Could you give us a brief overview of your EMBA programme?

The Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA programme based in Germany is a joint EMBA between America's Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Germany's WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management. It combines the expertise of American and European management and offers students the opportunity to gain new perspectives of major world regions. 

Our top-ranked EMBA programme combines required core courses and advanced courses with global electives at one of the Kellogg School of Management’s international hubs: Chicago, Miami, Hong Kong, Beijing, Toronto and Tel Aviv. The faculty is composed of business experts from Kellogg, WHU and partner schools whose innovative ideas and extensive research are constantly shaping global business education.

The programme aims at developing managers into cross-border and cross-functional leaders. Therefore, leadership and personal development activities are fully integrated into the curriculum through our Advanced Leadership Development Programme. 


What are the characteristics you are looking for in applicants?

We look for diversity. Our students bring in various professional experiences and expertise. They come from different industries: Finance/Insurance, Technology, Consumer Goods, Transportation, Real Estate, Consulting, Energy, Chemistry/Pharma and Law. They have on average 12 years of work experience, of which 7 years is managerial experience. They also bring in different perspectives thanks to their diverse backgrounds and exposure. On average, 75% of our classes are international and we have about 24 nationalities represented on average. Again, what we look for is diversity (of background and expertise), team-oriented people with a global mindset, great motivation, and a desire to grow personally. 

What sets your programme apart from other EMBA programmes?

  • Joint MBA degree programme with triple accreditation that has been in existence for almost 20 years
  • Integrated curriculum among all Kellogg EMBA partner programmes all around the world
  • Extensive and powerful alumni networks: Kellogg Alumni Network and WHU alumni Network (InPraxi)
  • Lifelong Learning Advantage: Our alumni can come back to WHU campuses or attend a module at one of our partner institutions around the world at any time after graduation and at no additional tuition fees (only very minimal fee for books and other learning materials)
  • European-American degree: 50% of the teaching faculty within the Programme is from the Kellogg School of Management and the other 50% is from WHU; neighbouring European institutions, or our EMBA partner institutions.  
  • Integrated Advanced Leadership Development Programme: The Kellogg-WHU EMBA Programme puts h4 emphasis on leadership and personal development through a fully integrated Advanced Leadership Development Programme offering individual business coaching sessions, development workshops, personality assessments, group supervision, outdoor leadership training and 360° peer feedback sessions throughout the programme.
  • Entrepreneurship offerings: Entrepreneurship courses (Foundations of Entrepreneurship, The Entrepreneurial Journey, etc…),entrepreneurship conferences (IdeaLab!, 3 Day Start-Up), incubators, Master thesis as business plan, huge global entrepreneurs’ network 

Tell us about your curriculum. How is the EMBA programme structured? 

The Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA Programme has been specifically designed with the schedule of busy managers in mind. It has been optimised over the years to maximise learning and personal development and minimise time away from work and home. The schedule also allows for a reasonable amount of breathing space between modules to provide more time for assimilation and application of the knowledge learned. 

The programme consists of various learning formats:

  • Long weekend courses, live-in weeks and a Capstone weekend in Vallendar and/or Düsseldorf, Germany
  • Two live-in weeks in August at the Kellogg School of Management in Evanston/Chicago, USA
  • Weeklong global electives at our partner institutions worldwide: Toronto, Hong Kong, Tel Aviv, Miami, Evanston/Chicago, Beijing

A typical long weekend module starts on Thursday late morning and ends on Sunday late morning. The programme stretches over 21 months (an additional 3 months to write the thesis) and requires spending 51 days out of the office throughout the entire programme.

The curriculum is composed of:

  • Modules/Global Electives
  • Core courses/Advanced courses 
  • Capstone weekend: business simulation
  • Master thesis (3 months, remotely)
  • Integrated Advanced Leadership Development Programme

What are the types of organisations that tend to employ your graduates the most?

Our alumni are spread equally over all industries; the programme qualifies you to be able to work in all types of industries. Among our students and alumni, a good mix of people grows within their organisation, switch industries and/or become entrepreneur/

What advice would you offer to a person who is thinking about getting an EMBA?

First, define your goals and needs for studying an EMBA. Then, in order to choose the programme that best matches your specific requirements, you will need to think beyond the general programme details and consider a range of influencing factors.

1. Check the schedule and time commitment

You need to be realistic and consider how the extra workload will affect your professional and family life.

