MBAs, like Diamonds, Are Indeed Forever


If you are considering studying for an MBA, how do you decide which of the thousands upon thousands of business schools around the world is right for you? Find out how to uncover that genuine diamond among the pale imitations – that MBA programme that is perfect for you and for your future aspirations.

Starting your search is straightforward. Naturally, you’re going to ask the opinion of your peers, you’re going to look at a school’s global ranking (readily provided by the likes of Forbes, the Financial Times, and The Economist), and you’re going to factor in location, cost, value for money, and reputation. But make sure you are not missing one essential aspect, that key question you need to ask:

Is the business school I’m considering accredited?

Accreditation by AMBA, the Association of MBAs, is a hard-won honour only earned (at the time of writing) by 216 business schools in the world. To achieve accreditation, a school must promote a developmental philosophy and a commitment to continual improvement. This means the school will readily invest in improving its facilities, its staff, and the opportunities its students get, therefore offering you the best business education available.

AMBA’s assessors base their judgement on the overall context of the MBA provision under review, taking into account the quality of the institution offering the MBA. The assessment process is thorough and spans across previous years the programme has been in existence and across multiple campuses. As an assurance of continuity and sustainability of quality provision, an accredited business school’s MBA portfolio will have conformed to the Association’s criteria for a minimum of three years prior to assessment. Programmes offered at multiple campuses should each undergo an on-site assessment to ensure the equivalence of experience for students at each site.

The tough accreditation process doesn’t stop there. AMBA’s portfolio assessment includes all programmes delivered at the institution, outreach programmes, franchises, and programmes delivered in conjunction with partner institutions. The institution must be able to provide relevant evidence of the quality of teaching. The school should also be able to demonstrate high levels of quality across its faculty – as evidenced by relevant management research, scholarships and consultancy. The majority of the MBA teaching team should be actively involved in all three of these activities. Furthermore, faculty teaching at the MBA level must be appropriately qualified and credible, with a minimum of 75% of them possessing a relevant postgraduate degree (the majority holding a Doctorate).

Even the MBA programme itself comes under strict scrutiny. Each individual MBA programme should have clearly stated aims, objectives, and outcomes. Learning outcomes should be clear and explicit in describing what participants are expected to know and be able to do as a result of the programme. They should make clear the ways in which the institution recognizes and assesses intellectual, analytical, personal, and entrepreneurial qualities.

It’s highly likely that you’re considering an MBA in the hope of career progression, and an MBA from an AMBA-accredited school is always going to have added value. An accredited school is able to provide evidence that its programme consistently employs in-depth knowledge and understanding (based on previous work experience and advanced study) in order to apply strategic management skills at a senior level in changing business environments. An AMBA-accredited MBA will transform organizations through strategic leadership; will enhance intellectual rigour and professional ethical values; and graduating from such a programme will arm you with well-developed interpersonal and communication skills.

Ask yourself: Can your school of choice offer all that; can it demonstrate a system to regularly monitor student interaction and progression; will it be able to show the use of a platform to encourage and monitor peer group interaction across key elements of the course? Do the institutions on your shortlist provide an effective means for group work and networking, a robust and secure assessment system, while allowing for formative and summative feedback? If you have answered yes to all of the above, your chosen school would qualify to warrant AMBA accreditation. Check carefully for this internationally-recognised seal of approval, and only then you will have peace of mind that the MBA you are going to sign up for is a true diamond, certified by the experts.

Contributed by:


AMBA is the international impartial authority on postgraduate business education and the only global MBA-specific accrediting body. Established in 1967, it sets the global standard for accrediting MBA, DBA and MBM programmes. The Association currently accredits programmes at 217 schools in 70 countries worldwide. AMBA is also a professional membership association with thousands of MBA members in over 100 countries, connecting MBA students and graduates, accredited business schools and MBA employers worldwide.

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