Central European University

Austria - Hungary

Central European University

CEU Executive MBA

Central European University
Unlike most MBA degrees in Europe, CEU Executive MBA is an integrated intellectual experience and a flagship program delivered by Central European University (CEU), rather than by a separate business school. This allows our executive fellows to take advantage of the entirety of the resources of CEU, the premier American university in continental Europe. Accredited in New York (USA) and Austria, CEU offers top-quality American education in Vienna, in a vibrantly international setting. CEU’s current students and faculty come from more than 100 countries and the university is ranked among the most densely international institutions of higher education in the world. CEU has nearly 200 full-time faculty, with doctorates from some of the most prestigious educational institutions in the world, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Insead, Cambridge and LSE. We also benefit from distinguished visiting faculty coming from Stanford, Columbia, Berkeley, among other institutions. CEU professional and executive students benefit from the personalized access to our faculty, which is made possible by the small size of our institution and one of the lowest student-faculty ratios in Europe. Our main campus is in Vienna, while our beautiful secondary campus is in Budapest. Six modules of CEU Executive MBA are on our main campus and three are in Budapest. Both campuses feature state-of-the-art executive classrooms with top audio-visual technology, breakout rooms, cafes and a stunning roof deck. CEU is also home to the largest English-language library in the region. The unique quality of CEU, coming at a highly affordable tuition, can be delivered because of the generosity of CEU’s founder George Soros, who set up CEU in 1991 with the mission to promote Open Society through rigorous research and teaching done in the spirit of top US universities. At the core of our mission lies a set of principles: the pursuit of truth wherever it leads, respect for the diversity of cultures and peoples, and commitment to resolving differences through debate and not denial. CEU’s commitment to democratic values was proven in 2017, when the government of Hungary introduced a legislative amendment that made it impossible for CEU to ensure academic freedom. In response, in 2020, CEU moved its seat to Vienna, acting on a cordial invitation of both the federal and city government. In 2020, Europe’s highest court struck down the Hungarian law; however, CEU decided to stay in its new home. CEU maintains its Budapest campus which our executive fellows can enjoy during summer modules.

CEU's Mission:

Central European University is a graduate institution of advanced research and teaching, dedicated to socially and morally responsible intellectual inquiry. CEU’s distinctive educational program builds on the research tradition of the great American universities; on the most valuable Central European intellectual traditions; on the international diversity of its faculty and students; on its commitment to social service; and on its own history of academic and policy achievements in transforming the closed communist inheritance. CEU is committed to promoting the values of open society and self-reflective critical thinking. It aims at excellence in the mastery of established knowledge, courage to pursue the creation of new knowledge in the humanities, the social sciences, law and management, and engagement in promoting applications for each, in particular through their policy implications. CEU is a new model for international education, a center for study of contemporary economic, social and political challenges, and a source of support for building open and democratic societies that respect human rights and human dignity.

CEU's History:

In 1989, a group of visionary intellectuals—most of them prominent members of the anti-totalitarian democratic opposition—conceptualized an international university that would help facilitate the transition from dictatorship to democracy in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Among them was George Soros, the Hungarian-American financier and philanthropist, who founded Central European University two years later. 

Soros championed the project because he understood that open societies can flourish only with people in positions of responsibility who are educated to promote them. His vision was to recruit professors and students from around the world to build a unique institution, one that would train future generations of scholars, professionals, politicians, and civil society leaders to contribute to building open and democratic societies that respect human rights and adhere to the rule of law.

CEU was established in 1991 as a multi-campus university offering graduate level programs chiefly in the social sciences, law and the humanities in Prague, Budapest, and later Warsaw. Students - initially just over 100 - were primarily hailing from Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Later, all activities were gradually moved to Budapest, which became the main campus by 1995. In 2019, CEU opened its brand-new campus in Vienna.

Gain resilience to thrive in the turbulent global business environment with the Executive MBA for the Open World® at Central European University – one of the most densely international universities in the world.


