How to calculate the value of an Executive MBA

When embarking on your search for an EMBA programme, it is important to have a full picture of the costs, return on investment (ROI), opportunities for personal and career evolution to calculate its overall value. Here are the top 4 factors to consider. 

Reading time :
14 Nov 2022


1. Estimating the value of an Executive MBA based on costs:

Tuition Fees:

Unless your employer agrees to finance your tuition, the initial commitment to personally financing an Executive MBA may seem overwhelming, regardless of the resulting ROI. Did you know that top Business Schools such as EDHEC offer scholarships and other funding options?  It is fundamental to ensure that gender equality, cultural diversity, and fairness are reflected at the heart of the Executive MBA cohort. Providing financing and funding solutions that best suit the circumstances of each applicant must therefore be central to tuition fee payment schemes.


Cost of commuting to your Executive MBA

A Prospective Students Survey published by The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), found that during the selection process, applicants for Executive MBA programmes prioritised the specific business school (45%) and the type of degree programme (40%) over the regional location (15%). This means that although location and distance are relevant, EMBA candidates are willing to travel the extra mile (and expense) to attend the Business School of their choice.

If you will be commuting or traveling to the EMBA site, you’ll want to consider the following questions:

  • Is the campus centrally located?
  • How easy is it to commute to the site via rail, bus, metro, air?
  • What are the commute-associated costs?
  • Will you be made aware of the exact scheduling of the EMBA programme ahead of time so that you can book tickets and accommodation at favourable rates?


Costs of juggling your current job and family life throughout an EMBA programme:

When calculating the cost of an Executive MBA, one must consider the eventual time-off from your current job, additional childcare costs, and any other factors that may create a temporary imbalance to your work-life-family status quo.

To facilitate financial and organisational matters, EDHEC offers its Executive MBA in two convenient formats at two different locations: Twice a month (Friday - Saturday) on its Lille Campus and once a month (Wednesday - Saturday) on the centrally located Paris Campus.

The EDHEC Paris campus is located between the Stock Exchange and the Opera House in the historic business district of Paris. It is in close proximity to bus, metro, and the RER trains (connecting Paris to its 2 main airports), as well as to high-speed trains such as the TGV, Eurostar, and Thalys. The Lille campus of the EDHEC Business School is located at the crossroads of several European capitals and is only an hour’s train ride away from Paris. Lille has high-speed train links to London (Eurostar) Brussels (Thalys), Amsterdam (Thalys), and Frankfurt (Eurostar / TGV with connection to local lines).


2. Return on Investment (ROI) from completion of an Executive MBA

The return on investment following the completion of an EMBA is substantial. For most alumni, this makes the time, sacrifices and costs involved well worth it.

Executive MBA Council (EMBAC) 2020 survey results revealed increases in compensation, as well as expanded responsibilities among graduates. The 2020 EMBAC Student Exit Survey affirmed that Executive MBA alumni received a considerable increase in combined salary and bonus compensation. 39% of EMBA graduates said that they even received a promotion during the EMBA course.

As Michael Desiderio, executive director of EMBAC, expressed:

“EMBA programs enrich students with new ways of solving business problems and provide them with tools to adapt in the face of adversity. Companies recognize how important these skills are now more than ever and the increases in compensation and responsibilities given to professionals in these programs attest to that.”

According to the Financial Times “for students, the return on investment is clear, even though EMBAs are expensive. Three years after graduation, the average salary for alumni of schools in the FT’s 2018 EMBA ranking was $220,000, (approx. 195 000€) up 59 percent on the average pre-programme salary.”

When calculating the financial return of an Executive MBA course, surveys generally consider the initial boost in salary, additional bonuses, and salary increases over time. Remember to factor in any additional costs sustained as a result of participating in an EMBA programme.


3. Personal development & upskilling as a result of an Executive MBA

To start an executive education programme is to decide to change the course of one’s career and, more broadly, of one’s life journey.

The executive MBA in charts by the Financial Times shows that “the main reasons for starting an Executive MBA are management development and networking. Therefore, EDHEC has put increasd emphasis on leadership and career development with its new Transform360 programme. ”Other top reasons are increased earnings, promotion within the current company, and desire to change one’s career or industry.


Figure 1. This FT chart depicts the value of an Executive MBA and the top benefits that Executive MBA applicants associate with the completion of an EMBA programme.

Figure 1. This FT chart depicts the value of an Executive MBA and the top benefits that Executive MBA applicants associate with the completion of an EMBA programme.


EDHEC Alumna Sonia Botta, VP Global Citrus at Firmenich, the world's largest privately-owned fragrance & flavour company, remarked that the EMBA she completed helped her become a 2.0 version of herself; updating her skills and knowledge and enabling her to think more innovatively.

Thanks to the EDHEC EMBA, I learned a lot about finance and strategy, just as I had hoped to…It fuelled my self-confidence! I also found the Economy & Global Business course invaluable – it helped me to develop a new perspective and vision of the world. Being able to comprehend economic and monetary mechanisms makes me feel more connected to the world we live in and more confident in a business sense.”


4. Value of an Executive MBA from EMBA cohort diversity

The human factor, including first and foremost the diversity within an Executive MBA cohort, shouldn’t be underestimated. Top Business Schools pride themselves on the diversity of their participants. A trusting atmosphere in which open communication, sharing expertise, and exposure to global practices is paramount, as are the priceless networking opportunities that arise.

“To ensure a personalised and transformational experience for each and every candidate, we aim for cohorts that are as diverse as possible in terms of culture, background, and experience. At the same time, we want to make sure we are able to guarantee intensive and meaningful exchanges during and after class so that we can all learn, support, and challenge each other. I am delighted that this year’s [2021] exceptional group has already started bonding and building relationships in the short time they have been here.” said Denis Dauchy, EDHEC EMBA Programme Director in Lille. 

According to Michael Desiderio, executive director of EMBAC the value of an Executive MBA programme can be summarised as follows:. In addition to providing a core curriculum featuring finance, marketing, accounting, and operations, programmes teach soft skills and help give students an outside perspective on business.

“It’s hard to get that when you’re immersed in your role at your job. You’re within your bubble, and your EMBA takes you outside your bubble.”

Are you ready to accelerate your career with an executive MBA?

The EDHEC EMBA is a 16-month part-time programme designed to equip you with the insights, knowledge, and personal resolve to lead the transformation your career and your business need:

  • Refine your strategic, financial, and business leadership competencies. 
  • Challenge your perspectives and develop new ways of thinking by building an international network of experienced professionals.
  • Develop your capacity to lead with confidence and authenticity.  

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