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Strategic leaders in a meeting

Master's in
Strategic Management and Executive Leadership

Program Summary

Prepare to lead organizations at the highest level. This program focuses on strategic thinking and leadership and is designed to help you master organizational strategies that drive effectiveness and performance.
How To Apply
Apply by November 1 to start January 9

How To Apply 

Costs and Financial Aid

30 Credits $1,236 per credit

Costs and Financial Aid 

Learn to Ignite Passion and Performance from the C-Suite

Penn State’s Master's in Strategic Management and Executive Leadership is designed to help you develop your ability to think strategically and to learn to embrace the language and process of strategy: from the formulation of effective strategies, to understanding the process of strategy implementation, to building a culture and commitment across the organization.

This specialized master’s degree can help you transition from a functional manager to an organization’s executive leader. You will rise above the day-to-day operations and develop the strategic thinking skills to:

  • interpret and read macro trends (political, economic, sociocultural, technological, demographic)
  • determine how these trends will impact the organization
  • analyze the competitive landscape to carve out a strong market position and competitive advantage
  • develop a long-term plan to deal with the changing environment
  • share your ideas with multiple stakeholders and gain alignment from them
  • effectively implement strategy while making ethical decisions
  • motivate your workforce and inspire others to follow

Why Strategy and Leadership at Penn State?

Top Producer of CEOs. In 2018, LinkedIn named Penn State second in the country for producing the most CEOs, ahead of many Ivy League institutions. You can leverage our reputation to advance your career.

Top Research-Productive Management Department. The Management & Organization (M&O) Department in the Penn State Smeal College of Business consistently ranks among the top ten most research-productive management departments in the world, according to the KUBS Worldwide Business Research Rankings.

This program is AACSB Accredited

Flexibility and Engagement. Penn State’s flexible, online platform allows you to earn a world-class education while you continue to gain valuable work experience. You will interact with dedicated, goal-oriented peers from around the world, creating a network of great ideas.

An Online Degree for Executive Leaders

Students like you will learn by doing. You will have the opportunity to conduct organizational analyses using real-world case studies. We take the theories of strategy and leadership and translate them into operating frameworks that students like you can apply to their own experiences.

As a student, you can:

  • learn to think strategically, recognize patterns in your organization, set a new direction, and facilitate change
  • master the skills to articulate organizational strategies that will drive effectiveness and performance
  • strengthen your interpersonal skills so you can become a more effective leader who appreciates the ethical and social responsibility of spearheading an organization
  • add more depth to your education by selecting a concentration in the field of Business Sustainability Strategy, Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Negotiation and Influence or, Architecting Strategy and Innovation.

With the Master's in Strategic Management and Executive Leadership, you can gain in-depth expertise in leading an organization at the highest level. This program adopts a focused emphasis on strategic thinking and leadership — with topics that include strategic management, strategy implementation, organizational change, leadership and identity, power and influence, and ethical responsibilities. 

Customize Your Master's Degree

Tailor your degree by selecting a concentration that suits your unique career goals, plays to your strengths, and/or improves your overall marketability. You may select from one of four concentrations:

Architecting Strategy and Innovation. Advance the knowledge, perspectives, and skills needed to effectively execute business strategy and implement effective corporate innovation strategies.

Business Sustainability Strategy. Gain the knowledge to implement sustainability practices into core business strategy and operations.

Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Explore the principles of innovation and entrepreneurship so you can support a corporate culture that fosters positive change and forward thinking.

Negotiation and Influence. Develop critical negotiation skills and knowledge that can help you identify and gain sources of power at work.

Global Immersion Experience

Students will have the opportunity to participate in an optional Global Immersion trip. For one week, you will join up with fellow Penn Staters from the Smeal College of Business to visit a pivotal global business region in order to develop a critical awareness of international business practices and diverse cultures. Visit our courses page to learn more.

Who Should Apply?

This fully online program is ideal for managers and directors who have their sights set on the C-suite, or who have recently been promoted to a top leadership position, and therefore want to develop their ability to think strategically and extend their grasp of the organization beyond its functional or operational aspects. Individuals with extensive military leadership experience are also encouraged to apply.

Our students may come from a variety of backgrounds, including business, IT, engineering, life sciences, and more. They should have solid managerial experience, basic knowledge of organizational change, and may already possess an MBA or other graduate-level degree.

Information for Military and Veterans

Are you a member of the military, a veteran, or a military spouse? Please visit our military website for additional information regarding financial aid, transfer credits, or application instructions.

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