IBA is the oldest business school outside North America. It was established in 1955 with initial technical support provided by the world famous Wharton School of Finance, University of Pennsylvania; later, the University of Southern California set up various facilities at the Institute and several prominent American professors were assigned to the IBA. The course contents, the curriculum, the pedagogical tools and the assessment and testing methods were developed under the guidance of reputed scholars from these two institutions. IBA has jealously guarded the high standards and academic traditions it had inherited from Wharton and USC while adapting and adjusting them with the passage of time. A large number of Pakistani faculty members received advanced degrees from Wharton and the University of Southern California.
Till 1994, the University of Karachi awarded degrees to the graduates. In that year the Sindh Assembly elevated the Institute's status to that of a degree-awarding institution. A bill is pending in the Assembly for conferring the status of a University to IBA. Inspite of a rapid increase in the number of business schools, the IBA has maintained its position as the premier institution of higher learning in the field of management and business administration.
The IBA initially offered MBA program only for day scholars. In 1957, an Evening Program was started to cater to the needs of the numerous working executives and managers who were interested in furthering their careers through part-time business studies. In 1982, a three-year BBA (Honors) Program was introduced which has now been upgraded into a four-year BBA program.
The Center for Computer Studies was established in 1983 with the collaboration of IBM, Pakistan. It initially offered a diploma in system analysis to overcome a shortage of software professionals in the country. It now offers BBA (MIS), MBA (MIS) and BS (Computer Science, Software Engineering, Information Technology), MS (Computer Science, Software Engineering, Information Technology) and PhD programs. The PhD degree is being offered in the areas of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Operations Research, Artificial Intelligence, Cryptography, Numerical Analysis and Numerical Computing. In addition a PhD program in MIS/Computer Science and Engineering/ICT has been launched from August 2005.
The Center for Executive Education offers Executive MBA programs for mid level public sector, non–profit sector and private sector executives, organizes customized courses for the corporate clients and holds short courses on emerging issues and themes for those engaged in business. A new Center for Entrepreneurial Development is being established and will become fully functional in 2010.