The history of our MBA

by Chrispa Palaiologou, Recruitment Manager, MiF & MBA

This year, at London Business School we’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of our MBA programme.

The history of our MBA

Everything started in the 1960s, when London Business School (LBS) opened with the aim of professionalising the country’s management. The School believed its two-year Master of Science (MSc) in Business Studies degree programme would have the greatest impact on British management standards.

The first class began in September 1966, made up of 35 men and one woman.


During the 70s, the class size increased to 100, the proportion of non-British masters students rose to around 25% and the number of women increased to 24%.


In 1986 the programme was among the most international in the world, both in outlook and composition. By the end of the decade about half the students out of 180 students are non-British, with 30 different nationalities represented. Members of the Class of 1987 were the first to be awarded with an MBA rather than an MSc.


As the era of globalisation took hold, the MBA programme was revised to make it more flexible, international and integrated. The portfolio of electives broadened and the class size increased to 271 students, with 79% from outside the UK.


In 2009, LBS became the first non-US business school to top the Financial Times Global MBA Rankings and was recognised as one of the world’s most internationally diverse business schools. The MBA programme became even more flexible, allowing it to be completed in 15 to 21 months, coupled with an increased focus on skills development. By 2009, the class size had increased to 315, with 89% of the class from 59 different countries outside the UK. Women made up 23% of the class.


Today, the MBA programme is revised to reflect the changing market and business needs, giving students greater freedom to tailor the programme to meet their individual needs. The School continues to expand, with an incoming class of 468 planned for 2018 – 12 times the size of the first class of 1968. Women make up 39% of MBA students, while we have more than 100 different nationalities represented across all our student community.

We take pride in the individuals we choose every year to participate in our MBA class, they are exceptional leaders, all with one thing in common. They are all looking to be part of a diverse multinational class of high potential achievers.


The programme has changed a lot but from my point of view, I would say that the main difference lies in the class profile of our programme. We can clearly see that since the programme started we have progressed towards a very diverse and international environment.

If you are thinking of applying to our MBA programme you might find it interesting to have a look at our latest class profiles. We would highly recommend you reach out to our students ambassadors to find out more about the School, the programme and the LBS experience. If you have any application related questions you can get in touch with the Recruitment Team.


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