Accreditation provides business schools with independent verification of their standards and a tool of differentiation on which prospective students can judge the quality of their programs. There are three main accrediting organisations are:
- The European Quality Improvement System (or EQUIS), managed by the Brussels-based European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD).
- The US-based Association of Advanced Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
- The London-based Association of MBAs (AMBA)
While each accrediting body uses different systems on which to base their assessment of schools, all are highly evolved and provide high benchmarks for acceptance.
EQUIS evaluates a business school’s governance, strategy, programs, students, faculty, research and development, executive education, contribution to the community, resources and administration, internationalisation, and corporate connections.
An AACSB accreditation in business represents a positive evaluation of a “school’s mission, operations, faculty qualifications and contributions, programs, and other critical areas.”
The AMBA system judges the quality of a business school’s strategy, mission, faculty, students, curriculum, and assessment. For example, to be accepted as an AMBA accredited school students admitted to a school’s program must have at least three years of work experience and three quarters of a business school’s faculty must have a Masters or Doctoral degree in a relevant discipline.
The European Quality Improvement System (or EQUIS) is managed by the Brussels-based European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD).
EQUIS is one of the major international systems of quality assessment, improvement and accreditation for business schools that provide courses in management and business administration.
The fundamental objective of EQUIS, which is linked to the overall mission of EFMD, is to raise the standard of management education worldwide.
How does EQUIS assess schools?
- EQUIS assesses institutions as a whole. It assesses not just degree programmes but all the activities and sub-units of the institution, including research, e-learning units, executive education provision and community outreach. Institutions must be primarily devoted to management education.
- EQUIS looks for a balance between high academic quality and the professional relevance provided by close interaction with the corporate world. A strong interface with the world of business is, therefore, as much a requirement as a strong research potential. EQUIS attaches particular importance to the creation of an effective learning environment that favours the development of students’ managerial and entrepreneurial skills, and fosters their sense of global responsibility. It also looks for innovation in all respects, including programme design and pedagogy.
- Institutions that are accredited by EQUIS must demonstrate not only high general quality in all dimensions of their activities, but also a high degree of internationalisation. With companies recruiting worldwide, with students choosing to get their education outside their home countries, and with schools building alliances across borders and continents, there is a rapidly growing need for them to be able to identify those institutions in other countries that deliver high quality education in international management.
The following Australian business schools are accredited by EQUIS
- Melbourne Business School
- Monash University
- Queensland University of Technology
- The University of Western Australia
- University of New South Wales
- University of Queensland
- University of South Australia
- University of Sydney Business School
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.
The following Australian business schools are accredited by AACSB.
- Australian Graduate School of Management (New South Wales) – Australian School of Business
- Macquarie Graduate School of Management (New South Wales)
- The University of Sydney (New South Wales) – The University of Sydney Business School
- University of Technology, Sydney (New South Wales) – UTS Business School
- Griffith University (Queensland) – Griffith Business School
- Queensland University of Technology (Queensland) – Business School
- The University of Queensland (Queensland) – UQ Business School
- The University of Adelaide (South Australia)
- Melbourne Business School (Victoria) – The University of Melbourne
- University of Melbourne (Victoria) – Faculty of Business and Economics
- University of Western Australia (Western Australia) – UWA Business School
Association of MBAs
The Association of MBAs (AMBA) is one of the major accreditation bodies for postgraduate business education and was established in 1967. The London-based group positions itself as “the world’s impartial authority on postgraduate management education”.
It differs from AACSB and EQUIS as it accredits a school’s portfolio of postgraduate business programs rather than the entire business school.
To date AMBA has accredited programmes at 201 business schools in over 70 different countries.
The Association’s process of accrediting an MBA program includes reviewing compliance with over 100 criteria, most of them qualitative rather than quantitative. The criteria fall into seven dimensions: history and development of the institution; facilities and libraries; teaching faculty, teaching standards and research track record; program administration, career and alumni services; student admission standards, diversity and cohort size; curriculum content, program mode and duration; and learning outcomes.
Some of the key AMBA criteria for the accreditation of an MBA program include:
- all admitted students should have at least three years of full-time post-graduation work experience upon the start of the MBA course (a criterion which the vast majority of the top US business schools cannot meet as US MBA programs sometimes admit applicants with only a bachelor’s degree and no work experience);
- a school should have a track record of at least three years of graduating MBA students before it can be accredited;
- an MBA program should have a cohort size of at least 20 students.
- at least 50% of the faculty of an MBA program (including visiting faculty as part of the total) are normally expected to have PhD degrees;
- a full-time MBA curriculum should contain no less than 500 contact (teaching) hours and a distance-learning MBA program should have no less than 120 contact hours;
The following Australian Schools are accredited by the Association of MBAs: