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MBA Glossary

AACSB (The International Association for Management Education)
The AACSB (Previously the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business) is the main Accrediting organization for American MBAs. Several hundreds of programs are now accredited by the AACSB which lays down standards for Programs and their Schools covering such matters as the curriculum, the faculty, the student body, library and other facilities. With the increase in the interest on accreditation and the growth in the number of programs worldwide, the AACSB has begun to accredit programs in other countries where the Schools have considered accreditation by the dominant American organisation to be important in communicating the standing of their program in other countries and in the USA.

Membership of the AACSB is not the same as having been accredited. Further, some Schools describe themselves as being a Candidate for accreditation.

Go to AACSB Site.
In the USA there are several other accrediting agencies working either nationally or regionally e.g ACBSP

This term means different things in different parts of the world. Most Universities and degree awarding establishments are accredited or licensed by a Government or Government agency to offer degree programs and award degrees ( eg through the powers of a Royal Charter in the UK). In some places Universities accredit other institutions to deliver parts or all of their programs (see also Validation). In many parts of the world independent accrediting organizations have been set up. They also accredit establishments and /or their programs. This is common for Business Schools and MBA Programs. In general independent accreditation implies 'approval' and in some parts of the world such a process has become the norm. In the USA and certain other areas the main accreditation body is the AACSB (See AACSB) whereas in the UK and parts of Europe AMBA (See AMBA) performs the same role. Where such organisations are well established and are seen to perform a quality approval process for the public - Schools will normally seek their accreditation. Most accreditation is of programs not Schools - so some Schools may have some programs which are accredited and some which are not. However some organizations accredit Schools, and thus all of their programs. The database does not show Government accreditation. It does identify independent accreditation by several- but by no means all - major organisations. Currently we show accreditation by AACSB, AMBA, ASFOR, ACBSP, IACBE and FIBAA. Details on each are given in this Glossary. For programs not accredited by any of these organisations ( they may be accredited by others - or not at all ) we leave the Accreditation line on the program details page blank.

AMBA (Association of MBAs)
Association of MBAs (AMBA) accreditation differs from that of AACSB and EQUIS in that the focus is on the MBA programme, not the business school. The Association accredits MBA programmes at business schools internationally

Go to AMBA Site

Company Programs
Some MBA programs are run by or for a single company - for employees of that company. In other words they are not open or public programs. Normally they are run by Schools and resemble their open MBA - but probably with some tailoring of content or structure to suit the company's requirements. Occasionally they will be run by the company with validation by a School or University.

Some programs are run for Consortia or groups of companies. Rarely are Company programs accredited.

See Focus

Consortium Program
See Company Program

Meaning the central curriculum of a program, it is the compulsory course content - to which in addition participants will usually also have a choice from amongst certain electives (see also Electives) or options.

Corporate Program
See Company Program

Distance Learning Program
The term was originally associated with a correspondence type program for which course materials would be sent to a student who was remote from the School campus for them to study individually and to submit work for assessment and/or occasionally to sit examinations. Thus students would study mainly alone. With occasional sessions with others - eg at 'summer schools'.

Soon after the introduction of this form of study for an MBA in the 1980s Schools began to find ways of overcoming the disadvantages of distance and remoteness for students. Materials were delivered in various forms - not just print. Local support facilities were established, study groups of students in a particular area were encouraged and supported, etc. Later forms of computer conferencing were established to give students more direct access to faculty and to one another. Then video conferencing was introduced - and more recently the Internet has been used to provide the means for the electronic delivery of information and materials, the provision of more support and interaction - in effect providing, for the more sophisticated programs, 'virtual' classroom situations.

Thus Distance Learning now means a range of things. Some DL programs still resemble the traditional approach - whilst others have become more like electronically supported part time programs. In all cases however the basic characteristics remain - i.e. such programs are intended for individuals who are unable or who do not wish regularly to attend 'classes' at a School and/or who wish to study at their own pace.

(see also Electronic Programs)

Electronic Programs
This normally refers to the means of delivery of the program - not the curriculum.

