Anyone who clearly understands international accreditation of business schools is either extremely knowledgeable about the MBA or is directly involved with business school operations. However, the existence of such organizations would seem logical to most Japanese people, despite the short history of MBA education in this country. The opposite can be said for Korea, China, and Taiwan, which are far more advanced than Japan is in regards to accreditation. This is mainly because management studies at graduate schools in Japan aim to educate “good researchers.”
When our school served as a host for a conference of the Association of MBAs (AMBA), one of these accreditation organizations, I was asked why the University of Tokyo had no MBA program. With the exception of the Japanese people in the crowd, everyone present expressed their surprise, and it is hard to blame them. The extremely practical science of management is designed to fit the needs of entrepreneurs and other businesspeople, and should be open to their feedback. That would mean that in our country, MBA education is largely missing the mark. In fact, people from any other country would naturally find the situation in Japan “odd.”
Precisely speaking, it is not Japanese people whose understanding is off-kilter, but rather the actual university educational sites of our country. Certainly, we could boast that we have our very own tailor-made MBAs. However, no one, and no country, can stop the worldwide flood of exchanges of people, money, goods, and knowledge. At the very least, we should strive to meet global standards (AMBA accreditation has already taken place in 70 countries worldwide). If we fail to do that, then our MBAs will have no real value.
The Association of MBAs (AMBA)
The AMBA was founded in London in 1967, and serves as an international accreditation organization for MBA education (Chief Executive: Andrew Main Wilson). One of three such accreditation organs worldwide, business schools around the globe seek to obtain its accreditation. With offices located in 54 countries worldwide, its role is to provide “quality assurance regarding graduate school-level managerial education.” As of November 2016, 240 schools in 70 countries, or around 2% of the 12,000 business schools existing worldwide, were accredited by AMBA. In Japan, only one school, the NUCB Graduate School of Management, has been accredited by the AMBA, which was done in 2009.