Quality of Business School Programs
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What determines the quality of a Business School?
Below, we discuss some important things that you should understand about business schools and what makes them a "quality" program.
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When it comes to the value of business education, there are two things to consider - 1) Quality of instruction, and 2) Reputation of the Program.
The quality of the instruction is important for obvious reasons.
As an aspiring business professional, you should seek to learn as much as possible.
The quality of the instruction will make a big difference in this regard.
Quality of instruction includes: qualifications of faculty, method of delivering lectures, study and learning resources available, etc.
The next thing to consider is the reputation of the program.
While a positive program reputation should also signal a high quality of instruction, that is not always 100% accurate.
The real reason for caring about reputation is the signaling function that it has to third parties.
Many students hope that the business degree will lead to enhanced career opportunities.
As such, you need for an employer (or potential employer) to recognize the quality of the program and the positive things that a degree from there signals about your knowledge and ability.
Note: The most reputable business programs in the United States are generally attached to well-known universities. While it is not to say that smaller, lesser-known educational institutions do not deliver the same (or often higher) quality instruction as these larger institutions, the reputation of the school will most certainly have an impact with regard to how employers perceive your degree. Older, wealthier universities have a strong brand awareness and reputation. For example, a degree from Harvard Stanford, or Yale will create opportunities for a student in ways that other colleges or universities cannot match. For a deeper diver into this topic, take a look at our material on Opportunity Generation, Recognition, and Exploitation.
The most respected business school programs in the country are ranked each year by the following organizations: Princeton Review, US News and World Reports, Forbes.
Another important thing to know about business schools is more about fitting into the business world.
The namesake of business schools is often used, rather than the name of the larger university.
Here is a list of some of the most reputable business schools in the country.
Business the name of the University is the name generally used to refer to the business school.
- Brigham Young - Marriott
- U of California (Berkeley) - Haas
- UCLA - Anderson
- U of Chicago - Booth
- Carnegie Mellon - Tepper
- Cornell - Johnson
- Emory - Goizueta
- Dartmouth - Tuck
- Duke - Fuqua
- U of Florida - Warrington
- Georgia Tech - Scheller
- Georgetown - McDonough
- U of Indiana - Kelley
- MIT - Sloan
- Northwestern - Kellog
- NYU - Stern
- U of Michigan - Ross
- UNC - Kenan-Flagler
- Notre Dame - Mendoza
- Ohio State - Fisher
- U of Pennsylvania - Wharton
- Rice - Jones
- USC - Marshall
- U of Texas - McCombs
- Vanderbilt - Owen
- U of Virginia - Darden
- U of Washington - Foster
- Washington Univ. (St. Louis) - Olin
Notably, three of the most reputable business schools do not have a namesake: Harvard, Stanford, and Yale.
Though Harvard Business School is generally referred to as HBS.
If you are considering attending a business program that is not associated with a well-known educational institution, you will need to do your own research to determine whether it is reputable.
Once way of doing this is to look for the business schools accrediting body or organizations.
AACSB stands for Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
It is generally considered to be the gold standard among business accreditations.
It is international in nature and accredits the best schools of business across the globe.
AACSB is so highly recognized that many reputable MBA or Masters programs will not accept student applicants who did not graduate from an AACSB-accredited school.
It is worth noting that, going through the AACSB accreditation process is highly demanding and expensive for schools.
ACBSP stands for The Accreditation Council for Collegiate Business Schools and Programs.
This organization generally accredits schools with a primary focus on teaching - rather than research.
While far less prestigious than AACSB, the ACBSP is a positive indication of quality of business program.
DEAC stands for the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.
DEAC accredits online and distance-learning programs.
While you should be particularly cautious when examining the reputation of an online business program, the DEAC accreditation is a positive indicator.
Many business schools are accredited by regional accreditation bodies.
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Considerations Before Enrolling
Once you have determined that a business program is reputable and understand the structure, you can make the decision of whether to enroll or seek admission.
Remember, a business school will be most valuable when it can offer the benefits that you desire for your personal pursuit of knowledge or career aspirations.
Make certain to do all of the available research before you make that decisions.