The implication is that Information technology plays a significant part in the delivery of the program. So called Electronic MBAs are often developments of Distance Learning programs.(See also Distance Learning Program.) In them Information technology is used for the delivery of course materials, to facilitate contact between students and between them and faculty, to provide access to additional information, for computer conferencing etc. At the simplest level E mail is used for student/student and student/faculty contact, and materials are delivered as electronic files through E mail or FTP(File Transfer Protocol). More sophisticated use will provide materials and interaction through the Internet and for computer and video conferencing, the electronic submission of assignments, access to multi media materials, interactive case studies etc.

The use of these procedures is not confined to Distance Learning programs. Such facilities are increasingly used to support part time and modular programs and to enhance full time programs.

EQUIS (The European Quality Improvement System)
This is the Business School accreditation system introduced in 1997 and operated by the European Foundation for Management Development. Notice that it is an accreditation procedure for Schools - not individual programs

Executive MBA (EMBA)
The term can mean many things, but essentially indicates that the program is for experienced managers with several years of relevant experience. Given that such people will often be in senior posts in business - they are often unable to follow a conventional full time program - so the term is often used to indicate that a program is run for - and in a manner which is appropriate to such people - e.g., part time or modular.

The faculty are the teaching and research staff of a Business School. Some - the more senior and accompished - carry the Professor title. In some Schools , e.g in America, there are Assistant, Associate and full Professors - in increasing order of seniority/accompishment. Elsewhere - excepting where the American model has been adopted - there are usually only full Professors - who have achieved significant status in their areas of work mainly through their research. Some visiting faculty may also have the professorial title - either because they have it in their own institution or because the institution at which they are a visitor has awarded it to them.

Focus (or concentration)
Most MBA programs are 'General Management' oriented i.e. they cover the full range of management topics or functions. They are intended to provide education and development for those who will be working in general or strategic management or moving between specific functions. Some programs however are aimed at particular management functions or particular sectors of business. The former will include MBAs in Marketing, Finance or Information management etc. The latter may include MBAs for the Service sector - or particular areas within that - eg travel and tourism.

Some Business Schools or Universities allow their programs, under certain conditions, to be run by other Institutions. Thus the Institution whose program it is - allows it to be delivered on their behalf by another body - usually as a means to allow that program to enter a different market, or one that the parent institution would not easily be able to access themselves. Various terms are used to describe this practice - eg validation. (see also Validation). To some extent the term used is dependent on the extent to which the parent institution has delegated authority for the program to the other body. At the fullest extent there may be full delegated powers -eg covering authority to admit students to the program, to examine and assess and to make awards. Such an arrangement would be a full 'franchise' This is rare - more common is the delegation of some activities to the other, often local, body - e.g. to promote a program, distribute information, provide support for students, facilities, local tutoring etc - but short of the delegation of academic authority. Under such arrangements several Schools have been able to take their programs to parts of the world in which they have no facilities of their own - thus people who might not otherwise have had the opportunity to follow a particular program have been able to access a version of that program run more locally for them.

Through such arrangements - often falling well short of full franchises - local institutions are able to offer programs that they would not have been able to provide by themselves. They should in all such case clearly indicate which 'parent' institution or School is validating the program

(See also Validation)

Full Time Program
Such programs require dedicated participation. They will normally require attendance at a designated place -normally the School - most days of the week. Participation in such programs will not allow time for an individual also to undertake a job- although some students may well do occasional part time work- perhaps to earn the money to pay their fees. A full time program will provide considerable benefits to ndividuals through their work alongside others from different backgrounds. Schools will be concerned if there is the possibility that individuals will be unable fully to participate in the community throughout their full time program, both in and out of the formal sessions

Global Program
See International Program

GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)
The Graduate Management Admission Test measures language, writing skills and quantitative abilities and is intended to indicate a person's potential as a participant of an MBA program. - or in the case of a 2 year program - their potential on the first year of such a program. It is a required entry condition of many Schools - who will indicate a normal minimum score that they will accept.The test is administered throughout the world as a computer - adaptive test, at fixed dates. Total scores range from 200 to 800. Most entry requirements - where specified -require a minimum score between 400 and 600.

