For prospective students who are in the process of selecting business schools for their MBA studies, accreditation is an assurance of quality.
According to AACSB estimates, there are more than 13,500 schools offering business degree programmes worldwide. Looking at the accreditations that business schools hold, student can identify the ones that offer education of the best international standard.
What is MBA accreditation?
The Association of MBAs (AMBA) defines it as follows: “Accreditation represents the highest standard of achievement in postgraduate business education”.
Accreditation results from an outside, independent evaluation of the quality of education provided by educational institutions and/or their programmes. International accreditation agencies conduct this process. The evaluation is based on a thorough analysis of the education that a university/business school provides. Accreditation is valid for a certain period (for example five years) and before it expires a new evaluation has to be conducted in order to assess the quality of the programme again. This process ensures that business schools constantly strive to maintain quality.
Who provides the accreditation?
In the world of business education, there are three major bodies which accredit schools that provide business degree programmes: the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), based in Tampa, FL, USA; the Association of MBAs (AMBA), based in London; the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), based in Brussels.
Educational institutions are not obliged to apply for international accreditations. It is voluntary. However, accreditation gives business schools international credibility and status. There are thousands of MBA programmes worldwide, but only a small percentage are accredited, which makes them stand out easily among the multitude of other offerings.
What is triple accreditation?
One institution/programme may be accredited by several accreditation agencies. The golden standard is the so-called “Triple Crown” denoting that a business school is accredited by all three major agencies – AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS. There are about 60 business schools in the world that hold the Triple Crown, many of which are European. It is interesting to note that some of the top US business schools are not in this elite group. The reason is that AMBA only accredits MBAs which admit students with at least three years of full-time professional work experience after the Bachelor’s degree. Some of the top US schools do not meet this requirement, so they are not eligible for AMBA accreditation.
Accreditations and rankings
Accreditations definitely guarantee the quality of education. Rankings, on the other hand, use various methodologies that do not necessarily reflect the quality of the MBAs (find details in the series of articles “Business Schools Rankings – What You Need to Know” https://prepadviser.com/business-schools-rankings-need-know-part-1/). But there is one piece of good news – most rankings list only accredited programmes.