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When choosing an MBA program, it is critical to understand what accreditation is and why accreditation matters," says Jerry Trapnell, Executive Vice-President and Chief Accreditation Officer, AACSB International.
Each year, corporations spend millions on MBA programs to develop their next generation of leaders, which is why more and more Fortune 500 companies are paying attention to the product they buy.
Quality Matters. It matters to Intel, Fed-Ex, Lockheed Martin and Telephone Data Systems, which are just a few of the companies that have become more conscious of what they are paying for and what they are getting in return. It matters to employees, too, because as The Chronicle of Higher Education reported and Intel discovered, employees with MBAs from AACSB-accredited schools were more likely to get promoted within the company.
Imagine finally earning your MBA, and not being able to advance within your company because you attended the wrong school.
Today, due to a recently implemented organization-wide policy, Intel employees know they can only receive tuition reimbursement for attending business classes at institutions accredited by AACSB International -The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and engineering classes taken at institutions accredited by ABET, formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In this way, Intel knows that its employees have received the highest quality education.
Accreditation matters. But it definitely gets confusing. That's why companies like Intel are specific about the accreditation requirements. Not all accreditation is equal. A business school accredited by the right agency can definitely make a difference in the quality of the MBA, and the student's upward mobility and income potential. However, a degree that is given by a non-accredited school or one that has questionable accreditation can actually derail an MBA graduate from the fast track and hurt his or her chances for employment elsewhere. In short, accreditation from the wrong agency can be as bad or worse than no accreditation at all.
Accreditation for business schools is a rigorous, quality assurance process that involves thorough reviews of an institution's programs and policies. This assures corporations and employees alike that the business schools they choose will be among the best.
Institutional accreditation by a legitimate accrediting body ensures the highest standard of achievement and commitment to quality and continuous improvement through a comprehensive peer review. AACSB International-the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is a specialized, professional accrediting organization for business programs, including MBAs, and is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Recognition by CHEA assures that AACSB International adheres to high standards and values that support an effective accreditation process.
Remember: Accreditation is designed to protect students, schools, and employers. It ensures that a school has met rigorous standards and that holds its faculty to high standards as well. A competent and comprehensive MBA program has highly qualified faculty involved in theory, pedagogy, and practice.
There is a wide variety of MBA choices out there. An eager student, hungry for knowledge, will extract every bit of information and put it to use on the job. And it is up to both the company and the employer to carefully evaluate the benefits, style, fit, faculty and course offerings of an education provider. Accreditation is an important part of that assessment. It will ensure a maximum return on investment for the company and success for the student for many years to come.
For a list of AACSB accredited schools, go to www.aacsb.edu.