(Other tests used for admission to MBAs include the GPA - which is on a scale up to 4 . The minimun entry requirement tends to around 2.5).

International Program
The term is used to refer to a range of things. It might describe the orientation of the program - ie a program emphasizing International business - with a curriculum related to that. It might refer to the student body on the course -i.e. a program intended to be followed by a wide range of participants from different parts of the world. It might describe a program that runs - i.e. is available locally - in many parts of the world eg using Distance learning methods or local organizations supporting a validated/franchised program. Finally the term is often used to describe a program which involves participants studying, undertaking projects or assignments, or being on placements in other parts of the world. For the latter such programs are often offered by two or more Schools based in different countries working together to run a joint international program or providing for the exchange of students between their programs.

In the database the term is used to describe where a program is run. It applies only therefore to 'attendance' program. The location is often the home base for the Business School-but not always as some Schools have put in place arrangements to be able to run their programs in other locations, eg by working in partnership with other bodies, or be setting up remote campuses.

Modular Program
This normally refers to the structure of the program.Modular and Part Time programs can be very similar. Whereas Part Time programs usually require attendance at the School or some other designated location on a regular and frequent basis for short periods of time-often just one day, Modular programs normally require less frequent but longer periods of attendance - ranging from a few days to a few weeks.

Open Program
This sometimes means the same as 'Distance Program' i.e. meaning that because of the way in which the program is delivered - it is more accessible by people -i.e. more open to them. More often however it refers to the entry requirements. A program which does not have the normal academic entry requirements - and is available to those with other qualifications or those with substantial practical experience and no formal further or higher qualifications - may be described as 'open'.

Part Time Program
This typically describes a program which requires regular, frequent - but short periods of attendance at a School or other designated place. It will usually differ from a Modular program because of the number and duration of attendances required.

(see also Modular Program)

The ranking of MBA programs and of Business Schools is common in some countries - eg the USA. Such rankings generally appear in the business press or the business pages of national newspapers. Ostensibly the objective is to inform the market about the standing and repute of programs and Schools. Unfortunately the criteria for the rankings differ so much and frequently are not declared, so such rankings can be rather misleading. Thus - for example - a ranking of Schools based on recruiters' opinions of the quality of their MBA output will be relevant for a School with a large full time program - but will say little about one which concentrates on part time, distance and executive programs. A ranking influenced by the average GMAT score of those entering the program will probably say less about programs outside of the USA. The ranking of AACSB programs will ignore most non American programs.

Most major Business Schools and most major programs will appear in the top league on some ranking at some time or another. That's probably a better indicator of the standing of the School than any one 'league table' since the diversity of Schools and programs now is so large - that no single method of ranking will do justice to all types.

We use the term here to describe the basic type of program - and we categorize programs as Full time, Part Time, Modular and Distance. The latter is perhaps the most varied category. (see these terms elsewhere in this glossary)

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
This is one of the best known test of the use of English as a foreign language - i.e. a test of English language ability for those whose first language is not English. Schools will often require such a test for those seeking entry to an English language program from a country where English is not the mother tongue -and especially in such situations where interviews cannot be conducted. The minimum entry requirement for and MBA tends to be around 550.

Other test include the Test of Written English and the Test of Spoken English.

The term is used to mean different things - but here we use it to mean that a program has been 'approved' by another organization as leading to the award of one of its qualifications -in our case an MBA. A validated program run by an organization will thus lead to the award of an MBA from another institution. This tends only to be necessary when the organization running the program is not able to award its own degrees -or when the validating organization has higher status. A validated degree may be distinctive to the organization which is providing it - ie that organization will have submitted its own program to another institution validated as being of adequate standing etc. Alternatively it may be much the same as the program offered by the validating institute - but run locally on their behalf -perhaps with some local tailoring by the local organization to suit local circumstances. Whichever the case a validated program run by an organization will lead to a degree of another organization.


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