Starting a MBA? Learn more about accreditations here.

One of the biggest challenges you will face when selecting a college or university business program to attend is simply deciphering all the acronyms! For instance, is it more prestigious to pick a business program accredited by the ACBSP, the AACSB or the IACBE? For that matter, what doe these three acronyms even stand for – or mean?

In this short post, learn about what each accreditation organization oversees and which is the most recognized amongst business and education professionals today.ACSBP (The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs)
The ACSBP accreditation is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The overwhelming focus of this organization is accrediting programs with a research focus. They also have a goal of quantity.Here are some facts about ACSBP accredited programs:

– They offer accreditation to associates, bachelors, masters, doctoral.
– They are international.
– They believe research is the best way to enhance curricula.
– Their website is www.acbsp.org.

AACSB (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business)
The AACSB issues accreditation to a carefully controlled group of business programs in higher education worldwide (about 650 total – about five percent of eligible programs). As such, it is often considered the most well-recognized of these three accrediting bodies..

Here are some facts about graduates of AACSB accredited business programs:

– They tend to go on to earn additional credentials in their field.
– They offer accreditation for both business and accounting programs.
– They offer accreditation for bachelors (4-year), masters and doctoral degree programs only.
– The website is www.aacsb.edu for students who wish to learn more.

Institutions that maintain AACSB accreditation must undergo a “Continuous Improvement” review every five years in order to keep its accreditation status.

IACBE (The International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education)
After several years as an independent, the Council for Higher Education Association (CHEA) extended recognition to the IACBE. They see themselves as providing a unique service that is different than other accrediting bodies in that they base accreditation on how well and closely an institution follows its mission and achieves mission-centric outcomes.

Here are some interesting facts about the IACBE:

– They are also international in scope.
– They tend to focus their accreditation efforts more on smaller, private or liberal arts-based institutions.
– They offer accreditation for institutions offering all four types of degrees (associates through doctoral).
– Their website is www.iacbe.org.

How to Choose an Accredited Business Degree Program
What matters most is that you choose a program that is accredited. Which accreditation body is doing the accrediting is not nearly so important as that the degree plan itself is accredited.

Here is why:

– Accreditation means the institution has submitted to oversight by a governing body in terms of the value it offers to its students (both internally and as compared to other competing institutions).
– Accreditation gives you some clout if you feel you have not been given an education worthy of an accredited program.
– Accreditation is often scrutinized by prospective employers who only want to hire graduates of a program that is accredited.
– Accreditation is internationally recognized, which means it matters both at home and abroad.
– Accreditation offers some measure of standardization (regardless of which organization is doing the accrediting) that you will get a degree that helps you compete successfully for jobs after graduation.

Studying more about each accrediting body can give you insight into what is most valuable to you. But what is most important is that you graduate with a degree backed by accreditation.