The MBA (Master of
Business Administration) degree is probably the worlds best known and most
widely recognized post graduate degree. It is a professional degree intended
for those who work in business and management, usually managerial positions.
MBA programs are run throughout the world as they are relevant for the
preparation to work in management, irrespective of the industry, business
sector, the nature of the economy. The degree is not only relevant and of value
to those in business, but also those in government and the public sector.


The MBA degree title
has always been used in the USA - where it was first developed, but not always
in other countries. In the UK, Post Graduate degree level management education
only began to develop from the late 1960s. The main schools at that time used
the MSc and MA degree titles. From around 1980, most programs around the world
had adopted the MBA title.


Since the inception of
the MBA program in the USA in the early 1900s, the MBA program has been in a
state of continual innovation and change. Most programs were full time and of
two years duration, but now there is a wide range of program structures and durations.


The two-year full time
program is still common in the USA and other countries. Many thought that two
years is appropriate to the amount that needs to be covered in a general
management program. This view was never fully supported in some countries. Some
argued that those entering programs had a higher level of education and had had
more exposure to business topics in their first degrees. In the UK, both the
London and Manchester Business Schools started with two-year full time MBAs.
All other schools in the country at that time offered 1 year programs. Now, the
one year program is the norm and the previous two year programs have been
reduced. In France - INSEAD - the international (rather than French) School has
always run a 1 year program, despite being modeled on American lines.


In general there have
been three trends which have characterized the development of MBA programs in
the last 20 years.

  1. A trend to shorter programs. This has been driven also by
    competitive factors. As more good but shorter programs have become
    available, the other major schools have found it increasingly difficult to
    main intakes on much longer and more expensive programs.
  2. A greater diversity of types of
    program, such as part time, modular, consortium, international, joint, as
    well as program purpose, such as programs aimed at groups in different
    business sectors, or different age groups.
  3. An increasing
    internationalization of programs. This is evident in the
    internationalization of the curriculum, a development which has resulted
    from the increasing internationalization of business plus the fact that
    more managers are now engaged in international roles. The
    internationalization of provision has been driven by the increasing demand
    for programs. Thus MBAs are now offered worldwide to satisfy local


It follows from much
of the above that there is no such thing as 'the MBA program' but rather a vast
range of different types of program. This makes the matter of choice both very
difficult and very important. Your choice should be influenced by two main
considerations, your needs and your circumstances. Potential MBA program
participants will want to be clear about what they want to gain from a program,
in terms of the skills or competences they wish to develop, while also being
clear about what is feasible to fit their budget, time availability, and


differ enormously in what they offer, the type of experience they provide,
their cost, accessibility, duration, so careful research will be needed in
order to make the right choice.

Republished with permission from The MBA Program Information Site (, a comprehensive source
of information on MBA programs.