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MBA Spotlight: ACBSP

This article was posted on MBAOnlineProgram.


MBA Spotlight: ACBSP Business Program Accreditation Organization

The Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP) was founded in Kansas City, MO in 1988. At the time, there was very little oversight of business schools across the country. The emphasis of ACBSP since the beginning has been to recognize quality teaching and tangible learning outcomes for students.

In 1988, approximately 15 percent of the nation's 2,400 business schools were accredited. The founding members of ACBSP have worked hard over the years to increase that percentage. Steve Parscale, the current Director of Accreditation for ACBSP, states that "The vision of ACBSP is that all business programs worldwide will be accredited."

The Benefits of ACBSP Accreditation

ACBSP accreditation benefits the institution, the business unit, faculty and staff, students and the community. As Steve Parscale explains, "Students who go to a business school that has been accredited by ACBSP are assured that the school has been evaluated against standards developed by professionals in the field of business education." Students receive a quality education because the institution seeking accreditation must provide ongoing resources to meet their educational needs.

The benefits of ACBSP accreditation for educational institutions are numerous. It provides each organization with credibility when seeking support from donors and government programs. Once accreditation has been earned, the college may include the ACBSP seal on all of its official literature. This results in an improved reputation for the business program within the educational community. Schools that seek ACBSP accreditation must continually strive for teaching excellence and a relevant education for students.

The Standards to Evaluate Business Programs

According to Steve Parscale, the ACBSP uses six unique standards to determine whether an institution should be accredited. These include the following:

  • Quality and credentials of faculty and staff.
  • Evaluating how an organization displays leadership.
  • Analyzing the strategic planning skills of every applicant.
  • Looking at the student, stakeholder and market focus of the school.
  • Determining if the applicant's process management techniques are producing desired results.
  • Student learning outcomes assessment

The process of becoming accredited by ACBSP is a lengthy one. It takes two to four years on average for an educational organization to complete the accreditation process for the first time.

ACBSP Logo

ACBSP Accreditation and the Online School

Students who choose to complete their Master of Business (MBA) degree online have even greater challenges when it comes to evaluating the quality of each school. Doug Viehland, the executive director of ACBSP states that "Healthy skepticism is a good thing in any education delivery." By this, he means that students enrolling in an online MBA program are right to look for accreditation and other indicators that the program offers value.

Viehland has several helpful suggestions for students who are trying to evaluate the quality of both the program and the school. First, students should make sure that the online college is accredited regionally and also as a business program. Students should always question placement rates and the faculty's commitment to working with them in an electronic environment. However, they should also question how the statistics were arrived at before making a final enrollment decision.

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