You should particularly be aware of the commitment required by EMBA programmes that are short, (ranging from 14 to 17 months for instance) but very condensed. It is important to have at least some space between modules for homework to optimise learning, as well as to catch up on things at work. Some programmes such as the Kellogg-WHU EMBA are flexible and spread the coursework over a couple of years, holding classes at weekends. A good Executive MBA should fit in with your busy schedule by minimising time away from work and home and maximising learning and personal development. Building a network, applying/implementing what you have learned and developing personally simply take time. Things like this can only be achieved by allowing enough time between classes for you to complete projects at work, spend time at home with family, and prepare for the next module.

2. Investigate quality and the curriculum

Things to consider: the quality of the faculty, its members, and its connection to the professional world are all important factors when assessing the value of an EMBA programme.
» Is the school evolving its curriculum to teach the latest management topics?
» Will the topics be useful in your day-to-day working life?

Next, it is important to research the kinds of core and elective courses that are offered:

» Does the programme have a particular emphasis?
» Are participants allowed to focus on a particular field if they want?

Look for an EMBA programme that adapts its curriculum to new trends, or offers (international) electives that give participants the opportunity to study a specific region of the world or a specific knowledge area, such as finance or entrepreneurship.

3. Calculate costs and return-on-investment (ROI)

Evaluating a course’s financial ROI is of course important, but you should also evaluate every potential cost of an EMBA to get a true indication of its value. It is wise to look at the programme fee and assess what costs the tuition fee covers and how much value they represent.

Also evaluate any extra expenses that are necessary to complete the course. Some questions to ask are:

» Is hotel accommodation during modules included?
» Are course materials and meals included during travel periods?
Some programmes include these factors in their fee.

Additionally, it is important to add the value of accompanying features of a programme, such as the assistance of a trained business coach or one-on-one leadership coaching. Factors that enhance personal development such as the Advanced Leadership Development Programme at Kellogg-WHU can add significant value to your ability to lead, which can be even more important than the professional development factors of an EMBA programme.

4. Assess the non-tangible ROI

You should consider the value of non-tangible EMBA aspects, such as whether the business school is well connected, the reputation of the programme, and the compilation of current students and alumni.

Such knowledge and networking benefits boost the ROI value for professionals looking to increase their global opportunities, as participants can gain coveted opportunities to meet and network with senior corporate managers worldwide, as well as promote future business development and collaboration.

5. Look at the internationality and the global connections

Even if you would rather not travel extensively abroad during your EMBA studies, looking at the internationality and diversity of a programme is an important step in choosing an EMBA, as they can reveal a lot about the professional reach and connections. Internationality is particularly important for anyone considering a country manager position within their company, starting their own business, or applying to positions in other countries. Important questions to ask: Is the programme really global? Or are students just being taught at a different location?

6. Visit the school

Narrow down your list of schools to 3-5 and visit the preferred schools. Try to get to know the students, alumni, faculty and staff. 

How is entrepreneurship taught in your programme? How many students embark on entrepreneurial ventures upon graduation? Can you comment on these numbers? Why are they so high/low?

We noticed that more and more students joining our programme were either already entrepreneurs or knew at the beginning of the EMBA that they wanted to start their own business. Others did not necessarily join the programme looking to become entrepreneurs but got the spark through exposure to entrepreneurship courses and activities, and particularly through interacting with diverse and like-minded classmates. 

In response to this trend, the Kellogg-WHU EMBA Programme has increased its entrepreneurship offerings over the past couple years. We provide entrepreneurship resources such as an extensive course portfolio, opportunities to participate in on-campus conferences, entrepreneurship incubators, and the chance to use the required thesis to develop a thorough business plan. 

Are many of your students corporate-sponsored? 

How many students return to executive jobs with their previous or new employers? Can you comment on these numbers? Why are they so high/low?

Currently a third of our students receive corporate sponsorship. We do not have systematic statistics about where our alumni go after graduation. However, looking at our alumni networks, “diversity” is also reflected in what people do after graduation.

If you have to name only one, what would be the h4est added value of your programme and school, e.g. executive career boost; education innovation; high number of entrepreneurial undertakings, and why?

Huge network of opportunities that open perspectives across industries and cultures 

How is your EMBA programme evolving to match the dynamics of business environments around the world? 

  • Constant curriculum review to adapt to new business trends
  • Innovative ideas and extensive research from faculty and business experts from the programme are constantly shaping global business education
  • Tracking of students’ feedback through surveys