What to Know About AACSB Accreditation

The AACSB (Association to Advanced Collegiate Schools of Business) International is the highest standard of accreditation for business schools in the world. As an international organization, they operate in around 51 countries, and they have accredited 755 different schools. There are also 182 schools that have specialized AACSB International accreditation in relation to their accounting programs. It is important to understand that AACSB accreditation and membership are two different things.

What Is the AACSB?

The AACSB provides specialized accounting and business accreditation for programs at bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels. Schools who achieve the standard are challenged to always pursue excellence, also through continuous improvement. The accreditation is recognized around the world and is the longest standing of its kind.

What Is Accreditation?

Accreditation is something that schools go through voluntarily. It is not federally regulated, in other words. To receive it, they must meet highly rigorous standards that prove their programs are of high quality. The process looks at the mission of the school, the qualifications of faculty, the strength of the curriculum, and more. Schools have to go through peer reviews, self-evaluation, and committee reviews in order to receive the accreditation.

Types of Accreditation

The table below highlights some of the most common types of accreditation.

Type of AccreditationDetails
Institutional·   Applicable to the school as a whole, not an individual program.

·   Offered by regional accrediting bodies.

·   Looks at all elements of the school, including student services and operating budgets.

·   Often required to grant degrees.

·   Must be maintained, with reviews every few years.

Specialized or Professional·   Offered to specific discipline within the school.

·   Offered outside of the government, by private agencies.

·   Goes through rigorous review, including comparisons to other schools.

·   Proves that students learn all there is to know about a subject.

·   Must be maintained.

·   Affects students’ chance of employment, class transferability, and abilities to complete other degrees.

·   Recognized nationally and sometimes internationally.

·   Specialized accreditation exists for community or vocational college programs as well as bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

Does Accreditation Matter?

Universities that have achieved some form of accreditation will often boast about this. However, not every accrediting body is recognized. This is why it is very important to look into this in further detail. The AACSB International is recognized around the world, and programs that have this accreditation are guaranteed to be of a high standard. However, it usually also means that they are more expensive in terms of their tuition fees. Do check with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), whether the accreditation body of the school and program you are considering is recognized.

What Is AACSB Accreditation?

If a program is AACSB accredited, it guarantees that their faculty is of the highest possible quality, that their curriculum is not just challenging but also relevant, and that career and educational opportunities are provided to students that they would not otherwise find in other schools. There are some 16,000 business schools around the world, yet less than 5% of these have achieved AACSB accreditation. If you do graduate from one of these schools, your resume will show that you are more desirable and have higher skills that those who complete a non-AACSB accredited program.

Benefits of AACSB Accreditation

Most people understand that accreditation is important, as it guarantees to some degree the standard of education. What matters, however, is that you choose the right kind of accreditation, and AACSB is definitely the right kind of accreditation for business degrees, particularly for those studying online. It demonstrates that the program is of high quality and distinction.

The biggest benefit of AACSB accreditation, clearly, is that it provides you peace of mind as a student. Everybody in the business industry knows about the AACSB standards, and they understand how rigorous and selective the process is. The AACSB came into existence in 1919, and it was founded by some of the most prominent business and university leaders in the world. The standards they set in 1919 still stand today, and further standards have been added as well.

The AACSB looks at a number of features in particular in order to provide accreditation. Schools have to achieve the highest possible standards in all these elements in order to receive it. The areas that are reviewed include:

  • Academic research quality
  • Global awareness
  • Institutional development
  • Student learning
  • Curriculum
  • Faculty
  • Teaching

The standards they have set are very strict. In fact, some 86% of all schools that have received the accreditation have stated that the approval process was more stringent than any other evaluation they have gone through before. The process of accreditation is a lengthy one, and it takes more than two years to complete. Schools first have to apply and it is not guaranteed that they are accepted. If they are, they must write a plan that demonstrates how they intend to align their academic standards with those set by the AACSB. Once this is done, they will start to review and self-evaluate. If they do meet the standard, a new review is organized every five years.

Schools with AACSB accreditation also have to hold institutional accreditation. This demonstrates that the school as a whole is of high quality, as well as the program itself. This, in turn, proves just how good the quality of the program actually is.

Schools that have received AACBS accreditation are able to hire and retain some of the world’s best researchers and professors. Additionally, it is more likely that they will attract international students, and that these have higher GPAs. They can also set more rigorous admission standards, thereby further enhancing the quality of their graduates.

If online programs hold the accreditation, it means that they also meet all the relevant standards. The idea that some people have that online learning is somehow “easier” is therefore not true at all. In fact, students will have to complete all the same work and learning as on campus students.

If you complete an AACSB accredited degree, you are almost guaranteed to take on some of the best jobs in the world as well. Graduates of these programs are simply the best of the best. There are now quite a few global businesses that will only consider graduates from AACSB accredited institutions. This is also because research has shown these graduates perform better once in the workplace. It is for this reason, as well, that many Fortune 500 companies now offer their employees tuition reimbursement if they obtain an MBA from an AACSB accredited school.

AACSB International Accredited Online MBAs

If you are considering going to university and completing an online MBA, it should now be clear why it is usually advisable to consider only those programs that are AACSB accredited. While only 5% of business schools have achieved this tremendously high standard, there are still quite a large number of schools in this country that you could consider. And because the degree program is offered online, geographical location should not be of a tremendous concern for you. The universities that you may want to look in to are:

  • Ball State University
  • Clarion University
  • Colorado State University
  • Columbus State University
  • Drexel University
  • Durham University
  • East Carolina University
  • East Tennessee State University
  • Emporia State University
  • Fayetteville State University
  • Florida Atlantic University
  • Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Florida State University
  • Frostburg State University
  • George Washington University
  • Georgia College and State University
  • Georgia Southern University
  • Indiana University
  • Kennesaw State University
  • Marist College
  • Mississippi State University
  • Morehead State University
  • Murray State University
  • Northeastern University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Open University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Portland State University
  • Prairie View A&M University
  • Quinnipiac University
  • Robert Morris University
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Rowan University
  • Saginaw Valley State University
  • Saint Joseph’s University
  • Shippensburg University
  • Southeast Missouri State University
  • Southern Arkansas University
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • SUNY Institute of Technology at Utica
  • Temp University
  • Texas A&M University – Commerce
  • Thunderbird School of Global Management
  • University of Baltimore and Towson University
  • University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
  • University of Colorado at Denver
  • University of Florida
  • University of Houston – Clear Lake
  • University of Houston – Victoria
  • University of Michigan – Dearborn
  • University of Michigan – Flint
  • University of Nebraska – Lincoln
  • University of North Dakota
  • University of Scranton
  • University of South Dakota
  • University of Tennessee – Martin
  • University of Texas – Arlington
  • University of Texas at Dallas
  • University of Texas – San Antonio
  • University of Texas at Tyler
  • University of Texas – Pan American
  • University of Texas of the Permian Basin
  • University of West Georgia
  • University of Wisconsin
  • University of Wyoming
  • Valdosta State University
  • Wayne State University
  • West Chester University
  • Western Kentucky University
  • Western New England College

AACSB MBA Programs

Any online MBA program that you are considering should be accredited by the AACSB, as that is what will assure you that you are attending a business program of the highest quality. Review top programs with AACSB accredited Online MBA programs:


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