Wharton Tops U.S. News’ EMBA List

Chicago's Gleacher Center downtown is the home of Booth's Executive MBA program.

Chicago’s Gleacher Center downtown is the home of Booth’s Executive MBA program.


Still, U.S. News is considered the gold standard in educational rankings. Because of this branding, its EMBA ranking, however defective, has an outsized impact that cannot be ignored. And this year’s ranking features several winners and losers.

The big losers were three recognizable names that dropped off the ranking entirely: Indiana University (Kelley), University of Washington (Foster), and Emory University (Goizueta). While neither Kelley nor Foster had been ranked until 2016, Goizueta EMBA program was a mainstay with U.S. News, peaking at 13th in the 2012 ranking. They were replaced by two newcomers: Marquette University and Loyola Marymount University, with the list shrinking from 24 to 23 EMBA programs in the 2017 rankings.

The inclusion of Loyola Marymount and Marquette is also certain to re-ignite the so-called ‘Jesuit Conspiracy,’ where Jesuit programs – already heavily represented in U.S. News’ EMBA ranking by Seattle University, St. Joseph’s University and Xavier University, vote for each other to collectively raise their stature. Of course, this theory conveniently ignores that Georgetown (McDonough) – ranked highly in other polls – fails to make this ranking.


Seattle University (Albers) emerged as this year’s big winner, vaulting from 18th to 12th, ahead of big name programs like the University of Virginia (Darden), Cornell University (Johnson), and the University of Notre Dame (Mendoza) – another red flag that warrants skepticism. MIT (Sloan), unranked just two years ago, jumped four more spots to rank 11th, making it the most likely candidate to break up U.S. News’ top 10 homogeny. After plunging from 20th to 11th last year, USC (Marshall) rebounded in the 2017 rankings, recapturing six spots to rank 14th.

Alas, some EMBA programs took a step back in the latest rankings. Most notably, Johnson suffered the Marshall curse, plummeting eight spots to 20th in the opinion of b-school deans and MBA directors. Southern Methodist (Cox) fared nearly as poorly, tumbling seven spots into a tie with Johnson. The University of Virginia (Darden) also slid three spots to 14th overall.



  • The rankings fluctuate to some extent each year, but it is important to look at how rankings are determined. As a #Wharton FT MBA grad, it is nice to see Wharton reclaim the top spot this year. One school I don’t feel is accurately ranked enough yet is #MIT #Sloan. As you can see, the program used to not be ranked at all. Sloan has a fantastic EMBA program and applications have been skyrocketing this year. Watch that continue to rise in future years.

  • SillyReally

    Rankings for eMBA programs are really unnecessary and a bit silly in my opinion, especially when they are based upon simple popularity contests like USN. And then the European rankings often include partnership programs which makes everything even nuttier to evaluate. As an eMBA graduate, the truth is that most US based eMBA consumers rely on the full-time MBA rankings to make their decisions. After all, the MBA degree granted from any top eMBA program is the same MBA degree granted to the full-time students. Degree equivalency is what is touted by all of the schools, and the “e” for executive is only to designate the format and targeted consumer. There is nothing on the actual MBA degree diploma granted to an eMBA program graduate to denote “executive”. The degree diploma is 100% identical in its appearance to the MBA degree received by the full-time graduates. eMBA rankings are as a result not overly useful. They would be much more significant if different diplomas were granted.

    • JohnAByrne

      Great point!

  • Vic

    When will this years EMBA rankings be released? Curious how ASU’s full ride will affect rankings for EMBA