A Master of Business Administration (MBA; also Master's in Business Administration) is a
postgraduate degree Postgraduate or graduate education refers to academic or professional degrees, certificates, diplomas, or other qualifications pursued by post-secondary students who have earned an undergraduate (bachelor's) degree. The organization and stru ...
focused on business administration. The core courses in an MBA program cover various areas of business administration such as
accounting Accounting, also known as accountancy, is the measurement, processing, and communication of financial and non financial information about economic entities such as businesses and corporations. Accounting, which has been called the "langu ...
, applied statistics, human resources, business communication, business ethics, business law,
strategic management In the field of management, strategic management involves the formulation and implementation of the major goals and initiatives taken by an organization's managers on behalf of stakeholders, based on consideration of resources and an assessme ...
, business strategy, finance, managerial economics, management,
entrepreneurship Entrepreneurship is the creation or extraction of economic value. With this definition, entrepreneurship is viewed as change, generally entailing risk beyond what is normally encountered in starting a business, which may include other values th ...
marketing Marketing is the process of exploring, creating, and delivering value to meet the needs of a target market in terms of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; selection of certain attributes or themes to empha ...
, supply-chain management, and operations management in a manner most relevant to management analysis and strategy. It originated in the United States in the early 20th century when the country industrialized and companies sought scientific management. Some programs also include
elective course In higher education a course is a unit of teaching that typically lasts one academic term, is led by one or more instructors (teachers or professors), and has a fixed roster of students. A course usually covers an individual subject. Courses gener ...
s and concentrations for further study in a particular area, for example, accounting, finance, marketing, and human resources, but an MBA is intended to be a generalized program. MBA programs in the United States typically require completing about forty to sixty credits (sixty to ninety in a
quarter system An academic quarter refers to the division of an academic year into four parts. Historical context The modern academic quarter calendar can be traced to the historic English law court / legal training pupillage four term system: * Hilary: Ja ...
), much higher than the thirty credits (thirty-six to forty-five in a quarter system) typically required for degrees that cover some of the same material such as the
Master of Economics The Master of Economics (MEcon or MEc) is a postgraduate master's degree in economics comprising training in economic theory, econometrics, and/or applied economics. The degree is also offered as an MS or MSc, MA or MCom in economics; vari ...
Master of Finance The Master of Finance is a master's degree awarded by universities or graduate schools preparing students for careers in finance. The degree is often titled Master in Finance (M.Fin., MiF, MFin), or Master of Science in Finance (MSF in North ...
Master of Accountancy The Master of Accountancy (MAcc, MAcy, or MAccy), alternatively Master of Science in Accounting (MSA or MSAcy) or Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAcy, MPAcc or MPAc), is a graduate professional degree designed to prepare students for public ...
Master of Science in Marketing The Master of Science in Marketing (or MS Marketing) is a graduate degree that prepares the student to work in middle-management-and-above marketing positions. The specific field within marketing will depend on the student, their program, and th ...
Master of Science in Management Master of Science in Management, abbreviated MSc, MScM, MIM or MSM, is a Master of Science academic degree. In terms of content, it is similar to the MBA degree as it contains general management courses. According to a '' Financial Times'' ranki ...
. The MBA is a
terminal degree A terminal degree is a college degree that is the highest level college degree that can be achieved and awarded in a specific academic or professional field. In other cases, it is a degree that is awarded when a candidate completes a certain amo ...
, and a professional degree. Accreditation bodies specifically for MBA programs ensure consistency and quality of education. Business schools in many countries offer programs tailored to full-time, part-time, executive (abridged coursework typically occurring on nights or weekends) and distance learning students, many with specialized concentrations. An "Executive MBA", or EMBA, is a degree program similar to an MBA program that is specifically structured for and targeted towards corporate executives and senior managers who are already in the workforce.


The first school of business in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major unincorporated territo ...
The Wharton School The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania ( ; also known as Wharton Business School, the Wharton School, Penn Wharton, and Wharton) is the business school of the University of Pennsylvania, a private Ivy League research university ...
of the University of Pennsylvania established in 1881 through a donation from Joseph Wharton /sup>. In 1900, the Tuck School of Business was founded at Dartmouth College conferring the first advanced degree in business, specifically, a Master of Science in Commerce, the predecessor to the MBA. The
Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration Harvard Business School (HBS) is the graduate business school of Harvard University, a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts. It is consistently ranked among the top business schools in the world and offers a large full-time MBA ...
established the first MBA program in 1908, with 15 faculty members, 33 regular students and 47 special students. Its first-year curriculum was based on Frederick Winslow Taylor’s scientific management. The number of MBA students at Harvard increased quickly, from 80 in 1908, over 300 in 1920, and 1,070 in 1930. At this time, only American universities offered MBAs. Other countries preferred that people learn business on the job. Other milestones include: * 1930: First management and leadership education program for executives and mid-career experienced managers (the Sloan Fellows Program at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a Private university, private Land-grant university, land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Established in 1861, MIT has played a key role in the development of modern t ...
). * 1943: First Executive MBA (EMBA) program for working professionals at the
University of Chicago Booth School of Business The University of Chicago Booth School of Business (Chicago Booth or Booth) is the graduate business school of the University of Chicago. Founded in 1898, Chicago Booth is the second-oldest business school in the U.S. and is associated with 10 ...
. Chicago was also the first business school to establish permanent campuses on three continents in Chicago (USA), Barcelona (Europe), and Singapore (Asia). Most business schools today offer a global component to their executive MBA. Since the program was established, the school has moved its campuses and is now based in Chicago, London, and Hong Kong. * 1946: First MBA focused on global management at
Thunderbird School of Global Management Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University (or simply Thunderbird) is a global management school in Phoenix, Arizona. Founded in 1946 as an independent, private institution, it was acquired by Arizona State University ...
. * 1950: First MBA outside of the United States, in Canada ( Ivey Business School at The University of Western Ontario), followed by the
University of Pretoria The University of Pretoria ( af, Universiteit van Pretoria, nso, Yunibesithi ya Pretoria) is a multi-campus public research university in Pretoria, the administrative and de facto capital of South Africa. The university was established in 190 ...
in South Africa in 1951. * 1953: First MBA offered at an Asian school at the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management in Calcutta. * 1957: First MBA offered at a European school ( INSEAD). * 1963: First MBA program offered in the Spanish-speaking world by ESAN- Graduate School of Business in Perú (South America), under the direction of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, United States. Sponsored by the USAID- United States Agency for International Development, at the request of former President John F. Kennedy, which organizes the main business schools in the United States to study and explore the possibilities of developing management education projects in Latin America. Thus, on July 25, 1963, la Escuela de Administración de Negocios para Graduados- ESAN was founded, within the framework of an agreement between the governments of Peru and the United States to offer the Master's program in Business Administration for interested applicants from all over Latin America. * 1963: First MBA offered in Korea by Korea University Business School (KUBS). * 1986: First MBA program requiring every student to have a laptop computer in the classroom at the Roy E. Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College (Florida). Beginning with the 1992–1993 academic year, Columbia Business School required all incoming students to purchase a laptop computer with standard software, becoming the first business school to do so. * 1994: First online executive MBA program at Athabasca University (Canada). The MBA degree has been adopted by universities worldwide in both developed and developing countries.


