In the education sector, there are various certifications, accreditation, and awards available that recognize different quality systems. Some of them are at national level and others are available at international level. The article refers to the commonly used accreditation/certificates for Business Schools. Let us understand about the accreditation. Accreditation refers to the process of formally recognizing an organization or individual as meeting certain standards or requirements. In other words, it is a process of evaluation and recognition of the quality and competency of an entity or individual in a particular field or profession. Accreditation can be granted by an accrediting agency or organization that sets the standards and criteria for evaluation. Accreditation can be awarded to schools, universities, hospitals, laboratories, businesses, and other organizations or individuals that meet the established criteria. The purpose of accreditation is to ensure that the accredited entity meets certain standards of quality, competency, and performance, and that they are providing a certain level of service or product. Accreditation can be voluntary or mandatory, and it can be granted for a specific period of time, after which the entity or individual must be re-evaluated to maintain their accreditation status.
1. AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business): AACSB is a global accreditation body for business schools. It is considered to be the highest level of accreditation for business schools, and is recognized by top employers and academic institutions worldwide. AACSB accreditation is based on a set of rigorous standards, which include faculty qualifications, curriculum design, and research productivity. As of 2022, there are only 21 AACSB-accredited business schools in India.
2. AMBA (Association of MBAs): AMBA is an international accreditation body for MBA programs. It is recognized as a hallmark of quality for MBA programs worldwide, and is based on a set of criteria that include curriculum design, faculty qualifications, and program delivery. As of 2022, there are 15 AMBA-accredited business schools in India.
3. EQUIS: EQUIS, an internationally recognized accreditation body, evaluates each component of the education framework according to established standards. Attaining EQUIS accreditation is often a prerequisite for inclusion in various rankings, as it demonstrates a commitment to excellence in areas such as curriculum development, research, and overall strategy. This accreditation also grants schools access to a dynamic community of higher education systems, where mutual learning is encouraged. EQUIS accreditation encompasses a range of factors, including MBA programs, students and faculty, research and development pursued by the business school, executive education, resources and administration, ethics, responsibility and sustainability, and internationalization and connections. As of 2022, there are six accredited schools in India.
4. ACBSP: The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) is a well-known international accreditation body for MBA programs. Their accreditation process is modeled after the Baldrige model and focuses on recognizing excellence in teaching and student learning outcomes, using a continuous improvement model. ACBSP accreditation evaluates the learning approach of MBA programs, with a focus on student-centered teaching to ensure that students acquire the right skills. As of 2022, there are 22 ACBSP-accredited schools in India.
5. IACBE: The International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE) is an accrediting organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) that provides accreditation to business, accounting, and business-related degree programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels in institutions of higher education worldwide. Obtaining IACBE accreditation offers various benefits, including external quality assurance, sharing of best practices, and public accountability. As of now, there are seven schools in India that have obtained IACBE accreditation.
6. NBA (National Board of Accreditation): NBA is an autonomous body that evaluates and accredits technical education programs in India, including MBA programs. It assesses the quality of education, faculty, infrastructure, and program design offered by MBA programs and provides accreditation based on the standards set by the institution. NBA accreditation is based on a set of criteria that include program design, curriculum, faculty, and infrastructure.
7. UGC (University Grants Commission) Approval: UGC is a statutory body that provides approval for universities and colleges to operate and offer higher education programs in India, including MBA programs. It sets the standards for higher education in India and ensures that institutions meet these standards. UGC approval is based on a set of criteria that include curriculum design, faculty qualifications, and program delivery.
8. ISO 21001: Management system for Educational Institutions: ISO 21001 is an international standard that provides guidelines for educational organizations to establish, implement, maintain and improve their management systems. It is designed to assist educational organizations in meeting the needs and expectations of learners and other stakeholders, while also ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of their educational processes. ISO 21001 was published in 2018 and replaces ISO 29990:2010, which was a management system standard for non-formal education and training. The new standard is applicable to all types of educational organizations, including schools, universities, vocational training centers, and corporate training programs. ISO 21001 provides a framework for educational organizations to establish a management system that focuses on the learner and their individual needs. The standard emphasizes the importance of continuous improvement, stakeholder engagement, and the use of data to drive decision-making. Some of the key benefits of implementing ISO 21001 include improved learner satisfaction, increased efficiency and effectiveness of educational processes, better management of resources, and increased confidence in the organization’s ability to deliver quality education and training. ISO 21001 can help students who are seeking international admission to educational institutions. This is because ISO 21001 provides a framework for educational institutions to develop and implement a management system that is focused on meeting the needs and expectations of learners, including international students.
Overall, AACSB and AMBA are considered to be the highest level of accreditation for MBA programs worldwide, and are recognized by top employers and academic institutions. NBA accreditation is more focused on technical education programs, and is based on a set of criteria that are specific to MBA programs. UGC approval is a basic requirement for all higher education institutions in India, and is focused on ensuring that institutions meet the minimum standards for education in India. NAAC is an accreditation agency that evaluates institutions’ overall performance, while ISO 21001 is a management system standard that provides guidelines for educational institutions to develop and implement a management system that focuses on the learner’s needs. International MBA accreditation is a vital factor that should always be considered by students while choosing an institute. The reason being that accredited institutes have to maintain quality in various aspects like the curriculum, practices, employ good faculty, inculcate research to name a few. Moreover, international MBA accreditation also allows for a global presence/ recognition.