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Guide to MBA Accreditation

Given the number of programs that lead to an MBA in our day, it can be difficult to determine whether or not the degree-granting institution actually offers a quality education. This is particularly true of online degrees, as we have all heard stories about less-than-reputable organizations that offer degrees that amount to little more than worthless pieces of paper. Unfortunately, some students have spent years in an MBA program only to find out later that it was a waste of their time and money.

No one wants to spend money on a useless degree. The best way to avoid wasting your time and effort on a worthless MBA is to make sure that you consider only accredited online MBA programs when you are looking into a graduate business education. Enrolling in one of the many online MBA programs accredited by a recognized accrediting agency is the best way to ensure that the degree you earn will be worth the effort and money you put into it. What is accreditation and what are its benefits? Read on to find out.

What Is MBA Accreditation?

As with any other degree, accreditation for MBA programs is a process by which an independent third party certifies whether or not a particular business school, department, or program meets certain quality standards. Accredited institutions must prove that they have the proper faculty, study facilities, self-evaluation procedures and other elements that are necessary for students to receive a sound education. Accreditation is a long process for those institutions and programs that seek it, but it is a way to demonstrate to students and the government that degree-granting entities are not degree mills.

In the United States, accreditation is granted at both the institutional and program level. Institutions are usually accredited as a whole by a recognized regional accrediting body such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. There is also specialized accreditation that certifies the quality of specific programs, schools, or colleges within a larger university. The most respected MBA-specific accreditation is granted through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). An AACSB accredited online MBA program has proven to the AACSB that it is a quality educational program in business administration.

The MBA Accreditation Process

Generally speaking, online MBA programs accredited by the AACSB are offered through colleges or universities that have already earned institutional accreditation. Thus, these universities have already demonstrated that they have met certain institutional standards of quality. AACSB accreditation is the next step in the process, and it is awarded only after a lengthy process of evaluation.

An AACSB accredited online MBA must meet standards that were first developed in 1919 and have been continually updated since then. Institutions must first be a member of the AACSB and then submit a list of business degree programs that they want accredited. Certain programs may be excluded depending on a variety of factors, but once the AACSB has determined which programs are actually seeking accreditation, the process of accrediting the institution can begin.

Accredited online MBA programs must demonstrate several strengths in order to win MBA accreditation. Because of the diverse world and globalized economy in which we all live and function, online MBA programs accredited by the AACSB must exhibit a good deal of diversity in their student body and faculty. A code of ethics for both students and teachers must also be present, along with penalties for violations. There must also be at least two consecutive years of graduates with the degree before accreditation can be granted.

In addition to these fundamental requirements, accredited online MBA programs will also have demonstrated that they educate students in line with an institutional mission statement. Faculty will have proved their ability to make original contributions to their field through the documentation of published works. Measures for self-evaluation and improvement must also be in place, along with the necessary institutional infrastructure to help registered students research and study.

Benefits of Accreditation

Benefits of accreditation go beyond simply assuring students that they will receive a quality education. Students who want to go on for doctoral study almost always need an MBA that is fully accredited. An AACSB accredited online MBA, therefore, can qualify a student for another advanced degree. Furthermore, accredited MBA programs are more widely recognized in the job market than programs that have not been accredited. It is therefore easier to prove that you possess the necessary skills for a particular job when you hold an accredited degree. Thus, you are always wise to earn a qualification from a properly accredited institution.