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Top Picks: The Best Executive MBAs with Zero Entrance Exam Requirements

January 24, 2021 9:51 pm0 commentsViews: 757

Executive MBA BadgeEven ambitious business leaders making their way up the corporate ladder can find themselves reaching the limits of what personal drive, intelligence, and initiative alone can accomplish. But there’s a solution.

Not surprisingly, the skills and the extra knowledge it takes to clear that next step often comes in the form of the hallowed MBA.

The problem is that you’ve worked your way into a position where you barely have time to kiss your kids goodnight, let alone jump through all the hoops it would take to get into a conventional MBA program, even a part-time or online program.

And in some ways, that kind of MBA wouldn’t be a good fit for you anyway. They’re taking recent graduates and young and inexperienced managers and training them in high-level executive skills, but a lot of that would be wasted on someone in your position – you’ve already been out there doing it for years; you could probably teach a class or two yourself.

What you want is a program that builds on your existing experience and doesn’t waste time telling you stories you’ve already heard. You want to be surrounded by equally capable and serious students and professors with their own track record of accomplishments.

There’s a business administration degree exactly for experienced professionals like you looking for this kind of experience from your MBA program: The Executive Master of Business Administration.

Absolutely ZERO Entrance Exam Requirements

It would stand to reason, then, that you don’t want to spend time proving yourself through some artificial construct like the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

You have a real history of making real-world decisions with acumen, making the hard calls that no test can ever re-create… why should you have to study up and go sweat it out in a room with a bunch of kids on lunch break from their mall jobs just so you can get into an MBA program?

You shouldn’t, and that’s why an executive MBA with no entrance exam requirements is right for you.

A Top EMBA Program Is the Secret to Big League Business Chops

Because you’re a businessperson who has already earned some stripes, you want a program that will let you hit the ground running. You’re up to speed already, soyou want a program to match your pace so you can easily hop the train and take the straight line to your professional goals. That’s exactly what these EMBAs deliver.

AACSB Accreditation Means Every Program Meets The Gold Standard Of Business Education

There’s a risk you have to be careful of when you’re looking at programs with no entrance exam requirement, though: you need to make sure it’s not just a diploma mill, stuffing the ranks with low-quality students looking for a piece of paper and happy to cut tuition checks without paying a lot of attention to whether or not they are actually learning anything.

We culled those types of programs from the list, exclusively looking at schools with specialty business accreditation from the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), the premier accreditor in the world of business education, and the only one to accredit entire business schools rather than individual programs.

With close ties to the actual business community, they keep standards in line with the fast-changing requirements that American businesses demand from senior executives.

Teamwork As Part Of The Package

Because time is often a factor, you won’t usually find a lot of electives or concentrations in EMBA programs, if any. Instead, they tend to be cohort-based, walking you and your classmates through a series of the most relevant business courses.

This is the strength of an EMBA: not only do you develop strong relationships with other accomplished professionals, but you build your teamwork and communication skills implicitly through the course of the program.

An International Education Is De Rigueur

Although time is precious and fixed commitments can be an obstacle for executives, the global nature of business is a given today so we sought out programs with an international element to them. Whether it’s an integral overseas study trip or experiences in global business on the domestic front, some exposure to other cultures and their business practices was weighted heavily when we made our selections.

Teaching Leaders To Lead

The Dunning-Kruger studies may have had their technical flaws, but they gave a name to a concept we all intuitively know, or otherwise learn at some point along the way: The more you learn about something, the more you realize how much you have left to learn.

Just because you may already be an executive doesn’t mean you know everything about management yet. We looked for leadership training and mentorship in each of these programs as key requirements in our selection process. You’re going to graduate with advanced skills, and that means big things will be expected of you. Leadership is a skill like any other, and it can be taught and shouldn’t be assumed.

Helping You Find The Time To Advance

You would think that flexible scheduling options would be a gimme for any executive MBA, but there are plenty of business schools that have not gone through the growing pains it takes to get there.

Flexibility and convenience are part of what defines a great EMBA, showing that the business school is able to accommodate the needs of working professionals. We looked for programs that let you fit your education in without putting a big hitch in your professional obligations or blowing up your personal life.

