When you are considering graduate business programs, chances are you’ve encountered advice urging you to only consider those schools with accredited programs. “Only enroll in an AACSB accredited online MBA program,” you might see in a list of considerations when comparing schools, or perhaps the advice is less specific, such as “look for accreditation.”
However, do you truly understand what that all means? Sure, you know it’s important and a key point to look for, but do you know what you are getting when you enroll in a program that’s accredited by an organization like AACSB?
AACSB stands for the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. It’s a nonprofit, membership organization devoted to improving education programs in business and management; its major program is accreditation. The designation is not automatically bestowed upon members; rather, members must apply for accreditation and meet a set of standards and requirements. In fact, only about five percent of all of the business schools in the world are accredited by AACSB.
Organizational accreditation like AACSB is different than standard accreditation. All schools have to be accredited by regional or state accreditation boards. The organizational designation, though, demonstrates that the school has met additional requirements sand met exactly standards for quality.
The Accreditation Process
Before a school can get accredited by the AACSB, it must be accredited by all of the local and regional authorities and be authorized to grant degrees in the country where it’s located. This process is not easy and it is not quick – it can take several years for a school to meet all of the requirements for the certification.
When a school decides to seek AACSB accreditation, the accreditation board reviews the school’s performance in areas such as teaching, research, curriculum and student performance. The school’s accreditation committee is paired with an accreditation mentor, who helps them develop a strategic plan for accreditation and work through the plan. Once the mentors feel the school is ready to seek accreditation, a review team will visit the school and conduct a thorough assessment before making a recommendation for accreditation.
What it Means to You
When you are considering MBA programs like Scranton University online degrees, you’ll probably notice the AACSB designation and wonder what it means for you, the student. Going to a school that is recognized by AACSB has a number of benefits. First, you can rest assured that you are receiving a top-notch education, delivered by qualified instructors who are experts in their fields. In fact, many schools that have earned the designation say that it encourages them to continuously improve and it helps them attract the best professors and staff.
The biggest benefits to going to one of these programs, though, might come after you graduate. Studies show that graduates from AACSB accredited programs actually land higher paying jobs after earning their degrees, have more access to top-level recruiters and more opportunities overall. Some employers even stipulate that they will only hire new employees who attend a school with the AACSB designation, meaning that attending one of these top programs is one of the best things that you can do for your career.
Of course, enrolling in an accredited program can cost more than others and they do tend to be more challenging than some programs that aren’t certified. The good news is that many online programs have been accredited and you can get the top-notch education offered by these programs without having to move closer to a university program.
Making the decision to go back to school and get an MBA is a major one and because there is so much time and money involved, you want to make a choice that will bring the greatest benefits in the long run. While you should certainly consider the cost, location, course offerings, requirements and reputation of any program, focusing your search only within those programs that have been accredited by the AACSB, you can rest assured that your MBA will be of the best quality possible.
About the Author: Jennifer Anne Souza works for a large accounting firm and is currently working toward her MBA online.