Who we are

Our history and heritage

What started as eight men who were passionate about the higher education sector in the UK has transformed into a diverse global company with a network of business schools, students, graduates and corporations and friends in almost every corner of the world. Here at AMBA & BGA we are very proud of our roots.

Read our story and learn more about the significant dates on our timeline.

The AMBA & BGA story so far

In London, on 24 November 1967, eight UK-based business school graduates (who had studied at the top Ivy League universities in the US) decided to launch the Business Graduates Association (BGA). Its mission was to improve the quality and number of graduate business schools, 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 intrapranenurs to push for innovation, and 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 £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 was considered the flagship programme at business schools, and the BGA recognised the need for quality assurance across Europe. By the end of the 1980s, the organisation changed its name to Association of MBAs (AMBA), with a focus on accrediting MBA programmes at business schools. By 2020, AMBA had a community of more than 275 business schools with accredited MBA programmes, alongside 50,000 student and graduate members.

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 School's 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.

Our timeline

1967: The Business Graduates Association is formed. Eight MBA graduates set up the Business Graduates Association in London to promote the benefits of business education.

1968: The association launches its first research report, entitled The Business Graduate in Britain 1968.

1969: The Business Graduates Association appoints vice-admiral David Clutterbuck as its first ever director general. Also in this year, BGA received acceptance from the Inland Revenue confirming it as a charity.

1970: Sir Paul Judge becomes involved in the association.

1972: The first guidebook to business schools is published by BGA. BGA lobbies for the MBA qualification in the UK.

1983: BGA establishes its own accreditation programme to ensure the quality of the MBA brand in the UK.

1987: BGA becomes the Association of MBAs in order to better represent its stakeholders of graduate members, accredited business schools and MBA employers.

1990: AMBA starts to accredit distance learning MBAs. Due to the international demand for AMBA accreditation, the international accreditation programme is launched.

2000: AMBA has a shakeup of its structure to better reflect its expansion - the International Management Board, the International Accreditation Advisory Board and the International Advisory Council are created. This year is also when AMBA accredits its first institution in Latin America.

2005: AMBA launches its Group Membership Scheme, allowing business schools to give their students access to benefits and its global network. This year the association also starts accrediting the master's in business management degree.

2006: AMBA starts to accredit the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) course. In 2006, AMBA also accredits its first schools in China and India.

2008: AMBA launches its Official Guide to Choosing an MBA.

2009: AMBA hosts its first Asia Pacific Conference for Deans and Directors at the Antai College of Economics & Management in Shanghai.

2012: AMBA celebrates its 45th anniversary.

2014: AMBA changes its membership model and AMBA membership reaches 5,000, culminating in the launch of the MBA World Community.

2016: AMBA launches its thought leadership magazine, Ambition.

2017: The association celebrates its 50th anniversary in Dubai, having reached 250 accredited business schools and with 28,000 student and graduate members.

2019: AMBA launches its biggest ever innovation via the Business Graduates Association, a sister brand catering to a larger portion of business schools and to promote responsible management, positive impact and lifelong learning in schools.

2020: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, AMBA & BGA pivot to remote working, online events and virtual accreditations.

2022: AMBA & BGA welcomes its global network of business schools to Lisbon for its Deans and Directors Conference 2022 for the first in-person event since the start of the global pandemic. This year the association makes a historic move, leaving its headquarters in 25 Hosier Lane (which it has inhabited since 2003) for impressive new headquarters at 3 Dorset Rise in London.

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