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MBA Resource Article

AACSB vs. ACBSP Accreditation: An Explanation

Accreditation can help you determine the MBA program that is right for you. But while you know accreditation is good, you may not know why it’s desirable, or what different types of accreditation signify. Here are some key things potential MBA students need to know.

What Is Accreditation?

Accreditation is defined as “the action or process of officially recognizing someone as havinɡ a particular status or beinɡ qualified to perform a particular activity.” For higher education institutions, the institutional accreditation process is performed by a peer review board of faculty from other institutions, who investigate the institution based on criteria that includes its requirements for admission, faculty reputation, and the quality of its educational programs, to name a few.

Programmatic accreditation is similar, except that it focuses on a specific program rather than the entire institution. For a business program, the peer review board consists of faculty and other professionals from the industry. Consequently, MBA accreditation signifies that a program has met a certain level of quality in its faculty, services, and curriculum.

Typical areas of investigation for accrediting agencies include:

  • Graduation, retention, and enrollment rates
  • Student and alumni satisfaction
  • Faculty and staff development and qualifications
  • Administrative, computer and library research support

While accrediting agencies may use similar categories for criteria, the importance they give to each of them them may vary.

Why do some schools choose ACBSP over AACSB Accreditation?

Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) and Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) accreditation both serve to signify quality for business education programs, but they have different approaches to and criteria for accreditation.

AACSB accreditation is certainly one of the most recognized forms of accreditation for MBAs and other business programs. Founded in 1916, it emphasizes faculty research as one of its standards. This means that faculty members are focused on exploring and advancing business theory in addition to their teaching responsibilities. Consequently it tends to accredit programs at larger schools that place a lot of emphasis on research and the published work of faculty members.

ACBSP was founded in 1988, at a time when only 15 percent of business schools across the country were accredited. From the beginning, the ACBSP has focused on excellence in teaching and on tangible learning outcomes. This emphasis on outcomes, as well as continuous quality improvement, helps ACBSP-accredited institutions update their programs to ensure they align with employer needs and provide students with the skills companies require. Today ACBSP is a leading accrediting agency in the learning outcomes category.

Like the AACSB, ACBSP has a rigorous review process to ensure programs meet accreditation standards, including assigning a mentor to help schools complete a plan for self-study. Accreditation is granted for 10-year periods, with reviews for quality assurance every two years.

Which Type of Business School Accreditation Is Right for You?

While AACSB accreditation is older and has broader name recognition, ACBSP is also a very valid indicator of the high quality of the business school. Organizations want their employees to have the practical knowledge that they can implement right away, so an ACBSP accredited MBA from a regionally accredited school that emphasizes real-world applications of business expertise is a good choice.

Utica College’s online MBA is in candidacy for AACSB accreditation. For more questions about accreditation and Utica College’s online MBA, call 866-295-3106 or request more information.