Distance Learning Accreditation
Since some distance learning institutions do not fit into the regional accreditation system, national agencies have been formed to provide accreditation to those schools. The most famous distance learning accreditation agency is the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). While an MBA from a DETC-accredited school is better than that of from a school with no accreditation at all, you run the risk of having a degree that’s not recognized by universities of potential employers. If your online program is already accredited by AACSB, you don’t need to worry about distance learning accreditation.
Most of the online MBA programs out there aren’t professionally accredited, but regionally accredited. That’s why you should be sure to check the accreditation information on a schools website. It isn’t safe to assume that a school that has an “accredited MBA program” is accredited by AACSB, AMBA, or EQUIS. The United States, for example, is home to 6 regional accreditation boards.
Most traditional US universities are regionally accredited by one of these agencies. This accreditation, however is just a basic accreditation and does not look specifically at the quality of business education. That’s why you should make sure that your program is also accredited by AACSB, EQUIS, or AMBA.
AACSB, EQUIS, and AMBA grant accreditation specifically to business schools. According to Robert Mittelstaedt, dean and professor of management at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, “Accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) means that a school meets at least minimum standards for well-trained faculty, reasonable support resources and depth of curriculum that will serve a student well. Accreditation also signifies that the school has an evaluation and continuous improvement process.” AACSB schools, for example, must go through a reaccreditation process every five years.
The following is a brief overview of AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA:
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of high-quality business education in the U.S. Founded in 1916 by some of the top business schools, AACSB views rigorous accreditation standards as one of the best ways to improve business education programs. 648 business schools out of 12,000 are AACSB-accredited. In addition to accreditation, AACSB hosts conferences, seminars, symposiums and webinars on the newest information and trends in business management and accounting education.
The European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) assesses institutes as a whole. Not only does EQUIS look at a school’s academic program, they also look at activities such as research, elearning, community education, and outreach. EQUIS’ emphasis is on internationalization and focuses mostly on European business schools. Only two US schools are EQUIS accredited.
The Association of MBAs (AMBA) was founded in 1967 in order to raise European awareness of MBA programs. AMBA feels that accrediting individual programs ensures higher standards of teaching. Unlike AACSB and EQUIS, AMBA accredits individual MBA programs as opposed to business schools. AMBA has accredited programs at 190 business schools in over 70 countries.