Hybrid programs, where you meet occasionally with your class on-campus and conduct most of the rest of your activities and assignments online on your own time, is increasingly becoming the standard in EMBA programs. For many, a program offered entirely online with no on-site requirements is even better.

By letting you time-shift your coursework to whatever time on whatever day works best for you, online and hybrid programs treat you like the professional adult that you are, so we made a point to exclude any programs that don’t offer the kind of scheduling options working professionals need.

A Real Connection to the Business Community

Earning your EMBA on a campus that places you in the heart of a thriving metro business district can play a big role in whether or not you have easy access to the best minds in business leadership. Naturally, business schools in these areas are able to pass this advantage on to students.

Location means a lot, but it isn’t everything. We’re no locale snobs, and neither are business leaders who understand the importance of connecting with business schools that serve as incubators for innovative ideas and up-and-coming talent. That’s why we limited our list to just those schools that have real ties to the business community and real relationships with the best minds within that community, regardless of where the campus might be located.

Our Favorite Executive MBAs with NO Entrance Exam Requirements

Every one of these programs is exceptional and worthy of consideration for anybody looking for a high-quality EMBA program from a school with a reputation you’ll be proud to be associated with. Each one also has something unique to set it apart, giving you a chance to find the perfect fit for your schedule, and your professional objectives.

This list features programs that our editorial staff hand selected to present as top recommendations. We believe the many aspects of a program that come together to create an exceptional student experience can’t be reduced to numbers alone, so no formula was used to attempt to score or rank these programs. Instead, they represent our top picks based on a thoughtful review of the things we know mean the most to students. Each one of these programs offers something unique, and all come equally highly recommended. We stand behind the principal of editorial integrity and make these recommendations independently and without compensation.


University of North Alabama
College of Business
Florence, Alabama

Executive MBA

(on-campus and online)


(on-campus and online)


  • Information Systems
  • Accounting
  • Sales and New Business Development
  • Finance
  • Global Business
  • Health Care Management
  • Project Management
  • HR Management
  • ERP Systems Using SAP


  • AACSB-Accredited
  • Online details: Asynchronous
  • 34 Credits
  • Part-time option available
  • Start Dates: Fall, Winter, Summer
  • Work experience required: 5 years (executive), 4 years (traditional)

Whatever your academic background, the MBA through the University of North Alabama is designed to take your career to the next level. Offered through a variety of delivery methods, including partially or fully online, this flexible program is a perfect fit for working professionals like you. Plus, you can either choose from the wide array of concentration options or build your own through your choice of electives. Whether you choose the Executive MBA or traditional MBA, you’ll benefit from a faculty with real-world experience, and plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning through case studies and by solving real world business problems. You’ll also enjoy fantastic opportunities to dive into experiences here that inspire innovation and entrepreneurship, thanks to initiatives like the 3-Day Startup, a weekend experience that offers students the opportunity to create their own companies; and the Generator, a student incubator that houses and mentors student startups and ideas.


University of St. Thomas
Opus College of Business
St. Paul, Minnesota

Executive MBA

(on-campus and hybrid, weekends)

Estimated Program Cost: $89,550

  • Delivery: On-campus and hybrid, Friday and Saturdays
  • Number of Credits: 42.5 semester hours
  • Fall start date

Other MBA Programs:

  • Part-time Flex MBA (on-campus evening and weekends and hybrid)
  • Online MBA (online)
  • Full-time MBA (on-campus)
  • Healthcare MBA (hybrid)

As a cohort-based program designed for individuals with at least 5 years of professional leadership experience, the Opus Executive MBA doesn’t pull any punches. You’ll be surrounded by bright, ambitious business professionals working to get ahead in business and in life, and supported by instructors who know how to bring out the best in any advanced business student. It’s an environment that will force you to step up your game, and you’ll be glad you did: students report promotions and new opportunities in their current positions even before they get to graduation. With only five modules delivered over 21 months, focused on elements like principled leadership, analytics decision-making, and value creation, there’s no room to fall behind. A tailored Executive Leadership Development and Coaching program helps you meet both the academic and personal goals that come along with the demanding program. A seven to ten day International Residency gives you a chance to see how business gets done around the world, as you make valuable contacts that will be part of your professional network for years to come.


