The short answer is yes - accreditation does matter. But much of that depends on how the accreditation is established and how much you actually care about accrediting bodies (hint: you should care).
Here’s some expert insight into how MBA accreditation works from Willamette University MBA Dean Debra Ringold (full version here):
If you are considering medicine, law, business and management, or public administration programs, ask the following questions suggested by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA):
- Does the operation allow accredited status to be purchased?
- Does the operation publish lists of institutions or programs they claim to have accredited without those institutions and programs knowing that they are listed or have been accredited?
- Does the operation claim that it is recognized (by USDE or CHEA) when it is not?
- Are few if any standards for quality published by the operation?
- Is a very short period of time required to achieve accredited status?
- Are accreditation reviews routinely confined to submitting documents and do not include site visits or interviews of key personnel by the accrediting organization?
- Is “permanent” accreditation granted without any requirement for subsequent periodic review, either by an external body or by the organization itself?
- Does the operation use organizational names similar to recognized accrediting organizations?
- Does the operation make claims in its publications for which there is no evidence?
If you answer “yes” to several of these questions, the accrediting organization and the institution and/or program you are considering may be “mills.”