An MBA (Master of Business Administration) degree is the most widely-recognised business degree in the world and its popularity continues to grow, particularly in Asia.
The origins of the MBA go back more than a century to the Ivy League universities in the US. Dartmouth College established the first graduate business school in the US in 1900 – then called the Amos Tuck School of Administration and Finance. Harvard Business School launched its first postgraduate management degree in 1908.
The popularity of the MBA grew in Europe 50 years later, following the establishment of Insead in Fontainebleau, near Paris, by a group of Harvard graduates. It enrolled its first MBA cohort in September 1959. London Business School opened its doors to MBA students in 1966.
Today the MBA is usually seen as a post-experience degree, designed for those with some work/management experience. The full-time degree can last anything from 10 to 24 months but it is also taught in a number of other formats: executive (for working managers – EMBA); part-time; online/by distance learning. 
MBA in the news
FT research published in January 2013 showed a dramatic reduction in the number of students enrolling on the UK's MBA programmes with enrolment down by 21 per cent from its peak in 2010. The downturn was blamed on changes to UK immigration policy which made it much harder for MBA graduates to gain work in the UK after graduation. Meanwhile leading US business schools which had relied heavily on the performance of their endowment funds were also facing difficulty due to the financial crisis. The economic downturn was also beginning to make some MBA students question the value of the qualification. At an average cost of $100,000 it represents a significant investment for those with no financial support. January 2013 research on alumni from the FT's top 100 ranked MBAs found average salaries had more than doubled three years after graduation.