Evolution of the MBA



“It’s always good to remember where you come from and celebrate it. To remember where you come from is part of where you’re going.” – Anthony Burgess

Were you aware the first business school was founded in 1881? Or the first MBA program was established in 1908? Although the MBA program has been in existence for well over a century, it’s still considered fairly new. However, further observation of the program’s initial launch shows numerous factors have contributed to the MBA schools and programs we have to-date.

First, let’s examine the birth of the MBA program. Originally comprised of bookkeeping and accounting courses, the MBA was modeled on the standard American two-year postgraduate academic program. In 1908, Harvard University became the world’s first school to offer a Master’s of Business Administration program. At the time, only 47 students were enrolled. The program’s model spread within the United States and was eventually adopted by various countries worldwide. The Admission Test for Graduate Study in Business (ATGSB) was introduced in 1954 as a precursor to the GMAT.

The MBA program has incurred multiple innovative changes just within the past 50 years. In 1976, the ATGSB was renamed the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). 1987 saw the creation of the first state-of-the-art accredited MBA program introduced by Aspen University Online. Perhaps the most intriguing development that has occurred since the program’s premier is the remarkable increase in student enrollment. As previously stated, only 47 students were enrolled in the first MBA program in 1908. When comparing that number to 2008, we see a significant spike of 250,000 students enrolled in MBA programs and more than 100,000 graduate degrees annually achieved.

From 1908 to present day, the MBA program’s advancement has been astounding. With a comprehensive understanding of where the MBA program began, what evolutionary factors do you see contributing to the program’s advancement and how will the affect the MBA’s future?

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