What Is AACSB Accreditation?

When pursuing an MBA, choosing a school with the right accreditation is extremely important. One group that provides accreditation for MBA schools is the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). So what is AACSB accreditation business masters degree? This accreditation is actually one of the more notable ones when it comes to business and accounting accreditation.


The AACSB dates to 1916, when it was first founded to accredit schools of business. It wasn’t until 1919 that the first accreditation actually took place. In the beginning, only North American schools were accredited; however, in 1997, the group accredited its first school outside of this area, a college in France. Since its inception, more than 687 business schools have received accreditation in more than 45 countries, with more than 182 accounting schools in seven different companies receiving the same certification.


In order to receive AACSB accreditation, schools must be member institutions, and offer graduate degree programs in either business or accounting. The school must also meet the rigid standards set forth by this organization, to include meeting predetermined criteria for student admissions, progression and career development, curriculum content, teaching effectiveness and faculty qualifications.

If it appears that a school could potentially meet AACSB standards, an evaluation process will then take place. During this process, members from the AACSB will work with mentors and committee members at the educational institution in an effort to create a Standards Alignment Plan. This alignment plan is intended to ensure that a particular school is able to meet the stringent standards required by the AACSB. The school is then appointed a peer review team chief, who will work with school administrators to coordinate site visits and the development of the reports that are required as part of the accreditation process.

The entire accreditation process can take anywhere from two to three years in many cases. It culminates with an on-site review, at which time a recommendation will be made as to whether or not a school can become accredited. This information is taken before a review committee, who will then make the final determination.

Renewal of Accreditation

Once accreditation has been granted, it will then be good for a period of five years. After that time, the AACSB will review each school in order to ensure it continues to meet the criteria specified. Among some of the things looked at will include maintaining educational achievements, proper representation of degree and non-degree programs, and actively participating in the review process.

Benefits of Accreditation

There are a number of benefits to students when it comes to attending an AACSB-accredited school. Perhaps the biggest one is the fact that its standards are well recognized by those in the business community. The fact that a school has received accreditation speaks well as to the quality of academics provided at a given institution. As such, those who graduate from such a college are more likely to be recognized by top corporations than those who graduate from another school without this accreditation.

New 2013 Standards

Throughout the years, the AACSB has continuously revised their standards in order to ensure that associated colleges continue to provide top-notch education. A major renovation of these standards occurred in 2013 after more than 24 months of careful evaluation and collaboration with global business leaders. The 2013 standards were revised significantly over the 2003 standards, containing 15 different criteria in four basic areas that must be met in order for an institution to be considered.

Timeline for Transition

The AASCB has recognized that it might take some time for schools to become compliant with the new requirements, which is why they have developed a transition timeline to help with the process. Beginning in 2013, a limited number of schools began receiving a site visit in order to familiarize them with the updated standards. Through 2015, schools may continue using the 2003 standards, or may choose to begin using the 2013 standards instead. In 2016, use of the new standards will be highly encouraged, with all institutions being in full compliance with them by the end of 2017.

How to Obtain a Degree

Those who are interested in obtaining an AASCB-accredited graduate degree should enroll at an accredited university. It isn’t necessary to take courses on campus, as a number of online schools are also accredited. Applicants need to have an undergraduate degree first; however, that degree does not have to be in a business or accountingelated field. Individual acceptance criteria varies from one school to the next, but generally requires a good score on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), as well as satisfactory academic progress at one’s previous school.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, MBA students are among the most diverse of any who are enrolled in graduate degree programs. Those who pursue an AASCB-accredited MBA will set themselves apart even further, as the quality of such an academic program is widely recognized by leaders in major corporations both here and abroad.