The Value of an Executive MBA for Lawyers

Wharton Executive MBA students work in numerous fields, including the law. Some lawyers come to this program to gain a fuller understanding of business to better serve their clients’ needs. Others come to learn how to innovate and transform law firms into more complex businesses. And others look to gain the knowledge and network to explore new opportunities.

While Wharton does not offer an EMBA program specifically for lawyers, the curriculum includes core courses that are applicable for lawyers as well as many electives related to the law. The executive format of the program allows students to continue working without disrupting their careers, providing an ideal environment for attorneys to gain new skills and accelerate their careers.

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Law Courses & Curriculum


First-year courses cover the core areas of business: leadership essentials, analytic foundations, and business foundations. Students take classes on topics such as management communication, microeconomics for managers, managing the enterprise, corporate finance, and marketing management. 

In their second year, students choose from a large selection of electives to develop an area of expertise or a breadth of knowledge. Second-year students can take electives at both of our campuses in Philadelphia and San Francisco as well as global courses that focus on business issues in other parts of the world.

Examples of electives include:

Advanced Corporate Finance – Students study the major decision-making areas of managerial finance and financial theory. Areas of financial management covered include leasing, mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations, financial planning, and working capital management.

Corporate Development: Mergers and Acquisitions – Students explore the various modes of corporate development available to managers to drive firm growth and change, including alliances, outsourcing, corporate venturing, and mergers and acquisitions.

Formation and Implementation of Entrepreneurial Ventures – This advanced course in entrepreneurship examines ways to profitably launch and exploit business opportunities. Students acquire the skills necessary for crafting a winning business model for ventures — developing and writing a coherent and effective plan to start a business, in either an independent or a corporate setting.

Introduction to Real Estate – The class focuses on four areas: 1) The financial risk and return of property-level real estate investments. 2) The legal landscape for investing in real estate and using legal structures to manage risk. 3) The economics of commercial real estate markets. 4) Important real estate issues of the day.

Negotiations – This course develops managerial negotiation skills, covering a wide range of problems and settings: one-shot deals between individuals, repeated negotiations, negotiations over several issues, negotiations among several parties within and between organizations, and cross-cultural issues.

Strategy and Competitive Advantage – The class focuses on how firms can create and sustain a competitive advantage. Topics include the creation of competitive advantage through commitment, competitor analysis, different organizational responses to environmental changes, real options, modularity, and increasing returns.

Risk and Crisis Management – The growing connectivity of global economies and financial markets has produced widespread risk contagion, resulting in increased volatility and an ever-increasing demand for risk capital. This course focuses on understanding the drivers of risk contagion and ways to restore confidence in worldwide markets for pure and financial risk.

How Does an Executive MBA Help Lawyers?


There is no one set career path for lawyers in Wharton’s EMBA program. Our students come with years of experience that they leverage with their Wharton MBA to accelerate their careers or embark on new paths. Some attorneys continue at their firms, others start new ventures, and others transition into new industries and functions. 

Alumni Stories

Derrick Hughes, WG’17, Vice President of Business Development, Unicity International, Inc.

Angela Chadwick, WG’12, Managing Counsel, Tesla

Elana Krieger, WG’16, Director, People Lead, Bikes and Scooters, Lyft

Kelly Brown, WG’14, Principal Advisor and Founder, BSD Strategy Group

Holly O’Dell, WG’18, Vice President of Legal & Strategic Services, SAIF Corp.