Skip to: Navigation | Content | Sidebar | Footer

What is an Executive MBA?

Earning an online executive MBA can help motivated professionals find work and succeed in business. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these careers pay a median yearly salary of $103,000. Designed for working professionals seeking career advancement, an online MBA with an executive concentration builds on your undergraduate education and career experience. The MBA curriculum will help you develop strong leadership, strategy, and management skills.

Sponsored Schools

Designed for working professionals seeking career advancement, an online MBA with an executive concentration builds on your undergraduate education and career experience.

In addition to developing your leadership skills and abilities, business professionals who pursue an executive master’s degree online earn more than twice as much as professionals with bachelor’s degrees. The increased salary becomes even more pronounced as you progress in your career.

The table below highlights three different master’s programs in business. While each degree has its own value and will prepare professionals for future leadership roles, the specific curriculum, degree requirements, and salary outcomes differ between programs.

Degree Description Average Salary (1-4 years experience) Length
Master’s in Executive Leadership An online executive MBA in leadership is designed to transform and grow your leadership skills by strengthening your critical thinking skills, improving your executive communication skills, and expanding your knowledge on how to lead organizational change. $75,000 2 Years
Master’s Degree in Organizational Management A master’s degree in organization management will help graduates develop the skills required to lead organizational change, address new challenges with confidence, and increase workplace effectiveness. Program specializations may be offered in areas such as global management, human resources, public administration, or project management. $53,000 2 Years
Executive Master’s of Business Administration (EMBA) From management fundamentals and corporate social responsibility to international business and innovation, an executive master’s of business administration prepares professionals to succeed in a constantly changing field. Students study management fundamentals, corporate social responsibility, and international business and learn to apply evidence-based reasoning to better understand, manage, and lead organizations. $64,000 2 Years

By earning an executive MBA online, students will develop and hone their skills in leadership, economics, data analysis, decision making, and strategy. While the curriculum varies by school, you’ll find the following classes in most programs.

Course Competencies Developed Occupational Skill Level
Statistics for Decision Making Data collection and organization, determining outcomes and possibilities, and effective presentation of findings TITLE: Business Development Manager
Legal Environment The foundations of business law, including constitutional, environmental, and government regulation TITLE: Business Manager
Business Economics Economic analysis of business problems, the operation of markets, and concepts of macroeconomics TITLE: Business Administrator

Earning an online executive master’s opens doors to many potential careers, including jobs as CEO, COO, or executive director of professional organizations or businesses. The table below includes information relevant to each position.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Median Salary: $166,000
  • Office Headquarters
  • Large Corporation
  • Small Business
The chief executive officer of an organization makes the majority of executive decisions for the business, including performing strategic planning, managing fiscal operations, and determining goals.
Executive Director Median Salary: $77,000
  • Large Corporation
  • Small Business
  • Non-Profit Organization
Duties of executive directors vary depending on the workplace, though they typically act as senior management to develop and maintain departments, analyze operations, and supervise employees.
Chief Operations Officer (COO) Median Salary: $106,000
  • Corporate Office
  • Small Business
  • Non-Profit Organization
Chief operations officers are responsible for overseeing an organization’s operations and projects. They improve procedures to increase efficiency and/or profit, as well as implement the strategies of the CEO.

Have you worked in management?

Perhaps the most obvious question prospective students should consider before pursuing a master’s degree in this field is whether or not you have worked in management. Most executive MBA online programs have admissions requirements, which limits enrollment to students who have completed a bachelor’s degree in business or those who have demonstrated their leadership capability through a considerable amount of professional experience in a business management role. If you have no experience in a management position, a master’s degree may not be the best fit for you.

Can you list the top three reasons you want an Executive MBA?

Earning a master’s degree is not easy. Before committing time and money to a graduate program, take a moment to consider your main sources of motivation. Are you eager to advance your career because you are passionate about your work, or do you feel drawn to the potential of a six-figure salary? Pursuing higher education is a personal decision, and no reason is necessarily right or wrong. You should, however, carefully consider your academic and professional objectives and know how a graduate degree will help enhance your career.

Did you take management or business-related courses during your bachelor’s degree?

Earning a bachelor’s degree in business means completing a wide variety of courses. Specific courses vary depending on the type of business degree; business schools offer degrees in areas such as accounting, advertising, and human resources, along with general business degrees. Most of the curriculum of a master’s degree is based on the foundational knowledge you gained as an undergraduate. Before applying to an executive MBA program, determine how many relevant management or business courses you took during your bachelor’s program, and evaluate your level of preparation.

Where are you in your current career?

Consider the knowledge and skills you have learned or strengthened throughout your career. For more recent college graduates, spending time working before enrolling in a master’s program can provide valuable real-world experiences. Those at more advanced stages in their career may have already excelled in upper-management roles, and earning a graduate degree may not be necessary to successfully pursue executive positions.

Can you afford a graduate program?

