Program Structure

The MBA for Executives (EMBA) core coursework equips you with skills and agility to effectively compete in today's digitally driven world. It focuses on four key drivers of business growth: strategic innovation, information technology, analytic decision-making, and collaborative execution.

Program Structure:

  • Classes begin every September and take only 21 months to complete
  • Courses are offered in 7 consecutive quarters including one summer
  • Each quarter consists of 4 class weekends
  • Classes meet on Fridays from 3:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.; Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.; and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. (only on the first class weekend)
  • Three off-site immersive residential courses
    • Thinking Strategically in the Digital Age for Executives, September in first year
    • Global Immersion, mid program
    • Executive Leadership, June in second year 

Program Curriculum:

The EMBA curriculum consists of core business foundations, immersive experiences, and elective flexibility to allow you to align your interest with your professional goals.

Business Foundations

Business Foundations are your core courses that ground you in the fundamental disciplines of business taught through the latest research insights, real world projects and industry case studies.

  • Thinking Strategically in the Digital Age for Executives (Opening Residential)
  • Business Analytics: Decision-Making for Executives
  • Organizational Leadership for Executives
  • Financial Reporting Policies for Executives
  • Microeconomics for Executives in the Digital Age
  • Marketing Leadership
  • Competing with Digital: Technology, Analytics, Business Models
  • Operational Excellence: Processes, Strategy, and Analytics
  • Managerial Finance for Executives
  • Executive Strategy: Foundations and Dynamics

Executive Leadership

Executive Leadership prepares you to analyze critically, lead confidently, and articulate strategically. Through this series of modular courses, you will strengthen your management acumen, analytical tools, and interpersonal skills to build effective teams and successfully navigate challenges. In addition to coursework, students will have access to an Executive Coach who will integrate lessons from the classroom to apply it to your work. 

Executive Leadership modular courses are offered quarterly each Sunday on your first class weekend.

Key Objectives of Executive Leadership include: 

  • Leadership Foundations: You will learn how to evaluate personal leadership strengths and weaknesses, create and execute a communication strategy for executive team members, and enhance your understanding of the critical interface between execution issues and internal and external strategic challenges to the organization.
  • Comprehensive Executive (EMBA) Leadership Plan: The EMBA program integrates Executive Coaching in tandem with coursework - resources typically for high-level executives at Fortune 500 companies. Your Executive Coach will help you: 
    • Create SMART Goals
    • Select Key Stakeholders (Feedback)
    • Identify Measures of Success
    • Regular Check-Ins
  • Mastering Teamwork: Our prominent faculty deep-dive into many of the leadership skills and practices to provide participants with a better understanding of team and organizational dynamics and how their personal leadership skills can strengthen teams and improve organizational growth/success.

Immersive Experiences

The MBA for Executives program provides a sequence of three off-site immersive learning experiences (residentials), including an international experience which is invaluable in today's global environment.

Opening Residential: Responding to Dynamic Times: Thinking Strategically for Executives
Scheduled prior to your first regularly scheduled class weekend, this experience is designed to introduce you to being a student again.

  • Held at a business-class hotel in Orange County.
  • Topics include organizational design, organizational culture and power, group processes, competitive analysis, corporate strategy, and business ethics.
  • Instructive methods include case study analysis, group presentations, and group-based teamwork.

International Residential: Global Immersion
A highlight of the EMBA program, the international residential takes a thematic approach to exploring global business. You will have the opportunity to experience global business first hand from a corporate, academic and cultural standpoint. Recent international residentials have been held in Thailand/Myanmar, India and Israel.

  • Held for 6 days. Students stay in four- and five-star business-class hotels in major urban centers.
  • Typical topics include: major issues faced by US companies overseas, investment climate, banking and finance, supply chain management, manufacturing, technology, government, marketing, and economic transition in emerging economies.
  • Senior-level executives from US and foreign-based companies discuss the challenges they face. Company tours follow most on-site presentations by executives.
  • Optional cultural events may include visits to museums and historic sites of interest.

