Accreditation, an Important Criterion for Selecting a Business School for MBA


If you are searching for business schools for MBA, you will not fail to notice that some of them mention one or more acronyms, such as AACSB, IACBE and ACBSP. These are nothing but accreditations accorded to that business school by different agencies. Usually most business schools have only one accreditation, but some may have more.


Need for accreditation


An accreditation is a kind of public notification that certifies that a business school or a program meets the standards of quality set by the accreditation agencies. By gaining accreditation, the school is also able to authenticate what it claims regarding its program, faculty, quality of education, etc. This works to attract potential students and adds legitimacy to the business school. More the accreditations from different agencies, higher the claim of a business school regarding its standard of quality.


Accreditation is a kind of assurance for students that their course will be as per the set standards. It also helps them in separating uncredited agencies from the authentic ones. Usually, the government’s ministry of education provides educational accreditation in most countries.


Top business school accreditation agencies


It is not enough for a business school or a program to simply gain accreditation from any agency, more important is from where it gets it. Accreditation from a reputable agency provides an assurance of the business school’s quality standards, as it takes into account many more factors and facilities provided by the school, such as faculty, students, services, etc.


Internationally, the three most desired accreditations for business schools are awarded by:


  • AACSB(Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business).
  • AMBA (Association of MBAs).
  • EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System).


The difference among the three lies in their methodologies and regional focuses. However, besides these, there can be many other accreditations from other domestic and international agencies.


Such is the popularity of these three accreditations that in 2018 alone, over 90 business schools the world over were accredited by these organizations. Little wonder this distinction has been termed as the ‘triple crown’. Let’s see what these three accrediting agencies are:



This organization is US- and Singapore-based and accredits business schools offering both graduate and undergraduate business programs. Established in 1919, this agency currently accredits business schools in over 51 countries, including Canada. A business school accredited with AACSB represents a positive evaluation of its mission, faculty, operations, programs, qualifications and other critical areas. Schools have to undergo this accreditation every five years. Of the 800 institutions accredited with AACSB, 24 are in Canada alone.



This London-based association accredits MBA programs in around 70 countries. In 2018, about 50 percent of all AMBA-accredited business schools were located in Europe and UK, 33 percent were in the Latin America and Asia and only two percent in the US and Canada. This association evaluates a business school’s mission, strategy, faculty, curriculum, students and assessments. In addition, it requires three-quarters of the faculty to hold a Masters or Doctoral degree in their area of discipline and at least a three-year work experience for students.



EQUIS is run by EFMD Management Development Network based in Brussels, Belgium. It offers accreditation to undergraduate, graduate and doctoral business programs, including MBA. It evaluates the school’s strategy, governance, faculty, programs, students, research and development, internationalization, among others. Of the over 176 EQUIS-accredited business schools the world over, 10 are in Canada.


Securing business school accreditation


Since a business school is evaluated on the basis of accreditation by potential students and faculty alike, the process of getting a ‘triple crown’ is long and expensive. Even Harvard Business School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business have only AACSB accreditation.


However, getting the ‘triple crown’ raises the value of a business school, since the three accreditations of AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS assess differently. While AACSB focuses on participants and the learning process, AMBA focuses more on the MBA program, and EQUIS undertakes a broader evaluation of the whole of the business school.




Canada has many universities accredited with either AACSB, AMBA or EQUIS. This makes these universities attractive to potential students looking for quality education. For online MBA program in Canada, see the list of accredited Canadian universities (