Is AACSB Accreditation Important for an MBA Program?

Every school strives to make their mark and offer the most to their students and community. But as a student, how do you know that the education you are receiving is of a good quality?  Accreditation is one important answer.  Students, faculty, administrators, and recruiters rely on a set of standards to evaluate and compare schools. For nearly 100 years, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) has set the standards for business education.

What is AACSB accreditation?
Established in 1916, AACSB is a global, nonprofit membership organization of educational institutions, businesses, and other entities devoted to the advancement of management education. In 1919, AACSB adopted a set of accreditation standards with the primary objective of improving collegiate business education. The organization defines accreditation as “a voluntary, non-governmental process that includes an external review of a school’s ability to provide quality programs.”

AACSB Accreditation & MBA Rankings
Throughout the years, the standards have been continually revised to reflect the ever-changing needs of business and students. Today, the AACSB Accreditation Standards are used as the basis to evaluate a business school’s mission, operations, faculty qualifications and contributions, programs, and other critical areas.

Seen as the gold standard of accreditation bodies for business schools, only AACSB accredited business schools are considered for U.S. News & World Report rankings.

Today, there are 672 member institutions that hold AACSB Accreditation. To put this number in perspective, there are more than 13,000 schools worldwide that offer business programs.

All Accreditation is Not Equal
Many universities may claim to be an accredited school, but it’s important to recognize that all accreditation is not equal. In some countries around the world, a school may be accredited only in their country and that accreditation might not be recognized in another country. This could pose a challenge if a student is studying in one country but plans to work in another. In this case, it’s often a good idea to be sure the accrediting body is internationally recognized.

When a school has AACSB accreditation, it sends a message that it is one of the best business schools in the world—differentiating itself in terms of quality, rigor, and relevance. It takes a strong commitment by a business school to earn and maintain AACSB accreditation.

As a leader in the field of business education, George Mason University’s School of Management is a committed supporter of the AACSB mission and understands the value of AACSB membership as well as participating in AACSB committees and events.

George Mason’s School of Management has been AACSB accredited since 1991 and is one of only 10% of business schools worldwide accredited in both business and accounting.

As a potential MBA student, you must weigh many factors in choosing a business school. Be sure not to overlook an MBA program’s accreditation. Accreditation is what makes a business school stand out among the rest.


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Jackie Buchy

Since 2011, I have served as the assistant dean for graduate enrollment at George Mason University's School of Business. In my role, I work with prospective graduate students to identify and select the best graduate program to meet their career goals.

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