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What You’ll Learn in Howard’s Online EMBA Program—And How It Will Advance Your Career

August 20, 2021

If you’ve never looked closely at Executive MBA programs, you might think they’re more or less identical to traditional MBA programs. Indeed, the two are similar in some ways:

  • Both are master’s-level graduate school programs in business administration
  • Both offer a general overview across business functions rather than a focused concentration on a single discipline
  • Both prepare students to advance their careers in management

Their differences, however, are arguably more significant:

  • Executive MBA programs target older, more experienced professionals; traditional MBA programs seek younger professionals, including some with no professional experience
  • Executive MBA programs are primarily part-time (since their students tend to work full-time at demanding jobs); traditional MBA programs can be full-time or part-time
  • Executive MBA Programs tend to meet on evenings and/or weekends; traditional MBA programs often meet weekdays
  • Executive MBA programs are more likely to deliver some or all content online; traditional MBA programs are available online but more often require on-campus attendance
  • Executive MBA programs capitalize on students’ professional experience to cover material at a more advanced level

If you’re considering an Executive MBA, you should think about getting your degree online. There are numerous benefits to online study, not the least of which is the ability to learn from your office or home without having to attend on-campus classes. Pursuing your Online EMBA at Howard University allows you to earn this valued degree from one of the top business programs in the nation. Students and faculty choose the Howard University School of Business because it provides in-depth classroom instruction, real-world experience, expert speakers from a range of backgrounds, access to global industry leaders and a commitment to research and publication.

Who typically gets an EMBA?

Executive MBA programs are designed for experienced working professionals—the average EMBA student is 38 years old, with 14 years of professional experience and nine years of management experience. In contrast, the typical traditional MBA student is 28 years old, with significantly less experience.

Howard EMBAs are an accomplished group. Our EMBA students hold undergraduate degrees from regionally accredited colleges or universities; Howard’s School of Business prefers, but does not require, a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 for admission to the program. Executive MBA students must have at least seven years of work experience, including five years in a management or senior leadership role. They may have taken the GMAT but are not required to do so; their professional experience provides the admissions committee sufficient information to determine their qualifications for the program. International students must demonstrate English proficiency by examination (TOEFL, minimum score 550 paper-based or 79 internet-based; or IELTS, minimum score 6.5).

EMBA students are not exclusively confined to the for-profit business world. They also arrive from nonprofit organizations, NGOs, healthcare institutions, and educational institutions. Many already hold advanced degrees, perhaps in a specialization area like business analytics, marketing, or finance. What EMBA students share in common is that they are motivated to advance in their careers. They aspire to c-suite positions or other advanced leadership roles, and they seek management and leadership skills to enhance their current already-impressive skill sets.

What will you learn in an Executive MBA program?

Executive MBA degree programs are designed to deliver a broad understanding of general management and administration, just as traditional MBA programs do. The content of Executive and traditional MBAs is hardly identical, however. Traditional MBA curricula are designed for early-career professionals, while Executive MBA programs target mid- and later-career professionals with significant professional experience at the managerial level and above. Accordingly, EMBA curricula bypass content that a seasoned professional should already know. EMBA coursework tends to be more concentrated and more advanced than traditional MBA content. Instructors expect EMBA students to contribute substantially to course discussion, drawing upon the knowledge and skills they’ve acquired in business to guide and drive instruction.

The objective of our EMBA program is to develop mid-career professionals and emerging managers into complete executives capable of applying advanced leadership practice in the global marketplace. We don’t stop at management skills and insights, however. In keeping with our core values of excellence, leadership, truth, and service, the EMBA aims to cultivate business leaders who can develop financially healthy growth companies while acting with the highest level of character, integrity, and purpose and promoting socially responsible business practices. This includes returning value to the community through service as well as through created value.

Howard Online EMBAs learn in the virtual classroom and beyond. Our Online EMBA program includes international immersion opportunities as well as online recruiting and networking events. Flexible scheduling allows busy EMBAs—nearly all of whom continue to work full-time at demanding jobs while earning the degree—the latitude needed to meet all their obligations. Program content is designed to transform business professionals into C-Suite executives, competent leaders and an asset to any company for which they work.

So, what will you learn in your Howard Online EMBA courses? The remainder of this article reviews the program curriculum, course by course. The Howard Online EMBA consists of required courses only; no electives, which is not unusual for Executive MBA programs. We discuss what each course teaches and how it can strengthen your professional profile.

Organizational Behavior and Leadership

In “Organizational Behavior and Leadership,” you’ll learn an operational approach to problem-solving that focuses on behavior, motivation, and the impact of executive leadership within organizational frameworks. The course investigates the principles, frameworks, and human resources required to effectively organize and manage for- and not-for-profit organizations. The principles stressed in this course apply to building and motivating teams, divisions, and larger business entities (e.g., companies). These are skills required at the director, vice-president, and—at the company level—c-level roles across functions at any institution.

Marketing Strategy

In “Marketing Strategy,” you’ll study marketing planning and implementation. You’ll also explore how marketing impacts, and is impacted by, all other phases of business operations. Coursework investigates how to assess marketing opportunities, research and select target markets, devise marketing strategies, plan and control marketing campaigns, and operate in international markets. Marketing is essential to the success of any business and integral to any long-term planning and strategy, and as such is critical to any c-level executive, but it’s most critical, of course, to the chief marketing officer.

