Curriculum and Academic Experience


The Executive MBA classroom is energized! Play the video above to hear how student insights and perspectives are brought together, resulting in improved understanding and conclusions. Find the full version here.

Challenging, immediately relevant curriculum

The 21-month Executive MBA Program is a demanding integrated general-management curriculum which emphasizes leadership development and strategic thinking as well as the application of decision-making tools. Based on UW Graduate School enrollment policy, the EMBA Program is considered a full-time enrollment program (at least 10 credits per term). A total of 70 credits is required. The degree earned is the Master of Business Administration (the same degree awarded in the Full-time MBA program).

Integrated Curriculum

Current business trends, including technology and globalization, are integrated throughout the entire curriculum and within individual courses.

  • First year courses: Focus on accounting, economics, finance, statistics, team building, and leadership
  • Second year courses: Explore the connections between operations and strategy, including discussions about marketing, integrative management and entrepreneurship.

The course sequence is designed as a cohort-based, defined model. That is, EMBA classes are completed in a predetermined progression and as a group. There are no electives within the EMBA Program. Grades are based on both individual achievement and study group based assignments.

Residence Sessions

EMBA students kick-off the academic year each fall at a week-long, off-site academic intensive session. Consider it academic “boot camp” consisting of five days of class sessions.

Conducted at Northwest conference centers, the week-long learning sessions:

  • Provide an opportunity to become immersed in academic classes
  • Feature high profile guest speakers, classes with Foster School professors, and team building activities
  • Allow classmates to become better acquainted

The cost of Residence Sessions are included in program fees (except for travel expenses).

Diverse teaching approaches

EMBA students experience a variety of teaching styles that create a challenging and dynamic learning environment. With opportunities for both individual learning and group involvement, students come away with a rich and valuable experience:

  • Classes combine thought-provoking lectures with lively discussions
  • One-on-one interaction with world class faculty
  • Supportive, motivating study teams
  • Case studies link theory with real-time challenges and current business practices
  • Students use their own organizations as laboratories and bring the results to class for further discussion and analysis, a valuable return on investment for sponsoring companies.

Business Plan Competition: The Capstone

The EMBA Business Plan Competition, fashioned after the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship competition, is the capstone experience for second-year EMBA students. The competition is designed to promote student ideas and venture creation by providing a forum in which students can present new business concepts to local venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and investors. Within their Study Teams, EMBA students create an original business plan and compete in a one-day competition just prior to graduation.

In preparation for the competition, guest speakers including venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and program alumni meet with students to guide them through effective competition planning strategies. Topics include executive summary development, management team skill, market opportunity, competitive strategy, go to market strategy, traction, and the financials. Past winning plans have gone on to launch new small businesses.

Focus on Leadership

Gain the confidence and skills to successfully develop and manage the responsibilities of leadership. The Program’s collaborative format, which requires you to create and deliver group presentations, also strengthens leadership skills.

  • Understand what motivates employees
  • Learn how to sell an initiative to the board of directors and management teams
  • Achieve results without damaging relationships
  • Create a framework for making ethical decisions in fiercely competitive environments
  • Add new win-win techniques to your negotiation toolkit
  • Gain the perspective of and interact with C-Level leaders from throughout the northwest