Finally, the question of finances is basic, yet invaluable to your decision. Although online degrees are typically less expensive than traditional on-campus degrees, earning a master’s degree can cost $50,000 or more. The good news is that many financial aid options are available to students, including scholarships, subsidized loans, employer assistance programs, and reduced-tuition partnership programs. Prospective graduate students should consider their financial situations carefully before committing to a master’s program.

Ultimately, deciding to pursue an executive master’s degree online is an important decision that merits a great deal of consideration, especially if the questions listed above leave you feeling uncertain about any aspect. Take your time in determining the best course of action for your life and career. Prospective students can always reach out to schools’ advising and admissions offices for more information and assistance before applying or accepting official enrollment.

School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description

California State University - Monterey Bay

Location Seaside, CA Tuition Tuition $41,600 % Receiving Financial Aid 48% Student Population 7,102 School Type Public
Concentrations
Visit School Website

Colorado State University - Fort Collins

Location Fort Collins, CO Tuition Tuition $39,732 % Receiving Financial Aid 45% Student Population 30,614 School Type Public
Concentrations
Visit School Website

Emory University

Location Atlanta, GA Tuition Tuition $101,700 % Receiving Financial Aid 37% Student Population 13,788 School Type Private
Concentrations
Visit School Website

Faulkner University

Location Montgomery, AL Tuition Tuition $17,400 % Receiving Financial Aid 73% Student Population 3,262 School Type Private
Concentrations
Visit School Website

Florida International University

Location Miami, FL Tuition Tuition $59,892 % Receiving Financial Aid 46% Student Population 49,782 School Type Public
Concentrations
Visit School Website

Friends University

Location Wichita, KS Tuition Tuition $21,111 % Receiving Financial Aid 75% Student Population 1,929 School Type Private
Concentrations
Visit School Website

George Mason University

Location Fairfax, VA Tuition Tuition $79,000 % Receiving Financial Aid 43% Student Population 33,929 School Type Public
Concentrations
Visit School Website

Golden Gate University - San Francisco

Location San Francisco, CA Tuition Tuition $54,810 % Receiving Financial Aid 67% Student Population 2,735 School Type Private
Concentrations
Visit School Website

Howard University

Location Washington, DC Tuition Tuition $66,475 % Receiving Financial Aid 68% Student Population 10,002 School Type Private
Concentrations
  • Executive MBA
  • Executive MBA Executive Coaching Certificate
  • Executive MBA Executive Leadership Certificate
Visit School Website

Kansas State University

Location Manhattan, KS Tuition Tuition $32,500 % Receiving Financial Aid 49% Student Population 24,146 School Type Public
Concentrations
Visit School Website

Lasell College

Location Newton, MA Tuition Tuition $21,600 % Receiving Financial Aid 84% Student Population 2,160 School Type Private
Concentrations
Visit School Website

LeTourneau University

Location Longview, TX Tuition Tuition $25,550 % Receiving Financial Aid 57% Student Population 2,795 School Type Private
Concentrations
  • Professional MBA
  • Professional MBA Finance
  • Professional MBA General Management
  • Professional MBA Human Resource Management
  • Professional MBA Information Systems Management
  • Professional MBA Oil & Gas Management
Visit School Website

Lincoln Memorial University

Location Harrogate, TN Tuition Tuition $17,460 % Receiving Financial Aid 56% Student Population 3,983 School Type Private
Concentrations
Visit School Website

Louisiana Tech University

Location Ruston, LA Tuition Tuition $12,360 % Receiving Financial Aid 30% Student Population 12,371 School Type Public
Concentrations
Visit School Website

Naval Postgraduate School

Location Monterey, CA Tuition Tuition $34,000 % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population 2,665 School Type Public
Concentrations
Visit School Website

Pace University

Location New York, NY Tuition Tuition $78,000 % Receiving Financial Aid 57% Student Population 12,843 School Type Private
Concentrations
Visit School Website

Rochester Institute of Technology

Location Rochester, NY Tuition Tuition $69,983 % Receiving Financial Aid 61% Student Population 16,639 School Type Private
Concentrations
Visit School Website

Saint Joseph's University

Location Philadelphia, PA Tuition Tuition $33,759 % Receiving Financial Aid 49% Student Population 8,625 School Type Private
Concentrations
Visit School Website

Saint Mary's College of California

Location Moraga, CA Tuition Tuition $67,000 % Receiving Financial Aid 51% Student Population 4,030 School Type Private
Concentrations
Visit School Website

Texas Southern University

Location Houston, TX Tuition Tuition $36,000 % Receiving Financial Aid 72% Student Population 8,965 School Type Public
Concentrations
Visit School Website

The University of Tennessee - Chattanooga

Location Chattanooga, TN Tuition Tuition $28,944 % Receiving Financial Aid 61% Student Population 11,387 School Type Public
Concentrations
Visit School Website

