business accreditation

Choosing a business school is a HUGE decision and is not a choice to be taken lightly. It’s very important to know the differences/comparisons to the accreditations given to the business schools you may consider BEFORE making that choice. First, I’ll describe each accreditation program per their own websites’ descriptions, then…what all of it means for YOU!

accreditation agencies

AACSB – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

aacsb The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

According to their website, AACSB-accredited colleges and universities include the best of everything. From the highest merited faculty, pertinent, reliable and demanding business curriculums, and must have outstanding, unrivaled career opportunities that stand out in the crowd and are not found at other business schools.

Their accreditation is unsurpassed as they represent only THE highest standards of achievements regarding business schools around the world with less than FIVE percent of the world’s 13,000 plus business programs available to you acquiring an AACSB accreditation. In addition, graduates from these business programs are supremely credentialed and as a result most desirable to employers as compared to non-accredited institutions.

Internationally recognized, an AACSB member offers degrees for business and accounting programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels and must undergo a rigorous process of self-evaluation and peer-reviews that begins with a submission and then an approval application.

Once approved, the AACSB’s Accreditation Standards are evaluated within the school and if all requirements are met then accreditation will occur. A Continuous Improvement Review processed every five years keeps the school on its toes and makes certain that their standards are still kept at the utmost levels of improvement year after year.

And finally, their website concludes that “AACSB Accreditation is known, worldwide, as the longest standing, most recognized form of specialized/professional accreditation an institution and its business programs can earn.”

ACBSP – The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs

acbsp The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs

Recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the mission of the ACBSP is to promote “continuous improvement and recognize excellence in the accreditation of business education programs around the world.” Their vision is to find “every quality business program worldwide is accredited.”

The ACBSP accredits associate, baccalaureate, master and doctoral degree levels worldwide in regarding to business-related programs. They reward teaching excellence and was the first to offer specialized business accreditation to all degree levels. The purpose of the council is to instill the need for continuous research in colleges and universities as they feel this is of utmost importance in the business world in order to enhance the quality of the curriculums in which they teach.

IACBE – The International Accreditation Council for Business Education

iacbe The International Accreditation Council for Business Education

The IACBE’s website describes themselves as the “leading outcomes-based professional accrediting organization for business programs in student-centered colleges and universities around the world.” Its existence is to promote academic quality and excellence in business education involving all aspects of the institution as a complete unit.

THE IACBE was founded in 1997 “in response to the expressed needs of presidents, chief executive officers, chief academic officers, and business deans, chairs, directors, and HODs who wanted an accreditation process that was not driven by prescriptive standards relating to inputs and resources, but was mission-driven and outcomes-based.”

In January of 2011, the Council for Higher Education Association (CHEA) granted recognition to the IACBE. Those colleges and universities not recognized by the other business education accrediting bodies were now eligible for accreditation consideration.

The International Accreditation Council for Business Education does accredit colleges and universities that offer associate degrees in business.


Now, to attempt to decipher this information:

  • The AACSB is the most widely recognized and tends to accredit more well-known “top” business schools. They appear to be the “gold standard” for business schools’ accreditation.
  • One of the differences between the AACSB and the other two accrediting bodies is that the AACSB is focused on the research and teaching performed by the school and the school’s continuing need to obtain a high level of research to assure high-quality educational platforms.
  • The target market for the ACBSP is not-so-much research but the quality of faculty and such who are teaching the business courses. Rating with different parameters does not make one accreditation body “better” than the other, as it is comparing apples to oranges.
  • For students that are qualified, attending a good AACSB school, if at all possible, is recommended as this is especially important for those seeking careers with employers that are seeking out AACSB accredited attending graduates.
  • Many colleges and universities will not hire any faculty that did not get their business degrees from an AACSB-accredited business school.
  • According to, “the IACBE claims to be targeting the needs of over 600 smaller, private liberal arts colleges and mid-size public and private colleges that have business degree programs.” therefore, the most expensive of colleges aren’t just the only ones receiving business accreditation.


In a nutshell, one accreditation body was born, then one thought the other was too rigorous and yet then another one was born, and then, again. Having said this, it is best to choose a school with at least ONE of these accreditation statuses as a means to whittle away the schools that you need to avoid. I, personally, would recommend you perform your own research based on this information I have provided to get you started.

Rowan Jones
Chief Editor