The dictionary has almost a dozen definitions for the word 'quality', but when you get right down to it, quality represents achievement and commitment. Achieving accreditation by the International Association for Management Education (AACSB) is a clear indicator not only of quality, but of instructional commitment to a philosophy of continuous improvement.

AACSB, the premier accrediting agency for bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in business administration and accounting, is committed to excellence in management education. The organization was founded in 1916 and began its accreditation function with the adoption of the first standards in 1919. Additional standards for programs in accountancy were adopted in 1980. AACSB's founding members include Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, New York University, Northwestern University, The Ohio State University, Tulane University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois, the University of Nebraska, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Texas, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Yale University. These prestigious institutions and others carry the logo of an AACSB-accredited institution.

What is Accreditation?

AACSB accreditation assures quality, promoting excellence and continuous improvement in undergraduate and graduate education for business administration and accounting. Its accreditation is a process of voluntary, non-governmental review of educational institutions and programs, with demanding standards that challenge schools to pursue continuous improvement.

The AACSB accreditation process focuses on the quality of educational activities through self-evaluation and peer review. In the self-evaluation process, a school assesses its accomplishments in relation to its mission and objectives, as well as on the criteria in the accreditation standards. The peer review is an external analysis of a school's processes for achieving its mission, assessing educational outcomes and planning for continuous improvement.

The AACSB accreditation process benefits all constituents in a wide variety of ways:

Benefits to Students

· The school/program has an appropriate mission achieved through relevant curricula, qualified faculty, and effective policies and practices.

· The degree program offered has completed a rigorous self-evaluation and peer review.

· The degree program offered satisfied criteria established and accepted by the management education community.

Benefits to Schools/Programs

· Participation in the AACSB accreditation process affirms the school's responsibility for the quality of education offered, and demonstrates its commitment to continuous improvement.

· By undergoing the self-evaluation, a school assesses planning and goal-setting processes, and measures accomplishments against objectives.

· The peer review process includes a review of the program's strengths, limitations and opportunities, with the ultimate purpose of improving educational effectiveness.

· Peer review provides advice and counsel, and offers new perspectives on the program's operation.

· The accreditation process contributes to the harmony of the business administration disciplines by bringing together all constituents in continuous improvement.

Benefits to Employers

· Accreditation assures prospective employers that graduates come from a program where the content and quality have been evaluated, satisfying established standards.

· The employer can be confident that the graduate's course of study includes an understanding of today's complex business environment.

· The program offered is current, reflecting changes in knowledge and practices generally accepted in the management education community.

Benefits to the Public

· Accredited status represents a commitment of the program and the institution to quality and continuous improvement.

· The school/program has a clearly defined mission and educationally appropriate objectives.

· The school/program has voluntarily undertaken a self-evaluation and peer review.

Philosophy of Accreditation

AACSB accreditation promotes excellence and continuous improvement in undergraduate and graduate education for business administration and accounting. The review process is linked to each school's stated mission and objectives. Self-evaluation and peer review assures performance consistent with the school's mission and AACSB accreditation. The process endorses and supports diverse paths to achieving high-quality education, providing guidance for continuous improvement in educational programs.

AACSB Educational Institutions

All AACSB educational institutions, including accredited and non-accredited schools, are hot-linked on the AACSB website: www.aacsb.edu. The 'Accreditation' section of the website has a separate listing of the accredited schools by country.

AUTHOR: Carmen Bouverat, Business School Recruitment Executive, KPMG Consulting

 

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