As someone looking to begin a Master of Business Administration program, you have probably wondered just how good some of the online programs actually are. Maybe you’ve seen or heard advertisements, but you’re just not sure. Many students have found out the hard way that a beautiful website and promises don’t necessarily meant a quality degree or experience. Yet, there is a simple and meaningful way to tell if a university business school or program is legitimate: accreditation. A business school that is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) has been thoroughly vetted to a specific set of standards, with fewer than 800 schools worldwide able to meet those requirements. AACSB accredited online MBA programs hold to those standards as well.

What is AACSB International?

AACSB International was originally founded in 1916 as the Association of Collegiate Schools of Business by a group of universities that were trying to improve higher education in business administration and management. Founders included schools from the Ivy League, prestigious Midwestern universities and West Coast schools known for academic excellence. Currently, the AACSB has offices in North America and overseas, with 727 business schools in 48 countries and territories receiving accreditation, and accounting programs at 182 schools have also earned specialized AACSB accreditation as well.

Rigorous standards set AACSB programs apart from other schools’ offerings

Obtaining accreditation from the AACSB is no simple matter; the guidelines alone comprise 51 pages, and approval spans two years. This ensures that institutions and their programs are worthy of receiving the AACSB seal of approval. Requirements include faculty qualifications and numbers, established parameters for effective learning environments and ways to measure effective student learning. For students looking at completing a master’s degree in business administration, AACSB accredited online MBA programs are their best bet not only for obtaining an online MBA, but also for having it recognized as a genuine degree from a viable school. AACSB accredited schools and programs have higher standards for hiring faculty and have more undergraduates that go forth to work on advanced degrees. Schools accredited by the AACSB also have students with higher GPAs in undergraduate, masters and doctoral programs. The Internet is a wonderful invention, but it also has the potential to be misused by others. As you make your way through the numerous websites of universities that offer online MBA courses, keep in mind that AACSB accreditation is a prime tool in determining whether a school is worthy of your attention and your money. Knowing which schools are accredited and which are not will enable you to narrow your choices in swift order and help put you on the path to a reputable online MBA degree.