Which business accreditation is right for your institution?

Full text

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Tomorrow’s business education—today

Which business accreditation is right for your institution?

A comparison of AACSB, AMBA, and EQUIS standards

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GLOBALIS

ED:

Which business accreditation is right for your institution?

Copyright 2014, GLOBALISED. All rights reserved.

GLOBALIS

ED

Tomorrow’s business education—today

January 2014

Dear Colleague,

The single most important asset of any college or university is accreditation.

Accreditation signifies quality. It impacts the ability of an institution to recruit outstanding

students, stellar faculty, and exceptional administrators. It also impacts its ability to ascend

the college rankings, increase enrollments, generate revenues, and attract capital.

In business education, three accreditations matter most:

• Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (“AACSB”)

• Association of MBAs (“AMBA”)

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Which business accreditation is right for your institution?

Copyright 2014, GLOBALISED. All rights reserved.

Though embracing similar values, each accreditation adopts a different approach to

management education. In addition, each accreditation has a peculiar focus and emphasis.

AACSB, for example, focuses on continuous quality improvement through innovation,

engagement, and impact. Toward advancing this goal, it places great weight on a school’s

mission, faculty profile, and assessment of learning process.

AMBA focuses on high quality programmes that reflect changing trends and innovation in

postgraduate management education. Unlike the other two accreditation bodies, it

emphasizes programme management, mode and duration, and the profile and quality of a

school’s student body.

EQUIS focuses on ethics, responsibility, and sustainability, corporate connections, and

internationalisation. In contrast to AACSB and AMBA, it has set forth major standards

devoted exclusively to the latter two topics.

Whereas AMBA accreditation is programme-specific, AACSB and EQUIS are institutional in

scope. Whilst all three accreditations emphasize scholarship, AACSB and EQUIS elaborate

on “acceptable categories of scholarship.” Of all business accreditations, AACSB is most

concerned with faculty credentials; AMBA, with student quality; and EQUIS, with

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internationalisation. All three accreditations address the following core issues, albeit in

different ways and with different emphasis:

• Curriculum and programmes

• Ethics, responsibility, sustainability

• Faculty development and management

• Faculty sufficiency and quality

• Financial and other resources

• Institutional characteristics

• Institutional mission

• Learning assessment

• Learning equivalency

• Learning outcomes

• Planning and strategy

• Policies, processes, and procedures

• Programme management and services

• Programme mode and duration

• Programme specifications

• Scholarship policy

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GLOBALIS

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Which business accreditation is right for your institution?

Copyright 2014, GLOBALISED. All rights reserved.

This document elaborates on these similarities and differences. It presents a comparative

analysis of AACSB, AMBA, and EQUIS accreditation processes and standards, with

particular emphasis on the above core issues. Its purpose is to serve as a useful guide to

current and prospective clients on matters that could impact their accreditation status.

Through professional engagement, GLOBALIS

ED

can provide additional

information and advice that can steward you through the accreditation process.

Two final notes. First, the analysis that follows is based exclusively on the following

sources:

• AACSB:

o 2013 Business Accreditation Standards

o AACSB International Policies on Accreditation Processes, Actions and Time

Frames

• AMBA:

o MBA Accreditation Guidelines and Criteria

o AMBA Accreditation Guidance for Business Schools, May 2013

• EQUIS:

o EQUIS Standards and Criteria, January 2013

o The EQUIS Process Manual, January 2013

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GLOBALIS

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Which business accreditation is right for your institution?

Copyright 2014, GLOBALISED. All rights reserved.

Beyond these sources, each association has issued guidelines for other types of

accreditation (e.g., accounting, DBA programs). They have also published documents that

elaborate on, and interpret the foregoing references. This approach is intended to highlight

criteria to which all three accreditation bodies attach similar weight and relevance. Doing so

will invariably enhance the comparability of the analytical results.

Second, in conducting this comparative analysis, we express no preference for one type of

business accreditation over another. Nor do we recommend a particular type as being more

advantageous or beneficial. Each set of accreditation standards must be evaluated in terms

of their own stated purpose and objectives. Each must be also be evaluated in terms of the

peculiar purpose, profile, and objectives of the educational institution.

