Accreditation is a critical measure of graduate program quality

What You Need to Know About Accreditation 

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When you’re choosing an online MBA program, there are a lot of criteria to consider: cost, convenience, quality and more. Make sure accreditation is on your list too.

Accreditation is akin to “quality control” for colleges and universities. A peer-review board sets accreditation standards and periodically reviews each school to ensure it meets their strict quality standards. 

Without accreditation, schools may not be able to offer federal financial aid or veteran’s tuition assistance. If a program isn’t accredited, it’s also more difficult (if not impossible) to transfer credits or receive employer reimbursement. Hiring managers look to see whether candidates earned their credentials at accredited institutions and may discount the value of non-accredited programs. 

The bottom line is that accreditation matters. It’s a critical measure of graduate program quality and can add or detract value from your educational investment. Spend your time and money wisely.    

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Are Online MBA Programs Accredited?

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Accreditation is an important quality indicator for online and offline programs alike. It provides an independent assessment of quality—which ties directly to your ROI.

Some schools hold different accreditations for their on-campus and online programs. If you’re curious how an online MBA program measures up to traditional delivery models, look at the program’s accreditation status. 

Accredited online MBA programs are proven to offer:

  • Relevant and challenging curriculum — At CSU’s College of Business, our online and on-campus curriculum are exactly the same, as are our accreditations. 
  • Quality instruction — Accrediting bodies look at the academic credentials, teaching experience and professional background that faculty members bring to the classroom. With CSU’s College of Business, the same faculty teach our online and on-campus classes and you have access to equal levels of instructional support.  
  • A valuable learning experience — Accreditors look at learning outcomes and teaching methods to determine whether a school is delivering a quality experience that prepares students for successful careers. Our Online MBA students are challenged throughout the program and have opportunities to engage with faculty, staff and peers, even though they’re not on site.
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What Accreditations Should You Look For?

Business students outside of Rockwell Hall

There are three types of accrediting bodies: regional, national and programmatic. Four-year institutions and graduate programs are accredited by regional agencies, which set the standards within geographical areas. In Colorado, CSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The HLC accredits both on-campus and online programs, like the College of Business’s Online MBA program.

National accreditation applies to trade schools and vocational programs, and sometimes for-profit schools. When it comes to accreditation for colleges and universities, regional credentials are more significant than national accreditation.

In addition to institutional accreditation, schools can seek voluntary accreditation for individual programs, like business or accounting. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is the premiere accrediting agency for business schools. The College of Business is proud to offer an AACSB accredited program. Worldwide, only the top 5% of business schools earn AACSB accreditation, making it an excellent indicator of the quality of faculty instruction, learning outcomes and student experience.

Dave Randall runs both a multibillion dollar investment advisory firm and a non-profit foundation dedicated to the memory of his son and to finding a cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy

“I find myself drawing on my MBA experience frequently. My MBA provided relevant skills and the resourcefulness needed to get the foundation started."

Dave Randall, Online MBA Graduate

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How are Online MBA Programs Accredited by the AACSB?

The AACSB measures nine standards related to strategic management and innovation, student success; and thought leadership, engagement and societal impact. AACSB-accredited schools must:

  1. Have a well-documented strategic plan that supports the school’s mission and a commitment to positive societal impact.
  2. Manage physical, virtual and financial resources to sustain a high-quality learning environment. 
  3. Demonstrate significant participation and support from qualified faculty and provide sufficient professional staff to support faculty and students. 
  4. Deliver a current, relevant, forward-looking and globally aligned curriculum. Class content should leverage current and emerging technologies and facilitate meaningful engagement. 
  5. Document an assurance of learning process to ensure high quality outcomes, regardless of modality or delivery model.
  6. Have policies and procedures that consistently support student progression and post-graduation success. 
  7. Have a systematic, multi-measure assessment process to ensure teaching effectiveness, enhance faculty teaching and ensure student success. 
  8. Produce high-quality, impactful intellectual contributions and thought leadership. 
  9. Demonstrate the positive societal impact of its programs. 

Initial AASCB accreditation can take years to achieve, making it a powerful measure of a school’s long-term commitment to excellence. The accreditation process includes self-evaluations, peer reviews, committee reviews and the development of in-depth strategic plans. Once accredited, business schools are paired with a mentor and undergo reviews every five years to monitor continuous improvement. 

How Does AACSB accreditation Affect Student Outcomes?  

According to the AACSB, students and graduates of accredited business programs:

  • have more access to recruiters;
  • have more employers interested in them after graduation;
  • receive higher, more competitive salaries;
  • perform better than graduates from non-AACSB accredited programs; and 
  • gain the best skills and advantages for the real world.

In addition, the AACSB says its accreditation attracts the best professors and researchers.

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Does CSU Meet Your Standards?

Business students outside of Rockwell Hall

Only the top 5% of business programs in the world are accredited by the AACSB — a distinction CSU’s College of Business is honored to hold. At the College of Business, we hold all of our academic programs to a high standard. In 2021, we worked with AACSB to review our programs using their new, more stringent review methodology. After a thorough review, our College was re-accredited to great acclaim by the AACSB review team. Our commitment to offering the best possible business education shines through in everything we do and all that our students learn.

Start the application process or speak with an admissions advisor about our accredited online MBA program today.

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Online MBA

The Online MBA at the CSU College of Business is a top ranked program for a reason. Taught by accomplished faculty, designed to fit into your schedule and delivered in an accessible manner, our program can help you achieve your professional goals.

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Data, both big and small, is playing a criticl role in business. Our Marketing Data Analytics specialization builds on our Online MBA, and trains you to use data to make high-impact decisions for your organization.

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