Millsaps College
Else School of Management
Jackson, Mississippi

Executive MBA

(on-campus, weekends)

Estimated Program Cost: $55,000

  • Delivery: On-campus
  • Number of Credits: 49.5 semester hours
  • Winter admission

Other MBA Program: MBA (on-campus, evening)

Else’s Executive MBA program respects the fact that you’re a busy professional who is already on track for senior leadership. When you’re ready to really stack the odds in your favor, you come to Millsaps. You can be sure the EMBA program here delivers: students report a more than 45 percent salary bump within three years of graduation. Those increases are the result of a no-nonsense, high-level curriculum that sets the groundwork with basic classes in financial statement analysis, microeconomics, and marketing research before diving into the advanced elements of negotiation, executive communication, and strategic management. That coursework is delivered by some of the top instructors in the country, and that’s not just an idle boast: The Princeton Review ranks the school number 3 in the nation for Best Professors. And although you are a busy professional with commitments of your own, the school doesn’t shirk the global business curriculum that is vital for success in today’s multinational business environment. You’ll take part in a required International Seminar at the college’s mini-campus in Mérida, Mexico, to make sure the lessons of cross-cultural business relationships are driven home in a way that will last for the rest of your career.


San Francisco State University
College of Business
San Francisco, California

MBA for Executives

(on-campus, weekends)

Estimated Program Cost: $46,254 ($65,262 out-of-state)

  • Delivery: On-campus
  • Number of Credits: 48 semester hours
  • Fall start date

Other MBA Programs:

  • MBA for Biotech (on-campus, evening)
  • Flex MBA (on-campus)
  • Fast-track MBA (on-campus)
  • Bridge MBA (on-campus)

The San Francisco State University College of Business cohort-based EMBA program has past graduates working in executive positions at Microsoft, Twitter, Marriott, and CISCO Systems among other multinational corporations, so you know instantly it’s a school that modern business executives take seriously. Accordingly, you’ll find yourself rubbing shoulders with some fairly impressive fellow students, including some who already hold master’s or doctorate’s in various fields. The faculty are just as imposing: tenure-track scholars and researchers, many come to the school only after illustrious business careers of their own. They teach a curriculum that is finely tuned to offer the right mix of the art and science of business management. Learning at the SFSU Downtown Campus in the heart of San Francisco’s vibrant business district, you will find it easy to make the right connections to fuel your career advancement over the long term.


Texas A&M University
Mays Business School
College Station, Texas

Executive MBA

(on-campus in Houston, alternating weekends)

Estimated Program Cost: $99,500 (additional charges for out-of-state students)

  • Delivery: On-campus in Houston on alternating weekends, with a 1-week residency in College Station to start the program
  • Number of Credits: 45 semester hours
  • Fall start date

Other MBA Programs:

  • Full-time MBA (on-campus)
  • Professional MBA (on-campus in Houston, alternating weekends)

With the TAMU Executive MBA in your back pocket you’ll be tied into the extensive global alumni network of almost 400,000 former students around the world. With an innovative interdisciplinary curriculum that takes you in and out of subjects such as accounting, marketing, and communication and ties them together with strategy, HR, and global business considerations, you will be getting a master-class in the academics of rational analysis and critical thinking skills. Three required experiential exercises take you into the real world again, with a Washington Campus seminar that give you a perspective into government and policy-making considerations for businesses and the outside-the-box Disaster City exercise that drops you into a mock crisis scenario to see if you can analyze situations and make decisions under stress. There are not one but two capstone consulting projects you will participate in, one at the end of each of your two years of study. It’s no surprise that the Financial Times ranks the program as #1 for work experience among all U.S. public schools.


