Executive MBA at Northern Illinois University

You have the experience. Let us help you attain executive-level skills and knowledge. Our Executive MBA (EMBA) is a rigorous program that builds on the base of your managerial experience. You can earn your degree in less than two years on our conveniently located Naperville campus. With our Saturday classes, your work and travel schedules won't be interrupted.

Program Highlights

  • High-quality instruction by faculty members selected for their ability to teach mature, experienced adults.
  • Accomplished students, including highly motivated managers.
  • A curriculum that encourages you to think cross-functionally and strategically.
  • A class size of 15-25 students that encourages meaningful participation.
  • Lower cost than many private colleges - the total cost of the program, including books, lunch, team weekend and international trip, is $60,000.
  • A reputation for quality - the NIU College of Business is accredited by AACSB International.

Program Overview

How to Apply

Work Record

A minimum of five years of successful professional experience is required. A baccalaureate degree in any area with a grade point average of at least 2.75 (on a 4.00 scale).

Class Size

Classes are composed of a maximum of 35 students who are carefully selected to include a balanced mixture of participants with comparable managerial and professional responsibilities, but different backgrounds and organizational affiliations. No specific undergraduate degree, prerequisites or training are required for admission.

Company Sponsorship

You must submit a signed sponsorship form prior to admittance into the program.

Application Forms

Consulting Alliance Experience

Our Executive MBA Consulting Alliance Experience provides a real-world business environment for our EMBA students. You'll expand your professional expertise and broaden your MBA curriculum as you consult on company-related projects.

The capstone project is your culminating experience in the program. You’ll develop a complete business plan for a company to help it grow profitably.

Partner Companies

  • A.W. Enterprises
  • Allied Associated
  • Applied Watch Technologies
  • Aumne
  • Autobahn Country Club
  • Dreamcar 123
  • Electronic Displays Incorporated
  • Keson Corp
  • Motus Digital
  • Northern Illinois Food Bank
  • Pargreen Process Technologies
  • Suter Company

Cross-Border Projects

Watch a video on how highly regarded MBA programs in Chicago and New Zealand combine cross-border project work. Our Executive MBA and MBA programs and the MBA program at Waikato University's Management School offer overlapping strategy courses. Taught by Jens Mueller, the courses include mixed project groups, creating a new level of global learning.

Course Fees

Pay Online

Total fees for students starting the program in fall 2020 were $60,000. The program fees cover all books and course materials, meals on class meeting days, team-building residency and most costs associated with the international trip. Once you’re admitted to the EMBA program, fees are set and do not increase. You’re also eligible to apply for financial aid through the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office.

First-year fees are $30,000. You must post a nonrefundable deposit of $1,000 to secure a seat in the class. The balance of the first-year fees is invoiced in the fall and spring semesters. The deposit is applied toward the fall semester’s fees.

Fees for the second year will amount to $30,000. In year two, you’re invoiced in the fall and the spring semesters.

If you leave the program for any reason after you’ve been accepted and enrolled, it is the policy of the College of Business that fees will not be refunded.

Company sponsorship is expected. You must submit a signed sponsorship form prior to admittance into the program.


The curriculum covers general business subjects required for the MBA degree; however, it is not restricted by traditional academic boundaries regarding credit hours and semesters. Instead, topics are presented in modules of varying lengths. Communication skills in listening, writing and speaking are stressed in the beginning of the program and integrated throughout the curriculum.

You will join a group of students who begin the program together, share the same educational experience and take the same courses in the same sequence for the duration of the program. This lock-step approach allows you to develop effective relationships with other students that often grow into long-term friendships.

Degree Requirements

Typical Schedule

8 a.m. - Class one
10 a.m. - Morning break
10:15 a.m. - Class continued
12 p.m. - Lunch
1 p.m. - Class two
3 p.m. - Afternoon break
3:15 p.m. - Class continued
5 p.m. - End of day

International Experience

You'll participate in a nine-day international study program.

The trip is scheduled in April and structured to include a mix of company visits, government briefings and/or university lectures.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Executive MBA program?

An Executive MBA program provides an opportunity for experienced professionals to obtain a master's degree in business administration on a schedule that minimizes disruption of work and personal pursuits. Such programs include a cohort class structure that offers a lock-step, planned curriculum in an executive setting. In other words, members of each class begin the program together and typically complete the degree requirements for graduation as a group.

A unique aspect of an EMBA program is the collective professional experience of its participants, which greatly enriches the educational environment. A team approach is often used to allow for the sharing of diverse perspectives on various topics. This interaction results in a challenging, stimulating learning experience that provides for maximum return on time and resources invested.

What is different about the Executive MBA curriculum?

Courses offered in an EMBA program are normally the same as those taught in traditional MBA program - accounting, finance, management, marketing and information systems. However, EMBA courses are enhanced by the extensive professional experience of the participants and are uniquely structured to teach a maximum amount of course material in an accelerated timeframe.

Who attends the Executive MBA program?

A very diverse group of professionals enter and complete the EMBA program. What they share is a sincere desire to grow professionally by obtaining an MBA degree and a willingness and ability to meet program time and course requirements.

Students in the program are sponsored by their employers. Current sponsors include some of the largest manufacturing and service firms in the Midwest, along with a representation of executives from nonprofit and small firms. In order to maintain a balance of participants with different backgrounds, firms are limited in the number of employees permitted in the program each year. The mix of individuals from various functional areas and from a wide variety of types and sizes of firms is key to a quality Executive MBA program.

A number of factors are considered in selecting candidates for an EMBA program. In most cases, you're evaluated on your professional performance, academic records, professional recommendations and a demonstrated ability to accomplish graduate-level business course work.

What type of time commitment is involved?

Success in professional life demands a substantial and regular commitment of time, and it is no different in an EMBA program. Over the course of the program, at least 15-20 hours a week should be allotted for some combination of classroom work, course assignments, and computer and research efforts.

Added to the already heavy demands of a business career, the time involved in pursuing an MBA is considerable and requires a high level of motivation and commitment.

Who teaches in the Executive MBA program?

Only faculty members who relate well to the business and professional environment are involved in the program. Because the students in the program have significant managerial experience, students learn a great deal from each other. Due to the close relationships that form during the two-year program, lifelong professional and personal friendships also develop. As a result of these factors, the curriculum is uniquely tailored to blend theory and practice for the experienced executive.

The quality of the faculty and academic programs in the College of Business is attested to by the undergraduate and graduate accreditation of both the business administration and accountancy programs by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Of approximately 1,200 collegiate business programs in the U.S., only about 165 have achieved the four levels of accreditation earned by NIU.

How will an MBA impact your career?

An MBA degree reflects a sophisticated level of knowledge and skills concerning a wide range of contemporary management topics. It also implies a well-developed understanding of strategic thinking and planning in a globally competitive world.

Praise for NIU's EMBA

"Today, I find myself in the pinnacle of my career. This program transformed me from an average Accounting/ Finance guy to a more polished strategic leader with a more profound understanding of Management, Operations, Marketing and International Business. I wouldn’t be the president of a Berkshire Hathaway company if not for NIU’s Executive MBA program."

Sal Contreras
Class of 2018
Maromon REP, Inc.

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Ralph de la Vega

Cross Boundaries to the C-Suite

Ralph de la Vega did. From Cuba to the NIU EMBA to CEO of AT&T Mobility.

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Barsema Hall
740 Garden Road
DeKalb, IL 60115

Online MBA Program

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