Executive MBA – Strategic Leadership (EMBA-SL)

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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


We designed the Executive MBA – Strategic Leadership (EMBA-SL) 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, averaging 30 students, to enable 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 United States Army, the U.S. Navy, Wells Fargo & Co., and more.

As a designated 2022-2023 Military Friendly® Silver School and Military Spouse Friendly School, our program offers a broad range of resources to support students in the military and their families pursuing their educational goals.


Average years of professional experience among EMBA-SL candidates


Average years of professional leadership experience among EMBA-SL students


“It’s all integrated. There is an end learning goal for you, whether it’s a residency session or a distance learning… all the disciplines come together.
To me, that’s one of the biggest advantages of the EMBA – Strategic Leadership.”

Stephen Soltis
Director of Finance – High Security Group, ASSA ABLOY 
Class of 2022

“The program broadened my perspective, honed my strategic thinking and reinforced the essence of collaborative leadership. I’ve learned that true leadership is about inspiring and enabling others, fostering curiosity and constantly learning.”

Yasmine Mukahal
Director, Campus Recruiting, HCA Healthcare
Class of 2022

Jay Land Program Manager, Booz Allen Hamilton

“I think Haslam has really put together a program… that enables learning and sets conditions for success. We had fruitful discussions, and I can’t say enough about how I appreciated the learning environment.”

Jay Land
Program Manager, Booz Allen Hamilton

Class of 2022

Anne Hewitt

“I’ve applied what I learned in the program with my team. About half of the organization reports under my umbrella, and my team is now very aware of looking at the whole picture and our value proposition to outline desired changes.”

Anne Hewitt
Assistant Vice President of Retail Services – UT Federal Credit Union

Class of 2020

“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
President, North Wind Solutions
Class of 2017



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.


Throughout 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 2024

  • Excel Bootcamp: January 12, 2024
  • Residence Period 1: January 13 – 21, 2024
  • Residence Period 2: April 27 – May 5, 2024 (Nashville)
  • Residence Period 3: September 9 – 19, 2024 (International)
  • Residence Period 4: December 5 – 13, 2024
  • Graduation Date: December 13, 2024

Academic Year 2025*

  • Optional Excel Bootcamp: January 17, 2025
  • Residence Period 1: January 18-26, 2025
  • Optional Human Centered Design Bootcamp: May 2, 2025
  • Residence Period 2: May 3-May 11, 2025
  • Residence Period 3: September 3-12, 2025 (International)
  • Residence Period 4: December 4-12, 2025
  • Graduation: December 12, 2025

*Dates are subject to change.


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).


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.


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. Our commitment to our students’ development extends well past graduation. For example, we provide a full year of coaching post graduation.

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.


Haslam College of Business faculty are internationally recognized for their cutting edge research and innovation as consultants and practitioners. The strength of our EMBA-SL faculty is defined by their ability to translate abstract academic theories into an applied learning experience that allows you to relate and apply course concepts in your own professional experience.

Brad Areheart

Brad Areheart

Associate Professor at University of Tennessee College of Law

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Randy V. Bradley

Randy Bradley

Associate Professor, Haslam Family Faculty Research Fellow

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Amy Cathey

Amy Cathey

Associate Dean, Graduate and Executive Education, Distinguished Lecturer.

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Russell Crook

Russell Crook

First Horizon Professor, Cheryl Massingale Faculty Research Fellow

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Larry Fauver

Larry Fauver

James F. Smith, Jr. Professor in Financial Institutions, Kinney Family Faculty Research Fellow, Professor

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Michael Galbreth

Michael Galbreth

Professor of Business Analytics, Pilot Corporation Chair of Excellence, Department Head

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Mike Grojean

Mike Grojean

Professor of Practice in Leadership and Program Director

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Jonathan Harvey

Jonathan Harvey

Executive Director, Leadership Division

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Lane Morris

Michael (Lane) Morris

Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies & Student Affairs and John W. Fisher Professor of Innovative Learning

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Angel Norman

Angel Norman

Senior Lecturer

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Jim Reeve

Jim Reeve

Professor Emeritus

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Georg Schaur

Georg Schaur

George A. Spiva Scholar, R. Stanley Bowden II Faculty Research Fellow, Graduate Programs Director for Economics, Professor

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Nancy Scott

Nancy Scott

Director of Leadership Development Programs

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Martha Weeks

Martha Weeks


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Our curriculum is one of the most distinctive elements of the Executive MBA – Strategic Leadership program. We focus on five core functions and 28 leadership 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.


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.


The Executive MBA – Strategic Leadership takes less than a year to complete, starting in January and ending in December.

Should pandemic conditions affect candidates’ ability to travel, alternative Residence Period sites will be selected that are compatible with EMBA-SL student travel needs and class profile.

In the case of governmental travel warnings or restrictions, we may utilize an online or hybrid modality for some aspects of the program; however, we will diligently pursue on-ground learning experiences where possible.

EMBA-SL applicants should have:

  • Significant amount of professional work experience; 7-10 years of leadership experience preferred
  • Bachelor degree from an accredited institution; 2.7 min GPA (exceptions may be considered based on relevant work experience)
  • Business acumen to contribute actively to the learning process
  • A professional role that enables the day-to-day application of EMBA-SL curriculum
  • Strong recommendations and robust employer support

Yes. The 2024 payment schedule is expected to be:*

  • Program deposit – $2,000 (paid to confirm attendance)
  • Spring semester 2024 – $29,000 ($2,000 program deposit will be applied, leaving a $27,000 balance)
  • Summer semester 2024 – $28,000
  • Fall semester 2024 – $28,000

Tuition may also be paid in a lump sum at the start of the first semester. Contact us about accommodations for company billing requirements or yearly educational tuition reimbursement caps.

*Subject to final approval by the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is a designated 2022-2023 Military Friendly® Silver School and Military Spouse Friendly School, thanks to UT’s expansive support for the military community and their families. Talk to an enrollment advisor for more information.

Learn more about UT’s Military Veteran Services.

The EMBA-SL has one start date a year, at the end of January.

To complete your application at https://apply.haslam.utk.edu/apply, you will need the following:

  • A resume
  • GMAT/GRE scores may be required. Waivers are available for qualified candidates with at least five years of managerial experience
  • References
  • Application essay
  • Transcripts
  • $60 non-refundable application fee

The program fee for the Executive MBA – Strategic Leadership is expected to be $85,000.* The program fee includes:

  • All university tuition and fees
  • Books and materials, including course-specific software
  • Technical support for all software
  • Local transportation to and from classes and special events during residence periods
  • Breakfasts, lunches and most dinners

The program fee does not include:

  • Laptop computer
  • Airfare to and from residence periods
  • Lodging during residence periods

*Subject to final approval by the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees.

Yes. Many Executive MBA – Strategic Leadership students partner with their employers to succeed in the program. In addition to time off, students will need access to key resources at work including:

  • Critical organizational processes
  • Customers for interviews
  • Financial statements
  • Human resource metrics
  • Management oversight and review of main thesis project

Faculty members sign non-disclosure agreements when necessary.

Many employers provide funding for Haslam’s EMBA students. The list of corporate sponsors is long and varied.


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.


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.

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