University of Buffalo – State University of New York
School of Management
Buffalo, New York

Executive MBA

(on-campus, alternating weekends)

Estimated Program Cost: $52,000

  • Delivery: On-campus, alternating weekends, with 1 week abroad in the final semester
  • Number of Credits: 52 semester hours
  • Fall start date

Other MBA Programs:

  • Full-time MBA (on-campus, evening)
  • Professional MBA (hybrid)

UB knows that the most successful business professionals understand that there’s always something more to learn. True pioneers and genuine leaders never stop looking for the edge, the extra information or techniques that will keep them on top for another day. And that’s why they put together the flexible executive MBA program for mid-career professionals. You, too, can earn the UB advantage through a program that is ranked in the top ten percent by Bloomberg Business Week, the Financial Times, and Forbes. With a curriculum that is intimately tied to industry trends and a focus on delivering new skills that you can apply on-the-job on day one, you can keep your edge sharp without burning the candle at both ends. The UB MBA will hone your knowledge and skills in financial management, M&A strategy, negotiating theory, and law and policy. A one-week international residency at the end of the program will expand your understanding of global business and give you valuable contacts overseas in the context of performing a capstone project that serves up a real-world business problem for you and your cohort to solve.


University of Rochester
William E. Simon Business School
Rochester, New York

Executive MBA

(on-campus and hybrid, Fridays and weekends)

Estimated Program Cost: $98,500

  • Delivery: On-campus, with some synchronous hybrid courses
  • Number of Credits: 54 semester hours
  • Fall start date

Other MBA Programs:

  • Full-time MBA (on-campus)
  • Professional MBA (on-campus, part-time)

The first thing you should know as a business professional is that Rochester was named number three for return on investment among private U.S. business schools by Bloomberg’s Businessweek. There are other metrics and other considerations, but ROI is the holy grail—getting the maximum benefit for what you pay is what makes you successful in business. At Rochester, you won’t be alone. You’ll be part of a select group of alumni with a network that extends into Welch Allyn, Paychex, and Five Star Bank, among other corporations. Following an expertly-designed course of study that delivers foundational curriculum before taking you through functional knowledge and into the strategic applications of that knowledge, you’ll gain insight into business leadership and the nuanced world of entrepreneurial ventures. International studies electives can put you in Europe or China to give you a ground-level perspective on the cultural and logistical issues involved with global business. You can also choose to take part in the Simon Games, and annual business simulation competition, which offers winners the ultimate prize: a full-tuition scholarship to the EMBA program!


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Pamplin College of Business
Blacksburg, Virginia

Executive MBA

(on-campus, alternating weekends)

Estimated Program Cost: $85,500

  • Delivery: On-campus in Arlington, every other weekend with supplementary online materials; three on-campus residencies during the program
  • Number of Credits: 48 semester hours
  • Fall start date

Other MBA Programs:

  • MBA (on-campus, evening)
  • Professional (on-campus, weekends)

The Virginia Tech EMBA program looks at leadership and strategic management in a global environment as the primary drivers of your studies. They double-down on this combination with a required 10-day international residency that will put you on the ground overseas, interacting with senior-level business executives to get a true picture of comparative cultural, economic, and logistical issues shaping the business environment today. Past international trips have taken students to such diverse areas as Ireland, Hungary, Argentina, Italy, and Vietnam. But it’s not just overseas studies that get this extra attention: you’ll also attend a domestic residency, looking at regional or topical concerns on the domestic front, gaining valuable insight and experience through real interaction at working job sites. You’ll use the visits to hone the academic instruction you will receive in business intelligence, strategic analysis, innovation, and analytics through real-world case studies. With a twenty percent lower cost than other EMBA programs in the DC Metro area, you’re getting a major boost to your career at a fraction of the cost with the Virginia Tech EMBA.


Naval Postgraduate School
Graduate School of Business and Public Policy
Monterey, California

Executive MBA


Estimated Program Cost: $38,250 (Mission funded for Department of Navy Military students) 

  • Available only to military officers (0-4 and higher or 0-3 with waiver), DON senior civilians, and senior employees of federal agencies
  • Delivery: Online synchronous; plus two one-week on-campus residencies required
  • 56 Credits
  • Start Dates: March and September

The Naval Postgraduate School’s Executive MBA is all about preparing leaders capable of approaching business decisions with critical thought and an analytical mindset, ensuring they are capable of making strategic decisions even in uncertain times. The defense-focused curriculum provides 24 months of part-time learning for Department of Navy (DON) officers, DON senior civilians, officers in other branches of the Armed Forces, and senior employees of other federal agencies. Ideally designed for working professionals, this program features a fully online course of study with just two on-campus residencies. Despite its distance-based format, the EMBA features plenty of opportunities to interact with your peers and engage in team-based projects and activities.