United States

Business school or MBA program accreditation by external agencies provides students and employers with an independent view of the school or program's quality, as well as whether the curriculum meets specific quality standards. Currently the three major accrediting bodies in the United States are: * Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), * Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), and * International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE). All of these groups also accredit schools outside the US. The
ACBSP The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), formerly the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs, is a U.S. organization offering accreditation services to business programs focused on teaching and learni ...
and the IACBE are themselves recognized in the United States by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). MBA programs with specializations for students pursuing careers in healthcare management also eligible for accreditation by the Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). US MBA programs may also be accredited at the institutional level. Bodies that accredit institutions as a whole include: *
Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (Middle States Association or MSA) was a voluntary, peer-based, non-profit association that performed peer evaluation and regional accreditation of public and private schools in the Mid-Atl ...
(MSA), * New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), * Higher Learning Commission (HLC), *
Distance Education Accrediting Commission The Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), formerly the National Home Study Council and then as the Distance Education and Training Council, is a non-profit national educational accreditation agency in the United States specializing in t ...
(DEAC), * Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), * Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and *
Western Association of Schools and Colleges The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) was an organization providing accreditation of public and private universities, colleges, secondary and elementary schools in California and Hawaii, the territories of Guam, American S ...

Other countries

Accreditation agencies outside the United States include the
Association of MBAs The Association of MBAs (AMBA) is a global organisation founded in 1967 which focuses primarily on international business school accreditation and membership. Roles Based in London, AMBA is one of the three main global accreditation bodies in ...
(AMBA), a UK-based organization that accredits MBA, DBA, and MBM programs worldwide, government accreditation bodies such as the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), which accredits MBA and Postgraduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) programs across India. Some of the leading bodies in India that certify MBA institutions and their programs are the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the University Grants Commission (UGC). A distance MBA program needs to be accredited by the Distance Education Council (DEC) in India. The Council on Higher Education (CHE) in South Africa, the European Foundation for Management Development operates the
European Quality Improvement System The EFMD Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) is an international school accreditation system. It specializes in higher education institutions of management and business administration, run by the European Foundation for Management Development (E ...
(EQUIS) for mostly European, Australian, New Zealand and Asian schools, the Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation (FIBAA), and Central and East European Management Development Association (CEEMAN) in Europe.


Full-time MBA programs normally take place over two academic years (i.e. approximately 18 months of term time). For example, in the Northern Hemisphere, they often begin in late August or early September of year one and continue until May or June of year two, with a three to four-month summer break in between years one and two. Students enter with a reasonable amount of prior real-world work experience and take classes during weekdays like other university students. A typical full-time, accelerated, part-time, or modular MBA requires 60 credits (600 class hours) of graduate work. Accelerated MBA programs are a variation of the two-year programs. They involve a higher course load with more intense class and examination schedules and are usually condensed into one year. They usually have less downtime during the program and between semesters. For example, there is no three to four-month summer break, and between semesters there might be seven to ten days off rather than three to five weeks vacation. Accelerated programs typically have a lower cost than full-time two-year programs. Part-time MBA programs normally hold classes on weekday evenings after normal working hours, or on weekends. Part-time programs normally last three years or more. The students in these programs typically consist of working professionals, who take a light course load for a longer period of time until the graduation requirements are met. Evening (second shift) MBA programs are full-time programs that normally hold classes on weekday evenings, after normal working hours, or on weekends for a duration of two years. The students in these programs typically consist of working professionals, who can not leave their work to pursue a full-time regular shift MBA. Most second shift programs are offered at universities in India. Modular MBA programs are similar to part-time programs, although typically employing a lock-step curriculum with classes packaged together in blocks lasting from one to three weeks. Executive (part-time) MBA (EMBA) programs developed to meet the educational needs of managers and executives, allowing students to earn an MBA (or another business-related graduate degree) in two years or less while working full-time. Participants come from every type and size of organization – profit, nonprofit, government – representing a variety of industries. EMBA students typically have a higher level of work experience, often 10 years or more, compared to other MBA students. In response to the increasing number of EMBA programs offered, The Executive MBA Council was formed in 1981 to advance executive education. Full-time executive MBA programs are a new category of full-time one year MBA programs aimed at professionals with approximately five years or more. They are primarily offered in countries like India where the two-year MBA program is targeted at fresh graduates with no experience or minimal experience. These full-time executive MBA programs are similar to one year MBA programs offered by schools like Insead and IMD. Distance learning MBA programs hold classes off-campus. These programs can be offered in a number of different formats:
correspondence course Distance education, also known as distance learning, is the education of students who may not always be physically present at a school, or where the learner and the teacher are separated in both time and distance. Traditionally, this usually i ...
s by postal mail or email, non-interactive broadcast video, pre-recorded video, live teleconference or videoconference, offline or online computer courses. Many schools offer these programs.
Blended learning Blended learning, also known as technology-mediated instruction, web-enhanced instruction, or mixed-mode instruction, is an approach to education that combines online educational materials and opportunities for interaction online with physical pla ...
programs combine distance learning with face-to-face instruction. These programs typically target working professionals who are unable to attend traditional part-time programs. MBA dual degree programs combine an MBA with others (such as an MS, MA, MEng, or a JD, etc.) to let students cut costs (dual programs usually cost less than pursuing two degrees separately), save time on education and to tailor the business education courses to their needs. This is generally achieved by allowing core courses of one program to count as electives in the other. Some business schools offer programs in which students can earn both a bachelor's degree in business administration and an MBA in five years. Mini-MBA is a term used by many non-profit and for-profit institutions to describe a training regimen focused on the fundamentals of business. In the past, Mini-MBA programs have typically been offered as non-credit bearing courses that require less than 100 hours of total learning. However, due to the criticisms of these certificates, many schools have now shifted their programs to offer courses for full credit so that they may be applied towards a complete traditional MBA degree. This is to allow students to verify business-related coursework for employment purposes and still allow the option to complete a full-time MBA degree program at a later period if they elect to do so.

