4 benchmarks that describe the best MBA programmes

Neoteric managers operate in conditions of high dynamics and uncertainty, they make decisions in a complex reality, that is characterized by ambiguity. They are responsible for the success of business ventures, the people involved and the ecosystem in which their companies or projects operate. To meet these requirements, they need a wide range of competences that ensure the ability to deal with the challenges of the VUCA world.

An excellent way to develop them is MBA studies offering packages of lectures, tailored to the challenges faced by today’s organizations.

Having a MBA diploma used to be something exceptional, distinguishing a candidate for a managerial position, welcomed by attractive employers. Today, having it is the key that opens the door to work in organizations, whose ambition is to develop and deliver values, that not only ensure financial results, but also shape sustainable ecosystems. The MBA diploma is in many cases a “must have”, a certificate confirming the manager’s business maturity, a guarantee that thanks to the knowledge of modern management models and high awareness of the conditions of modern business, ready to create visions, manage risk in their implementation and lead diverse teams.

How to choose a good MBA program? Candidates who are looking for a valuable program should, first of all, pay attention to its reputation and substantive quality.


  1. Reputation and Prestige

Many elements contribute to the reputation of the program. The first is a good opinion of the institution that implements it. It can be a university that has a high position in the country and in the world due to the research and its scientific capital. Access to the latest scientific achievements, to lecturers who not only transfer, but also create knowledge resources thanks to the research they conduct, shape the prestige of the best MBA programs in the world. There are also very good business schools operating at universities or as independent units, which are widely recognized thanks to their activities for the business environment. Choosing a program that does not have a permanent teaching base, that offers classes without direct contacts between students or between students and lecturers, that proposes a short and cheap program, is associated with a high risk.


  1. International Accreditation

Accreditations are an important confirmation of the quality of the organizer institution and the MBA program itself. Candidates who are looking for a program in Poland that will open them interesting offers on the global market should look for proposals with international accreditations. One of the oldest and most prestigious accreditation is the AMBA certificate. It is awarded to MBA programs that meet very high standards related to the quality of the program, for example: offer the appropriate number of hours, adapt the forms of classes to the expected learning outcomes, have an appropriate range of subjects, lecturers and their high level of education, business experience, cultural diversity, and candidates for studies: they set appropriate recruitment criteria and qualification requirements. In Poland, we have only a few MBA programs that can boast AMBA accreditation. Worldwide, their number is also limited. AMBA is granted on a temporary basis, and its renewal requires proving that the program constantly keeps up with world standards, therefore its possession is a guarantee of quality and constant development. AMBA accreditation along with AACSB and EQUIS are the so-called three MBA accreditation crowns – MBA programs that have them are the best global players on the market.


  1. MBA Rankings

Candidates appreciate the rankings of MBA programs, which position a given offer on the local or global market. The most important ranking of educational services in Poland is the Perspektywy Magazine Ranking. The fifteen MBA programs, distinguished at the annual gold gala, are programs that are competitive in terms of such criteria as accreditation, opinion of graduates, teaching staff or substantive features of the program.

In the international ranking of QS Executive MBA programs, the competition is much greater, because it includes hundreds of universities from around the world. In the final assessment, not only the opinions of alumni count, but also the business and scientific environment in which alumni perform managerial tasks after graduation. A very important criterion that this ranking takes into account is the impact of the completed MBA studies on the graduate’s professional situation: position and salary. Only a few Polish MBA programs can be found in the QS ranking.

It is also worth paying attention to the ranking of the hundred best Executive MBA programs in the world, prepared by the British daily “Financial Times”. It ranks the best of the best.

For candidates who are looking for a good, valuable program, it is worth looking for recommendations in the immediate vicinity – listening to the alumni’s opinions, establishing contacts with them and asking what is the most important value of the MBA program. Whisper marketing is an excellent source of information on how much of a given offer fits our personal needs.


  1. Substantive Quality

It is very important that the proposed lectures’ offer in a given program allows for the competence’s development considered as a key, not only today, but also in the future. These include (according to the World Economic Forum) the ability to make the right decisions, creative thinking and readiness for strategic, active learning. If the MBA program offers subjects that broaden the perspective of perceiving managerial tasks from various perspectives – from strategic thinking based on broad economic awareness, to empathetic leadership focused on delivering value, to respecting the goals of sustainable development, it portends those alumni will be prepared to make decisions in different business contexts. If entrepreneurship as an attitude of openness and innovation is an important element of the program, it can be expected that the holders of this diploma will be ready to take the role the leaders of change in their social and economic environment. Often the MBA students are people for whom learning and studying is a natural way of development, organizing their knowledge based on experience and a chance to exchange it with other participants of the studies. If the program focuses on the personal participants’ development, helps them to recognize their talents and build personal capital on them, it strengthens these attitudes, making the educational process proactive.

For many candidates it is also important to what extent the program is delivered in English. This is an important benchmark when we care about the international profile of education. Conducting MBA studies in English is a guarantee of access to foreign lecturers and the possibility of contacting participants from all over the world.

Of course, MBA programs are offered by a given institution/university, but it is also a platform for communication with other participants, with organizations that are MBA program’s partners, with the entire socio-economic environment and potential stakeholders. When thinking about investing in MBA studies, you need to remember not only about the development of competences, but also about the emerging opportunities for the company and the entire ecosystem. MBA studies, as we talk about the International MBA program implemented at the Gdańsk University of Technology, are not only education but also values that we create together.


This article was published on the 29th April 2022 in “Gazeta Finansowa”, a financial magazine that focuses on the broadly defined business community around key economic topics. The original is here.

Beata Krawczyk-Bryłka, PhD
MBA Programme Director
Gdańsk University of Technology

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