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The Importance of Business School Accreditation for MBA Programs

As you evaluate and compare MBA programs, one factor to consider is the accreditation of business schools. Accreditation by a reputable agency tells you that a business school sought and paid for an independent assessment. It tells you that the school met stringent standards for the quality of coursework, faculty, services and the academic qualifications of students. To confer accreditation, an agency conducts a thorough review process that usually includes the following criteria:

  • Self-evaluations by faculty and administrators.
  • Peer and committee reviews.
  • Evaluation of curriculum and coursework.
  • Vetting of faculty qualifications.
  • Development of strategic plans and action items.

What Does a Rigorous Accreditation Process Demonstrate?

For prospective students, the accreditation process demonstrates a school’s commitment to providing an up-to-date curriculum taught by qualified professors. To prospective faculty members, it signifies that the program will challenge them to pursue excellence and continuous improvement throughout their careers. To corporate recruiters, it often represents a significant criterion for consideration, and to hiring managers, accreditation validates the necessary baseline of educational standards that correlates with employee success.

Accreditation Standards

There are several accreditation agencies to consider when looking for MBA programs in the United States. These include the AACSB — the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, ACBSP — the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and IACBE — the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education. Regional organizations also grant accreditation status to schools that qualify.

You can determine an institution’s accreditation status by visiting its website and looking for the seals of the accrediting agencies. Then you can verify the claims against the lists supplied on the websites of these organizations. If you see an accreditation you don’t recognize, you can look it up in the Department of Education’s accreditation database.

AACSB Accreditation

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is the longest-serving global association for advancing management education. AACSB accreditation is the most recognized form of specialized and professional accreditation an institution can earn on the strength of its business programs. First adopted in 1919, the agency’s standards undergo continual updates to ensure quality and continuous improvement in collegiate business education.

Today, the agency accredits 775 of the world’s best business schools across 52 countries and territories. According to the agency’s website, “AACSB Accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in business education, and has been earned by less than five percent of the world’s business schools.”

Boise State University’s College of Business and Economics is one of the schools that has earned AACSB accreditation. Its programs have won accolades from the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching and U.S. News & World Report (Top 100 Online MBA and “Top 20 Public Schools in the West”), further cementing its reputation as one of the top up-and-coming schools in the nation.

In fact, a business school must hold AACSB accreditation to qualify for consideration and inclusion in the U.S. News & World Report list of 2017 Best Business Schools.

According to CBS MoneyWatch writer Maggie Overfelt, the AACSB “is the most attractive to corporate recruiters because it has the strictest requirements. For online MBAs, that includes high-caliber curricula taught by the business school’s regular faculty, frequent interaction between students and teachers, and a rigorous admissions process.”

Reasons to Look for AACSB Accreditation

  • Employers in your industry value academic prestige.
  • Most leaders in your industry hold MBAs from AACSB-accredited institutions.
  • Your employer’s tuition plan requires AACSB accreditation.
  • You may at some point accept a faculty appointment at a business college.
  • You believe you can meet qualifying test scores for the GRE or the GMAT.

As technology and globalization continue to revolutionize business, it is critical that you choose an MBA program with a strong, highly relevant curriculum. AACSB accreditation gives you the confidence to make an informed choice.

Learn more about the Boise State online MBA program.


AACSB Business and Accounting Accreditation

AACSB Accreditation Standards

U.S. News & World Report: Methodology — 2017 Best Business School Rankings

CBS Moneywatch: Choosing an Online MBA Program

U.S. Department of Education Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs

AACSB: Fifty-Two Business Schools Extend Their AACSB Accreditation in Business or Accounting

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