With so many MBAs on offer, quality has become the key. AMBA was set up in 1967 to promote the MBA to institutions, prospective students and employers and to ensure the quality of programme produces professional managers. The accreditation process was established to secure these objectives. The process is market-driven and international in focus, and each business school offering an MBA are assessed against a set of criteria established by AMBA's Independent Accreditation Advisory Board.
For potential students, accreditation provides a reliable list of schools tested for quality. For business schools, it gives international credibility to their MBA provision and an overview of their position against international standards. For the MBA graduate, it gives reassurance of the degree's value at a time when the market risks saturation, and for the employer it guarantees the quality of the MBA. It confirms that to recruit an MBA from an accredited school is to recruit top talent.
Accreditation panels conduct the accreditation visits and they're drawn from a pool of academics who are closely involved with accredited MBA programmes in business schools world wide, and practitioners who are familiar with both business school academia and corporate management development, ensuring that each accreditation panel is well equipped to assess the quality of nominated MBA programmes. AMBA specifically accredits the programme itself.
Initially, AMBA has a discussion with a business school seeking first time accreditation to establish whether it would be appropriate for that school. If so, the school completes a self-audit and this is used to assess whether an accreditation visit would have a successful outcome - if so, the school moves to the next stage. A pre-assessment visit follows to evaluate facilities and the on-site assessment visit takes a full day, following a pre-arranged timetable, with four or five personnel making up the panel.
The panel evaluates each MBA route individually, including programmes delivered in conjunction with partner institutions and taking into account the quality of the institution itself. Quality of teaching is assessed, as well as research, administrative support, resources and facilities, faculty size, admissions procedure, quality of student body, design and content of curriculum, structure, duration and delivery.
Their report then recommends accreditation, accreditation subject to qualification, or non-accreditation. Accreditation is valid for up to five years, after which a school must submit for re-accreditation. Any circumstances adversely affecting the MBA programme during the period of accreditation means that AMBA can either suspend or cancel the accreditation award.