The professionals at GLOBALIS

ED

are both knowledgeable and

experienced in business accreditation. If we can help your institution enhance the value of

its single most important asset, please let us know, and we would be happy to arrange a

meeting or conference call.

Respectfully,

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Which business accreditation is right for your institution?

Copyright 2014, GLOBALISED. All rights reserved.

I. Business Accreditation Process

Depending on the type of business accreditation pursued, the process for applying for initial

business accreditation generally takes 2 to 5 years. Each accreditation association has its

own application procedure. Each has its own prerequisites, basic requirements, time frame,

and review process. Despite these differences, what they all have in common are the

following features:

• Eligibility determination

• Self-assessment

• Peer review

• Site visit

• Appeals process

The pages that follow summarise the AACSB, AMBA, and EQUIS processes for initial

business accreditation. Once accredited, an institution must adhere to the relevant

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•Applicant submits eligibility

application.

•If application is in order, staff refers

it to Initial Accreditation Committee

("IAC").

•IAC reviews application and either

•Accepts it

•Mentor appointed. Proceed to

Standards Alignment

•Rejects it

•Applicant may resubmit after a

year

•Proposes revision

•Applicant may resubmit after

specific time

1. Eligibility Review

•Applicant has 2 years to prepare

Standards Alignment Plan.

•With mentor input, IAC reviews plan

and either

•Accepts it. Proceed to Plan

Implementation

•Rejects it. Options:

•Voluntary withdrawal: Applicant

may resubmit after a year

• Involuntary withdrawal:

Applicant must wait 5 years

•Proposes revision

•Applicant must address concerns

and resubmit

2. Standards Alignment

•Applicant has 3 years to implement

plan and submit progress reports

•If reports accepted, IAC may either

•Invite school to apply for initial

accreditation. Proceed to

Self-Evaluation.

•Ask school to continue

implementation

•If reports rejected, IAC may advise

•Revise and resubmit

•Voluntary withdrawal: Applicant

may resubmit after a year

•Involuntary withdrawal: Applicant

must wait 5 years

3. Plan Implementation

AACSB Accreditation Process I

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•Applicant has 2 years to prepare

Self-Evaluation Report ("SER").

•Peer review team reviews SER and

recommends either

•Proceed with team visit , or

•Do not proceed with team visit

•Applicant may address deficiencies

and appeal

•Voluntary withdrawal: Applicant

may resubmit after a year

•Involuntary withdrawal: Applicant

must wait 5 years

4. Self-Evaluation

•Peer review team conducts campus

visit; based on review, may

recommend either

•Grant accreditation

•Defer accreditation

•Applicant has a year to address

deficiencies

•Deny accreditation

•Applicant must address

deficiencies and may appeal

•Recommendation ratified by

•IAC

•Board of Directors

5. Peer Review

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• Applicant submits

letter of intent and

application form to

AMBA Accreditation

Manager.

• Following

satisfactory review,

Applicant invited to

be a candidate for

accreditation.

Proceed to

Pre-Assessment Stage.

1. Initial Stage

• Applicant prepares

and submits

Self-Assessment Form

("SAF").

• Following

satisfactory review

and possible

pre-assessment visit,

Eligibility

Committee confirms

eligibility and

allows Applicant to

proceed to

Assessment.

2. Pre-Assessment

• At least 9 weeks

following

confirmation,

Applicant submits

Self-Audit Report

for review by Peer

Assessment Panel.

• At least 12 weeks

following

confirmation, panel

conducts

accreditation visit..

Proceed to

Post-Assessment.

3. Assessment

• Within 6 weeks

following visit,

panel issues final

report, with

recommendation:

• Grant

accreditation:

• 3-year

• 5-year

• Defer

accreditation

• Deny

accreditation

• Endorsement

Committee reviews

report and

endorses (rejects)

recommendation.

• Applicant may

appeal decision

within 2 weeks of

receiving report.

4. Post-Assessment

AMBA Accreditation Process

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• EQUIS official

provides to

Applicant

preliminary advice

on process and

prospects.

1. Enquiry

• Applicant prepares

and submits formal

application and

datasheet.

2. Application

• Within 2.5 months

of submission,

EQUIS expert

conducts eligibility

briefing visit.

