5 Things You May Not Know About The History of The MBA

5 Things You May Not Know About The History of The MBA


When we search the term ‘Master of Business Administration’ (MBA) online, information about the history of the prestigious programme is far from the top of the list. With thousands of business schools now offering the degree, we thought that it would be interesting to take a step back in time and learn more about its international origins. If you’re interested in the history of the MBA and how it became so valued in today’s business world, see below for five of the most noteworthy points. 

1. It all began in the early 1900’s

According to TopMBA, the first MBA programme was offered at Harvard Business School in 1908. Demand for the programme first started when the United States industrialised, and “companies sought scientific approaches to management”. The first class comprised of 15 faculty members, 33 regular students and 47 special students, and demand continued to grow as enrolments increased to 1070 by 1930. While Harvard offered the first MBA, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College was the first graduate school of business to be established.

2. Women weren’t always allowed to study

It was not until 1959 that Harvard began admitting women into their MBA programme. The first female students were graduates of the Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration, who joined the second year of the Harvard MBA program. In the early years, women were discouraged from pursuing education as it was considered unnatural for them to do so. To date, women now earn the majority of masters and doctoral degrees in the United States.

3. The programme was not always so highly regarded

In the early 1900’s, the concept of placing business management on the same level as medicine and law was not well received. It was some time before corporations grew and there became a need for managers to be skilled and knowledgeable. Universities realised that business schools had the opportunity to prepare students for leadership positions, and with time this became more and more necessary as the market increased.

4. It took almost 50 years for it to go international

The first MBA programme to be offered outside the United States was in 1950 in Canada. A significant advancement for the history of the MBA came in 1955, as the University of Karachi in Pakistan became the first Asian university to offer the programme based on the United States’ model. From there, the first European MBA was created at INSEAD in France in 1957, and in Australia, it was the Melbourne Business School who first offered the degree.

5. Technology has had a great impact

As the internet and technology have advanced substantially, this has changed the way the MBA has been delivered. In 1986, the Roy E. Crummer Graduate School of Business required every student to have a laptop computer. Colombia Business School followed suit in 1992 when they required all incoming students to purchase a laptop with standard software. In 1994 it all changed, when the first online Executive MBA programme was offered through Athabasca University in Canada.

What do you think?

Do you have any other interesting facts about the history of the MBA to share? It certainly has an interesting story – who knew that it would grow into the degree that it is today! I’d love to hear of any other facts that our readers could share – comment them below to get in contact.

This article was written by Laura Hutton on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: Wikipedia; TopMBA; MBA Central; PolitiFact

 

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