Program Design and Curriculum

Unlike most MBA programs for working professionals, Vanderbilt Executive MBA classes meet on two Saturdays per month, with two one-week “residencies” built into the program. This intense but innovative schedule allows you to minimize your time away from your job and better balance your work, home and school lives. Concentrated “class days” are heavy on class instruction (about nine hours), but also allow ample time for meetings with faculty and group work sessions; and online technology allows you to work with your team on assignments between class days.

Executive MBA Curriculum Chart

*Degree requirements and course information are subject to change. Click here to view the most recent Course Catalog containing academic policies, degree requirements and individual course descriptions for each of our degree programs. Current students should consult YES (Your Enrollment Services), Vanderbilt's online student services application for current course descriptions and course offerings.


The first year of the program is designed to provide you with a solid foundation of management essentials, theory and application. Many Executive MBA programs stop here. Vanderbilt doesn't.

  • Your leadership instruction and assessment begin Day One, allowing two years to experiment with, improve and appreciate the skills you are learning. 
  • Classes that provide the quantitative and analytical essentials—Accounting, Economics, Statistics and Finance—come early and build through the first year; as a result, you will be prepared to handle the advanced application of the principles learned.
  • Other organizational functions—Operations, Organizational Behavior and Marketing—are covered in depth, providing you with a working knowledge of all facets of an organization.


The second year of the program elevates these topics to CEO level by focusing on strategic aspects of managing the entire organization as well as its functional areas.

  • The Business Strategy Sequence runs the entire second year. This sequence features the Strategy Project, an exciting and intensive application of knowledge on behalf of a client company. Your C-Team will engage an executive client for this invaluable consulting initiative.
  • The focus moves beyond our borders starting in the spring of Year Two; Managing the Global Enterprise provides insight and instruction while the International Residency allows you to closely evaluate and understand many international organizations at work.
  • The second year also introduces Creating and Launching the Venture, the opportunity to develop a business plan for a start-up or an expansion into new areas. You will become comfortable writing a business plan from scratch and presenting your ideas to venture capital firms for financing.

Sample Saturday Schedule
Sample “class day” schedule

To accommodate the busy schedules of our students and minimize career disruptions, the Vanderbilt Executive MBA program features a unique alternating Saturday format. Starting in August of Year One and ending in July of Year Two, the program is cleanly segmented into fall, spring and summer semesters with allowances for semester breaks and holidays. In addition to two Saturdays per month, two one-week residencies are incorporated into the program—a Week-in-Residence at the beginning of Year 1 and an International Residency in the spring of Year 2.

Bruce Brockenborough Bruce Brockenborough
Executive MBA 2001

Hannan Supply Company

Owen enjoys an excellent reputation in finance, but that is only a small part of the value of the experience. I didn’t just learn finance, accounting, operations, leadership and negotiation—I learned problem solving and team building. Because of the passion, ability and experience of Owen faculty, students are more than learners; they are thinkers.

Executive MBA 2009

Director, Strategic Planning and Business Development, Americas
Tower Automotive

Each course at Vanderbilt—from statistics and accounting to finance and leadership—helped build a foundation that I need to be successful in the business world. I have seen a huge improvement in my decision-making and analytical skills. Making the right financial decisions with imperfect data is much easier than it was before.