Admissions criteria

Many programs base their admission decisions on a combination of undergraduate grade point average, academic transcripts, entrance exam scores (for example, the GMAT or the GRE test score), a résumé containing significant work experience, essays, letters of recommendation, group discussions, and personal interviews. Some schools are also interested in extracurricular activities, community service activities, or volunteer work and how the student can improve the school's diversity and contribute to the student body as a whole. The
Graduate Management Admission Test The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT ( ())) is a computer adaptive test (CAT) intended to assess certain analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English for use in admission to a graduate management ...
(GMAT) is the most prominently used entrance exam for admissions into MBA programs. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is also accepted by almost all MBA programs in order to fulfill any entrance exam requirement they may have. Some schools do not weigh entrance exam scores as heavily as other criteria, and some programs do not require entrance exam scores for admission. In order to achieve a diverse class, business schools also consider the target male-female ratio and local-international student ratios. In rare cases, some MBA degrees do not require students to have an undergraduate degree and will accept significant management experience in lieu of an undergraduate degree. In the UK, for example, an HND (Higher National Diploma) or even HNC (Higher National Certificate) is acceptable in some programs. Depending on the program, type and duration of work experience can be a critical admissions component for many MBA programs. Many top-tier programs require five or more years of work experience for admission. MBA admissions consulting services exist to counsel MBA applicants to improve their chances of getting admission to their desired Business Schools. These services range from evaluating a candidate's profile, GMAT preparation, suggesting the schools to which they can apply, writing and editing essays, conducting mock interviews as preparation for MBA admission interviews, as well as post-MBA career counseling.


