Before deciding on an online MBA course to invest your time and money in, there are some elements to take into consideration, and such is the case of accreditations. Accreditations consist of evaluations carried out by independent entities or agencies in order to assess the academic rigour and quality of academic institutions.
There are regional, national, and international accreditations, depending on the accrediting body that performs the evaluation, and each of them has different standards that universities and other higher education establishments must meet to be validated. This affects all programs offered, including part-time MBA programs.
Since accreditations are given to the academic institutions that meet the requirements set by the standards of the accrediting agencies, one could say that they correspond to a way to measure the quality of the institution that will back up your diploma, if you decide to enrol for a distance learning MBA program with them. To put it in simple words, accreditations are metrics to evaluate the quality and prestige of your potential diploma.
It is important to mention that accreditations are not the only way to evaluate the “merit” of universities and other academic institutions, however, they are a useful element to compare part-time MBA and other programs offered by different academic bodies.
Evaluations on a Global Scale
Currently, there are four main institutions that perform said evaluations on a global scale, and that you should know about for your distance learning MBA:
- The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB):
Founded in 1919 and based in the United States and Singapore, the AACSB carries out rigorous evaluations that guarantee that the accredited entities provide their students with a top-notch curriculum taught by high-quality faculties, which allows them to have academic and career opportunities that are extremely hard to find elsewhere. This prestigious accreditation has only been granted to roughly 5% of all business schools in the globe, and over 70% of them are located in the United States. Just as a reference, we could say that the AACSB accreditation is more common in North America than it is in Europe, contrary to the next element of this list.
- The Association of MBAs (AMBA):
This London based agency established in 1980 takes different parameters into account before validating the academic institutions under evaluation, such as the faculty and their academic strategy, the curriculum, the methodology used to evaluate students, the mission of the school, among others. Unlike the AACSB, the AMBA accreditation is much more common in Europe than it is in North America, accounting for over 60% of its accredited institutions in the old continent.
- The International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE):
The IACBE is one of the newest major accrediting agencies and their stamp of prestige is given to universities, colleges, and other academic bodies that show excellent academic outcomes in terms of their mission. Founded in 1997, the philosophy that characterises IACBE’ accreditation is mission-driven and based on results, instead of on static obsolete standards that do not take into consideration the objectives of the academic unit.
- The European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS):
Created in 1998, the rigorous evaluation performed by EQUIS includes factors such as the ethics, responsibility, and sustainability of the academic institution, both for the faculty and for the research and development departments; the connections between the theory and the practice offered by programs and experienced by students; and the internationalisation of the administrative members as well as that of the faculty and students.
Whether your online MBA course is taught by an institution in Europe, North America, or a different continent, these are the main accreditations that you should look for.