For both students and potential employers, the reputation of a school's degree program relies to a large extent on that school's accreditation. Accreditation by a respected accrediting body is a form of quality assurance, signifying that a school meets stringent eligibility criteria and standards.
For instance, Southern Utah University's Dixie L. Leavitt School of Business holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International). This accreditation includes the school's online MBA programs, representing substantial achievement in quality online graduate education. While there are a number of accrediting bodies that award programmatic accreditation to business education degree programs, accreditation by AACSB International is widely regarded as the gold standard for business education.
What Is AACSB International?
AACSB International is a nonprofit organization with a membership composed of business leaders, professionals, organizations and business education schools all around the world. According to the organization's mission, AACSB International strives to "foster engagement, accelerate innovation, and amplify impact in business education" and "continuously improve engagement among business, faculty, institutions, and students so that business education is aligned with the needs of business practice." Stating that "business and business schools are a force for good, contributing to the world's economy," AACSB International's succinct vision is "to transform business education for global prosperity."
AACSB International advances the values and goals set forth by its mission and vision through accreditation as well as numerous initiatives involving advocacy work, developing resources and events for members and, in general, facilitating "interactions with the business education community worldwide." This global focus is central to AACSB International, recognizing that business education in modern times must reflect globalization and the interconnectedness of economies and societies.
What Is Involved in AACSB Accreditation?
Business degree-granting universities may voluntarily seek AACSB accreditation by first demonstrating that the institution's program meets all eligibility criteria as outlined in AACSB International's latest Eligibility Procedures and Accreditation Standards for Business Accreditation. These eligibility criteria consist of two parts. The first part ensures that the program is aligned with three core AACSB values, delineated as:
- Ethical behavior
- A collaborative collegiate environment that supports learning, scholarship and community engagement
- Commitment to corporate and social responsibility
The second part of the eligibility application:
- Defines the scope of review for accreditation and establishes that the school is an AACSB member in good standing
- Ensures the school has administrative and oversight structures which "sustain excellence and continuous improvement in business education"
- Commits the institution to continued adherence to accreditation standards
If a program's eligibility application is accepted, the institution may begin the rigorous accreditation process which involves self-evaluation, strategic planning and peer-review. Accreditation attainment is based on an institution's demonstrated alignment with 15 business accreditation standards, broken down into four generalized areas:
- Mission, strategic management and innovation
- Support for students, faculty and staff
- Learning and teaching
- Academic and professional engagement of students and faculty
This accreditation process may take years, involving strategic planning, development and organizational change on the part of the institution. Once accredited, the institution must continue self-evaluation and periodic review to maintain accreditation, proving the sustained excellence in business education.
What Can AACSB Accreditation Tell Students and Future Employers About an MBA Program?
Only 5% of business schools worldwide have achieved AACSB accreditation. Yet 90% of ranked schools worldwide are accredited by AACSB international. On these and other statistics alone, both prospective students and potential employers would logically infer that AACSB-accredited business schools meet the highest standards of modern business education.
Essentially, when students read promotional materials about an AACSB-accredited school like Southern Utah University, they can be certain that the school's claims about its MBA program's quality and reputation are accurate and legitimate. Employers considering job candidates with an MBA from an AACSB-accredited school know that a candidate will have the knowledge and skills to be effective and successful. Moreover, this accreditation is recognized and respected internationally, meaning it can help students engage in business at the global scale.
Learn more about Southern Utah University's online MBA programs.
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