6 Things You (Probably) Don’t Know about Executive MBAs

by April Graham

I’ve been working with the Bloch Executive MBA (EMBA) program for a little over six years. Though our program was established in Kansas City 25 years ago (and there have been several other EMBA programs available in the region), the EMBA remains a best-kept secret of many business schools. Even if you’re familiar with EMBAs, here are 6 things that may yet surprise you:

  • EMBA programs have been around for over 75 years. The University of Chicago – Booth School of Business launched what is believed to be the first EMBA program in 1943. Tailored to midcareer professionals, that inaugural class included, “accountants, plant supervisors, engineers, production managers, purchasing agents and even one librarian.”
  • There are over 300 EMBA programs globally. In the U.S. alone, there are over 140 EMBA programs. AACSB is an internationally recognized accreditation for business schools and is a good way to evaluate curriculum quality when comparing EMBA programs around the world. Most top EMBA programs are delivered through AACSB accredited schools.
  • Many EMBA programs participate in a global council, sharing knowledge and resources. A little over 200 member EMBA programs globally share research, best practices, and insights with each other through the international Executive MBA Council (EMBAC). EMBAC is a supportive network that fosters a spirit of innovation within the EMBA community. This knowledge sharing and innovation benefits EMBA students around the world. 
  • Leadership is central to EMBA programs. The first program was designed for midcareer professionals and EMBAs continue to deliver the knowledge and skills that help experienced professionals become more confident, effective leaders. This sets EMBAs apart from traditional MBA programs (full-time and part-time) that focus more on career skill development in management and specialized fields.
  • You don’t have to be an executive to apply to an Executive MBA. While there are often a few C-suite students in each class, many EMBA students are director or senior director level in their organizations, while others are preparing for that next level leadership role. Often, our students specialized in something other than business in undergrad such as healthcare, engineering, information technology, sociology, art/design, environmental science, etc. As they have progressed in their careers and stepped into management roles, they recognize that they could be more effective with a better understanding of business to supplement their existing skillset.
  • C-Suite aspirations are not required to benefit from an Executive MBA. Your goal need not be a seat in the c-suite to gain value from an Executive MBA. Most of the students I’ve worked with over the years selected our program to become better leaders, expand their perspective, strengthen their network, or prepare for a transition into a new role or industry. Of course, if the C-Suite is your goal – an EMBA can certainly help you get there.


April Graham is the Director of Talent Development for the UMKC Bloch Executive MBA program where she recruits diverse student cohorts, assists in program administration, supports external partnership development, and facilitates alumni engagement.

Prior to joining the Bloch School, April served in various leadership roles in hospitality where she discovered a passion for building strong teams in which the unique strengths and perspectives of each individual are valued as part of a supportive, high-performing community.

Beyond her work at the Bloch School, April serves on the Thrive Excelsior economic development task force in her hometown helping to bring new opportunities for economic and financial advancement to her community. April earned her Bachelors degree in International Business from William Jewel College and MBA from the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management where she focused her study in finance and real estate.


To learn more about the Bloch Executive MBA, visit the program page or email April Graham at grahamap@umkc.edu.

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