Skip to main content

KNOXVILLE — There is a new breed of executive MBAs emerging from the College of Business Administration at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. No longer are the students solely skilled tacticians. They are keen strategists too.

The Executive MBA for Strategic Leadership has been re-tooled to prepare future business leaders for the ever-changing global environment challenging participants to think two levels above their current position, notably at the chief executive level.

“Our re-design was a direct result of listening to our customers,” said Kate Atchley, program director. “Our students and participating companies asked us to invest more time teaching strategic thinking skills to these high-potential individuals in order to ready them for significant leadership responsibilities.”

In today’s business environment, profitability demands impact business strategies. “Cross-cultural leadership is a requisite to organizational success,” continued Atchley. “Supply chains are more complex and often less responsive and efficient. We must ready our students to not only take on these challenges but be leaders as well.”

The program’s average student is 42 years old and has 17 years of managerial experience.

The program now includes more class time spent on leadership development, an increased emphasis on global supply chain issues and additional content on organizational competitive strategy.

Additional program enrichments include:

  • Enhanced focus on strategic thinking;
  • A more comprehensive leadership development plan that evaluates and improves each student’s leadership style and potential;
  • Integration of leadership development throughout all four residency periods;
  • More C-level guest speakers talking candidly about successes and failures;
  • Improved opportunities for cross-collaboration and networking; and
  • The addition of optional deep-dive learning sessions on specific areas of interest.

Established in 1994, the Executive MBA for Strategic Leadership is a one-year, residency-based program in which three residencies are spent on the UT Knoxville campus and the fourth is an international immersion outside of North America.

The revamped program builds upon an already strong curriculum customized for today’s global leader. C-level guest speakers address unique strategic concerns, leadership development plans are customized for each student and class assignments deliver significant ROI for each student and organization.

“One thing we did not change was our applied-focus corporate action projects, or CAPs,” said Atchley. “This program-long project applies student learning to specific areas within each one’s organization to deliver significant personal and organizational ROI. This program is our hallmark and will continue to drive millions of dollars of operational improvements.”

A core competency of the program is the UT College of Business Administration’s supply chain management and logistics program, which is internationally ranked in sources such as U.S. News & World Report, Supply Chain Management Review, and Transportation Journal.

The UT Knoxville College of Business Administration executive-level MBA programs are top-ranked by Financial Times, Modern Healthcare and U.S. News & World Report.

The UT Executive MBA for Strategic Leadership is one of five strategically developed niche-market executive-level MBA programs in UT’s College of Business Administration; the other four are the one-year Physician Executive MBA, the one-year Aerospace and Defense Executive MBA, the 16-month Global Supply Chain Executive MBA, and the 16-month Professional Executive MBA weekend program.

For more information about the UT Knoxville College of Business Administration, visit


Cindy Raines (865-974-4359,