Executive MBA - Strategic Leadership (EMBA-SL)

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Program overview

In a marketplace of moving targets and evolving landscapes, your ability to create organizational agility and a clear path forward is key to your success as a leader. Learn how to define not only where your organization is headed, but how you’ll get there with our Executive MBA - Strategic Leadership (EMBA-SL) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Our program will prepare you to make an immediate impact through coursework curated for executives, a horizontal program design that offers a holistic perspective on business competencies and an approach to learning that encourages lifelong leadership development.

An MBA in One Year

Anchored in four residencies with an average of five out of office days per quarter, tied together by distance learning and completed in under a year—your EMBA works within your schedule, not against it.

Applied Learning

Earn your degree in a way that uses your workplace as a significant part of the educational experience, coupled with a cross-disciplinary, activity-based approach to projects and learning outcomes.

Immediate ROI

Focusing on the critical strategic leadership skill sets executives need to be wildly successful, you will gain immediate personal and organizational return on investment with an 11-month long action project.

Accelerated Change

Each aspect of your EMBA is carefully designed to provide the tools you need to increase your impact in your organizations, professions and communities. Join us for a truly transformational experience.

Most Relevant Executive MBA Worldwide


2018 Economist WhichMBA

U.S. Public Institution for Alumni Satisfaction


2020 Financial Times

Quality of Executive MBA Faculty Worldwide


2018 Economist WhichMBA

Designed for Executives

We designed the Executive MBA - Strategic Leadership for executives and entrepreneurs who understand the value of lifelong learning and aim to evolve into more agile and transformational leaders. Traditionally, our students have an average of 20 years of professional experience and over 10 years of leadership experience.

We maintain an intimate cohort of an average of 30 students to allow EMBA-SL students to form meaningful and lasting relationships with their peers, professors and mentors. Our program graduates represent top organizations including Aon Hewitt, Ernst & Young, Google, Honeywell, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, Pilot Flying J, the US Army, the US Navy, Wells Fargo and more.

As a designated 2021-2022 Military Friendly Gold School and Military Spouse Friendly School, our program also offers a broad range of resources to support students in the military and their families pursue their educational goals.


Average years of professional experience among EMBA-SL candidates


Average years of professional leadership experience among EMBA-SL students

"The design of the Executive MBA - Strategic Leadership program is a perfect balance of academics, business strategy and leadership. Embracing the program enables immediate impact on your success as a business executive."

John Bukowski
EMBA-SL, Class of 2017
President, North Wind Solutions

Program Structure

We created the Executive MBA - Strategic Leadership to offer the advanced leadership and business principles executives and entrepreneurs need, in a format that is conducive to the personal and professional demands of industry leaders.

Our experiential and applied learning approach employs your workplace as a significant part of the learning process while pairing the accessibility of asynchronous modules with immersive residential periods and leadership development. EMBA-SL participants complete their degree in a single year and exit the program prepared to take on the next level of leadership to revolutionize their industries.

Residence periods

Throughout the course of our 11 month program, you will complete a total of four, nine-day residence periods on campus in Knoxville, Tennessee, and abroad. During these immersive learning experiences, EMBA-SL students attend classes, engage with faculty advisors and leadership development coaches, and collaborate on team projects with peers.

Our residence periods provide an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of program principles and create valuable and lifelong connections with the supportive community of Haslam faculty, mentors and alumni industry leaders who invest in your education and leadership growth.

Academic Year 2022

  • Excel Bootcamp: January 14, 2022
  • Residence Period 1: January 15 - 23, 2022: University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Residence Period 2: April 23 - May 1, 2022: University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Residence Period 3: August 17 - 26, 2022: South America
  • Residence Period 4: December 1 - 9, 2022: University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Graduation Date: December 9, 2022

Distance Learning

Our program incorporates distancing learning sessions using the Zoom platform and Microsoft Teams to bring valuable course content to students in an accessible and interactive format.

