Source: University of St. Gallen
The best executive education programmes teach candidates how to drive profits for business, people and the planet. Source: University of St. Gallen

How do you stay competitive in the age of globalisation, digitalisation and a raging pandemic? One of the most beneficial investments a professional can make to achieve this is an Executive MBA. 

A 2019 survey by the Executive MBA Council (EMBAC) confirms this. The study found that Executive MBA graduates received a 13.5% increase in compensation after completing the programme. This compensation boost included both salary and bonuses. Two out of five students who completed the survey reported receiving a promotion in their organisations during the programme.

“When you couple the idea of promotion and prospective salary increases with new skills taught to Executive MBA graduates, it is clear to see why both students and companies are seeing the value in these programmes.”

These benefits will persist in 2021 and beyond. To gain a spot at the forefront of innovative leadership in a post-COVID world, these EMBA programmes in Europe should be at the top of your list:

University of St. Gallen

In Switzerland, you’ll find Europe’s most relevant Executive MBA. The emba X is a programme in general management focusing on technology and leadership for senior and experienced leaders, offered jointly by ETH Zürich and University of St. Gallen.

Imagine the best of both universities — doubled. This means you’ll have two professors instead of one for most of the courses, which take place in ETH Zürich and University of St. Gallen, twice the support, perspectives, facilities and networking opportunities. Plus, with access to Switzerland’s largest alumni and business network, you are one step closer to Swiss elites and their global networks. Few universities, if any, can match the reach and potential for global impact of this illustrious alumni network.

What sets this programme apart and above the competition is its powerful integration of business leadership and technology. You will learn how to use data effectively to drive profit for businesses, people and the planet; make profitable management decisions; understand what lies in the intersection of energy management, technology and economics; how to be technically fluent in the core drivers of cognitive technologies; how technologies change the nature of products and service offerings to realise positive, sustainable goals; and more.

As you work to better the world, you’ll go on a journey of personal development too — 20% of the programme’s workload (and total course credits) is devoted to this. As you cover topics such as Technology, International Management, Leadership, Business Innovation, and Social Responsibility, you’ll holistically develop body, mind and soul via continuous self-assessment tools, workshops, training, coaching, and peer-to-peer coaching opportunities.

The locations? St. Gallen — between Lake Constance and the Alps, a charming, traffic-free old town — and Zürich, the nation’s centre of economic life and education. Inspiration from the world’s most innovative economy is abundant in both. If you seek an EMBA with challenge, growth, impact and the ultimate alpine trek, click here.

Imperial College Business School

Internationally recognised and ranked third in Europe by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021, Imperial College Business School is one of the world’s leading providers of postgraduate business education. 

Its part-time Executive MBA programme was designed specifically for those looking to lead in a technologically-driven world. Here, participants acquire knowledge of essential business disciplines and strategic leadership. These individuals are also granted multiple opportunities to specialise in their areas of expertise, utilising their existing experience to develop global perspectives in today’s world of business. 

Source: Imperial College Business School

The Imperial EMBA grants learners multiple opportunities to specialise in their areas of expertise. Source: Imperial College Business School

In 23 months, through a unique blend of on-campus learning and online study tools, learners partake in pre-study modules, core modules and electives. This method works. Graduates are upskilled and inspired — without even needing to spend too much time away from their offices. 

Campus-based core modules were made to be seamlessly accessible through the school’s online e-learning platform, the Hub. Through this form of delivery, students will not have to wait before applying new knowledge and skills in the workplace.

“My Executive Leadership Journey (ELJ) was in a word, transformative,” shares Sachin Shah, Executive MBA graduate. “Understanding yourself, learning softer skills, being mindful within yourself and externally, knowing what mindset you’re in, and how you can shift and work with different personality types – I would never have been exposed to that at all.”

Fellow graduate Elizabeth Alimena agrees. “One of my motivators for getting an Executive MBA is the energy and increased focus on empowering and promoting women to senior-level executive roles,” she comments. “This has been particularly prevalent in the UK, where the statutory gender pay gap reporting is helping to drive this conversation and action. I was humbled to receive the 30% Club’s Inspiring Women Scholarship, and relished gaining skills from the programme that will give me an advantage in the boardroom.”

IE University

Located in Madrid, Spain, IE University is known for its risk-taking and boundary-breaking entrepreneurial foundation. Its Online Executive  MBA programme empowers professionals looking to accelerate their professional careers to new heights with advanced skills. Location is no hurdle — they can join this programme from anywhere in the world. 

Aspiring organisational leaders gain the tools they need to impact business and society alongside a lineup of world-class educators who double as industry experts, guest speakers, professors and peers. These connections ensure learners stay ahead of the rapidly changing industry and graduate well-versed with the art of agile leadership.

Faculty members guide students as they gain key insights into managerial challenges at a senior executive level and throughout the programme, business-oriented academics enable students to gain crucial hard skills. The Executive MBA is offered in both English and Spanish, or a combination of the two. 

Source: IE University

At IE University, faculty members guide students as they gain key insights into managerial challenges at a senior executive level. Source: IE University

What sets this programme apart? Its blended methodology. This combination provides an unconventional educational experience, allowing the use of online lectures, forums, activities and face-to-face modules in various locations around the world to keep learners engaged.

“Even with my previous experience as an entrepreneur, I wouldn’t have dared to put myself out there without having something like an MBA to prove my capabilities,” shares graduate Marieke Jonker. “The Executive MBA gave me the confidence I needed.”

Networking in her Executive MBA was always a dynamic and fun affair. “IE Business School does a great job organising networking activities that encourage unexpected connections,” she explains. “Also, the work groups for projects rotate, so you get to know lots of your classmates very well. IE Business School and (if you’re lucky) some great class reps will make networking for your future career a very pleasant experience.”

Copenhagen Business School

Over 90% international students; Scandinavian values; excellent post-MBA visa and work opportunities; small class sizes; a strong emphasis on sustainability; triple-accredited; top-ranked; a student cohort made up of 40% women; a location in one of the greenest and happiest cities in the world — these are the features that define the Copenhagen Business School (CBS).

Source: Copenhagen Business School

A CBS EMBA is fully customisable to career goals. Source: Copenhagen Business School

Its Executive MBA (EMBA) is just as outstanding. Accredited by the AMBA, EQUIS, and AACSB, this programme has also ranked top 54 in the world by last year’s Financial Times roundup. The course begins with a deeper understanding of the fundamentals that impact organisations from within. It then explores the elements that can exert impact on businesses and the environment in which it operates. Closer to the finishing line, everything comes together and learners graduate with newfound skills used to innovate and manage strategies for future organisational success. 

“Providing a research-based EMBA of the highest quality is a vision that lies at the very core of our programme,” says Jesper Rangvid, Associate Dean for the CBS EMBA. “Our dedicated faculty, outstanding programme managers and engaged participants all collaborate to make our EMBA a refined experience that is practically applicable and immediately relevant to real-life organisational scenarios.”

The best part? It’s a programme customisable to career goals. With a CBS EMBA, professionals can choose from one of four concentrations: digitalisation; entrepreneurship; governance and sustainability; or finance. They could also opt to take on additional elective courses at CBS’s partner school, ESADE in Barcelona.


*Some of the schools featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International