In general, MBA programs are structured around core courses — an essentially standard curriculum — and elective courses that (may) allow for a subject specialty or concentration. Thus, in the program's first year (or part), students acquire both a working knowledge of management functions and the analytical skills required for these, while in the second year (part), students pursue elective courses, which may count towards a specialization. (Topics in business ethics may be included at the generalist or specialist level.) After the first year, many full-time students seek internships. The degree culminates with coursework in business strategy, the program
capstone CAPSTONE (Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment) is a lunar orbiter that will test and verify the calculated orbital stability planned for the Lunar Gateway space station. The spacecraft is a 12- ...
. A dissertation or major project is usually a degree requirement after the completion of coursework. Many MBA programs end with a comprehensive exit examination; see below. For Executive MBA programs, the core curriculum is generally similar, but may seek to leverage the strengths associated with the more seasoned and professional profile of the student body, emphasizing leadership, and drawing more from the specific experience of the individual students. Programs are designed such that students gain exposure to theory and practice alike. Courses include lectures, case studies, and team projects; the mix though, will differ by school and by format. Theory is covered in the classroom setting by academic faculty, and is reinforced through the case method, placing the student in the role of the decision maker. Similar to real world business situations, cases include both constraints and incomplete information. Practical learning (field immersion) often comprises consulting projects with real clients, and is generally undertaken in teams (or "syndicates"). The practical elements (as well as the case studies) often involve external practitioners—sometimes business executives—supporting the teaching from academic faculty. (See Business school#Use of case studies and #Other approaches; and Business education#Postgraduate education generally.) As above, courses begin with underlying topicsSee: AACSB'sbr>Standard 15: Management of Curricula
; AMBA'sbr>New Accreditation Criteria
; ETS'sbr>Major Field Test for the MBA
and then progress to more advanced functional topics where these are applied; see aside. The analytic skills required for management are usually covered initially. The accounting course(s) may treat financial and
management accounting In management accounting or managerial accounting, managers use accounting information in decision-making and to assist in the management and performance of their control functions. Definition One simple definition of management accounting is t ...
separately or in one hybrid course. Financial accounting deals mainly in the interpretation (and preparation) of financial statements while management accounting deals mainly in the analysis of internal results. The economics course covers managerial economics, a technical course that mainly focuses on product pricing as influenced by microeconomic theory, and aggregate-or
macroeconomics Macroeconomics (from the Greek prefix ''makro-'' meaning "large" + ''economics'') is a branch of economics dealing with performance, structure, behavior, and decision-making of an economy as a whole. For example, using interest rates, taxes, and ...
, which deals with topics like the banking system, the money supply, and inflation.
Operations Research Operations research ( en-GB, operational research) (U.S. Air Force Specialty Code: Operations Analysis), often shortened to the initialism OR, is a discipline that deals with the development and application of analytical methods to improve deci ...
and statistics are sometimes combined as "Managerial Decision-Making" or " Quantitative Decision-Making"; organizational behavior and human resource management may similarly be combined. In many programs, applicants with appropriate background may be exempt from various analytical courses. As regards the functional courses, some programs treat the curricula here in two parts: the first course provides an overview, while the second revisits the subject in-depth (perhaps as specializations); alternatively, the first addresses short-term, tactical problems, while the second addresses long-term, strategic problems (e.g., "Financial Management I" might cover working capital management, while part II covers capital investment decisions). An Information systems /
technology Technology is the application of knowledge to reach practical goals in a specifiable and reproducible way. The word ''technology'' may also mean the product of such an endeavor. The use of technology is widely prevalent in medicine, scienc ...
course is increasingly included as a core functional course rather than an elective. Ethics training is often delivered with coursework in corporate social responsibility and corporate governance. Note that courses here, although technical in the content are, ultimately, oriented toward corporate management. (For example, the principal finance course may cover the technicalities of financial instrument valuation and capital raising, but is in fact focused on managerial finance and financial management.) Technically-oriented courses, if offered, will be via a specialization. Programs may also include (coursework-based) training in the skills needed at senior levels of management:
soft skills Soft skills, also known as power skills, common skills or core skills, are skills applicable to all professions. These include critical thinking, problem solving, public speaking, professional writing, teamwork, digital literacy, leadership, pr ...
, such as (general) leadership and negotiation; hard skills, such as spreadsheets and project management; thinking skills such as innovation and creativity. Training in areas such as multiculturalism and corporate social responsibility is similarly included. Company visits (including overseas travel), and guest lectures or seminars with CEOs and management personalities may also be included. These, with the core subjects, provide the graduate with breadth, while the specialty courses provide depth. For the business strategy component, the degree capstone, the focus is on finding
competitive advantage In business, a competitive advantage is an attribute that allows an organization to outperform its competitors. A competitive advantage may include access to natural resources, such as high-grade ores or a low-cost power source, highly skilled ...
and the long-term positioning and management of the entity as a whole. Here, the key functional areas are thus synthesized to an overall view; the strategy course depicts how the various sub-disciplines integrate to tell one continuous story, with each discipline complementing the others. Corresponding training in business leadership may also be scheduled and participation in a business simulation or
game A game is a structured form of play (activity), play, usually undertaken for enjoyment, entertainment or fun, and sometimes used as an educational tool. Many games are also considered to be work (such as professional players of spectator s ...
is also a common degree requirement. "Strategy" may be offered as a sequence of courses, beginning in the first part (formulation) and culminating in the second (execution), or as a single intensive course, offered during the second part. Some programs offer a specialization in "strategy", others in management consulting which substantially addresses the same issues. The MBA dissertation (or thesis in some universities) will, in general, comprise the following in some combination: a discussion of the literature, providing a critical review and structuring of what is known on a given topic, to address a specific problem; a
case study A case study is an in-depth, detailed examination of a particular case (or cases) within a real-world context. For example, case studies in medicine may focus on an individual patient or ailment; case studies in business might cover a particular ...
that goes beyond simple description, containing the analysis of hitherto unpublished material; a test of the application or limitations of some known principle or technique in a particular situation, and/or suggested modifications. As an alternative to the dissertation, some programs instead allow for a major project. Here (part-time) students will address a problem current in their organization; particularly in programs with an action learning orientation, these may be practically oriented.MBA degree-guide
, degree.net
Most MBA programs require additional course work in research methodology, preceding the dissertation or project. Some programs allow that the research component as a whole may be substituted with additional elective coursework.

Exit examination

Many MBA programs culminate in a comprehensive exit examination. The national standardized exam known as the Major Field Test for MBAs (MFT-MBA) has been administered in the MBA programs of over 300 U.S. universities. The MFT-MBA aims to assess skills, knowledge, and reasoning ability within the domain of standard MBA curriculum. It is administered by
Educational Testing Service Educational Testing Service (ETS), founded in 1947, is the world's largest private nonprofit educational testing and assessment organization. It is headquartered in Lawrence Township, New Jersey, but has a Princeton address. ETS develops v ...
. Another prominent option for comprehensive exit exams is the Common Professional Component Comprehensive Exam for MBAs (CPC COMP Exam for MBAs) owned by Peregrine Academic Services. Many programs choose to administer their own in-house exam rather than a standardized test.

Honor societies

Honor societies recognize individuals for high achievement in MBA programs. These honor societies include: * Beta Gamma Sigma - membership requires one to be in the top 20% of their program's class after completing half of the program. * Delta Mu Delta - membership requires one to be in the top 20% of their program's class and have a GPA of at least 3.6 after completing half of the program. * Financial Management Association - membership requires one to have a 3.5 overall GPA, or a 3.5 GPA in finance and finance-related courses, after completing half of the program. * T10 - membership requires one to have scored in the top 10% in the country on a national comprehensive MBA exam.


An MBA prepares individuals for many types of careers. According to a survey by the Graduate Management Admissions Council, 64% of year 2012 MBA graduates used their MBA to change careers. Some of the more common jobs an MBA prepares one for include: * Business analyst or strategist * Business development analyst, associate, or manager * Market research analyst * Managing Director (of a department) * Investment banker * Entrepreneur/founder * Financial analyst, associate, or manager * Management consultant * Marketing associate, analyst, or manager * Portfolio manager * Healthcare administrator, analyst, or manager * Project analyst or strategist * Product analyst, associate, or manager * Program analyst, associate, or manager * Operations analyst, associate, or manager



In 1957, INSEAD (French name "Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires", or European Institute of Business Administration) became the first European university offering the MBA degree, followed by EDHEC Business School and Antwerp Management School in 1959 and ICADE in 1960 (who had started offering in 1956 a "Technical Seminary for Business Administration"), ESADE and IESE Business School (first two-year program in Europe) in 1964, UCD Smurfit Business School and Cranfield School of Management in 1964,
Manchester Business School Alliance Manchester Business School (Alliance MBS) is the business school of the University of Manchester in Manchester, England. One of the most prestigious business schools in the United Kingdom, it is also the second oldest in the UK, and pr ...
and London Business School in 1965, Trinity College Dublin, the Rotterdam School of Management in 1966, the Vlerick Business School in 1968 and in 1969 by the HEC School of Management (in French, the École des Hautes Études Commerciales) and the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris. In 1972, Swiss business school IMEDE (now IMD) began offering a full-time MBA program, followed by IE Business School (in Spanish, Instituto de Empresas) in 1973, and AGH University of Science and Technology in Cracow, Poland in 1974. In 1991, IEDC-Bled School of Management became the first school in the ex-socialist bloc of the Central and Eastern to offer an MBA degree.

Bologna Accord

In Europe, the recent Bologna Accord established uniformity in three levels of higher education: Bachelor (three or four years), Masters (one or two years, in addition to three or four years for a Bachelor), and Doctorate (an additional three or four years after a Master). Students can acquire professional experience after their initial bachelor's degree at any European institution and later complete their masters in any other European institution via the
European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) is a standard means for comparing academic credits, i.e., the "volume of learning based on the defined learning outcomes and their associated workload" for higher education across the ...

Accreditation standards

Accreditation standards are not uniform in Europe. Some countries have legal requirements for accreditation (e.g. most German states), in some, there is a legal requirement only for universities of a certain type (e.g. Austria), and others have no accreditation law at all. Even where there is no legal requirement, many business schools are accredited by independent bodies voluntarily to ensure quality standards.


In Austria, MBA programs of
private universities Private universities and private colleges are institutions of higher education, not operated, owned, or institutionally funded by governments. They may (and often do) receive from governments tax breaks, public student loans, and grants. Dep ...
have to be accredited by the Austrian Accreditation Council (''Österreichischer Akkreditierungsrat''). State-run universities have no accreditation requirements, however, some of them voluntarily undergo accreditation procedures by independent bodies. There are also MBA programs of non-academic business schools, who are entitled by the Austrian government to offer these programs until the end of 2012 (''Lehrgang universitären Charakters''). Some non-academic institutions cooperate with state-run universities to ensure the legality of their degrees.

Czech Republic

January 1999 saw the first meeting of the Association of the Czech MBA Schools (CAMBAS). The association is housed within the Centre for Doctoral and Managerial Studies of UEP, Prague. All of the founding members of the association to have their MBA programs accredited by partner institutions in the United Kingdom or the United States of America.


In Finland, Master of Business Administration degrees are awarded by business schools of Aalto University, Hanken, University of Turku, University of Vaasa and University of Oulu. In Finnish this degree is called ''kauppatieteiden maisteri''. Universities of applied sciences award degrees which in Finnish are called ''tradenomi (YAMK)'' but use the same English title "Master of Business Administration" as the ones awarded by business schools. Both degrees are recognized as higher education degrees in Finland, yet only the business school graduates are typically referred as "masters".

France and French-speaking countries

In France and the
Francophone French became an international language in the Middle Ages, when the power of the Kingdom of France made it the second international language, alongside Latin. This status continued to grow into the 18th century, by which time French was the ...
countries such as Switzerland, Monaco, Belgium, and Canada, the MBA degree programs at the public accredited schools are similar to those offered in the
Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a Cultural identity, cultural group who inhabited England in the Early Middle Ages. They traced their origins to settlers who came to Britain from mainland Europe in the 5th century. However, the ethnogenesis of the Anglo- ...
countries. Most French Business Schools are accredited by the Conférence des Grandes Écoles.


Germany was one of the last Western countries to adopt an MBA degree. In 1998, the ''Hochschulrahmengesetz'' (Higher Education Framework Act), a German federal law regulating higher education including the types of degrees offered, was modified to permit German universities to offer master's degrees. The traditional German degree in business administration was the Diplom in ''Betriebswirtschaft'' (Diplom-Kaufmann/Diplom-Kauffrau) but since 1999, bachelor's and master's degrees have gradually replaced the traditional degrees due to the Bologna process. Today most German business schools offer an MBA. Most German states require that MBA degrees have to be accredited by one of the six agencies officially recognized by the German ''Akkreditierungsrat'' (accreditation council), the German counterpart to the American CHEA. The busiest of these six agencies (with respect to MBA degrees) is the Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation (FIBAA). All universities themselves have to be institutionally accredited by the state (''staatlich anerkannt'').


Italian MBA programs at public accredited schools are similar to those offered elsewhere in Europe. Italian Business Schools are accredited by EQUIS and by ASFOR.


There are several MBA programs offered in Poland. Some of these are run as partnerships with European, American, or Canadian Universities. Others rely on their own faculty and enrich their courses by inviting visiting lecturers. Several MBA programs in Poland are also offered in English.


