AACSB Accreditation For MBA Programs

Choosing an accredited school can be an important part of finding an online MBA program. Here, we discuss why you should consider an AACSB accredited program.


Updated May 18, 2023

AACSB Accreditation For MBA Programs

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To rise as a leader in the business field, individuals can pursue a master's in business administration (MBA). Aspiring business graduates benefit from multiple options when it comes to MBA programs, especially online MBA programs. Pursuing this degree in an online format allows students to pursue their educational goals while maintaining other responsibilities, such as a job.

Unfortunately, the quality of these online programs may vary. Thanks to programmatic accreditation for MBA programs, prospective students can choose an online program with confidence.

The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation both oversee third-party programmatic accrediting agencies. Currently, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) serves as the top agency specializing in accreditation for MBA programs.

In the following sections, we cover AACSB accreditation, the accreditation process, and additional resources to learn more about this topic.

What Is AACSB Accreditation?

Undergraduate and graduate business programs earn AACSB accreditation as an accolade to demonstrate a commitment to quality and excellence. Employers and doctoral program acceptance committees view degrees from programs with AACSB accreditation as prestigious.

MBA programs with this type of accreditation feature a curriculum with a principles-based and outcomes-focused approach. These programs must also demonstrate a commitment to diversity in thought leadership.

Programs that earn and maintain AACSB accreditation must meet certain standards. Some of these standards include facilitating strategic management and innovation; providing physical, financial, and virtual resources for students; and demonstrating learner success. AACSB publishes a full list of these standards and explains how the judges interpret each standard.

Once an educational institution earns AACSB accreditation, the school must maintain a set of responsibilities to upkeep this accolade. Some of these responsibilities include identifying educational goals realistically, reporting program data accurately, and representing AACSB accreditation in promotional material.

Quality and Why Accreditation Matters

Even the most talented graduate may face challenges with succeeding in the workplace after attending a poor-quality business program. Thanks to accrediting agencies like AACSB, students do not need to question whether a program teaches relevant business principles and produces successful graduates. AACSB schools must demonstrate diversity and inclusion, ethics, social responsibility, and community.

When a program earns AACSB accreditation, it means it regularly receives quality assessments from this third-party accrediting agency. AACSB clearly communicates the standards a program must meet by publishing an annual official release.

AACSB sets nine accreditation standards and clearly defines each in the Guiding Principles and Standards Document. This accrediting body focuses on engagement, innovation, and impact when evaluating schools. AACSB publishes a terminology glossary to help readers understand industry jargon in this document.

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How Do Schools Become Accredited?

AACSB publishes an overview of the MBA program accreditation process on its site. Before applying for programmatic accreditation through AACSB, schools must become an educational member. After doing so, the institution's officials can fill out an accreditation application. The accrediting agency recommends that applying schools contact an AACSB accreditation staff member for application assistance. Schools must submit an initial $15,000 when applying for this accreditation, and additional fees when applying for renewal.

After the application receives approval, the school must conduct an initial self-evaluation report. Then, a peer-review team provides a visit report to ensure the accuracy of the initial self-evaluation report. Lastly, the AACSB board of directors reviews these reports for ratification purposes.

After a school earns initial accreditation, it joins the accreditation council. To maintain this achievement, the organization must undergo a peer review team site visit once every five years.

Why AACSB Matters to Your MBA Degree

Enrolling in a program with AACSB accreditation can give learners peace of mind. Rather than committing to thorough research on whether a program offers quality information and ensures graduate success, students can rely on AACSB's judgment.

Due to the rigorous standards these educational programs must meet, programs with AACSB accreditation feature a diverse student body and graduates with high GPAs. Certain employers may not recognize a degree from non-accredited programs. To avoid a scam that leads to wasted time and money, enroll in an online MBA program with this type of accreditation.

Additional Resources

AACSB makes it easy to locate an AACSB-accredited business program. Prospective learners can use the AACSB accreditation lookup tool to quickly locate quality programs. This database sorts these accredited programs by alphabetical order, and users can filter programs by country.

The lookup tool features two columns next to each school with checkmarks. The checkmarks indicate whether the school possesses an accredited accounting or business program, or both. This database also conveniently links to each school's website.

Business programs can also earn accreditation through the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). ACBSP's website features a lookup tool that allows students to verify this type of accreditation.

ACBSP accreditation occurs less than AACSB accreditation, partially because this accrediting agency formed later. However, employers and doctoral programs still respect this type of accreditation. Additionally, ACBSP utilizes more outcome-based criteria than AACSB for evaluating schools.

Affordable Colleges Online aims to connect students with quality programs on a budget. This organization publishes and regularly updates rankings of the best online MBA programs.

To produce these rankings, Affordable Colleges Online relies on data from the U.S. Department of Education, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. Using information like cost, graduate success rates, and accreditation status, Affordable Colleges Online helps students find the best program to meet their needs.

This website reveals tips for connecting with schools, the application process, and passing required enrollment exams. Prospective students can practice for the GMAT by taking the site's mini-quiz.

This site features a list of MBA programs and a quiz to help applicants discover which program aligns with their personalities. Individuals yet to make a decision on whether to attend an MBA program can read through articles on the benefits of completing a program.

Although every MBA program's curriculum varies, reading through course descriptions of an actual program can give prospective learners a clearer picture of what to expect during their studies.

Above, we have linked to Northeastern University's MBA course list. This webpage also discusses the concentration options like finance, healthcare management, and marketing. Students can also concentrate in supply chain management or sustainability. Some core classes include managing the global enterprise, information analysis, and managing ethics in the workplace.

Committing to an MBA program requires an investment in time and money. For this reason, the decision to attend an online MBA program takes careful thought. Two representatives from San Diego University discuss this decision more in-depth in this article published in The Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration.

This article focuses primarily on the decision to attend an online MBA program and whether virtual and blended programs feature the same quality as traditional in-person programs.

The U.S. News & World Report publishes rankings of colleges and programs. Accreditation serves as a factor this organization considers when creating the rankings. In this article, U.S. News & World Report discusses how to quickly identify and verify an online program's accreditation status.

This resource also discusses the seven regional accrediting bodies that oversee schools. While programmatic accreditation matters, a college or university's overall accreditation status signifies importance too.

Overworked MBA students often deal with burnout. This can lead to a temporary loss of passion for the business field. Rather than switching majors, students can regain their love for the profession by practicing work-life balance.

Maintaining a work-life balance can enhance a learner's chance of success. The Princeton Review discusses five tips for achieving balance in this article. While online MBA programs take time and attention to complete, relying on a few strategies can make the learning process more enjoyable.

Online MBA Concentrations

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