Accreditation from a reputable accreditation organization is one good way to check the quality of a business school. Accreditation organizations evaluate the quality standards of a business school's teaching, faculty, services, and students, among other things.
The three most-coveted accreditations for MBA programs are those from AACSB, AMBA, and EQUIS; their methodologies and regional focuses are briefly described below.
The Tampa, Florida-based Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accredits business schools offering graduate and undergraduate business programs. It began doing this in 1919, and now accredits business schools in over 35 countries. It has also been accrediting accounting programs since 1980.
An AACSB accreditation in business represents a positive evaluation of a "school's mission, operations, faculty qualifications and contributions, programs, and other critical areas." Schools are reevaluated every five years.
As of late 2010, around 600 institutions held an AACSB accreditation in business, of which about 80 percent were located in the United States. Other countries with high numbers of AACSB-accredited business schools include Canada (17), Britain (14), and France (13).
The London-based Association of MBAs (AMBA) accredited MBA, Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), and Master of Business and Management (MBM) programs in over 70 countries. As of late 2010, about 70 percent of AMBA-accredited business schools are in Europe and Britain, with only 2 percent located in North America.
AMBA has been accrediting programs since the early 1980s. It judges the quality of a business school's strategy, mission, faculty, students, curriculum, and assessment. By AMBA standards, for example, students admitted onto an accredited program must have at least three years of work experience. Three quarters of a business school's faculty must have a Masters or Doctoral degree in a relevant discipline.
The European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) is run by the Brussels-based EFMD Management Development Network. EFMD offers a number of accreditations, but EQUIS focus institutions that offer undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral business programs, including the MBA.
EQUIS evaluates a business school's governance, strategy, programs, students, faculty, research and development, executive education, contribution to the community, resources and administration, internationalization, and corporate connections.
Most of the over 125 EQUIS-accredited business schools are located in Europe and the UK. As of late 2010, only three US business schools had earned an EQUIS accreditation.