Why AACSB Accreditation for Business School?

With the current proliferation of online Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs, it can be difficult to judge the quality of an institution’s degree program. Choosing a program warrants meticulous research into multiple areas such as the program’s mission, curriculum, quality of education, reputation in the field and track record of graduate success.

Exploring an institution or degree program’s accreditation status as well as the associated accrediting body can be extremely useful in this research process. To reference an example related to online MBA programs, Eastern Washington University’s College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, or AACSB International (AACSB). This accreditation lends EWU’s online MBA degree programs a high degree of professional respect and repute. But what does AACSB accreditation mean? What can it tell you about the MBA education you will receive?

What Is Accreditation?

To understand the importance of AACSB accreditation one must first understand accreditation itself. Accreditation can be thought of as a form of educational quality assurance. As AACSB’s Jane Lawler put it, “The ultimate goal of accreditation is to ensure that students receive a quality education and the skills and competencies necessary to be successful in their chosen careers.”

Accreditation in the United States is awarded by independent accrediting organizations. The accreditation application process usually involves a self-evaluation by the institution in combination with peer review and external evaluation. Applicants must demonstrate that the institution or program under evaluation meets or exceeds certain criteria and standards as set forth by the accrediting body.

If accreditation is awarded, the institution or program is generally required to participate in further periodic self-evaluation, reviews, and renewal procedures. These ongoing requirements ensure that institutions not only demonstrate a high level of quality when seeking accreditation, but also continually work to improve on a number of fronts, including their educational offerings, relevance, and administrative functions.

What Kinds of Accreditation are There?

There are two general types of accreditation: institutional and programmatic. Understandably, institutional accreditation is broader in focus, demonstrating quality and credibility across all aspects of an institution’s functions from administration and resource use to teaching performance and student experience. EWU, for instance, holds accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), a regional accrediting organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Programmatic accreditation is a more specialized form of accreditation awarded to degree programs or colleges educating students in a specific profession or overarching field. Programmatic accreditation can substantiate the worth of particular programs in competitive educational markets such as online business education. This is why EWU’s AACSB accreditation is a valuable tool in demonstrating the quality of the institution’s business education degree programs.

What Does AACSB Accreditation Tell Me About EWU’s Online MBA?

Less than 5% of the world’s business schools have earned AACSB accreditation. This statistic could lead one to infer that EWU’s accredited business education programs are among the world’s strongest programs. Indeed, AACSB is respected worldwide, having recently earned its International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification. Between accredited institutions, member organizations, international offices and business and education leaders across the globe, AACSB has a presence in more than 100 countries and territories.

AACSB is clearly focused on the global business perspective, as illustrated by the organization’s stated vision that includes a commitment “… to transform business education for global prosperity.” AACSB’s mission is similarly forward thinking with a goal “… to foster engagement, accelerate innovation, and amplify impact in business education.”

AACSB’s exhaustive accreditation eligibility criteria and standards are closely aligned with the organization’s mission and vision. Each component is measured and evaluated through this lens of academic and professional engagement, innovation and programmatic improvement, and ethical, positive impact on society and global business at large.

What does all of this mean to someone looking into EWU’s MBA programs? It can tell you what to expect as a student. To earn AACSB accreditation, EWU’s College of Business met these criteria and standards, conforming with or supporting AACSB’s global business education goals. EWU’s MBA program design and course content reflect this commitment.

Moreover, the reputation and professional standing of AACSB accreditation can give potential employers a great deal of confidence as to the quality of a graduate’s MBA education and the specific knowledge, skills and global business perspective that education imparts. In fact, out of CEOs with a business school education who currently run Fortune 500 companies, 95% went to AACSB-accredited institutions.

Examining an institution’s accreditation status and the accrediting organization is critical, albeit only one aspect of researching degree programs. However, in the case of AACSB accreditation, delving into what that accreditation means can give you in-depth insight into what you will learn in an MBA program, as well as what you can expect to get out of it. 

Learn more about EWU’s online MBA programs.


WorldWideLearn: Why You Should Choose an Accredited College Degree

Peterson’s: Understanding Accreditation of U.S. Colleges and Universities


AACSB: Accreditation Process

AACSB: Standards Overview

AACSB: 2013 Eligibility Procedures and Accreditation Standards for Business Accreditation

AACSB: ISO 9001:2015 Certification

AACSB: Accreditation Is Not ‘One Size Fits All’

ISO: International Organization for Standardization

U.S. Department of Education: Accreditation in the United States

Council for Higher Education Accreditation: CHEA- and USDE-Recognized Accrediting Organizations

U.S. Department of Education: Institutional Accrediting Agencies

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