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Student Experience

Executive MBA alumni Darcey Estes and Errynne Bell discuss their experiences in the EMBA program.

What is the UW Foster Executive MBA Student experience?  Exhausting, exhilarating, challenging, transformational, sleep-deprived, a 21-month marathon, practical, strategic, and so much more.  It is not just taking classes, rather contributing your experiences and insights to the perspectives of classmates and enhancing your workplace by applying what you learned from others in class.

It is an extraordinary opportunity to engage with a diverse, accomplished cohort about real-time business challenges; to travel outside the country to understand global business; and to hear up close from Northwest industry leaders. It is a network of life-long friends.

The EMBA curriculum will challenge and equip you to understand the “language of business.”  A supportive staff will take care of registration, books and class materials, technology to access coursework, help sessions and teammates, along with on-campus parking, class day lunch and snacks!  Your experience will culminate all-too-soon with the capstone Business Plan Competition and graduation.

Hear students talk about balancing work, family, and school during the 21 month EMBA program

Fall Residence

The Executive MBA Student experience begins with an intensive 5 day offsite residence in September. Consider it an academic “boot camp”.

Conducted at Northwest conference centers, the Fall Residence:

  • Provides an opportunity to become immersed in academic classes
  • Features full day classes with Foster School professors and team building activities
  • Allows classmates to become better acquainted

The cost of the Fall Residence is included in program fees (except for travel expenses).

Schedule Options

The Commitment: Watch the video above the hear students discuss the rigor of the EMBA program.

Schedule options support your work, travel and personal commitments

The Foster Executive MBA offers two schedule options to meet the needs of working professionals. All class sessions are face-to-face meetings for both options. Below is a sample month showing class-days for each option.

Sample EMBA schedule for one month. Monthly co-hort: four consecutive days. Weekly co-hort: one day per week.

View full year at a glance (2024-2025)

Monthly Cohort

The Monthly Cohort option is designed for students from outside Seattle, students living and working in Seattle but who travel frequently for work, or students wanting more flexibility on more weekends throughout the month. There is more flexibility since interaction between monthly class sessions, including learning team meetings, occurs online. Class day single-room hotel accommodations are included in program fees.
NOTE: Year-one Monthly Cohort class dates are the second week of the month. Year-two Monthly Cohort class dates are the first week of the month.

There are many travel options to Seattle and hotel accommodations are included in the program fee for Monthly Cohort students.

Weekly Cohort

The Weekly Cohort is designed for students who live and work in Seattle and do not travel frequently for work. Face-to-face learning team meetings occur weekly, on another day of the week, at learning team mutually agreed upon times and locations.

Typical Class Day

Whether you choose the North America or Regional format, classes are all in-person, enabling active face-to-face interactions. Class days are quite full (8:15 am to 4:30 pm). Below is an example of a class day.

8:15 a.m. Morning class
(e.g., Financial Accounting)
9:45 a.m. Break
11:30 a.m. Catered lunch
12:30 p.m. Presentations
(student or guest speaker)
1:30 p.m. Afternoon Class
(e.g., Creating Effective Organizations
3:00 p.m. Break
4:45 p.m. Classes conclude
5:00 p.m. (Optional) Help Session
(North America)

Learning Teams — the Heart of the EMBA Program

Students and alumni often describe their Learning Team as one of the most powerful aspects of their EMBA experience. Each EMBA student is assigned to a “Learning Team” thoughtfully developed by the EMBA Program’s senior staff to represent a diverse mix of professional backgrounds, industries, and areas of expertise. Learning Teams work together throughout the first year of the program. To expand the opportunity to work closely with other members of the class, and reflecting periodic team changes of the real-world, at the end of year one students are assigned to a new team for year two of the program.

Watch the video above to hear an EMBA student discuss the diverse perspectives of his Learning Team.

Our experience is that, very quickly, learning teams successfully work together, learn from each other and share the EMBA experience. By the end of the program, many people refer to their learning team as being like a “family.”

How Learning Teams enrich the Executive MBA Experience

  • Simulate the dynamics of a real management team
  • Expand leadership skills: teammates take turns facilitating Learning Team meetings and leading projects
  • Offer new perspectives from peers with different business expertise
  • Create an opportunity to test new business solutions and best practices in your or other member’s organizations

Why Learning Teams support collaboration

  • Divide responsibility and share research for projects
  • Manage and negotiate workloads
  • Develop camaraderie, creating life-long professional and personal relationships
  • Take turns facilitating study sessions

Return on Investment

Companies that sponsor students through the Executive MBA Program appreciate the immediate and long-term benefits to their organizations. Sponsoring an Executive MBA not only supports key employees’ personal and professional goals but also enhances their contributions to their organization.

Time away from the office is minimal—generally only two to three weekdays a month—and the ROI is significant.

Graduates of the Executive MBA Program:

  • Become more effective leaders
  • Learn to make better, more insightful business decisions
  • Immediately apply new business models and share their knowledge with colleagues
  • Use their organization as a laboratory for group projects, which often results in valuable new ways of doing business
  • Explore business practices in other companies across a range of industries and geographical areas
  • Develop a network of business connections at other organizations

Recent EMBA blog posts

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EMBA guide

Download EMBA GuideFind out if an Executive MBA is right for you. Download the guide.