The number of Business Schools across the world is around 16,000, out of which about 5,000 of them are in India alone. Barring the top-tier institutions, most are unable to offer quality education that meets the fast-changing corporate requirements. The major reasons being shortage of facilities, both infrastructure and intellectual capital. It is important for business schools to get accredited by major professional organisations to facilitate stability and enhance intellectual contributions.
So what are accreditations? Accreditation, for an educational institution, is a process of validation in which colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning are evaluated. It is a ratification of the quality of education being provided as the institution fulfills its identified mission. An institute can seek certification from a few mandatory and other organisations. For Business Schools, the golden standard of accreditation is AACSB (Association of Advanced Collegiate Schools of Business). EQUIS and AMBA are the other two world-renowned authorising establishments.
International accreditations broaden the thinking of a B-school through associations with world class institutions, thus improving the overall outcomes. If the accreditation is attained from leading and influential accreditation associations, the value will be manifold, impacting all stakeholders.
Accreditation is considered a must for various reasons. Firstly, it is a self-evaluation tool for the institution to understand and continuously improve upon its deliverables. Leading international professional accrediting organizations make it mandatory to provide a self-evaluation report which will be the initial process to be eligible for the Institution to be considered for accreditation. Self-Evaluation Reports (SER) need to be updated to prove a continuous improvement during the process and final accreditation. Secondly, it is a means for potential candidates to find the right B-school: Since accreditation endorses the minimum quality compliance, it helps students choose the right and relevant Institution. The level and the accrediting body will help potential students to map the institution they would like to be trained to make excel in their chosen career. Thirdly, it is the choice of destination for employers in seeking new talent: Accreditation helps corporate identify the best-in-class Institutions and empanel them for talent acquisition.
Indian B-Schools aspire to be of global standards for ensuring they get good students, place students in good firms and attract renowned faculty from across the world. Foreign accreditations supports the institution in differentiating themselves from its competitors and enables the B-school to compete with the 16,000-odd business schools across the world. An institution can become imperious with a well-recognised international accreditation that supports an environment conducive to enhancing intellectual contributions and self-development.
An international accreditation also helps schools improve its curriculum, pedagogy and provides relevant and forward-thinking education. The school has a greater opportunity to draw faculty and students from accredited universities across the globe using exchange programs. These connections allow the school to learn and improve quality education in various ways. For example, they can learn from better research outcomes through collaborations, improving scientific and applicable business models that could be adopted by industry.
Importance of Accreditation for Constituents:
- i) For students: With more than 200,000 students aspiring for admissions to the best business schools in India and many more in the rest of the business schools, evaluating which Institute to opt for is a major challenge for most prospective students. Accreditation helps students evaluate the type of Institute as it gives clarity on the deliverables that can be expected. Internationally, accredited schools continuously strive to offer the best returns on investment to students. An assurance of high quality and contemporary course contents certified by the best in the world differentiates them from the crowd.
- ii) For parents: It’s a means to decide on the Institute which matches their expectations for their wards in terms of their career and academic progress. The accreditation helps parents to compare Institutions on fee structure, learning experiences provided and the promise that the Institute makes and delivers. There, thus is a trust factor that will make parents sense the merit of the education imparted by the accredited Business School to their ward.
iii) For corporates: Consistency in the excellence of the graduating students and better industry-ready professionals. Thus, the recruiters would not complain on the need for reskilling and having to invest more than what the industry would like to. Graduates, through superior education from such institutions with the right aptitude and knowledge, will fit into the corporate environment with ease.
Accreditation is a necessity for business schools to stand out from the crowd when there are dime-a-dozen business schools vying for attention. It does away with the need for those looking to study in a B-school to do any background check on the institution, thus saving time, energy and money. It is a do-or-die situation for institutions wanting to provide quality education that would be acceptable to corporates, and the society at large. Business Schools around the world too face this challenge.