• EQUIS criteria

explained

• Preliminary

assessment made

• Key issues

identified

• Expert submits

briefing report with

recommendation to

EQUIS Committee

3. Briefing

• After 3 months of

submission, EQUIS

Committee decides

eligibility.

• If eligible,

Applicant

proceeds to

Self-Evaluation.

• If ineligible,

Applicant

• May appeal

• Must wait 2

years before

reapplying

4. Eligibility

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• Within 2 years of decision,

Applicant prepares and

submits Self-Assessment

Report.

5. Self-Assessment

• After 6 weeks of

submission, Peer Review

Team conducts school visit.

• Team submits Peer Review

Report to EQUIS Awarding

Body with

recommendation:

• Grant accreditation

• 3-year

• 5-year

• Deny accredit

ation

6. Peer Review

• At least 10 weeks after

visit, EQUIS Awarding

Body acts on Peer

Review Team

recommendation.

7. Determination

EQUIS Accreditation Process II

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GLOBALIS

ED

was founded by Richard J. Joseph to help

Colleges and universities get accredited

US business schools

o

Develop international programs, and

o

Enter non-US markets

Non-US business schools

o

Develop American programs, and

o

Enter the US market

Corporations develop skills-based programs to train their managers

Government agencies establish American-model schools that cater to the education needs of their citizens

As a business school accreditor and former Dean and Provost of Hult International Business School with over 25 years’ higher

education experience, Mr. Joseph realized that without expert advice and assistance, the colleges and universities of today will

struggle to meet the growing demand for a quality American education fueled by the forces of globalization.

A graduate of Harvard, Oxford, and The University of Texas School of Law, Mr. Joseph played a major role in transforming a small

Boston-based management program into the seventh largest business school in the world, ranked #1 for international

experience by the Financial Times.

1

In this role, he helped set up branch campuses in China, the Middle East, Europe, and North

America; developed seven new degree programs, and successfully led his institution through nine accreditation reviews.

Before entering academia, Mr. Joseph served as an investment banker at Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, and Becker Paribas,

and a mergers and acquisitions specialist for the Bass Group. He is co-editor of the Handbook of Mergers and Acquisitions (Oxford

University Press), co-author of Prentice Hall’s Federal Taxation (Pearson), and author of The Origins of the American Income Tax

(Syracuse University Press).

1

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AACSB

AMBA

EQUIS

2013 Business Accreditation Standards MBA Accreditation Guidelines and Criteria EQUIS Standards and Criteria, January 2013

Continuous quality improvement through innovation, engagement, and impact

Programmes of the highest standards that reflect changing trends and innovation in postgraduate management

education

Internationalisation; corporate connections; ethics, responsibility, and sustainability

Institutional Programme-specific Institutional

Pre-accreditation application: US$1,000; pre-accreditation (business program): US$4,500; initial business

accreditation application: US$12,000

Application: £2,000; registration and pre-assessment:

£5,000; assessment visit: £15,000 Application: €9,375; review: €15,625; 3-year accreditation: €9,375; 5-year accreditation: €15,625

(AACSB does not have a standard devoted exclusively to corporate relations.)

Institution should have a clear and effective policy regarding relations with the organisational and managerial world. Results from research, consultancy, and contact with the corporate world should be incorporated in the programme.

School should have a policy and strategy for corporate connections. It should develop students with a practical understanding of business/management through corporate interaction. Corporate input should be a key feature of the school's activities.

ACCREDITATION STANDARDS REFERENCE

ACCREDITATION FOCUS

ACCREDITATION SCOPE

APPLICATION AND OTHER FEES

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AACSB

AMBA

EQUIS

Degree-granting entity or independent academic unit, that offers business /management education programs. AACSB member. Commitment to core values of (1) ethical behaviour, (2) collegiate environment, (3) corporate and social responsibility.

Autonomous degree-awarding institution that (1) offers MBA (and other post-graduate management) programmes, (2) has graduated at least 3 MBA classes, (3) has met most AMBA criteria for at least 3 years

Institution must have (1) degree-awarding powers, (2) appropriate higher education mission, (3) business/ management education focus, (4) autonomy in academic affairs, (5) clear institutional boundaries, (6) academic staff in key disciplines, (7) graduated at least 3 classes, (8) operated for 10+ years, (9) institutional stability, (10) national standing, (11) international reputation, (12) broad portfolio of activities, (13) sufficient core faculty.

