Accreditation matters: What you need to know when applying to business school

SOURCE: Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP
EMBA programmes are the top choice for mid-career professionals who are aiming for better positions and remuneration in an organisation.

By Aisyah Liliana 

Read all stories

If you’re keen on applying to business school, chances are, you’ve come across accreditation abbreviations such as AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS or any of the other acronyms out there. Maybe you’ve seen universities boast about their “triple crown” accreditation.

But what does this all mean?

Accreditation matters as it acts as a quality assurance for applicants to business schools, ensuring their programmes are trustworthy. Getting accreditation involves evaluating varying aspects of a business school, from the quality of their faculty to its education, and can act as a convenient way for applicants to ensure that they are receiving a solid education.

AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS are three main international accreditation agencies. Business schools that have a “triple crown” accreditation are accredited by these three coveted accreditation bodies.


A deep dive into the big three

Each international accreditation body focuses on different areas, but here’s a gist of what each entails:


The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) notes that achieving AACSB accreditation is a rigorous process. Each accreditation standard assesses a school’s ability to perform in critical areas, including teaching, research, curricula development, and student learning.

Less than 5% of the more than 16,000 schools worldwide granting business degrees have earned AACSB accreditation. 

Despite that, AACSB-accredited schools “are considered to be the best business schools in the world” as they have better programmes, better faculty, better students with higher overall GPAs, more international students, more employers that recruit from them and their graduates tend to receive better salaries upon completing the course.

Click here for a list of AACSB accredited schools.



Association of MBAs (AMBA) accredits MBA, DBA, and Master’s Degree programmes at over 260 Business Schools in over 75 countries. The London-based association’s philosophy is centred on impact, employability, and learning outcomes.

“Our rigorous accreditation criteria and assessment process ensure that only programmes that demonstrate the highest standards in teaching, learning and curriculum design; career development and employability; student, alumni, and employer interaction achieve AMBA accreditation,” said the AMBA.

For employers, AMBA accreditation is a mark of quality when recruiting managers and future business leaders while the accreditation is an assurance of quality for students. The accreditation also brings international credibility and elevated status to business schools.

According to the AMBA Application and Enrolment Report 2019 report, the demand for MBA at business schools accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) is rising. Applications to AMBA business schools have increased by nine percent between 2017 and 2018. At the school level, average applications rose from 506 in 2017 to 550 in 2018. 

Click here for a list of AMBA-accredited schools.



The European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) offers a quality benchmark in 10 areas against international standards in terms of governance, programmes, students, faculty, research, internationalisation, ethics, responsibility and sustainability, as well as engagement with the world of practice.

There are over 180 EQUIS-accredited schools in the world, with the bulk of them situated in Europe (96) while there are 36 in East and Southeast Asia and 15 in North America.

Click here for a list of EQUIS accredited schools.

Regardless of whether you choose a business school that is accredited by the AACSB, AMBA and/or EQUIS – or all three – you can be assured that you will be receiving quality education from a gold standard provider with programmes that cater to the current needs of businesses.