What Does AACSB Accreditation Mean for MBA Grads?

Only 5% of business schools worldwide have earned accreditation from The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), a certification employers rely on when making decisions in the competition for jobs and career advancement.

Through its AACSB accreditation, the Romain College of Business at the University of Southern Indiana (USI) ranks among the world’s elite business schools for the quality of its in-person and online curricula, faculty and educational experience.

Its certification assures prospective employers and business leaders that graduates of the USI online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program possess high-impact business knowledge and skills. It also provides students with confidence knowing their degree will have lasting value over their career arcs and deliver a healthy return on their educational investment.

How Do Business Schools Earn AACSB Accreditation?

The path to earning globally recognized AACSB accreditation is rigorous. The process typically takes three to seven years, and credentialled schools receive evaluations every five years.

The organization accredits only those schools that consistently provide top-quality education aligned with standard business practices. In addition, schools must demonstrate they have processes to certify the curriculum evolves with changes in business practices.

Moreover, to maintain their status, schools must meet specific standards regarding student quality, curriculum content and faculty contributions. These standards, according to Indeed.com, include:

  • Strategic management and innovation in education
  • Processes for setting learning objectives and creating curricula that support student success
  • High-quality academics integrated with professional development opportunities and student engagement with business professionals

“By interacting with professionals in the industry, employers can more easily assess an individual MBA student’s skills and engage with them directly, instead of simply relying on a student’s high academic qualifications or involvement in the community,” according to the online career guide.

Why Is AACSB Accreditation Important to MBA Grads?

Because of the AACSB’s strict standards for accreditation, employers know USI’s online MBA program graduates are well equipped. The standards assure them that the program is:

  • Offered by a B-school that ranks among the top 926 in the world
  • Designed in collaboration with business professionals to ensure it delivers real-world expertise and insights
  • Led by top faculty and academics who publish consistently in research and business publications
  • Reviewed regularly by AACSB to ensure consistent quality

Indeed.com summarizes the value AACSB accreditation adds to an MBA by saying it ensures a significant return on investment. “Some employers only hire graduates from AACSB-accredited business schools because of their high reputation and unique standards,” it notes. “It also enables employers to hire more high-performing graduates who understand business processes and are ready to advance in their careers.”

Why Are MBA Online Programs Growing as a Source of High-Quality Grads?

Citing AACSB statistics, Poets & Quants notes that the number of American students involved in online MBA programs (45,038) exceeded that of full-time, in-person programs (43,740) for the first time.

The B-school news-and-views resource attributes the skyrocketing popularity of online MBA programs to several factors, including:

  • Employers and academics now have a higher regard for the career value of online programs.
  • Advancements in technology broaden and deepen online learning experiences and outcomes.
  • The ability to remain employed in their current careers expands networking opportunities and significantly decreases the cost of obtaining an MBA.

Online education was trending upward before the pandemic disrupted the workplace and scattered employees. The new normal across much of the economy is a significant factor in recruiting and retaining employees.

“Individuals are now seeking the exact same things in education,” one academic leader told Poets & Quants. “Education has been disrupted because individuals not only value what they learn but how and when they learn, and innovators in the MBA space are meeting this demand.”

Learn more about the University of Southern Indiana’s online MBA program.

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