The school must encourage and support ethical behaviour by students, faculty, administrators, and professional staff, and must demonstrate commitment to corporate social responsibility issues.

Students should acquire a significant understanding of the impact of sustainability, ethics, and risk management on business decisions and performance.

School should understand its role as a "globally responsible citizen." Its contribution to ethics and sustainability should be reflected in activities relating to education, research, interaction with business, community outreach, and internal operations. Responsible and ethical behaviour should be an integral part of the school's values and strategy.

If offered, executive education should complement degree program teaching and intellectual contributions; institution should have processes to ensure high quality and continuous improvement.

(AMBA does not have a standard devoted exclusively to executive education.)

If offered, executive education, should be (1) integrated into school's strategy and management systems, (2) viewed as central to strengthening connections with companies/ organisations, (3) contribute to faculty development and teaching/research relevancy, (4) improve business practice by placing school's expertise at the disposal of practising managers.

Institution must have processes to (1) manage and support faculty over their careers, and (2) enhance teaching effectiveness. Such processes must be consistent with school's mission, outcomes, strategies.

Institution should have a well-founded faculty

development policy and should ensure faculty collegiality, availability, integration, and quality assurance.

School should recruit, develop, and manage faculty according to its strategic objectives. Faculty should be involved in current management practice through research and consultancy with corporate partners. Processes should be in place for faculty recruitment, deployment, evaluation, and development.

Four faculty categories: (1) Scholarly Academics - SA, (2) Practice Academics - PA, (3) Scholarly Practitioners - SP, (4) Instructional Practitioners - IP. 90%+ must be SA, PA, SP, IP. 40%+ must be SA. 60%+ must be SA, PA, SP. In addition, school's blend of SA, PA, SP, IP must be consistent with its mission, outcomes, strategy.

(AMBA does not have a standard devoted exclusively to faculty profile.)

The prescribed faculty profile will depend on the mix of the school's activities. The overall profile should qualify the faculty to operate adequately in the international arena. ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS ETHICS, RESPONSIBILITY, SUSTAINABILITY EXECUTIVE EDUCATION FA C U LT Y DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT PROFILE

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AACSB

AMBA

EQUIS

Faculty should be (1) qualified across programmes, disciplines, locations, delivery modes; (2) sufficient to ensure programme outcomes; fulfill functions of curriculum development, course development, course delivery, assurance of learning; and achieve mission, and (3) academically and professionally engaged to sustain intellectual capital. Participating faculty should be 75%+ of total (60%+by discipline, location, delivery mode, program).

MBA faculty should be sufficient to fully resource the programme. At least 75% of teaching staff should have relevant post-graduate degree(s); the majority, a doctorate. Faculty should be aware of current business practice and management debates.

School should have an academic staff for whom it is the principal employer and whose main allegiance is to the school; a sufficient core faculty to cover major disciplines and constitute a viable body of distinctive expertise. At least 25 members.

Institution should have adequate financial resources for infrastructure, student services, academic advising, career development, faculty development; and technological, instructional, and scholarship support.

Institution should be financially viable. Level of resourcing should be appropriate for post-graduate, post-experience students.

School should demonstrate financial viability and institutional continuity. Its resources should be sufficient to support a high quality learning environment. Its physical facilities should be sufficient to support the particular pedagogical approach of each programme.

School must be authorized to award bachelor's (or higher) degrees in business or management education, or a business academic unit within a larger degree-awarding institution. It should be (1) sufficiently independent in branding, market perception, financial management, and decision-making; (2) structured to ensure proper oversight, accountability, and responsibility; (3) supported by continuing resources; and (3) have continuous improvement policies and processes.

Institution should have an appropriate mission, credible and coherent strategy, policies for governance, continuous improvement, and external relations, market legitimacy, financial viability, institutional continuity, discrete identity, decision-making autonomy, effective integrated

organisation, and sense of the market.

