Association of MBAs
|Motto||Inspiring Global Excellence|
|Purpose||Business school accreditation|
|Membership||210 accredited schools|
|Sir Paul Judge|
The Association of MBAs (AMBA) is a London-based international organisation that accredits postgraduate business programs at business schools worldwide. The Association is one of the three main global accreditation bodies in business education (see Triple Accreditation) and styles itself "the world's impartial authority on postgraduate management education". It differs from AACSB in the US and EQUIS in Brussels as it accredits a school's portfolio of postgraduate management programs rather than the entire business school. AMBA is the most international of the three organisations, having accredited schools based in 52 countries, compared with 42 for AACSB and 38 for EQUIS.
As of January 2014, the Association of MBAs has accredited 210 business schools offering more than 800 different MBA, DBA and MBM programs in over 85 countries (including the 52 home countries of the 210 institutions). Forty-one of the AMBA-accredited schools are in the BRIC countries and 32 are in Latin America (See List of institutions accredited by AMBA). The Association has accredited only one business school in the United States as most top US schools do not meet its criterion for a minimum of three years of full-time work experience for all newly admitted MBA students.
The Association of MBAs was founded in 1967 by eight UK graduates from Harvard Business School, Wharton, Stanford and Columbia, and two graduates from the first intake of London Business School. The founders saw a lack of awareness in Europe of the value of the MBA degree, which at that time was primarily an American qualification. They decided to form a lobby and membership group to promote the benefits of postgraduate business education, under the name of Business Graduates Association (BGA). The organisation's development helped shape the growth of management education in Europe and the UK and coincided with the setting up and growth of London Business School and Manchester Business School in Britain.
The Association's first Director General was Vice-Admiral David Clutterbuck who assumed this position in 1969. In 1983 BGA began to accredit the growing number of MBA programs, while preserving its functions as a membership organisation. BGA was renamed Association of MBAs in 1987. The Association's current president is Sir Paul Judge, who helped establish Cambridge Judge Business School in 1990 and whose name the school carries.
The Association of MBAs accredits Masters of Business Administration (MBA), Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) and Masters in Business and Management (MBM) degrees. When a school applies for accreditation for its MBA programs, AMBA requires that the entire portfolio of MBA programs be put up for consideration (See diagram on the right) and will award accreditation only if all programs meet the organisation's criteria (though the school pays the same fee regardless of the number of programs being reviewed).
The Association's process of accrediting an MBA program includes reviewing compliance with over 100 criteria, most of them qualitative rather than quantitative. The criteria fall into seven dimensions: history and development of the institution; facilities and libraries; teaching faculty, teaching standards and research track record; program administration, career and alumni services; student admission standards, diversity and cohort size; curriculum content, program mode and duration; and learning outcomes.
- all admitted students should have at least three years of full-time post-graduation work experience upon the start of the MBA course (a criterion which the vast majority of the top US business schools cannot meet as US MBA programs sometimes admit applicants with only a bachelor's degree and no work experience);
- a school should have a track record of at least three years of graduating MBA students before it can be accredited;
- an MBA program should have a cohort size of at least 20 students.
- at least 50% of the faculty of an MBA program (including visiting faculty as part of the total) are expected to have PhD degrees;
- a full-time MBA curriculum should contain no less than 500 contact (scheduled classroom) hours and a distance-learning MBA program should have no less than 120 synchronous contact hours;
The diagram on the right shows the overlap of accreditations by the three main global accrediting bodies as of 2012. A total of 102 schools outside North America are only AMBA-accredited; a further 7 are AMBA- & AACSB-accredited; another 21 are AMBA- & EQUIS-accredited; and 54 are triple-accredited (AMBA-AACSB-EQUIS).
Conferences, MBA fairs and events
The Association of MBAs holds three high-profile annual conferences for business school deans and directors: an Asia-Pacific, a Latin American and a global one (usually held in Europe). Participation is open to both accredited and non-accredited schools. The Association also hosts an annual Gala Dinner in London in the autumn, which is open only to accredited schools.
The Association organises two annual MBA Fairs in London (spring and autumn), which offer MBA applicants the opportunity to meet with the business schools accredited by AMBA.
In addition, the Association organises on a weekly basis various lectures and networking events catering to MBA alumni, current MBA students, prospective MBA students and business school admissions departments. These on-campus events are held at business schools and often feature distinguished speakers and practitioners in fields such as leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation.
Publications and research
The Association of MBAs publishes:
- a quarterly magazines named "Ambition" for its member students and alumni;
- a quarterly magazine named "Business Leadership Review" (BLR) for the management education community, with 4,000 subscribers;
- an annual guide book named "The Official Guide to Choosing an MBA", published in cooperation with The Independent, for people considering doing an MBA degree.
The research division within the Association - the Evidence & Ideas Lab - conducts surveys and produces analysis on topics including MBA careers, employers and the job market; MBA intake and admissions requirements; government policies towards international MBA students; and business school education standards.
AMBA was originally set up as an association of MBA graduates and part of its activities remain focused on maintaining the membership dimension. AMBA membership should not be confused with AMBA accreditation.
AMBA serves as the member organisation for:
- individual MBA alumni and students from all 210 AMBA-accredited schools (individuals who choose to become members);
- institutional group members such as some British, French and Australian accredited business schools, whose entire MBA student and alumni cohorts are automatically enrolled as members;
- institutional members such as multinational companies employing large numbers of MBA graduates. These companies are allowed to join AMBA as members irrespective of the academic background of their management and employees.
The Association has over 9,000 subscribing members, including individual and institutional members and students and alumni of the member schools. AMBA's quarterly magazine "Ambition" serves this global membership.
The Association organises alumni events and provides career services to current students at 23 accredited schools in Britain, France and Australia as part of its Group Membership Scheme (not to be confused with the 210 accredited schools worldwide).
Notes and references
- "Andreas Kaplan: European Management and European Business Schools: Insights from the History of Business Schools, European Management Journal, 2014".
- Association of MBAs fabulous at forty, Ambition, January 2007 http://www.mbaworld.com:81/MBAWorld/jsp/images/knowledge/Ambition_newsletter_jan07_pdf_version.pdf
- Events for business schools - Association of MBAs. Mbaworld.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-12.
- Publications - Association of MBAs. Mbaworld.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-12.
- Member search - Association of MBAs. Mbaworld.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-12.
- Financial Times. Aug 1, 2006. AMBA accredits DBAs. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/719bdd34-7c30-11e2-99f0-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2MO9r1rxB
- Ambition - Association of MBAs. Mbaworld.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-12.
- List of institutions accredited by AMBA
- Triple accreditation
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
- European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS)