AACSB accredited MBAs: Are they worth the cost?

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Most Ivy League business school programmes come with the AACSB accreditation.

By U2B Staff 

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Professionals seeking to equip themselves with the right knowledge and skills to take on higher management positions often find it helpful to enrol into a master’s in business administration (MBA) programme that comes with the right accreditation. One major accreditation agency that plays a big role in this highly competitive field is the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business website describes this accreditation as, “AACSB-accredited schools have the highest quality faculty, relevant and challenging curriculum, and provide educational and career opportunities that are not found at other business schools.”

It further states, “AACSB accredited schools produce graduates that are highly skilled and more desirable to employees than other nonaccredited schools.”

Accreditation from a reputable organisation is one good way to check the quality of a business school that can help you decide if the online MBA programme you are evaluating is worth pursuing.

When comparing similar MBA programmes, those that come with the AACSB accreditation may be at an advantage. In fact, this accreditation was found to be a significant factor for potential students when comparing online MBA programmes.

AACSB accreditation awarded to business schools represents a positive evaluation of the school’s mission, operations, faculty qualifications and contributions, and business programmes. Business schools that receive this accreditation are generally regarded to be “gold standard” business schools or programmes.

In 2019, over 800 institutions held an AACSB accreditation for their undergraduate and postgraduate business programmes. 75% of accredited institutions were based in the United States while the remaining 25% were business schools were in Britain, France, and Canada.

Typically, most Ivy League business programmes are accredited by AACSB. Stanford University, Yale University, and Duke University all operate AACSB accredited business schools.

These business schools must offer high-quality business and accounting programs at the bachelor’s and master’s levels to continue to meet the standards set by this accreditation body.


Opting for an AACSB accredited programme is crucial if you aspire to work for highly competitive Fortune 500 companies. However, if your career path does not involve highly competitive roles in business or finance, then you can consider getting an MBA that does not have this accreditation.

Additionally, an AACSB accredited programme may not only help you to thrive in a competitive corporate environment, but there are also certain organisations that only reimburse tuition fees for students who attend MBA programmes accredited by this body.

Getting into an AACSB accredited MBA programme can also prove challenging. However, although only 5% of business schools globally have this accreditation, there are now close to 100 business schools offering online MBA programmes with an AACSB accreditation.

It is also important to note that most AACSB accredited schools will not accept undergraduate business credits from non-AAACSB accredited schools for first-year MBA core course requirements.

While in the past, MBA graduates may have had to fork out large sums to pay for an AACSB accredited MBA qualification, the online MBA boom has led to the rise of affordable online MBA programmes that come with this accreditation.