Master of Business Administration
A Master of Business Administration
; also Master's in Business Administration
) is a graduate degree
focusing on business administration
and investment management
The core courses in an MBA program cover various areas of business administration such as accounting
, applied statistics
, human resources
, business communication
, business ethics
, business law
, business strategy
, managerial economics
, 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
The Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration
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).
- 1943: First Executive MBA (EMBA) program for working professionals at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.[non-primary source needed] 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.[non-primary source needed]
- 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 in South Africa in 1951.
- 1953: First MBA offered at an Asian school at the Indian Institute of Social Welfare & Business Management (IISWBM) 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).[non-primary source needed]
- 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).[non-primary source needed]
The MBA degree has been adopted by universities worldwide in both developed and developing countries.
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. The three major accrediting bodies in the United States are:
US MBA programs may also be accredited at the institutional level. Bodies that accredit institutions as a whole include:
Accreditation agencies outside the United States include the Association of MBAs
(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
(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.
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.
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.
Many programs base their admission decisions on a combination of undergraduate grade point average, academic transcripts, entrance exam scores, 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
(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. 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.
Common MBA Specializations/Concentrations
(including corporate finance
and investment management
), international business
, healthcare administration
, human resources
, management information systems
, management science
, operations management
, organizational design
, project management
, real estate
, risk management
, among others.
As above, courses begin with underlying topics
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
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
, which deals with topics like the banking system, the money supply, and inflation. Operations Research
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
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
, 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
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
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
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.
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.
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
. 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 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
- Financial analyst, associate, or manager
- Management consultant
- Marketing associate, analyst, or manager
- Portfolio 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 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
and London Business School
in 1965, The University of Dublin (Trinity College
), the Rotterdam School of Management
in 1966, the Vlerick Business School
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
) 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.
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
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
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.
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.
France and French-speaking countries
In France and the Francophone
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
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
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.
The UK-based Association of MBAs
(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.
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
Both public and private universities offer MBA degrees. Most MBAs are in full-time mode and part-time mode. All MBA degrees are conducted in English.
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 EMBA programs.
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.
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.
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.
Since 1967, publications have ranked MBA programs using various methods.
The Gourman Report
(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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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[who?]
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.
Related graduate business degrees
- Master of Accountancy (MAcc or MAcy) / Master of Professional Accountancy (MPA, or MPAcc), a postgraduate degree in accounting
- Master of Business Communication (MBC)
- Master of Commerce (MCom or MComm), a postgraduate business degree usually focused on a particular area
- Master of Economics (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 (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 (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 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.
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