MBA programs online can be accredited by several organizations including the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Council for Higher Education Accreditation, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education. The first two organizations accredit colleges and educational programs generally while the latter three offer specific accreditation for accounting and Masters of Business Administration degree programs.
The AACSB ranks as the oldest and most prestigious accreditation for bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees according to the AACSB website. Founded in 1916, the AACSB certifies programs worldwide.
The benefits of choosing AACSB-accredited programs include universally recognized, respected and rigorous standards of education, millions of successful graduates and more focused curricula on the evolving challenges of an ever-increasing global marketplace.
Why Some Students Choose MBA Programs Without Accreditation
MBA graduates can expect to earn lucrative salaries that range from $112,000 to $127,000 according to Economist.com. Some students opt for programs without accreditation from the major certifying organizations because these programs tend to more affordable or have less stringent admission standards. Some students can't qualify for admission to accredited programs due to low scores on the GRE or GMAT while others analyze the cost-value benefits of earning a regionally accredited MBA without AACSB accreditation.
GetEducated.com reports that 70 percent of MBA programs in the United States aren't AACSB-accredited. The website also reports:
- The costs of getting an accredited MBA degree average $37,011 while non-accredited MBAs cost only about $24,663.
- Admission standards are higher at accredited schools.
- Applicants to accredited programs must usually get high scores on the Graduate Management Admissions Test, which assesses competencies in many academic subjects.
- Most certified programs require MBA candidates to have formal bachelor's degrees in business administration.
- Some respected schools don't seek accreditation because they want a more flexible curriculum to meet the challenges of fast-moving changes in business practices.
Benefits of Earning an Accredited MBA
Business.GMU.edu reports that the AACSB is considered the standard by which educational institutions and top business employers hire staff and determine salaries. Only accredited schools appear in U.S. News & World Report rankings. The advantages of AACSB accreditation include:
- Getting a superior education in terms of rigorous standards, international business practices and relevance
- Learning financial theory, capital structures, risk management, financial forecasting and the fundamental principles of corporate finance
- Gaining a deeper understanding of international business practices as opposed to regional certifications that focus on regional localized issues
- Understanding the role that the financial institutions play in global business
- Positioning yourself for an aggressive financial career among urban financial giants such as Wall Street firms and Fortune 500 companies
- Getting financial assistance from corporate programs that only pay for AACSB-accredited degrees
- Earning prestigious academic qualifications for careers in education, forecasting, writing or government
Online degree programs offer business students more freedom and flexibility for earning a degree while working at another job, changing careers or advancing prospects while supporting families. Students can choose an accredited program for the best prospects of landing desirable positions, but regionally accredited schools might be the best option for some students. Money is tight for some people, and others aren't competing in aggressive careers or seeking academic prestige or employment at a business school. Each student should assess the pros and cons of MBA accreditation based on their career and academic goals.