Join the trusted support network of more than 18,000 professional alumni in 150 countries. Experience the unique atmosphere of the American-style campus, founded by visionary financier and philanthropist George Soros to promote open exchange of innovative ideas in an environment free of hierarchies and dogmas.


Benefit from our commitment to provide access to world-class management education for a wide variety of leaders. With one of the largest university endowments in Europe, CEU is able to offer our world-class Executive MBA at a highly subsidized tuition of just 29,000 euros. Our program is by far the best value choice.


CEU Executive MBA is a US & EU accredited graduate degree program registered with the New York State Department of Education, and covers 50 US credits (100 ECTS credits) of classes, which translates to more than 2.500 learning hours (classes, group work, individual work) centered around nine 4-to-9 day modules, spread over 24 months. 


CEU Executive MBA is the program that fits your live. The program starts and finishes mid-August, when business is slower for most professionals. Other modules are anchored around popular European holidays: November 1 and May 1. This allows our fellows to complete the entire program by forgoing no more than ten working days a year. 


The goal of our program is simple: to transform your professional future by taking you from operational and functional expertise to positions of strategic leadership within your organization. With this aim in mind, we leverage CEU’s thought leadership and multidisciplinary research capabilities.


Like no other program in Europe, CEU Executive MBA offers a forward-looking balance between “hard,” quantitative skills in financial and data-based decision making and “soft” leadership competencies to navigate organizational, generational, political, and ethical challenges faced by today’s businesses. Explore the six areas where our program delivers particularly distinct value!


Our key focus areas include: 


STRATEGIC INNOVATION. CEU’s academic identity revolves around the concept of the Open Society: a society without dogmas where conventional wisdom can be challenged. That spirit is essential for strategic innovation, which in today’s knowledge-intensive economy is key to long-term professional success. That is why strategic management is at the center of our program curriculum. At CEU, you will discuss the rapidly changing levers of regional and global competitiveness. You will be trained how to actively navigate a myriad contradictory social, economic, political and technological forces that affect business and organizational performance.


BUILDING ON RIGOROUS MODELS. Theory is the opposite of practice only when it is a bad theory. From finance and marketing to strategy and big data, businesses are increasingly relying on rigorous models. Theory-driven frameworks are used to structure their products, predict the behavior of consumers or competitors and ascertain the dynamic evolution of the broader business environment. Rather than hiring consultants, develop your own skills and use powerful managerial frameworks.


DECISIONS BASED ON DATA. Corporate decisions are too often guided by stories, anecdotes or one-sided narratives. To maintain your edge, you need to become a native in a different style of decision making: one based on ever more available data. With one of the strongest Data Analytics faculties in continental Europe, CEU prepares you for the data-driven business environment.


GLOCAL LEADERSHIP THAT WORKS. Too often, European organizational behavior courses either “copy-paste” American approaches or focus on purely local war stories. CEU Executive MBA offers an innovative third way. Our full-time faculty graduated from doctoral programs at some of the most prestigious universities in the world, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT and Insead. At the same time, our faculty members are deeply committed to practically engage in both Western and Eastern European contexts, working with organizations throughout the region as consultants and coaches. This is reflected in our proprietary CEU Leadership Program, which all Executive MBA participants complete as part of their degree. Our program curriculum offers cutting-edge organizational, communication and leadership tools tailored to your local needs and conditions. We train pragmatic leaders, who are able to constructively nudge organizations towards better decisions as well as flatter more innovative cultures.


PREPARATION FOR THE FUTURE. The global economy is changing fast, and in hard-to-predict and unsettling ways. Your Executive MBA is not only about understanding the forces of the past, but also about exploring trends, developments and risks for years to come. CEU’s unparalleled thought leadership in economics and sociology, as well as political, environmental, and network sciences allows us to connect you with Europe’s leading thinkers on how our continent will develop after the COVID crisis.


FULFILLING WORK-LIFE BALANCE. We do not study just to get promoted or receive a bigger paycheck. You are now at an important professional and personal juncture and at a unique, historical moment. Use CEU’s exceptional intellectual resources to reflect on your path so far and think about ways in which you can contribute in the future!

