Accreditations such as AMBA, EQUIS, and AACSB

By Thomas Graf

You are looking for a Master of Business Administration but you don't know which one? Getting lost among thousands of MBA programs worldwide is easy and some guidelines on finding quality MBAs would be nice. Accreditation agencies could help you out here.

What is an accreditation?

An accreditation is certificate that independent agencies grant to schools and their programs if they fulfill the agencies' quality standards. To receive such an accreditation requires from the schools to go go through an intensive screening process, prepare lots of information for the agencies, and conduct interviews between school representatives and students on one hand and teh accreditation agencies on the other.

Which accreditations are important for the Master of Business Administration?

There are many accreditation agencies, but only three are internationally recognized with respect to the Master of Business Administration: the British "Association of MBAs" (AMBA), the European "EFMD Quality Improvement System" (EQUIS), and the US-American "Association to Advanced Collegiate Schools of Business" (AACSB).

What are the differences between AMBA, EQUIS, and AACSB?

EQUIS and AACSB accredit the business school as a whole. Hence, if a school has the EQUIS or AACSB accreditation, all business programs of that school are accredited. AMBA works similarly but analyzes the MBA and EMBA programs individually. Schools receive the AMBA accreditation only if all their MBA and EMBA programs have passed the due diligence successfully. 

What's the value of accreditations?

Accreditation provides you with minimum quality criteria that are worldwide accepted. For example, AMBA, EQUIS, and AACSB check the number of case studies used in the programs, the teaching quality, or the career service. Of course you have no guarantee with an accreditation that the respective program satisfies you. But you know at least that this program fulfills minimum quality criteria and has been monitored by external experts.