AMBA: An Elite Accreditation for the Most Innovative MBA Programs Worldwide
AMBA is an international accreditation focusing on business schools’ MBA programs. With AACSB and EQUIS, it forms what we call the triple crown, the grail of every business school, the access to the 1%.
Like the other two labels, AMBA had to reform its criteria and standards in 2016 in order to adapt to the transformation of Education. What’s coming out of it? We asked Jack Ingram, Head of Commercial Relations at AMBA.
One thing is sure, AMBA stays an elite-from-the-elite label, as Ingram explains “AMBA accredits less than 2% of the world’s entire portfolio of Business Schools and the candidate Schools have to go through a highly selective admissions process.” That’s 258 accredited schools to be precise.
The process of the accreditation and its standards still are decided by the Accreditation Advisory Board (AAB), a panel of senior Deans from accredited schools. The process take several years between the application and reception of the label. It is separated in four phases: the Initial stage, Pre-Assessment stage, Assessment stage and Post-Assessments stage.
Just like the two other labels of the triple crown, AMBA is punctuated by visits from AMBA account managers and panels, constitution of self-assessment reports from candidate schools, in order to prove they entertain a continuous improvement of learning and of their relations with the professional world.
The AMBA journey is a tough one. Although candidate schools are very different from one another, tells Jack Ingram, generally, they express the most difficulty in:
- Linking with employers
- Practice vs theory
- Building a high level faculty
- Entertaining diversity and recruitment within cohorts
- Adapting to different goals for different students
You may think the AMBA label is nearly impossible to get. Yes it is hard, yes it aims at high potential business schools. But no, AMBA isn’t about a school facing its destiny alone.
Indeed, AMBA shows support and a sense of community! As Jack Ingram explains, “AMBA created the AMBA Development Network (ADN) […] to support Schools that share AMBA’s values and seek support in reaching accreditation standards. AMBA is mentoring ADN members and it enables Business Schools to leverage the strength and support of the AMBA family to aid its development and goals”.
The most interesting aspect of AMBA today is its attachment to innovation. According to Ingram “Innovation is indeed a core value for AMBA and is one of our most important criteria. In each one of our Schools, we want to see innovation in teaching and learning and the ability to be agile in ever changing markets.“
Every year, AMBA rewards the most innovative school of the community through its Business School Innovation Award.
Last year, Mona School of Business and Management, University of West Indies won the reward thanks to the creation of their Bloomberg Financial Markets Lab on campus.
“The Lab provides a range of services that include data, analytics, communication, electronic trading and a wide array of economic data, and is equipped with a global financial markets simulator provided by StockTrak. This virtual trading room is the first of its kind in the Anglophone Caribbean and it brought the School’s technical infrastructure on par with leading international Business Schools.” explains the Head of Commercial Relations at AMBA.
Encouraging innovation in pedagogy, in learning as well as in the development of a school’s infrastructure is a very promising news for the future of Education and we can’t wait to see the impact of AMBA new criterias and attachment to innovation on the development of business schools.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that AMBA imposes a model to follow and that is what’s beautiful, “we celebrate this diversity and flexibility” affirms Ingram before adding that “All of our Schools succeed the rigorous assessment criteria ensuring that only the highest calibre of programmes achieve AMBA accreditation. Therefore, all of our Schools are an ideal School.”