The University of Texas at Austin

Location Austin, TX Tuition Tuition $9,722 % Receiving Financial Aid 38% Student Population 50,950 School Type Public
Concentrations
Visit School Website

The University of Texas at Dallas

Location Richardson, TX Tuition Tuition $49,531 % Receiving Financial Aid 53% Student Population 24,554 School Type Public
Concentrations
Visit School Website

University of Arkansas

Location Fayetteville, AR Tuition Tuition $40,716 % Receiving Financial Aid 40% Student Population 26,754 School Type Public
Concentrations
  • Executive MBA
  • Executive MBA Supply Chain
  • Executive MBA Finance
  • Executive MBA Business Analytics
  • Executive MBA Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Executive MBA Retail
Visit School Website

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Location Honolulu, HI Tuition Tuition $44,880 % Receiving Financial Aid 37% Student Population 18,865 School Type Public
Concentrations
Visit School Website

University of La Verne

Location La Verne, CA Tuition Tuition $27,390 % Receiving Financial Aid 67% Student Population 8,334 School Type Private
Concentrations
Visit School Website

University of Mary

Location Bismarck, ND Tuition Tuition $15,000 % Receiving Financial Aid 65% Student Population 2,872 School Type Private
Concentrations
Visit School Website

University of Memphis

Location Memphis, TN Tuition Tuition $18,900 % Receiving Financial Aid 62% Student Population 20,585 School Type Public
Concentrations
Visit School Website

University of Missouri

Location Columbia, MO Tuition Tuition $73,000 % Receiving Financial Aid 47% Student Population 35,424 School Type Public
Concentrations
Visit School Website

University of Nevada - Reno

Location Reno, NV Tuition Tuition $30,000 % Receiving Financial Aid 40% Student Population 20,898 School Type Public
Concentrations
Visit School Website

University of North Alabama

Location Florence, AL Tuition Tuition $15,450 % Receiving Financial Aid 67% Student Population 7,078 School Type Public
Concentrations
Visit School Website

University of the Cumberlands

Location Williamsburg, KY Tuition Tuition $9,900 % Receiving Financial Aid 51% Student Population 6,276 School Type Private
Concentrations
Visit School Website

Washington State University

Location Pullman, WA Tuition Tuition $27,891 % Receiving Financial Aid 49% Student Population 29,686 School Type Public
Concentrations
Visit School Website
Load 23 More Schools

If you’ve decided that an executive MBA is right for you, it is time to start narrowing down the list of potential schools. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you through the process.

  • Search for schools in your area

    Even though you are looking for online programs, it can be helpful to choose a school within 100 miles of your home. Online students often report that they enjoy visiting campus. In addition, schools often partner with local businesses, meaning a school in your area can help you find a job close to home.

  • Compare student outcomes data

    Many schools provide this information on their website; however, if you can’t find it, contact the school and ask for it. This data should include graduation rates, employment rates, and the compensation levels of recent graduates. When viewed side-by-side, this information helps you glimpse the quality of different programs.

  • Estimate the expected costs of your programs

    Prospective students often underestimate the total cost of their program. Multiply the total number of credit hours you will need to graduate by cost per credit hour. Do not forget to include the cost of supplies, internet, and time you will not spend earning an income. Also compare financial aid options; different schools may offer better financial aid packages or scholarships that can offset the cost of education.

  • Check that classes will fit in with your schedule

    One of the central benefits of online education is flexibility. However, some programs require set meeting times, synchronous workshops, and mandatory campus visits. Be aware of all time commitments, and be sure they fit into your current schedule.

  • Look for partnerships with local businesses

    The main objective of getting your executive MBA is to find a secure job with a healthy salary, in a field you enjoy. Attending a school that is well-connected with local businesses provides a leg up upon graduation. Many of these partners offer internships that can lead to full-time employment. Regardless, these internships provide the network and experience you’ll need to get a job elsewhere.

  • Make sure the program is accredited

    Accreditation is the formal review process that ensures a school is offering a reputable program and adhering to minimum academic standards. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is the national agency that accredits undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs in business and accounting. By checking a program’s status with the AACSB, you can be confident you are receiving a recognized, quality degree. Employers generally will not hire job candidates who possess degrees from unaccredited schools. Nor will schools accept academic credentials from unaccredited programs.

  • Talk to current students and/or recent alumni

    Actual students and graduates are amazing resources to help you choose an online executive MBA program. They can give unbiased, real-world perspectives on how the program has served them, what they liked, and what they disliked. Ask an admissions counselor to put you in touch with a current student or recent alumnus. Alternatively, use LinkedIn or Facebook to find and reach out to people.

Completing a graduate degree at the best online schools for executive MBA programs can be expensive. Fortunately, many scholarship opportunities can help management professionals advance in their careers. The average award amount varies depending on school location, an applicant’s merits, and whether the scholarship is granted as a one-time payment or distributed for each year of study. On average, scholarship winners can expect to receive at least $15,000.