For more information, please visit https://emba.ceu.edu/new/

The first step is submitting our ONLINE APPLICATION FORM. which requires from you the following key submissions: 

1. Professional experience. At least 8 years of professional experience, including at least 3 years of documented leadership/managerial experience. From the 8-year criterion, we will make rare exceptions in case of individuals with particularly impactful leadership experience, for instance founding an organization, startup etc.

2. Undergraduate degree. An undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification. 

3. Healthy career progress. Evidence of steady career progress throughout the professional career, as documented by the up-to-date Vitae of the candidate. Note that as a general rule, CEU EMBA only accepts candidates with at least 8 years of professional experience and 3 years of documented managerial / leadership experience. 

4. References. At least 2 references, including at least one professional and one academic.

5. Motivation. A cover letter explaining interest in the Executive MBA for the Open World.       

6. Proof of English proficiency, based on general CEU requirements. 

7. Application fee. A non-refundable application fee of 30 euro. 

8. Scholarships. Additional information ans essays are required if you choose to apply for one of our scholarship programs.  

If your online application passes the introductory review stage, a member of the EMBA Program Office will contact you to set up an in-person or VOIP interview with the Senior Program Manager, a faculty member or our EMBA alumnus. The interview also gives you an opportunity to ask additional questions about the Program. An admission decision will normally be made within a week of your intereview.

For more information, please visit https://emba.ceu.edu/new/

The world-class faculty, facilities and location offered by CEU Executive MBA comes at an investment that is affordable for you. Our Vienna Welcome offer of 29,000 euro for the program represents one of the best price-to-value ratios in Europe.

Furthermore, based on careful analysis of management compensation trends in various countries, we offer need-based scholarships of up to 16,000 euro for highly qualified candidates from Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia or North Africa, in case their management compensation significantly departs from Western salaries. The need-based scholarship program allows participants from middle-income countries who do not earn Western income levels to attend CEU EMBA at a price point similar to that of local programs in these locations. 

This benefits all participants, as it facilitates maximum diversity of countries, industries and backgrounds in our classroom.

Because of the significant disparities in economic development, absolute salary levels are not always a good indicator of one’s managerial professionalism and leadership potential. In other words, a participant from a developing country may be earning significantly less than her colleague from Western Europe but be an important contributor to the class discussion the resulting program experience for everyone. CEU’s significant endowment allows us not to “price out” such a valuable participant and offer her a tuition-reducing scholarship.  

Separately from our need-based scholarship program, we have developed a number of highly competitive merit-based scholarships. They include the Open World Scholarship, available for participants worldwide as well as our country-specific scholarships set up with a number of highly prestigious institutional partners.

The merit-based scholarships offer tuition reduction of up to 92%  (26.680 EUR) for exceptional candidates, whose participation in the program would particularly enhance the collective learning experience while advancing the principles of the Open Society. 

CEU Executive MBA attractive pricing and scholarship offer is made possible by the university's significant endownment of USD 880 million. Founded in 1991, the university is one of the wealthiest in Europe.

The total cost of the program is further moderated through our streamlined logistical arrangements. Our partners Austrian Airlines and the Lufthansa group offer an attractive AA/LH-CEU Discount Program that allows you to conveniently and affordably fly from more than 80 destinations worldwide to attend our modules. In both Vienna and Budapest, we offer a variety of attractive accommodation options at our partner hotels and the CEU Residence, at different price points. 

The CEU EMBA tuition covers the cost of instruction, including all interactive exercises, case studies, access to CEU library and other university services.

It does not include the cost of commuting, accommodation, meals or health insurance while attending the program modules. Purchasing mandatory textbooks is also a responsibility of an EMBA participant, though a limited number of copies of all the textbooks are available on reserve in the CEU library. 

For the August 2022 intake of CEU EMBA, the tuition is paid in three installments: 

  • First Installment: 40% of the tuition is paid at the time of enrolling in the program
  • Second Installment: 30% is paid by March 31, 2023
  • Third Installment: 30% is paid by March 31, 2024

Special arrangements are offered for participants enrolling in the EMBA 2gether program

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