The Hub Celebrating 25 years of the first online MBA program

Celebrating 25 years of the first online MBA program

Athabasca University (AU) has a long history of being a leader and innovator in online learning. In fact, AU’s Faculty of Business pioneered the world’s first online MBA 25 years ago.

To help celebrate this milestone, we’re looking back on important moments in the history of AU’s MBA program.


  • The Centre for Innovative Management launched the world’s first fully interactive and online MBA program. In its inaugural year the program had 65 students. Many people criticized the program and said it would fail.


  • The program’s first summer and weekend schools are held in Hinton, Alta., as an opportunity for students to meet face-to-face.


  • The first 45 of AU MBA students graduate.
  • AU builds on its summer and weekend school initiative to offer its first international in-residence elective held in New York City. At the same time summer school classes are offered in Bedfordshire, England.


  • MBA program in Information Technology Management is introduced.


  • Enrolment in the program reaches 1,000 students in 23 countries from all across the globe.
news clip


  • AU is ranked in the top 3 for executive MBA programs in Canada by Canadian Business magazine.
  • AU launches the Online Research Institute for the study of Supply Chain Management.
  • The MBA for Project Managers is approved.








  • AU introduces a new fully course-based completion route, allowing students to complete the program without completing a thesis.
  • AU introduces 10-week, 6-credit electives in addition to the existing 8-week, 3-credit electives, allowing students to graduate more quickly and delve more deeply into complex topics.


  • Dr. Deborah Hurst is named dean of AU’s Faculty of Business.


  • Students with an existing undergraduate business degree can now pursue an accelerated option for obtaining an MBA from AU, enabling them to complete a degree more quickly.
  • AU’s FB moves to a new building on St. Albert Trail in Edmonton, Alta.
  • AU’s MBA program celebrates its second decade of success.



  • AU’s Faculty of Business partners with the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.


  • Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business, in partnership with The Business of Hockey Institute, announces their first educational partnership with NHL team, the Chicago Blackhawks, for the Certified Hockey Professional (CHP) designation.
  • The first class of MBA students with a major in hockey management graduate.
  • The Faculty of Business welcomed a new Canada Research Chair in Digital Disruption and Organizational Transformation.


Learn more about our MBA program

  • September 16, 2019