Between each RP you will participate in both Synchronous and Asynchronous Distance Learning (DL) sessions, complete relevant and applied assignments and work on your Organizational Action Project (OAP).

  • Wednesdays from 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM EST

Organizational Action Project

As an EMBA-SL student, your workplace is at the center of your learning experience. Over the course of your Executive MBA and under the guidance of a faculty advisor, you will complete an Organizational Action Project (OAP) that addresses an issue of major importance in your organization.

Your OAP serves as a culmination of the advanced leadership and business principles you’ll explore as an EMBA-SL student, and you will work with your own corporate team to implement deliverables that serve your organization throughout the year. Due to the caliber of faculty mentoring and revolutionary nature of our OAP, the average collective return on investment from student Organization Action Projects is $6.5 million.

Leadership Development Program

All EMBA-SL students undergo individualized leadership training with a dedicated executive leadership development coach. Coaches are drawn from faculty, staff, and community business leaders and professionals with decades of advanced leadership experience. Matched by industry or interest area, you and your designated coach will work together to cultivate your advanced leadership toolkit.

The foundation of the Leadership Development Program is built upon a series of robust diagnostics. These include an executive 360 degree feedback assessment, personality inventories, and conflict management styles. Using the insights provided by these, each student develops an individual Leadership Development Plan.

Peer-to-peer relationships also contribute significantly to your leadership development throughout the program. Students spend a year in frequent communication and collaboration with other business leaders and alumni of the program, exchanging ideas and best practices. As an EMBA-SL student, you will work with participants in the healthcare and supply chain EMBA tracks to expand both your perspective and network of contacts. Alumni often cite these relationships with their classmates as one of the most pivotal aspects of the program, and one that endures long after graduation.


Our curriculum is one of the most distinctive elements of the Executive MBA - Strategic Leadership program. We focus on five core competencies executives need to be successful in their organization. As an EMBA-SL student, you will engage in courses and conversations that frame executive-level leadership in the context of advanced business principles.

Rather than offer a sequence of independent courses, our horizontal approach to the EMBA-SL curriculum means that you will study an integrated series of competencies designed around your goals as an executive-level leader. We take an interdisciplinary approach in our instruction, reflective of actual business operations, that is structured to prepare leaders to make more strategic, holistic business decisions.

Core Executive Competencies

  • Engage People

    Executive MBA - Strategic Leadership graduates will be able to more effectively leverage the collective activity of teams and organizations through conflict management, transformational leadership and diversity training.

  • Align Systems

    Executive MBA - Strategic Leadership graduates will be able to align their systems through technical credibility, financial management, technology management, efficiency and process capability and human capital management.

  • Focus on Results

    Executive MBA - Strategic Leadership graduates will be able to focus on results through accountability, decisiveness, entrepreneurship, problem solving, customer service and stakeholder engagement.

  • Create Agility

    Executive MBA - Strategic Leadership graduates will be able to create agility through creativity and innovation, cultural vision, persistence, external awareness and strategic thinking.

  • Build Collaborations

    Executive MBA - Strategic Leadership graduates will be able to build collaborations through political savvy, building partnerships, influence and successful negotiations.

Frequently asked questions

Key Dates

Applicants are considered on a rolling admissions basis, and candidates typically receive a decision within two weeks of submitting their completed application. We accept applications until the first day of classes, so please reach out to our enrollment team to get started today. There are limited seats available in our Spring 2023 cohort so don't miss your chance to advance your career with an Executive MBA - Strategic Leadership degree.

July 15, 2022

Early Review Date

September 30, 2022

Priority Review Date

November 30, 2022

Final Review Date

Upcoming Events


Are you ready to commit to becoming a more strategic leader with the Haslam College of Business? Request more information or contact an enrollment advisor to learn more about the Executive MBA - Strategic Leadership.


Request Information

Learn more about our Executive MBA - Strategic Leadership.