School should have reasonable autonomy in setting its strategic agenda and in managing its budget, its own dedicated teaching and administrative staff, an effective and integrated organisation for the management of its activities based on appropriate processes, with a significant degree of control over its own destiny.

(AACSB does not have a standard devoted exclusively to internationalisation.)

MBA programme should have an international dimension and foster an understanding of diverse cultural and regional management styles/practices.

School should have (1) policies and strategies for internationalisation, (2) be committed to educating students for management in an international environment, (3) actively collaborate with international partner institutions, (4) attract students and faculty from other countries, and (5) conduct research of international relevance and scope. It should offer programmes that provide an internationally oriented education with sufficient outreach beyond its own borders.

Institution should have processes for (1) determining and revising learning goals; (2) designing, delivering, and improving curricula to achieve such goals; and (3) demonstrating that these goals have been met. Faculty and other stakeholders should be involved in these processes.

Institution should have mechanisms for eliciting and responding to student feedback on course delivery and programme content. Assessment schemes should (1) test the degree to which (a) students achieved learning objectives, and (b) the programme added value to their careers; (2) elicit input from alumni, employers, sponsors; (3) provide feedback to students; and (4) assist in individual and group learning. Employers should contribute to programme development.

School should have rigorous assessment processes for monitoring the quality of students' work. Programmes should be regularly evaluated through feedback from students and other stakeholders.

ASSESSMENT SUFFICIENCY AND

QUALITY

FINANCIAL AND OTHER RESOURCES

INSTITUTIONAL FEATURES

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AACSB

AMBA

EQUIS

Institutions offering the same programme through

different modes must ensure learning equivalency. Institutions offering the same programme through different modes must ensure learning equivalency.

School should have formal mechanisms for quality assurance, consistent with standards set by external bodies. It should provide evidence of learning equivalency.

Learning goals should comport with institution's mission, outcomes, and strategy, and reflect currency of knowledge and stakeholder expectations. General management and specialist degree programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels should facilitate learning experiences that address certain skill areas.

MBA should enhance prior experience; prepare students for leadership roles; impart strategic, innovation,

entrepreneurial, and "soft" skills; foster an understanding of global business issues; enhance the ability to resolve complex issues; convey knowledge of organisations, their management and environment, responsible risk

management, sustained value creation; encourage life-long learning and personal development. Programme should have clearly stated learning outcomes relating to business/ management.

Programmes should have clearly stated objectives and learning outcomes, including the development of intellectual skills, key managerial skills, skills relevant to international management; ethical values, personal and professional qualities.

Institution must have (1) clear and distinctive mission, (2) outcomes consistent with mission, and (3) strategies for achieving mission. It must also be committed to continuous improvement and innovation.

Institution must have appropriate mission that reflects key strengths.

School should have a clearly articulated mission that reflects its role in ethics, responsibility, and sustainability. Mission should be understood and shared throughout the institution.

Institution should have financial strategies to provide resources sufficient for achieving its mission.

Institution must have a well-defined, credible, and coherent strategy that reflects resources, constraints, and mission

School should have a defined, clear, and coherent strategy, realistically reflecting its market positioning, resources, and constraints, including a strategy for managing corporate connections.

Admissions, academic progression, career development, and other policies and procedures should be aligned with institution's mission, outcomes, strategies. The school should have policies and processes to enhance faculty teaching effectiveness and ensure quality control.

Institution should demonstrate satisfactory outcomes from internal/external audit processes. It should have governance and continuous improvement policies formulated with corporate participation. Institution should have rigorous admissions standards. No admission to full-time programme with credit, advanced standing, or exemptions.

School should have high quality processes sufficient to support the range of its activities. It should have processes to ensure the quality of its programmes, encompassing the relevance of course content, the quality of teaching, and the effectiveness of learning.

EQUIVALENCY

OUTCOMES

MISSION

PLANNING AND STRATEGY

POLICIES, PROCESSES, AND PROCEDURES

LEA

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AACSB

AMBA

EQUIS

Curricula should facilitate faculty and student-student interaction, as well as academic and professional engagement. Content should encompass certain business/management areas and be appropriate for expectations regarding degree type and learning goals. Programme structure should be appropriate for degree level.

