Booth Overhauls Its Highly Ranked EMBA

More global. More choices. And more expensive, too.

After a faculty review lasting nine months, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business today (Jan. 14) announced a series of significant changes to its highly ranked Executive MBA program.

The school is  increasing the international exchange portion of the program to five weeks from four, doubling the number of required electives so that students can specialize in a discipline, and tossing into the program a full menu of leadership exercises that has long been an entry hallmark of its full-time MBA experience.

Among other changes, Booth also is adding a three-month-long capstone course that will provide the opportunity for students to integrate concepts and tools from much of the curriculum in a multi-round simulation culminating in presentations to a panel of investor-judges. The industry-based simulation will involve a goal to maximize revenue for a fictitious company and have teams of students compete with each other.

BOOTH EXPECTS TO INCREASE THE COST OF THE $154,000 PROGRAM

The overhaul will likely come with a tuition increase. Booth now charges U.S. students $154,000 for the 21-month program, a fee that includes tuition, books and course materials, some meals and hotel accommodations for two residential weeks in Chicago, a week in London, and a week in Singapore. Only two years ago, Booth was charging $142,000 for the program. Still, the current price of Booth’s EMBA is significantly below Wharton’s record $175,678 price tag for its executive MBA program in San Francisco or its $171,360 cost in Philadelphia.

“We don’t see the changes increasing the cost of the program significantly,” says Patty Keegan, associate dean of Booth’s EMBA program. “But right now we are in the middle of tuition discussions.”

The changes occur after a faculty committee spent nine months doing peer reviews of other EMBA programs, conducting focus groups with recent alumni and current students, and an audit of course evaluations by EMBA students over the past five years. The review led to recommendations to Booth faculty last fall.

‘THE COMMITTEE DIDN’T START OVER AT GROUND ZERO’

“We always thrive to make improvements where it makes sense,” explains Keegan. “The committee didn’t start over at ground zero (but rather built on what was already working). There is nothing broken. We wanted to find opportunities for students to customize within an EMBA which can be challenging because most EMBAs are lockstep programs.”

Students will now be able to take four elective courses, up from just two, and to specialize by choosing coursework in a particular academic area. Those areas are expected to be capital markets, corporate finance, entrepreneurship, strategy, marketing and leadership and management. Previously specializations were only possible by paying extra to take an optional week of classes at the end of the program. Keegan said students will now get to choose from among 12 to 18 different elective offerings and take four electives without an additional tuition fee.

The changes take effect for students who enter the program, which is taught at campuses in Chicago, London and Singapore, in June of 2013. The length of the program will remain at 16 weeks of instruction spread over 21 months. Booth has more than 500 students studying in its Executive MBA Program on campuses in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

With the exception of the elective courses taught at Harper Center on Chicago’s main campus, U.S. students take classes at Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago, while European-based students take their classes at the school’s London campus in the City and Asian-based students do their coursework at the school’s Singapore campus adjacent to Orchard Road.

EXPOSING STUDENTS TO MORE FACULTY & CREATING CLOSER CONNECTIONS WITH FELLOW STUDENTS

“With these changes, students will be exposed to more members of our faculty, create closer connections with our other MBA programs and will spend more time studying alongside Executive MBA students from all of our campuses,” said Booth Dean Sunil Kumar in a statement. “Many students have told us the international exchange is important and creates a unique learning environment.”

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.