Several business schools offer highly ranked MBA programs in Portugal. Portuguese MBA programs are increasingly internationally oriented, being taught in English.


Spain has a long history in offering MBA programs with three MBA programs frequently being ranked in the Top 25 worldwide by several international rankings. Spanish MBAs are culturally diverse and taught in English.


Several schools in Switzerland offer an MBA as full-time, part-time, and executive education programs. Some business schools offer MBA programs with specializations such as Finance and Healthcare, technology management, and others. As a country with four different national languages (German, French, Italian, and Romansh), Switzerland offers most of its programs in English to attract international students to the country.


Recently MBA programs appeared in
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in Eastern Europe. It is the second-largest European country after Russia, which it borders to the east and northeast. Ukraine covers approximately . Prior to the ongoing Russian invas ...
where there are now about twenty schools of business offering a variety of MBA programs. Three of these are subsidiaries of European schools of business, while the remaining institutions are independent. Ukrainian MBA programs are concentrated mainly on particulars of business and management in Ukraine. For example, 2/3 of all case studies are based on real conditions of Ukrainian companies.

United Kingdom

The UK-based
Association of MBAs The Association of MBAs (AMBA) is a global organisation founded in 1967 which focuses primarily on international business school accreditation and membership. Roles Based in London, AMBA is one of the three main global accreditation bodies in ...
(AMBA) was established in 1967 and is an active advocate for MBA degrees. The association's accreditation service is internationally recognized for all MBA, DBA, and Masters in Business and Management (MBM) programs. AMBA also offers the only professional membership association for MBA students and graduates. UK MBA programs typically consist of a set number of taught courses plus a dissertation or project.


The Financial Times in its Executive Education Rankings for 2012 included 5 African business schools.


Business schools administered as colleges within the traditional universities offer a variety of MBA programs. In addition, a few standalone business schools allied with foreign business schools exist in Nigeria.

South Africa

In 2004 South Africa's Council on Higher Education (CHE) completed an extensive re-accreditation of MBA degrees offered in the country.


Business schools of the traditional universities run a variety of MBA programs. In addition, foreign accredited institutions offer MBA degrees by distance learning in Ghana.


MBA programs are offered in many public and private universities. Students choose to specialize in one of the following areas: Accounting, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Insurance, and Human Resources. The course takes 4 semesters of about 4 months each.


International MBA programs are acquiring brand value in Asia. For example, while a foreign MBA is still preferred in the Philippines, many students are now studying at one of many "Global MBA" English language programs being offered. English-only MBA programs are also offered in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. For international students who want a different experience, many Asian programs offer scholarships and discounted tuition to encourage an international environment in the classroom. Rankings have been published for Asia Pacific schools by the magazine Asia Inc. which is a regional business magazine with distribution worldwide. The importance of MBA education in China has risen, too.


There are now more than 50 business schools in Bangladesh offering the MBA, predominantly targeting graduates without any work experience. Most MBAs are two years full-time. Sensibly there is little use of GMAT. The Business Schools conduct their own admission tests instead although the rationale for this instead of providing introductory courses and certifications is unclear. Classes are taught in English.


There are many business schools and colleges in India offering two-year MBA or PGDM programs accredited by AICTE or UGC. The Indian Institutes of Management is among the world's most selective schools according to Bloomberg magazine. They offer MBA degrees. There are 20 IIMs in total.


Both public and private universities offer MBA and EMBA degrees. Most MBAs are in full-time and part-time modes. All MBA degrees are fully conducted in English.


In recent years, universities in Nepal are providing both general MBA for freshers and Executive MBA for working professionals. Apart from this, there is distance learning center that are providing online MBA course assosicated with abroad universities.


Singapore is South East Asia's leading financial hub. Its competitive educational system starts from primary schools to universities and eventually post-graduate studies such as MBA programs. Singapore has different MBA programs of high standing. The 3 national universities in Singapore have top MBA programs; Singapore Management University has triple accreditation,
National University of Singapore The National University of Singapore (NUS) is a national public research university in Singapore. Founded in 1905 as the Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States Government Medical School, NUS is the oldest autonomous university in th ...
is top 20 in the world according to the
Financial Times The ''Financial Times'' (''FT'') is a British daily newspaper printed in broadsheet and published digitally that focuses on business and economic current affairs. Based in London, England, the paper is owned by a Japanese holding company, Nik ...
MBA ranking and Nanyang Business School is ranked top 100 regarding The Economist. In addition, many international institutions such as INSEAD, ESSEC, EDHEC and others have a campus in Singapore where MBA programs, among others, are offered.


In Japan, 2 business schools offer an accredited MBA degree (AACSB, AMBA, or EQUIS). The concept of an MBA is still not considered mainstream as traditional companies still perceive that knowledge and learning with respect to business and management can only be effectively gained through experience and not within a classroom. In fact, some companies have been known to place recent MBA recipients in unrelated fields, or try to re-acclimate their Japanese employees who have spent years overseas earning the degree. As a consequence, academic institutions in Japan are attempting to reinvent the perception of the MBA degree, by taking into account the local corporate culture.


Pakistan first offered an MBA program outside the United States in 1955 in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania. Now in Pakistan, there are 187 Universities/Institutes which are recognized by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, offering MBA programs to students and professionals.


In Australia, 42 Australian business schools offer the MBA degree (16 are AACSB, AMBA or EQUIS accredited). Universities differentiate themselves by gaining international accreditation and focusing on national and international rankings. Most MBAs are one to two years full-time. There is little use of GMAT, and instead, each educational institution specifies its own requirements, which normally entails several years of management-level work experience as well as proven academic skills. Graduate Management Association of Australia carries out ratings for Australian MBAs and annually publishes Australian MBA Star Ratings. The Financial Review Boss carries out biennial rankings of Australian MBAs.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, most universities offer MBA classes, typically through part-time arrangement or evening classes. Only two universities offer full-time programs to international students - the University of Otago (Otago MBA) and Auckland University of Technology (AUT). The Otago MBA is the longer established of the two, offering a 240 points program while AUT MBA is a 180-point program.

