AACSB standards updated to reflect changing expectations

Leading MBA accreditation body the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) has completed a major overhaul and streamlining of the standards by which it accredits business schools.

Accreditation should be a major factor for potential MBAs to consider when choosing their business school due to the high standards that are required for schools to achieve and maintain their accreditation.

The new standards, approved by AACSB’s members at their annual meeting on 8 April, have been reduced from from 21 to 15.

The changes are the most significant update since 2003 and have been developed because “society demands more from the world’s business schools”.

The changes were announced after two-plus years of study and collaboration with the global management education community.

During the review the AACSB critically examined market needs, re-considered definitions of excellence and the role of accreditation, and focused on defining new standards that:

  • Drive innovation in business schools to create and sustain value for students, employers, and the communities they serve.
  • Go beyond quality and ensure that business schools also have an impact through both scholarly education and the creation of new knowledge.
  • Require significant engagement between faculty, students, and business professionals, fostering meaningful intersections to create and share knowledge that is both scholarly and relevant to practice.

“Business schools are at a time of unprecedented change. To remain current, leaders within the industry had to stand back and evaluate where management education needed to go,” said Joseph DiAngelo, chair of the AACSB Board of Directors and dean of the Erivan K. Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University.

“Throughout this process, we looked deeply at the marketplace to determine new routes to relevance, to ensure business schools are developing the type of leaders that society needs for the future. The changes will keep business schools at the heart of global commerce.”

Designed to give business schools the flexibility to innovate to meet the needs of the employer and student markets—while still holding institutions to the highest standards of quality—the new standards will provide a new benchmark for excellence.

“The new environment calls for schools to focus on their distinctive mission and value proposition. Students, employers, and society as a whole expect a great deal from business schools—especially when it comes to addressing the most challenging issues of the world,” said Richard E. Sorensen, chair of the BRC, and dean of the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech.

“In this context of constant change, the new accreditation standards will not only validate quality management education and impactful research, but also help business schools provide the leadership, skills, and knowledge necessary to the communities they serve.”

The following Australian business schools are accredited by AACSB.


The Association of Advanced Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) was established in 1916 as a membership organisation for business schools.

In 1919, the first AACSB Accreditation Standards were adopted with the primary objective of improving collegiate business education. In 1980, an additional set of accreditation standards were developed for undergraduate and graduate-level degree programs in accounting to address the special needs of the profession. Throughout the years, both the AACSB Business and Accounting Accreditation Standards have been continually revised to reflect the ever-changing needs of business and its students.

Today, the AACSB Accreditation Standards are used as the basis to evaluate a business school’s mission, operations, faculty qualifications and contributions, programs, and other critical areas. AACSB accreditation ensures students and parents that the business school is providing a top-quality education. It also ensures employers that AACSB-accredited business school graduates are ready to perform on day one. Additionally, AACSB accreditation provides many benefits to the faculty and staff at its accredited schools by attracting higher quality students, providing greater research opportunities, and allowing for global recognition.


Ben Ready
Ben Ready founded MBA News in 2014 and is the Managing Editor. He is a former business and finance journalist with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and Dow Jones Newswires in London. Ben completed his MBA in 2012 and was awarded the QUT GMAA Entrepreneurship Prize. He is also the founder and Managing Director of RGC Media & Mktng (rgcmm.com.au).