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What Is the AACSB?

Originally founded as the Association of Collegiate Schools of Business (ACSB), the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) was founded in 1916 by a group of some of the top colleges and universities in the United States as a membership organization for business schools. According to the AACSB, 17 founding members include 6 notable Ivies:

  • Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University and Yale University
  • And 11 highly lauded institutions:

  • Northwestern University, New York University, Ohio State University, Tulane University, UC Berkeley, The University of Chicago, University of Illinois, University of Nebraska, University of Pittsburgh, The University of Texas and the University of Wisconsin-Madison

The member institutions set out to create an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of high-quality business education in the U.S. In accordance with this goal, AACSB International now holds a membership of about 1,200 colleges and universities, corporations and nonprofit organizations in 70 countries, according to its website. The AACSB has become one of the most prominent and highly trusted resources on business education in the world.

The Purpose

One of the central functions of the AACSB is accreditation of business schools but schools that are members of the AACSB are not necessarily accredited by it. The AACSB began accreditation in 1919 when it adopted its first set of standards and that remains its primary role. The organization prevails as the gold standard for business accreditation worldwide, approving 798 business schools. Becoming accredited by the AACSB is one of the most highly coveted accreditations a business school may receive, as it marks a business program of exceptional substance and rigor. For students looking into online education, an AACSB accredited MBA is a highly valuable degree.

A Pulse on Business Education

The AACSB hosts conferences, seminars, symposiums and webinars on the newest information and trends in business management and accounting education, providing business educators access to think tanks with experts in the field. The AACSB encourages opportunities for the professional development of business educators and provides a venue for communication between business organizations and schools. The group offers conferences for geographic regions such as Europe and Asia Pacific, teaching symposiums for aspiring deans and events on topics such as sustainability and accreditation. The AACSB also hosts seminars on matters such as business and global accreditation. Webinars, such as “Best Practices From Accreditation Visits” and “Globalization Task Force Report,” and Web forums in areas such as the globalization of management and cost-effective methods of educating members and the general public on business today are also offered. The AACSB produces its own data on global business education and develops corresponding reports. The Global Foundation for Management Education, or GFME, is an organization created by the AACSB and the European Foundation for Management Development to investigate challenges to and ideas about the development of management education on a global scale. The foundation publishes reports on visions for business education and on current developments in the field.

The AACSB offers these services with a dedication to its goals from 1916. According to the AACSB website, the mission of the organization is clear: Advance quality management education worldwide by means of accreditation, thought leadership in business management and special services. The goal of the AACSB is to be the world’s leading authority on management education. The AACSB is committed to providing the highest quality services, encouraging collegiality and mutual respect, embracing diversity and working in the most socially responsible manner. The AACSB is hugely important within the realm of business education worldwide, and its membership and services expand every year.

To find out more about the prestigious AACSB accreditation, read the next section.