Accounting for Executives

“Accounting for Executives” won’t turn you into a CPA, but it will ensure you understand CPAs—and your Chief Financial Officer—when they report on financial statements, balance sheets, t-accounts, cash flow statements, and P/E ratio. You’ll also learn how financial and managerial accounting concepts factor into decision-making across business functions. Money is the lifeblood of any business or organization, making accounting for executives crucial for all execs.

Managing Technology and Innovation

Technology drives modern business, from the networks that connect all employees to the software that makes work possible to the data sets rich with invaluable insights (if you just know how to extract them). “Managing Technology and Innovation” focuses on how information systems function in organizations, particularly in strategic planning, gaining competitive advantage, and the use of these systems in business problem-solving. You’ll also consider the challenges of implementing and upgrading technology systems. All executives need a working knowledge of the costs, requirements, and capabilities of their company’s technology.

Applied Economics for Executives

Economics underlies all business in the same way that operating systems underlie all computers. As with your computer’s operating system, you may not understand how economics work, but you’d be a lot better off if you did. “Applied Economics for Executives” takes you back to your undergraduate days studying inflation, unemployment, price theory, markets, quantitative estimating, price and output graphs, forecasting, and resource allocation. You’ll also learn game theory, which, if nothing else, could make you a better poker player. They call economics the dismal science, and after this course you may or may not agree, but you’ll probably concede that it’s indispensable learning for any aspiring executive.


Even if you plan to work at a long-established company, you need to understand entrepreneurship to understand potential competitors. Startups and entrepreneurs fuel growth and opportunity, another good reason to understand how they operate. “Entrepreneurship” explores creativity and innovation, entrepreneurship, feasibility analysis, venture finance, and business plan development. This course is especially useful to executives who deal with mergers and acquisitions.

Management Consulting

Consulting firms like McKinsey and Booz Allen Hamilton cut a large profile in modern business, because business problem-solving often requires a well-trained outsider. Even if you have no interest in pursuing a consulting career, you need to understand how this essential business function fits into today’s landscape. In “Management Consulting,” you’ll examine the foundation of the consulting industry and learn consulting frameworks and methods. You’ll read and discuss case studies and complete projects to develop and utilize your expertise and experience to solve problems.

Financial Management

How do businesses raise the money they need to operate and grow? “Financial Management” considers this crucial function, helping you understand financial management and equipping you with the tools to analyze its operations. The course focuses on the valuation of cash flows, the relationship between risk and return, capital budgeting, and working capital management. This isn’t a course for finance professionals—they already know it pretty well—but rather for those who need to understand their company’s financial professionals in order to do their jobs well.

Strategic Communications

You can’t manage if you can’t communicate, making communication an essential business soft skill. “Strategic Communications” teaches business writing in the context of intra- and inter-business relations. You’ll dive into the relationship between communication, management, and the traditional functions of business writing, and examine the theoretical and practical business aspects of oral and written communication. You’ll work through all the different manifestations of communication: writing, one-on-one conversation, oral presentations, visual presentations, and data collection and analysis. Unless you plan to be a one-person department, you can benefit from a grad-level course in communications.

Management Statistics and Data Analysis

As its name suggests, “Managerial Statistics and Data Analysis” focuses on the use of statistical concepts and data analysis from a managerial perspective. You’ll learn about descriptive statistics, probability, Bayesian analysis, sampling, statistical inference and correlation, and regression analysis. Get ready to sharpen your spreadsheet skills! Through this course, you’ll become familiar with Office Automation Systems and standard statistical software applications.

Creating Value through Supply Chain

Supply chain and operations management are critical to keeping any business up and running. In “Creating Value through Supply Chain,” you’ll delve into production and service operations from a systems perspective. The course also explores system-wide problem conceptualization and definition methodologies, such as quality function deployment and supply chain management. Case studies and extended discussions covering global strategic and competitive issues figure prominently in the course plan. You’ll work with decision support systems software as appropriate.

Business and law intersect in nearly every function, so it’s essential for any executive to be conversant in the legal and ethical issues of business. This course covers a wide swath of business-related law, including the legal, social, economic, and historical background of contracts, property, sales, secured transactions, negotiable instruments, agency, partnerships, and corporations. The course looks beyond commerce to consider as well the legal and ethical ramifications of healthcare, labor relations, and similar issues.

Managing the Global Business Environment

With the Internet and free trade erasing national borders, understanding global business has become increasingly necessary. In “Managing the Global Business Environment,” You will develop a framework for analyzing and examining the complexity and diversity of the international business environment. You will explore theories and analyses relevant to major national and regional business environments. You’ll discuss organizational and functional issues, including firm structures and industry analysis. You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in a two-week trip to China, India, or South Africa.

Strategic Management Capstone

The EMBA program culminates in a strategic management capstone course. You’ll undertake an extended project involving the formulation and implementation of corporate strategy. Your project may involve long-range planning, acquisitions and mergers, or business policy. At the end of the course, you’ll present your findings to a panel of faculty (including the Dean) and top industry professionals, then receive feedback and recommendations for moving forward. The capstone synthesizes all you’ve learned in the program, requiring you to utilize newfound knowledge, analytical skills, and communication skills.

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