South Korea

Korean universities offer full-time and part-time MBA programs that usually consist of a two-year curriculum. The first MBA program was offered in 1963 by Korea University Business School (KUBS). In 2007, the Korean Government established "BK21," a project that supports Korean universities in order to develop their competitiveness in the global MBA market. Korea University Business School topped the evaluation of BK21 professional business graduate schools for six consecutive years. In the meantime, only two universities in Korea ranked in the "2015 Global Top 100 Executive MBA (EMBA) Rankings" conducted by UK Financial Times (Korea University Business School and Yonsei University ranked 27th and 45th worldwide, respectively).


In 1990, the Academic Degrees Office of the State Council formally approved the establishment of MBA degrees and piloted MBA education. In 1991, the Academic Degrees Office of the State Council approved 9 domestic colleges and universities to carry out MBA education pilot work. Since then, mainland China has successively approved more institutions for MBA education training unit. At present, a total of 229 colleges and universities have opened MBA programs in the system, with a total of more than 500 programs.

Program rankings

Since 1967, publications have ranked MBA programs using various methods. The ''
Gourman Report The Gourman Report () is Dr. Jack Gourman's ranking of undergraduate, professional, and graduate programs in American and International Universities. It has been widely criticized for not disclosing criteria or ranking methods, as well as for repo ...
'' (1967–1997) did not disclose criteria or ranking methods, and these reports were criticized for reporting statistically impossible data, such as no ties among schools, narrow gaps in scores with no variation in gap widths, and ranks of nonexistent departments. In 1977 ''The Carter Report'' ranked MBA programs based on the number of academic articles published by faculty, the ''Ladd & Lipset Survey'' ranked business schools based on faculty surveys, and ''MBA Magazine'' ranked schools based on votes cast by business school deans. Today, publications by the Aspen Institute, '' Business Week'', '' The Economist'', ''
Financial Times The ''Financial Times'' (''FT'') is a British daily newspaper printed in broadsheet and published digitally that focuses on business and economic current affairs. Based in London, England, the paper is owned by a Japanese holding company, Nik ...
'', ''
Forbes ''Forbes'' () is an American business magazine owned by Integrated Whale Media Investments and the Forbes family. Published eight times a year, it features articles on finance, industry, investing, and marketing topics. ''Forbes'' also r ...
'', Quacquarelli Symonds, '' U.S. News & World Report'', and the ''
Wall Street Journal ''The Wall Street Journal'' is an American business-focused, international daily newspaper based in New York City, with international editions also available in Chinese and Japanese. The ''Journal'', along with its Asian editions, is published ...
'' make their own rankings of MBA programs. Schools' ranks can vary across publications, as the methodologies for rankings differ among publications: * The Aspen Institute publishes the ''Beyond Grey Pinstripes'' rankings which are based on the integration of social and environmental stewardship into university curriculum and faculty research. Rankings from a small sample of well-known schools are calculated on the amount of sustainability coursework made available to students (20%), amount of student exposure to relevant material (25%), amount of coursework focused on stewardship by for-profit corporations (30%), and relevant faculty research (25%). The 2011 survey and ranking include data from 150 universities. * ''Business Week''s rankings are based on student surveys, a survey of corporate recruiters, and an intellectual capital rating. * The Economist Intelligence Unit, published in ''The Economist'', surveys both business schools (80%) and students and recent graduates (20%). Ranking criteria include GMAT scores, employment and salary statistics, class options, and student body demographics. The Economist withdrew from the MBA rankings business after releasing its 2022 ranking. * ''Financial Times'' uses survey responses from alumni who graduated three years prior to the ranking and information from business schools. Salary and employment statistics are weighted heavily. * ''Forbes'' considers only the return of investment five years after graduation. MBA alumni are asked about their salary, the tuition fees of their MBA program, and other direct costs as well as opportunity costs involved. Based on this data, a final "5-year gain" is calculated and determines the MBA ranking position. * Quacquarelli Symonds ''QS Global 200 Business Schools Report'' compiles regional rankings of business schools around the world. Ranks are calculated using a two-year moving average of points assigned by employers who hire MBA graduates. * ''U.S. News & World Report'' incorporates responses from deans, program directors, and senior faculty about the academic quality of their programs as well as the opinions of hiring professionals. The ranking is calculated through a weighted formula of quality assessment (40%), placement success (35%), and student selectivity (25%). * ''UT-Dallas Top 100 Business School Research Rankings'' ranks business schools on the research faculty publish, similar to ''The Carter Report'' of the past. * The ''Wall Street Journal'', which stopped ranking full-time MBA programs in 2007, based its rankings on skill and behavioral development that may predict career success, such as social skills, teamwork orientation, ethics, and analytic and problem-solving abilities. The ranking of MBA programs has been discussed in articles and on academic websites. Critics of ranking methodologies maintain that any published rankings should be viewed with caution for the following reasons: * Rankings exhibit intentional selection bias as they limit the surveyed population to a small number of MBA programs and ignore the majority of schools, many with excellent offerings. * Ranking methods may be subject to personal biases and statistically flawed methodologies (especially methods relying on subjective interviews of hiring managers, students, or faculty). * Rankings use no objective measures of program quality. * The same list of schools appears in each ranking with some variation in ranks, so a school ranked as number 1 in one list may be number 17 in another list. * Rankings tend to concentrate on representing MBA schools themselves, but some schools offer MBA programs of different qualities and yet the ranking will only rely upon information from the full-time program (e.g., a school may use highly reputable faculty to teach a daytime program, but use adjunct faculty in its evening program or have drastically lower admissions criteria for its evening program than for its daytime program). * A high rank in a national publication tends to become a
self-fulfilling prophecy A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that comes true at least in part as a result of a person's or group of persons' belief or expectation that said prediction would come true. This suggests that people's beliefs influence their actions. ...
. * Some leading business schools including Harvard, INSEAD, Wharton and Sloan provide limited cooperation with certain ranking publications due to their perception that rankings are misused. One study found that ranking MBA programs by a combination of graduates' starting salaries and average student GMAT score can approximately duplicate the top 20 list of the national publications, and concluded that a truly objective ranking would use objective measures of program quality and be individualized to the needs of each prospective student. National publications have recognized the value of rankings against different criteria and now offer lists ranked different ways: by salary, GMAT score of students, selectivity, and so forth. While useful, these rankings have yet to meet the critique that rankings are not tailored to individual needs, that they use an incomplete population of schools, may fail to distinguish between the different MBA program types offered by each school, or rely on subjective interviews.


