AMBA’s History & Heritage

On 8 November 1967, eight UK-based Business School graduates (who had studied at the top Ivy League universities in the US) launched the Business Graduates Association (BGA) in London. Its mission was to improve the quality of education received in graduate Business Schools, and the number of institutions operating around the world. The organisation also strived to encourage employers to recruit business graduates and promote the importance of business education.

The graduates understood that the future economy would require talented entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs to push for innovation. This required a shift towards teaching the fundamental skills of finance, accounting, marketing, and management by universities.

Yet, in the Business Schools of the 1970s, ‘business’ and ‘management’ were taught by separate departments. In 1971, the average UK business graduate salary was £3,213 – less than half that of US counterparts. European graduates earned an average of £5,229.

Realising the significant gap, BGA launched an accreditation programme to uphold high Business School standards. Alongside this, the BGA produced its first Guide to Business Schools in 1972. By 1979, it was reviewing 80 institutions. Most were in the US, but there were 14 institutions in Israel, South Africa, Hong Kong, Iran and Ireland.

By the 1980s, the MBA association was considered the ‘flagship’ programme at Business Schools, and the BGA recognised the need for quality assurance across Europe. The organisation changed its name to the Association of MBAs (AMBA) towards the end of the 1980s, with a focus on accrediting MBA programmes at Business Schools. By 2017, AMBA had a community of 260 Business Schools with accredited MBA programmes, alongside 28,000 student and graduate members.

Over the course of 50 years, the business education industry has changed tremendously to meet employer demands. While the international MBA association still plays an important role at Business Schools, they represent a small part of a Business School’s offering in today’s world.

With employers increasingly asking for business graduates who possess a balance of hard and soft skills, innovative capabilities, and a mindset geared towards being more socially responsible, the organisation relaunched the Business Graduates Association alongside AMBA. Their focus now is to increase Business Schools’ impact on MBA students, graduates and communities and playing a more significant role in the professional and personal growth of MBA students and graduates to produce a new generation of socially responsible leaders.




8 Ivy league Business School graduates return from the USA to form the Business Graduates Association, with a mission to promote Business education in the UK.


In the same year, the organisation launches a membership platform for people who have studied at a Business School.


The Business Graduates Association launches its first magazine and event for members.


The Business Graduates Association appoints Vice-Admiral David Clutterbuck, as its first Director General. He played a pivotal role in raising awareness of the value of the MBA.


Sir Paul Judge becomes involved in the BGA. With an MBA from Wharton Business School, Judge later became President (in 1997).


The First guide book to Business Schools is published by the BGA for prospective students about MBA courses available in the UK.


BGA starts to lobby for the MBA qualification in the UK.


A report by Professor Charles Handy highlights the disparity between US and UK management education. The UK government introduces new guidelines that allow all universities to offer MBAs.


BGA establishes its accreditation programme in a bid to champion the MBA as a brand to ensure standards are maintained.


The Company changes its name to the Association of MBAs (AMBA), in recognition of the MBA’s importance and influence at Business Schools.


AMBA begins to accredit distance learning MBAs.


AMBA accredits the first Business School in Scandinavia, Hanken School of Economics.


RANEPA’s Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences becomes the first accredited School in Russia.


Universidad del Cema Argentina becomes the first accredited Business School in Latin America.


In the same year, University of Auckland in New Zealand becomes the first accredited School in Oceania.


AMBA expands into Africa, accrediting University of Stellenbosch Business School as its first African School.


AMBA’s Group Membership Scheme is launched, meaning accredited Schools can give students access to AMBA’s global membership network and benefits. AMBA widens accreditation to Masters in Business and Management courses.


Zhejiang University School of Management becomes the first Chinese institution to become accredited by the AMBA.


AMBA hosts first Asia-Pacific Conference for Deans and Directors at the Antai College of Economics & Management in Shanghai.


AMBA changes its membership model and AMBA membership reaches 5,000, culminating in the launch of the MBA World Community.


AMBA’s thought-leadership magazine, AMBITION, is launched.


The Company celebrates its 50th Anniversary in Dubai with 250 accredited Business Schools and 28,000 student & graduate members.


Recognising the need for innovation in business education, the Company relaunches the Business Graduates Association alongside AMBA to cater to a larger portion of Business Schools.


AMBA & BGA move to prestigious new global headquarters in central London with spectacular 360 views spanning St Pauls, the Shard, the London Eye and Parliament.

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