University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign

33. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Executive MBA at ILLINOIS

Illini Center, Fourth Floor

200 South Wacker Drive

Chicago, IL 6060

Admissions: 312-575-0900



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This is a pretty straightforward Executive MBA with one really innovative twist: During the final nine months of the program, students engage in a real-world consulting project for a global company in China. After extensive preparation stateside, student teams travel halfway across the globe for the final exam–a somewhat daunting presentation before senior execs of the client company where you have to defend your recommendations. It’s not only a required project; it’s also included in the total cost of the tuition.

Otherwise, the Illinois program is pretty much a traditional EMBA offering. Over a 20-month period, starting in September, students are taught four days per month on alternating Friday and Saturdays in downtown Chicago. The program is comprised of nineteen courses covering all the major disciplines of business study. The courses are organized into ten modules with a pair of  courses running at any moment in time, each lasting about four weekends.

A typical weekend includes morning and afternoon classes on Friday and Saturday. The school says a key part of the learning continues into Friday evening where professors may bring in guest speakers to cover additional examples from class. Some of this time is also devoted to group study time as students prepare for Saturday’s classes. Outside speakers affiliated with the school’s Executive Leadership Development Series use this evening time as well. A typical Friday runs to 8:30 p.m. or later, depending on various projects or demands in class.

Students enter as a cohort and progress through the program in study teams. Toward the end of the first year, students have one residential session in Champaign at the university’s home campus in Urbana.

The program tends to draw a slightly older, middle management crowd. The average age of a student here is 41, four full years above the average for EMBA programs, and the oldest of any EMBA program in the Chicago metro area. The average salary of a student in the program is $108,326, significantly lower than the EMBA students at either Chicago Booth or Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

Application Deadline: Rolling admissions

Latest Up-to-Date Executive MBA Rankings:

2012 Poets&Quants: 33

2011 BusinessWeek: Second-Tier

2011 U.S. News & World Report: NR

2010 The Wall Street Journal: 14

2011 Financial Times: NR

Rankings Analysis: The Illinois program is ranked 33rd by PoetsandQuants in 2012, up from a rank of 39 in 2011. The EMBA program is in the second-tier of recognized but not numerically rankings programs by BusinessWeek in 2011. It won a very impressive 14th place finish in The Wall Street Journal’s ranking of EMBA programs in 2010, the last time the WSJ ranked these programs.

Application Fee: $70

2012 Tuition & Fees: $94,000

Average Months of Work Experience: 198

GMAT Required: No. The Executive MBA Admissions Committee assesses prior quantitative grades adn in some cases may require a quantitative course prior to an admission decision.

Class Enrollment: 62

International: 3%

Female: 33%

Mean Age: 41

Classes Meet: Alternating Fridays and Saturdays in downtown Chicago, with two residencies, one at the home campus in Urbana and the other an international trip to China.

Length of Program: 20 months

Start Date: September

Students work in these functions:

  • Consulting: 6%
  • Finance/Accounting 15%
  • General Management : 21%
  • Human Resources: 0%
  • Marketing/Sales: 18%
  • Management Information Systems : 3 %
  • Operations/Logistics: 12%
  • Other: 25%
Students work in these industry Sectors:
  • Consulting: 12%
  • Consumer Products: 0%
  • Financial Services: 15%
  • Government: 3%
  • Manufacturing: 15%
  • Media/Entertainment: 3%
  • Non-Profit: 9%
  • Petroleum/Energy: 0%
  • Pharmaceutical/Biotechnology/Health Care: 22%
  • Real Estate: 3%
  • Technology: 6%
  • Other: 12%

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