The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) describes their accreditation as the hallmark of business education. According to information at BestBizSchools.com (n.d.), AACSB accreditation represents the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide. Being AACSB accredited means a business school is able to continuously pass a strict set of standards that ensure quality. As of December 2010, only 5%, or 607, of the academic business programs globally were accredited by AACSB. This number represents schools in 38 countries where the majority of programs incorporate both undergraduate and graduate education covering business, accounting, or both. An institution must be a member of AACSB in order to apply for accreditation. It is important to note, however, that membership does not imply that the program is accredited (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, n.d.-a). Recent emphasis demanding external validation on the quality of Business Schools has resulted in the promotion of AACSB accreditation as the de facto quality standard. Earning this quality seal of approval, business programs can verify they have met the 21 AACSB standards that cover strategic, participant, and assurance of learning achievements and processes. Programs with AACSB accreditation are encouraged to promote the standard using it to externally validate their quality and to market their programs to external groups including students, employers, and contributors (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, n.d.-b). Despite established standards, no single approach to meeting standards for accreditation is suggested by AACSB. Rather, varying approaches to meeting standards should be developed to fit individual programs of institutions (Bryant & Scherer, 2009). This position by AACSB underscores its recognition of the diversity across accredited programs and allows educators wide latitude in developing and implementing approaches to excellence. Small programs are not disadvantaged so long as their students, faculty, graduates, and the employers who hire them receive the quality outputs that help them meet the external competitive requirements (Olian, 2007). In recognition of member institutions diversity, the AACSB has established the Affinity Group program where school administrators from schools sharing similar characteristics can interact, exchange ideas, and present views on a wide range of issues (Olian, 2007). This allows AACSB member schools, who have varying missions and constituents, to find and link with other programs of a similar nature where creativity and synergy can more easily occur. The AACSB wants the accreditation process to help facilitate creativity in designing business school strategies rather than being viewed as an impediment to a programs push to quality (Romero, 2008).
Gundersen, David E.; Jennings, Susan Evans; Dunn, Deborah; Fisher, Warren; Kouliavtsev, Mikhail; and Rogers, Violet, "A Pillar For Successful Business School Accreditation: Conducting The Curriculum Review Process A Systematic Approach" (2011). Faculty Publications. 35.
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