Accreditation from a reputable 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, international accreditations for MBA programs are those awarded by AACSB, AMBA, and EQUIS; their methodologies and regional focuses are briefly described below.
In 2016, there were 76 business schools worldwide that were accredited by all three of the below organizations. This distinction is often referred to as the "triple accreditation."
The US- and Singapore-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 51 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 2016, 755 institutions held an AACSB accreditation in business, of which about 75 percent were located in the United States. Other countries with high numbers of AACSB-accredited business schools include Britain, France, and Canada.
The London-based Association of MBAs (AMBA) accredits MBA programs in over 49 countries. As of 2016, about 50 percent of all 237 AMBA-accredited MBAs and other business programs were in Europe or the United Kingdom. Together, Latin America and Asia contained 33 percent of AMBA-accredited schools, with only 2 percent located in North America.
AMBA has been accrediting programs since the early 1980s. Along with MBAs, it also accredits Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) and Master of Business and Management (MBM) programs. 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 AMBA-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 focuses on 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 over 150 EQUIS-accredited business schools are located in Europe or the UK. As of 2016, only three US business schools had earned an EQUIS accreditation. The countries with the most EQUIS-accredited business schools include the UK (26), France (17), and China (18).