Closing Residential: Executive Leadership Practicum
This residential provides a time to reflect on what you have learned, how you have developed professionally, and how you will shape your future as a leader and executive.

  • Held at a Southern California retreat hotel.
  • Provides a clear perspective on your skills as a leader.
  • Presents a variety of tools to continue to develop your leadership capabilities.
  • Prepares you to take control of your career by creating an explicit career action plan.

Note: Immersive experience courses content are subject to change. All program costs, speakers, events, transportation, and hotels are included in your tuition, with the exception of your round-trip airfare for the international residential. We make the arrangements for your accommodations for all three residentials.

Specializing Your MBA

You will have the opportunity to tailor your MBA to your interests through a variety of electives spread across different academic areas. You may also choose to enhance your MBA by completing the Health Care Leadership Track or one of our specializations.


Elective Flexibility

EMBA Anchor Electives

Anchor electives are courses offered for EMBA students only and are offered on the EMBA schedule. These courses focus on strategy, leadership, general management, and decision-making - core knowledge and capabilities required to lead an organization. Sample anchor electives include:

  • Global Business
  • The Leader's Role in Sustaining Growth in a Global Enterprise: Perspectives from the C-Suite
  • Driving Profitability in a Digital World
  • Negotiations

Elective Options

EMBA students also have the option of enrolling in elective courses outside of the EMBA program - in the Fully-Employed MBA (FEMBA), Full Time MBA, or Specialty Master's programs (Finance, Business Analytics or Innovation and Entrepreneurship). These electives are based on space availability, but more importantly based on your availability. Students are advised to meet with their Program Manager to develop an academic plan. 

MBA Specializations

Digital Transformation: The specialization in Digital Transformation prepares students to lead their organizations to success in the digital economy. The economics of the digital world are fundamentally different from those of the physical world, and imply new rules of competition. They change business strategy, structure and practices in profound ways. Students will learn how to analyze technology-enabled change broadly and how to leverage digital technologies across businesses, from the perspective of both incumbents and startups. Completion of the MBA specialization requires 4+ academic courses and participating in the Center for Digital Transformation’s annual Road to Reinvention conference.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship: The Beall Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship provides students with academic and practical training so that they gain a solid understanding of launching and/or growing a business in today’s competitive environment. The specialization in Innovation and Entrepreneurship prepares students who are either planning to or have already embarked on a career as an entrepreneur (innovating to form new companies) or an intrapreneur (innovating within existing companies). Through participation in the Merage School New Venture Competition and completion of key electives focused on Entrepreneurship and Innovation, students earn the MBA specialization in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Real Estate and Urban Development: The Center for Real Estate provides world class resources and research to future leaders and entrepreneurs working in real estate. To that end, the Center focuses on the pursuit of emerging best practices in the real estate profession. The MBA specialization in Real Estate and Urban Development provides students the practical skills and theories needed to succeed in an ever-changing marketplace. It takes a holistic approach to real estate, drawing from the lessons of past cycles and current trends in order to best prepare students for their careers. Through successful completion of five academic courses focused on Real Estate, students earn the MBA specialization.


As an EMBA student, you join an exceptional learning community. Our professors are top scholars who have been educated at many of the nation’s most prestigious universities. They consult at Fortune 500 companies, advise global enterprises, and counsel executives at the highest levels. Our real-world practitioners include CEOs and senior leaders from global enterprises. You benefit from the same faculty and practitioners who teach in all the Merage School MBA programs.

Faculty recognition extends far beyond the classroom to include scholarly research that is published in top-tier academic publications. Rather than passing along old information, they create new knowledge, new business models, and bold new solutions. Merage School faculty offer you exceptionally high standards. The level of expertise, rigor and enthusiasm they bring to your education is second to none.

Learn more about the Merage School faculty.