Letter to the Editor: Value of AACSB International Accreditation

The following letter was submitted to Linda Baker, Editor of Oregon Business magazine, and appeared in the March 2014 edition.
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I was surprised to see Oregon Business feature Marylhurst's MBA program in the February issue. As Ms. Bradbury-Jones mentioned, the school's increase in enrollment has come through their online program wherein many members of the faculty and a majority of students live and work outside our state.

Marylhurst is not an AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) International accredited program. To achieve AACSB accreditation a program must have a qualified faculty, a relevant curriculum, and services that facilitate a high quality student experience. All three dimensions are focused on delivering exceptional value and supporting successful student outcomes.

Many schools advertise their “institutional” or “regional” accreditation which grants an institution permission to operate in a particular geographic area. In contrast, AACSB accreditation is akin to American Bar Association accreditation for law schools. It is important to graduates and their employers.

AACSB was founded in 1916 and holds MBA programs to strict standards of quality through a rigorous peer review process. It is an important signal of quality and, given the time and money invested in an MBA, should be an essential part of a prospective student’s search process.

Less than 5% of the more than 13,000 management schools worldwide have earned AACSB accreditation. In Oregon there are five AACSB accredited schools. Like our peer accredited schools, Willamette University’s MBA programs engage in annual maintenance of accreditation activities and go through a comprehensive evaluation every five years.

Like our peer AACSB accredited institutions, Willamette University MBA graduates earn more than a diploma. We form lifelong relationships with our graduates and support them in their pursuit of meaningful careers. It is important that readers understand all of the important attributes associated with an MBA and other graduate programs. AACSB accreditation is certainly one of those attributes.

-Debra Ringold
Dean and JELD-WEN Professor of Free Enterprise