2022 Student EMBAC Survey: Higher Pay, More Promotions After Graduation

2022 Student EMBAC Survey: Higher Pay, More Promotions After Graduation

An Executive EMBA class at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Even before getting to the classroom, prospective Executive MBA students should do a little math.

On one side of the ROI equation, you have the average cost of a U.S. EMBA: $126,517, according to the cost data from the 61 programs Poets&Quants For Execs ranked this year. That’s up 2.5% from the year prior, and it’s just the average. The top programs – the Kelloggs, the Columbias, the Whartons – will set you back well over $200,000.

The other side of the ROI equation is harder to pin down. It depends on career outcomes you have yet to achieve – the pay raises, promotions or career switches that an EMBA could help propel. The latest research from the Executive MBA Council (EMBAC) makes a compelling argument for the degree’s value.

In compensation alone, respondents to the 2022 EMBAC Student Exit Survey reported an average 17.7% increase in salary plus bonuses by the time they graduated from the program. That’s three full percentage points higher than the 14.7% increase reported by 2021 graduates, and outpaces the 2.5% increase in the average cost of the degree.

Further, students reported that their average compensation rose from $231,143 at the start of their executive MBA programs to $272,160 at the end. That’s up considerably from a year ago when average compensation rose from $166,549 at the start to $190,989 at the finish.

“These compensation hikes – while students are in the program – are one measure of the many ways the EMBA experience helps students advance their careers,” says Michael Desiderio, EMBAC executive director.


The Executive MBA Council (EMBAC) represents more than 200 schools offering EMBA programs in over 30 countries. EMBAC provides research and other tools to advance executive MBA education, including annual student and member surveys to highlight trends and opportunities.

2022 Student EMBAC Survey: Higher Pay, More Promotions After Graduation

Michael Desiderio

Its student exit survey, conducted by Percept Research, Inc., included 1,162 graduates of primarily U.S. EMBA Programs.

One hallmark of the executive MBA is the opportunity for executives to apply what they learn in the classroom to their current jobs. It’s only natural that their employers take notice.

In fact, 41% of exiting EMBA students reported receiving at least one promotion during the course of the program, up from 36% of 2021 graduates and 39% of 2020 grads.

Meanwhile, 52% of 2022 students reported taking on more job responsibilities during the program, often a prerequisite to that coveted promotion. That’s up from 49% in 2021.

“In these days of almost-constant change, the skill set that EMBA Programs help students develop allows them to adapt to rapid marketplace changes. They learn ways to nurture innovations, marshal their teams, and drive change that helps their organizations thrive,” Desiderio says.


Earlier this year, the council also released its 2022 EMBAC Membership Program Survey which includes insights from 76% of member programs.

That survey found:

  • Average age of EMBA students is 38.9 years, up slightly from 38 years on the 2021 survey.
  • Students, on average, have 14.6 years of professional work experience and 9.2 years of managerial experience. Both categories are up slightly from 2021 which found students had an average of 14.1 years of work and 8.9 years of managerial experience.
  • 34.8% are female, up slightly from 33.4% in 2021.
  • 61% of programs offer scholarships or fellowships and 31% of EMBA students received them. Support averaged a total of $223,700 in scholarship and fellowship funds, compared to $210,645 in 2021, and $134,779 five years earlier.
  • 16.4% of students received full sponsorship from their employers while 56.2% were self-funded. In 2021, just 15.2% recently received full sponsorship.
  • 92% of programs offered an international trip, up nearly 50 points from the 43% in 2021. Travel, it seems, is back after prolonged shutdowns in wake of the pandemic. Top destinations in 2022 were the United States, Germany, and England.


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