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What is MBA Accreditation?

Heather Watson
Heather Watson

MBA accreditation is the certification that a school or program meets particular academic standards for the Master's of Business Administration. The benefits of MBA accreditation are that institutions can assure quality education and continuous improvement to students, employers, other schools, and the general public. Accreditation agencies help to ensure that a graduate business education is consistent across the board. This is important especially with the rise in technology and the increase of online courses and degree programs. The MBA accreditation process focuses on various criteria, including the school's faculty, students, the program curriculum, and other additional factors.

Business schools that tailor their programs to a wide range of students — full-time, part-time, distance learning, and specialized concentrations — can be awarded MBA accreditation. Accreditation is generally evidence that credits and degrees can transfer from one institution to the next, but this is not guaranteed. The receiving college or university has full power to decide which credits and degrees it will accept and how it will transfer those into their institution.

Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

Accrediting agencies perform two types of accreditation: institutional and specialized. Institutional accreditation focuses on universities and colleges as a whole, while specialized accreditation focuses on particular schools and programs within an institution. When a school claims that it has an accredited MBA program, it's important for the student to find out which variety of accreditation it has. It could mean that they only have a specialized or only an institutional accreditation, or that they have both forms. Regional accreditation at the institutional level seems to be more common than national accreditation.

Business school accreditation generally means that schools will be more selective in the professors that they hire, the students they enroll, the courses that they teach, and the curriculum they follow. MBA students are advised to attend an accredited business school to ensure the best education possible. In addition to receiving a quality education during the MBA program, most PhD programs require that a student received her MBA from an accredited program.

In the United States, there are three main bodies that accredit business schools. All three agencies also accredit programs in other countries. The International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) and the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) accredit colleges and universities. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accredits research universities.

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