Choosing a school to get a Master of Business Administration qualification can be a difficult process, given that there are more than 10,000 business schools worldwide.
One way to choose the right business school is to look for accreditation from established organizations, as it is considered a seal of approval to prove the quality of the schools or courses it provides. Most of the world’s leading business schools today are accredited by at least one of those reputable organizations.
Companies, especially foreign firms, often regard such accreditation highly when hiring an MBA graduate, meaning that enrolling in non-accredited schools could result in a waste of money and time, experts say.
The three most internationally recognized accreditation bodies are the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) and Association of MBAs (AMBA).
These organizations assess each school under their own rigorous quality standards based on faculty, curriculum, campus, students and internationalization, to judge whether they meet internationally agreed upon standards for business education.
The U.S.-based AACSB, for example, assesses schools based on 15 business accreditation standards such as support for students, faculty and staff, academic and professional engagement of students and strategic management. To ensure that accredited schools maintain those standards, AACSB conducts re-evaluations every five years.
As of 2018, AACSB has accredited over 800 schools worldwide. According to the agency’s website, 90 percent of the Economist’s 2016 Top 100 full-time MBA programs are in business schools that have received AACSB accreditation.
EQUIS, run by Brussels-based EFMD Management Development Network, also evaluates business schools in areas such as strategy, curriculum, faculty, internationalization and corporate connections. More than 170 institutions worldwide have earned accreditation from EQUIS.
London-based AMBA has accredited over 240 institutions, by judging the schools on size of faculty, breadth and depth of curriculum and program contents among other things.
In recent years, business schools in Asia are also trying to acquire one of these accreditations, in a bid to improve school brand and to lure top-notch students from all over the world.
In Japan, there are a few business schools approved by the accreditation bodies, including AACSB-accredited Temple University, Japan Campus and Nagoya University of Commerce and Business in Aichi Prefecture, as well as the EQUIS-approved McGill University in Tokyo.