What Is the AACSB? Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) was founded in 1916 by a group of some of the top colleges and universities in the United States as a membership organization for business schools. According to AACSB.edu, founding members include notable Ivies such as Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania and Yale University. Highly lauded institutions such as Northwestern University, New York University, Ohio State University, Tulane University, University of California at Berkeley, The University of Chicago, University of Illinois, University of Nebraska, University of Pittsburgh, The University of Texas, and University of Wisconsin-Madison make up the rest of the AACSB founding members. The member institutions set out to create an independent, non-profit organization that would dedicate itself to the promotion and betterment of high-quality business education in the U.S. In accordance with this goal, AACSB International now holds a membership of around 1,200 college and universities, corporations, and non-profit organizations hailing from 70 different countries, according to the agency website. Due to its founding commitment to quality business education, the AACSB has now become one of the most prominent and highly-trusted resources on business education in the world and continuously works with its members to promote the advancement of management education.


The Purpose

One of the central functions of the AACSB is accreditation of business schools. Schools that are members of the AACSB are not necessarily accredited by the organization. Member schools have made a dedication to the promotion of quality business education and have access to resources and guidance available through the AACSB, but membership and accreditation with the AACSB are two different things. Accreditation by the AACSB is a highly selective and rigorous process. The organization currently prevails as the gold standard for business accreditation worldwide, and Aacsb.edu reports that the agency has accredited a total of 620 business schools in the U.S. and abroad. The AACSB began accreditation in 1919 when it adopted its first set of standards for the accreditation of business programs. Accreditation remains the primary role of AACSB because it is one of the best means to identify and reward quality business programs. Involving both self-review and review by the AACSB itself, the organization looks to determine the nature of each business program it evaluates and hold it up to the highest standards of quality in business management education. In fact, the AACSB has some of the most rigorous standards for business school accreditation in the world, and becoming accredited by the AACSB is one of the most highly-coveted accreditations a business school may receive, as it marks a business program of exceptional substance and rigor. For students looking into online education, an AACSB online MBA is a highly valuable degree.

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A Pulse on Business Education

The AACSB hosts many conferences, seminars, symposiums and webinars on the newest information and trends in business management and accounting education, providing business educators access to think tanks with experts in the field. The AACSB encourages opportunities for the professional development of business educators and provides a venue for communication between the business organizations and business schools. The organization offers conferences for regional areas, such as Europe and the Asia Pacific, symposiums for new associate deans, conferences for current deans, and conferences in areas such as sustainability and accreditation. The AACSB also hosts seminars on topics such as business accreditation, global accreditation, teaching effectiveness and lessons for aspiring deans. Webinars, such as “Best Practices from Accreditation Visits” and “Globalization Task Force Report,” and web forums in areas such as the globalization of management are cost-effective and efficient methods of educating members and the general public on business today. The AACSB also produces its own data on global business education and develops corresponding reports. The Global Foundation for Management Education, or GFME, is an organization created by the AACSB and the European Foundation for Management Development to investigate challenges to and ideas about the future development of management education on a global scale. The foundation publishes reports on visions for the future of business education and on current developments in the field.

The AACSB offers these services with a dedication to its original mission from 1916 and by staying true to organizational goals. According to the AACSB website, the mission of the organization is clear: to advance quality management education worldwide by means of accreditation, thought leadership in business management, and special services. The goal of the AACSB is to be the leading authority on management education in the world. In order to accomplish this, the organization holds strongly to maintaining operations with a global mindset and making sure that its international mindset is reflected in all levels and functions of the organization. The AACSB is committed to providing only the highest quality services, encouraging collegiality and mutual respect, embracing diversity, and working in the most socially responsible manner. The importance of the AACSB in the realm of business education is huge, not only in the United States, but across the globe. In fact, AACSB International continues to grow in membership and services offered every year, and the organization will only become more prominent as the world increasingly connects on a global scale in both education and business relations.

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