What is AACSB accreditation and why is it important?

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Accreditation is a fundamental consideration when applying to online MBA degree programs, and for higher education in general. Students at institutions accredited by respected, established, and trustworthy outside organizations can rest assured that they’re involved in a worthwhile educational effort. For business schools and MBA programs in particular, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business fills a vital role as a leading international accreditor of such programs. Let’s take a deeper look at why AACSB accreditation is so important for MBA programs and how the organization makes its decisions, as well as accreditation’s impact on students.

A group of MBA graduates in the midst of a collaborative discussion.

What is AACSB accreditation?

The AACSB has been in existence for more than a hundred years and is widely recognized as a leader in accreditation of business schools. It was initially founded by a group of U.S. institutions of higher learning in an effort to set standards for business schools and create a common assessment framework. In the time since, the organization has expanded its range from the U.S. to North America and, eventually, many countries around the world.

One of its major goals is to encourage communication and interaction between businesses, students, schools, and faculty. This ensures educational efforts are relevant to the modern world of business and programs graduate capable, productive students. The benefits to each of the four groups are clear in this context, as students gain a relevant education, professors maintain a relevant knowledge base, institutions offer relevant programs, and businesses have a strong talent pool to draw from.

To qualify for accreditation, business schools submit to a review of operations based on standards developed and enforced by the AACSB. Schools face an initial review to earn accreditation, then reviews every five years going forward. Specifically, the AACSB has a set of 15 standards that focus on a number of topics, ranging from mission and strategic management to support for students, faculty, and staff, as well as learning and teaching. The organization makes the specific criteria for both its business school accreditation program and its supplemental accounting standards available on its website.

Is AACSB accreditation important?

The AACSB accreditation process is relevant to both businesses and institutions of higher learning because it draws on both communities for input and information. With the organization only accrediting about 800 business schools worldwide, it’s relatively selective in choosing which institutions bear its endorsement. This is an important consideration for MBA graduates seeking positions in their chosen profession. While not all companies, HR representatives, or hiring managers will focus on whether an MBA program is AACSB accredited, it becomes especially important in certain contexts. Because AACSB accreditation is so selective, this endorsement will be something more recruiters may look for in higher-level positions. Additionally, especially large companies that aim to attract the best talent for their managerial ranks may prioritize hires who earned an MBA degree from an accredited school.

A lack of AACSB recognition doesn’t mean an MBA degree is devoid of value or is incomplete or substandard. However, attending an institution that partners with the AACSB and follows its standards can only be a benefit. Graduates know they have a leg up when applying for certain positions, and that advantage only increases as careers grow and they seek more senior positions.

Finding an AACSB-accredited online MBA

The AACSB certifies business schools based on a number of criteria, but it doesn’t judge institutions based on how they provide instruction. Programs that offer on-campus and online learning alike can both be accredited as long as they meet the established standards. This is a very important consideration for prospective students who can’t easily make their way to a physical campus or follow a traditional, full-time course schedule. The University of Alabama at Birmingham provides an AACSB-accredited, fully online MBA degree program.

Choosing UAB for an online MBA with AACSB accreditation

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is proud to offer an effective, adaptive, and customizable AACSB accredited online MBA program. When you complete an MBA program endorsed by the AACSB, you know your degree will be highly regarded by recruiters, especially when seeking out high-level positions. When you combine a high-quality education with UAB’s completely asynchronous approach to online learning, you optimize your path toward an MBA and strike an effective balance with existing personal and professional responsibilities. To learn more, speak with an enrollment advisor today.

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AACSB: Standards Overview

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