MBA programme should be generalist; balance theory and practice, integrative and functional teaching; develop cognitive, critical, intellectual, personal, interpersonal, and other "soft" skills; provide opportunities for collaborative learning, personal development, and subject integration; have an international dimension; and encompass major management areas.

Programmes should be designed with clear learning outcomes, and a balance between knowledge- and skills-acquisition. Curriculum should emphasise learning and allow for practical work. Institution should support student personal and professional development beyond knowledge acquisition and help students define their professional orientation.

The institution should provide career development and other support services for students, consistent with degree programme expectations and its mission, outcomes, and strategies. Processes for managing and directing professional staff and services should be well-defined and effective.

Institution should provide pastoral care, student support, academic assistance, career development opportunities, and facilities to assist with graduate placement. The existence of an alumni association is expected.

School should ensure (1) the quality of its students through the provision of appropriate student services and (2) the quality of graduate placement through a well-resourced career service.

Local, provincial, or national norms, as well as the practice of other AACSB-accredited institutions, provide guidance as to what constitutes normal time-to-degree. Programmes should be structured to ensure consistent, high quality education for the same degree, regardless of differences and changes in technology and delivery modes.

Programme duration should be equivalent to 90 ECTS credits, 1800+ learning effort hours, and 500+ contact hours. Programme delivery may be full-time, part-time, distance/open learning, or blended.

Delivery methods should be diverse and reflect up-to-date educational practise. School should employ a range of teaching and learning methods to maximise learning and the practical application of learning outcomes.

Undergraduate or post-graduate degree programmes in business/ management awarded by the degree-granting institution. For bachelor's degrees: at least 25% of teaching must relate to traditional business subjects; for post-graduate degrees: at least 50% of teaching must relate to traditional business subjects.

MBA and other post-graduate management programmes sponsored or co-sponsored by the degree-granting

institution Business and management education

Scholarship should foster innovation and directly impact the theory, practice, and teaching of business and management. Institution must produce high-quality intellectual contributions that (1) are consistent with mission, outcomes, and strategies, and (2) impact the theory, practice, and teaching of business and management.

Most MBA faculty should be involved in management research, scholarship, and consultancy, the results of which should be incorporated into the MBA programme. Research should have an international dimension.

School should regularly produce original contributions to knowledge that (1) are effectively disseminated, and (2) impact strategically important constituencies.

P RO G RA M M E S A N D C U RRI C U LA DESIGN AND CONTENT MANAGEMENT AND SERVICES MODE AND DURATION SPECIFICATIONS A R SHIP POLICY TOWARD

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AACSB

AMBA

EQUIS

Three categories of peer-reviewed or validated scholarship: (1) basic or discovery, (2) applied, integration/ application, (3) teaching and learning

(AMBA does not have a standard devoted exclusively to scholarship categories.)

Three categories of scholarship with "relevance, impact, and contribution to teaching quality": (1) academic research, (2) practise-oriented research, (3) pedagogic development and innovation

Institution should deploy professional staff/services sufficient to support student learning, instructional development, information technology, intellectual contributions, academic assistance and advising, career advising and placement, alumni and public relations, fundraising, admissions, executive education, and otherwise ensure quality outcomes across programmes and achieve mission.

Institution should develop a level of administrative support appropriate for programme size. Leadership roles and responsibilities should be clearly defined.

Programmes should be adequately staffed, managed, and administered. School should have sufficient high quality staff to support the range of its activities.

(AACSB does not have a standard devoted exclusively to student profile and quality.)

Students admitted to MBA programme must be proficient in English and have 3+ years relevant work experience. Student body should be diverse and have 5+ average work experience. There should be no cohort intakes with less than 20 students.

School should ensure (1) student quality through appropriate selection processes, progression management, and student services; (2) placement quality through well-resourced career services; and (3) a balanced student body representing diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Student quality encompasses motivation, commitment, seriousness of purpose, and employability after graduation.

Tomorrow's business education—

today

Richard J. Joseph, President

Tel:

+1 617-803-3865

Website:

http://www.globaliseducation.com

Linkedin:

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/richard-joseph/7/768/9b8

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/RichardJJoseph

STUDENT PROFILE AND QUALITY

SC

HO

LA

CATEGORIES

STAFF SUFFICIENCY AND QUALITY

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