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October 23, 2010 10:20 PM PDT


Last week the Wall Street Journal released its 2010 EMBA rankings. The lead article describes the evolving face of the executive MBA. The needs of the EMBA student are changing as many are paying their own tuition and are looking to switch careers, as opposed to advancing within the same career; and the programs themselves are under pressure from whatever sponsors there still are to show "more in the way of a clear return on their investment."

The WSJ EMBA rankings data was gathered from the responses of 3,060 recent graduates of 87 EMBA programs (64 business schools) in 18 different countries, as well as the responses of 189 executive development managers and corporate human resources managers.

One new element taken into account for the 2010 rankings was the question of why students chose to attend an EMBA program. 35% said their top reason was to help them switch careers or industries. Only 29% said they were seeking a promotion within their current company. Traditionally, this latter reason has been the primary motivation for pursuing an EMBA.

Another WSJ article, titled "Peer to Peer," reports the high percentage (78%) of EMBA graduates who said that the "perceived quality of classmates" was a crucial factor in choosing an EMBA program. When more than 50% of course work is done in teams, who you're working with can be just as important as who the professors are. Peer to peer learning in EMBA programs is extremely high, which is why "a variety of high-caliber students from different industries" is so important.

Rather than highlight the top 25 as listed in the Wall Street Journal, we're going to show here an excellent comparison chart that was published in Poets & Quants that shows how the WSJ rankings compare to the EMBA rankings of Businessweek (BW), Financial Times (FT),  U.S. News (USN), and the WSJ rankings from 2008:

WSJ 2010 Rank & School WSJ 2008 BW FT* USN
1.  Pennsylvania (Wharton) 2 3 5 1
2.  Washington Univ. (Olin) NR ST 12 NR
3.  Thunderbird (Arizona) 3 ST 45 NR
4.  Southern California (Marshall) 4 5 NR NR
5.  Northwestern (Kellogg) 1 1 17 2
6.  Notre Dame (Mendoza) NR 20 NR NR
7.  NYU (Stern) 14 14 15 6
8.  Cornell (Johnson) 7 ST NR NR
9.  Columbia Business School 8 4 9 5
10.  UNC (Kenan-Flagler) 5 11 NR 10
11.  UCLA (Anderson) 17 8 28 9
12.  Texas-Austin (McCombs) 15 ST 55 NR
13.  Arizona State (Carey) NR NR 43 NR
14.  Illinois-Urbana-Champaign NR NR NR NR
15.  Michigan (Ross) 6 7 20 8
16.  Chicago (Booth) 9 2 4 3
17.  Ohio State (Fisher) 21 15 69 NR
18.  Cornell/Queen's University NR 25 NR NR
19.  Rice (Jones) NR ST 39 NR
20.  Boston University NR 23 NR NR
21.  Rutgers University 20 NR 46 NR
22.  Maryland (Smith) NR NR 50 NR
23.  Berkeley (Haas) 12 NR 13 7
24.  IE Business School (Spain) NR 7 7 NR
25.  Vanderbilt (Owen) 19 NR NR NR

ST: The school's program was named in the "second tier" by BusinessWeek in its latest 2010 ranking of Executive MBA programs.

NR: The schools program was not ranked.

* The Financial Times EMBA ranking was published in 2009. The 2010 survey is expected to be released in October.

Visit the WSJ website for the "sortable rankings chart" and an explanation of the ranking methodology.

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