The Penn State Smeal Executive MBA

An overview of the Penn State Smeal Executive MBA in Philadelphia with details on aspects such as qualifications, selectivity, and location.

Here at Smeal, we believe the measure of a businessperson is the ability and ambition to grow – to get better – and as a result, to make their organization, community, and world better.

An effective leader has the foresight to see what’s next, the intelligence and motivation to prepare for it, and the confidence to embrace it when it arrives.

We are your best partner for that. The Penn State Smeal Executive MBA in Philadelphia allows you to build a tailored learning experience that delivers the core business skills you need with the specialty knowledge you want. Customize a path that works specifically for you and earn your MBA in as little as 17 months.

Core Program Structure

The program begins with a one-week residency at Penn State’s University Park campus in August. You will then take in-person alternating weekend classes for the first 13 months in Philadelphia and complete your last six to 12 credits online. Online courses vary with each semester. Students should work with EMBA staff advisors to select the courses that work best for their priorities.

  • In-Person Details
    • Location: Classes are held at Union League Liberty Hill, just 10 miles northwest of Center City, Philadelphia. The program also features two weeklong residencies, each taking place at the start of the first and second year on Penn State’s University Park Campus.
    • Weekend Schedule: Typical alternating class weekends begin at 1:30 p.m. on Friday afternoons and conclude at 5:15 p.m. on Saturdays with an overnight stay in between. There is one three-day class weekend that takes place in late spring.
    • Occasional Remote Attendance: The program is designed for face-to-face engagement and students are encouraged to attend in person as much as possible to optimize their experience. If students cannot attend in person, on occasion, a remote, synchronous experience is available. 
    • Curriculum: The 34 credits of in-person coursework will focus on mastering business fundamentals and strategy. Students will also emerge with a concentration in strategic leadership. Courses cover areas such as communications, accounting, finance, global business strategy, supply chain, risk & statistics, and more. Additionally, all Smeal EMBA students can pursue a concurrent Penn State master's degree. This can cut down on the time and lower the total cost of completing two degree programs while diversifying your knowledge. 
  • Online Details
    • Timeframe: After 13 months of in-person classes during alternating weekends at Union League Liberty Hill, students will complete the program online beginning in August.
    • Curriculum: Students may choose from 14 different concentration areas to customize their degree based on their unique career needs. Students should work with EMBA staff advisors to select their online courses.

Custom Executive Options

The Penn State Smeal Executive MBA provides optional learning experiences to help any leader evolve. Build your personal learning plan according to your career aspirations with our custom executive options.

  • Global Immersion
    • For a tuition add-on of $2,750*, students may choose to participate in our optional Global Immersion experience. This includes a weeklong global immersion trip to apply the global business skills learned throughout the curriculum. Past destinations include Brazil, the Czech Republic, Peru, South Africa, China and Turkey.

* Fee subject to change

  • Earn an Extra Credential
    • Each Executive MBA student will have the opportunity to diversify their knowledge by earning a graduate certificate credential as part of the program. Students may work toward this credential during the program or earn one within three years of graduating. 

Qualifications and Selectivity: Successful applicants typically have at least six years of post-undergraduate work history and managerial or team leader experience. Less experienced candidates with significant leadership knowledge will be considered.

Admission is competitive, and class size is limited. Students will be selected based on their stated goals, work experiences, academic backgrounds, and anticipated contributions to the learning environment.