Return on Investment in Education: Thoughts on the Top Executive M.B.A. Programs

Last week, a Wall Street Journal report listed the top 25 Executive M.B.A. (E.M.B.A.) Programs of 2010. The Wharton School (UPenn) ranks No. 1 and costs an executive $167,250 to finish the program. Among those E.M.B.A. students who responded to the survey, 36% are paying for their own expenses. I wonder what makes these schools so good that people want to pay big bucks for the education.

The No. 1 motivation is they hope an E.M.B.A. can help them change careers or industry, followed by the reason of getting promotion their current company. Under financial crisis, the top E.M.B.A. programs added new specializations such as finance and leadership. The focus of these programs switched from business skills to modern thinking, ethics, and leadership. Upon finishing an E.M.B.A. program, a student’s return on investment can be assessed by (a) if his/her personal goals are met; (b) improvement in performance is noticed at work; and (c) s/he attributes his/her growth to the program. In particular, students at Wharton School have the opportunity to work one-on-one with faculty to “design an independent-study thesis,” which may bring direct impact to their jobs.

Students at Syracuse University (SU) spend approximately $36,000 a year on tuition and fees. After reading this Wall Street Journal report, I was thinking how I may provide the best education to my students? How do I contribute to their return on investment in SU? It seems to me leadership is really important. Students need more than just textbook knowledge to deal with today’s business and life dilemmas. Analytical thinking, ethics, and leadership can serve them in a long term. It is good if a university can educate A students. It is even better if a program makes an impact in a student’s life by providing the valuable tools for their success. What is the most important attribute you acquired in school?

References:
Porter, J. (2010, September 30). The best Executive M.B.A. programs 2010. The Wall Street Journal, p. A15, A16. (http://on.wsj.com/c5sSJK)
Picture was downloaded from http://www.inoventos.net/?p=50 

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