Business School accreditations 2012 to 2017

With all due credit

It is over 100 years since the founding in 1916 of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) in the US, which launched the first formal audit of business schools in 1919. Closer to home, the London-based Association of MBAs (AMBA) celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017, which also marked 20 years of EQUIS, from Brussels-based European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) Quality Improvement System. With an initial outlay of £100K+, triple accreditation – the holy grail – requires approval from all three of these international associations, widely regarded as the largest and most influential. Last year, AMBA’s accreditations reached a record high of 241 (up 22% in the past five years), while AACSB has amassed 799 accredited business schools in 53 countries and territories, most recently in Azerbaijan, Palestine, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia and Uganda. So, why does it matter?​ 

  • Competition is intensifying: The US and UK remain the two most popular destinations for international business students (despite concerns about Trump and Brexit). However, while latest application trends from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) indicate overall growth from 78% of UK MBA programmes and 57% of business master’s, for the majority, the domestic and part-time markets are in decline. 
  • A ‘kitemark’ of quality that sets schools apart: As the desire to stand out from the crowd to attract the brightest and best escalates, so too does the demand for accreditation. As of July, MBA Today reported just 82 of the 15,000 business schools worldwide held the prized ‘triple crown’ accreditation.
  • Pre-requisite for rankings:  Accreditation is essential for consideration in some major league tables. To participate in the various Financial Times' rankings requires AACSB or EQUIS accreditation and the US News best business schools rankings survey only AACSB-accredited MBA programmes.
  • Reputation matters: Accreditation is associated with quality; AACSB-accredited schools account for more than 90% of ranked schools globally. Quality and reputation are consistently the most important selection criteria in GMAC’s annual mba.com prospective students survey. In 2016, for those considering a professional MBA, programme accreditation was considered the most influential information. After course information, cost and ranking are also the most frequently searched content on business school websites, according to a Carrington Crisp web study.
  • A graduate premium: Recognised worldwide by employers, accreditation provides an assurance that students learn the most appropriate material and gain relevant, up-to-date skills. The highest graduate salaries, evidenced in all the main league tables, are achieved by those who attend the ‘best’ business schools. 20% of business school deans* surveyed by AACSB are aware of companies that only recruit from AACSB-accredited programmes.
    *Based on responses from deans at 305 AACSB-accredited and in-process institutions from Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania                How we can support your Business School