More people are applying for Executive MBA (EMBA) programmes than ever before, with female enrolment reaching a record high, according to the 2019 EMBAC Membership Program Survey.

The survey, commissioned by the Executive MBA Council (EMBAC), found that EMBA programmes have booked a 31.6% increase in applications since 2015. Additionally, the percentage of enrolled female students reached 31.2%, the highest on record, showing how the gender gap continues to close.

According to EMBAC, a majority of people are applying to EMBA programmes to increase their skills, enhance career development and gain new perspectives on the business world through a more strategic lens. In 2019, the average age of enrolled EMBA students remained at 38 years old with about 14 years of work experience and about nine years of management experience.

Michael Desiderio, executive director of EMBAC, says: "The growth of EMBA programmes throughout several decades serves as a testament to their value in meeting the organisational thirst for leadership development. Executive MBA programmes give students the tools they need to position themselves as invaluable leaders in the market. In fact, the number of inquiries, completed applications received, and applications accepted have trended upward since 2015, and risen year-over-year for the past three years, which shows greater demand for such programmes."

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And, as globalisation evolves, EMBA programmes continue to see a diverse group of students from varied backgrounds. In fact, diversity within EMBA programmes continues to increase as well. The percentage of programmes offering an international trip has remained stable since 2015. In 2019, 93.2% of all EMBA programmes offered mandatory or optional global trips.

Additional insights from the survey include:

  • The percentage of enrolled female students increased to 31.2% in 2019 from 27.6% in 2015.
  • About 55% of EMBA programmes offer distance learning options compared to 42% in 2015.
  • More than 90% of EMBA programmes leverage technology to implement electronic delivery of course materials.
    • Other technologies used include: business simulations, classroom video recording, social media, teleconferencing, virtual learning, webinars and more.
  • A vast majority (91.5%) of EMBA programmes offer career services to help students manage their career and programme goals.
  • The trend towards more self-funded students and fewer fully-funded students continues. In 2019, nearly 53% of students were self-funding compared to 41% in 2015, and just over 15% of students received full sponsorship in 2019, which is down from 23.2% in 2015.     

As for industries in 2019, healthcare/pharma/biotech made up the highest category – at 13.3% – where new entrants are currently employed. Year-over-year, this category continues to outpace others with technology next in line at 9.5%.

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The EMBA Council currently includes more than 200 colleges and universities that administer more than 300 programmes in more than 30 countries worldwide. Each year, EMBAC conducts a membership programme survey using the current methodology annually since 2003. In 2019, the survey was conducted by Percept Research, held from April 19 to July 25, 2019, and was completed by about 85% of the EMBA member programmes.

Source: EMBAC