Articles have been written about public perceptions of the crisis, ranging from schools' acknowledgment of issues with the training students receive to criticisms of the MBA's role in society. After the financial crisis of 2007–2010, the media raised questions about the value and content of business school programs. Prior to the financial crisis, graduates had reportedly tended to go into finance after receiving their degrees. As financial professionals are widely seen as responsible for the global economic meltdown, anecdotal evidence suggests new graduates are choosing different career paths. Deans at top business schools have also acknowledged that media and public perception of the MBA degree shifted as a result of the financial crisis.

See also

Related graduate business degrees

Master of Accountancy The Master of Accountancy (MAcc, MAcy, or MAccy), alternatively Master of Science in Accounting (MSA or MSAcy) or Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAcy, MPAcc or MPAc), is a graduate professional degree designed to prepare students for public ...
(MAcc or MAcy) / Master of Professional Accountancy (MPA, or MPAcc), a postgraduate degree in accounting * Master of Business Communication (MBC) *
Master of Commerce Master of Commerce (MCom or M Comm; sometimes '' Magister Commercii'' as MagComm or Mag. comm.) is a postgraduate master's degree focusing on commerce-, accounting-, management- and economics-related subjects. Like the undergraduate Bachelor of ...
(MCom or MComm), a postgraduate business degree usually focused on a particular area *
Master of Economics The Master of Economics (MEcon or MEc) is a postgraduate master's degree in economics comprising training in economic theory, econometrics, and/or applied economics. The degree is also offered as an MS or MSc, MA or MCom in economics; vari ...
(M.Econ./M.Ec.) * Master of Enterprise (MEnt), a postgraduate, technology & enterprise-based qualification * Master of Bioscience Enterprise (MBioEnt), a postgraduate degree focused on the commercialization of biotechnology *
Master of Finance The Master of Finance is a master's degree awarded by universities or graduate schools preparing students for careers in finance. The degree is often titled Master in Finance (M.Fin., MiF, MFin), or Master of Science in Finance (MSF in North ...
(MFin), a postgraduate degree in finance * Master of Health Administration (MHA), a postgraduate health administration degree * Master of International Business (MIB), a postgraduate degree focused on International Business * Master of Management (MM), a postgraduate business degree *
Master of Science in Management Master of Science in Management, abbreviated MSc, MScM, MIM or MSM, is a Master of Science academic degree. In terms of content, it is similar to the MBA degree as it contains general management courses. According to a '' Financial Times'' ranki ...
(MSM), a postgraduate business management degree * Master of Marketing Research (MMR) a postgraduate degree focusing on research in the field of marketing * Master of Nonprofit Organizations (MNO or MNPO), the postgraduate degree for philanthropy and
voluntary sector The voluntary sector, independent sector, or civic sector is the realm of social activity undertaken by organizations that are non-governmental nonprofit organizations. This sector is also called the third sector, community sector, and nonprofi ...
professionals * Master of Public Administration (MPA), a postgraduate public administration degree * Master of Social Science (MSS), a postgraduate degree * Master of Project Management (MSPM or MPM), a postgraduate project management degree * Masters of Management: Co-operatives and Credit Unions, a post-graduate degree for co-operative and credit union managers * Master in Sustainable Business (MSB) * Master of Real Estate (MScRE), a postgraduate degree focusing on real estate. *
Master of Information Management A Master of Information Management (MIM) is an interdisciplinary degree program designed to provide studies in strategic information management, knowledge management, usability, business administration, information systems, information architectu ...
(MIM), a postgraduate degree focusing on information management.


* Executive Master of Science in Business Administration (Executive MScBA), a postgraduate degree focusing advanced-level conceptual foundation in a student's chosen field such as operational excellence in the biotech/pharma industry.


Doctor of Business Administration The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is either a professional doctorate or a research doctorate, depending on the granting university, awarded on the basis of advanced study, examinations, project work, and research in business administra ...
(DBA), a doctorate in business administration * Doctor of Management (D.M.) * PhD in Management (PhD), a business doctoral degree * D.Phil in Management (D.Phil), a doctorate in business * Engineering Doctorate (EngD), A professional doctorate in the UK involving a management thesis and taught MBA courses


Further reading

* *

See also

Bachelor of Business Administration Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) is a bachelor's degree in business administration awarded by colleges and universities after completion of undergraduate study in the fundamentals of business administration and usually including advanced ...
* MBA Games *
Outline of business management The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to management: Business management – management of a business. Business management rule #1 is delegation, assign the best qualified people to each position and trust ...
{{Authority control Business Administration, Master Business qualifications Management education