EMBAs: what they cost, whether they are worth it

With six-figure price tags not uncommon among the highest-ranking executive MBA programmes, cynics may question whether good value is possible. Despite the costs, however, four out of five graduates polled by the FT reported that their degree has delivered significant economic value since graduation.

Among the 1,707 survey respondents who completed EMBA courses in 2009, 34 per cent paid all their fees, 36 per cent part of them and 30 per cent were fully sponsored by employers.

Counter-intuitively, perhaps, there is very little correlation between the costs incurred by graduates – which varied widely – and perceptions of their degree’s value. Of those who received financial support, 81 per cent say their EMBA has delivered significant economic value, compared with 74 per cent of those respondents who funded themselves.

Arguably, such positive assessments reflect the character of the survey cohort, 16 per cent of whom report that the prolonged international economic downturn has had no impact on their careers. It is striking that while only 28 per cent of respondents have optimistic outlooks for the global economy in the next 12 months, 83 per cent are optimistic for their own careers in the same period.

A programme to beat the hackers

While students on many programmes wrestle with subjects such as finance and strategy, their counterparts at George Washington University School of Business are tackling a very 21st-century challenge on the new World Executive MBA in Cybersecurity.

The first intake at the Washington DC school will learn about threats such as computer viruses and how to manage systems and implement policies to combat such attacks.

The degree is not a technical one – James Bailey, director of executive development programmes, says it is for those in or hoping for positions that involve managing teams and departments that protect against cyber assaults.

The degree requires 16 months of intensive study with four residencies, including two abroad – possible locations include Nato in Brussels, or the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, Estonia. Students carry out a consulting project for an organisation in each international residency.

Students can customise their study, working with professors to create electives that suit their needs.

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