Rankings

A good starting point for your Executive MBA journey.

The Economist Releases 2020 EMBA Rankings

The Economist released its fourth biennial EMBA rankings this summer, after reviewing internal data from universities and conducting its own survey of current students and alumni. The results offer an alternative to the more established Financial Times rankings and provide a useful data point for prospective candidates.

The two dimensions of excellence

The Economist prioritised two broad measures: personal and career development. The first evaluates students’ individual growth, and the second their actual outcomes after the programme, such as the average salary increase. That way, the higher-ranking schools are the ones that offer the richest learning experience as well as the highest ROI. Overall, the data shows which schools truly provide graduates with an outstanding education that opens up opportunities.

And the #1 is… University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business (US), which has climbed up from fourth place in 2018. Haas was ranked first because it excels on both measures – personal and professional development. In terms of individual growth, students and alumni found the curriculum highly relevant to their needs. In terms of career development, not only were salary outcomes great, but students were also satisfied with the school’s alumni network and “the ease with which they could stay in touch with faculty and fellow students.

It appears that Berkeley’s famously open and friendly atmosphere has an impact even after you graduate. “The ability to tap into a helpful network will be even more crucial with travel likely to remain limited owing to the Covid-19 pandemic,” The Economist notes.

International joint programmes recognised in the EMBA rankings

Joint programmes, often involving schools in different countries and even on different continents, have done very well in the rankings, regardless of Covid-19. This shows that the value of a global education that an EMBA brings is still highly relevant and prized by both students and employers. Four of The Economist’s top 10 programmes are joint ones. The new collaboration between IE Business School (Spain) and Brown University (US) has debuted at a stellar #3 in its first year in the rankings. A joint programme between the University of California Los Angeles Anderson School of Management (US) and the National University of Singapore features at #10. This flexible programme aims to create globally minded leaders with a focus on the broader Asia-Pacific region.

As each joint programme is evaluated separately, the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management (US), rather remarkably occupies 3 of the top 10 slots – once with its own EMBA, and twice with joint programmes with other universities. Kellogg’s collaboration with WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, a German school, has reached #4, while another joint degree – with Schulich School of Business (Canada) – is at #9. Applicants can decide which of these to target based on their preferred regional focus.

All-time favourites

Some of the top-ranked programmes are less novel and surprising. Yale School of Management (US) offers a consistently high-performing EMBA, which is ranked at #5. Other all-time favourites University of Warwick Business School (UK) and IMD – International Institute for Management Development (Switzerland) feature at #6 and #8, respectively. The results show that these schools are able to maintain a respected brand regardless of bigger shifts in the EMBA market.

Choosing an EMBA is an individual project that goes beyond rankings: what matters most is your own goals and ambitions, and which programme can best meet them. This is something you will discover in your own personal conversations with school representatives. However, The Economist’s research provides a good starting point.