AACSB Blog

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Upgrades to Annual Business School Questionnaire


Posted March 15, 2019 by R. Colin Nelson - Senior Manager - Business Education Research and Data Services

AACSB International’s annual Business School Questionnaire (BSQ) is the most comprehensive data collection instrument among our annual surveys. By participating in the BSQ, AACSB members gain access to a wealth of data points they can use to benchmark against their peers, track industry trends, and make strategic decisions. This year we are pleased to announce several changes in response to feedback from our global membership.

Program Duration and Forthcoming Programs

In addition to the various fields already associated with the programs data, such as disciplinary fields and delivery types (full-time, part-time, online, etc.), these data will now include the start and end dates (as applicable). Many of our members have indicated to us that the ability to understand program longevity, both for themselves and for their peers, would be tremendously useful to them. AACSB will also use the information about forthcoming programs to share forward-looking insights about how schools’ program portfolios are changing. This change also enables accredited schools that wish to include future programs on their Best Business Schools profile to make those programs visible to prospective students.

Screenshot of AACSB Business School Questionnaire showing new column for program start and end dates

Business School Activity and Research Emphases

An important but subtler upgrade this year relates to one of the most relied-upon starting points for filtering our global membership to a relevant comparison group—the business school’s activity and research emphases. As a useful shorthand for a school’s mission, these data reveal schools’ relative emphases on activities such as teaching, service, and intellectual contributions, as well as on various types of research. In addition, the research types have themselves been updated to conform to the terminology used by the AACSB accreditation standards, and are now referred to as Teaching and Learning Scholarship, Applied or Integration/Application Scholarship, and Basic or Discover Scholarship. Rather than rely on predefined combinations as in previous years, beginning this year participants will indicate their school’s level of emphasis on each activity or research type individually.

Data Validation Processes

In our ongoing efforts to streamline the data validation process, last year we added areas within the various survey sections themselves that allow us to communicate potential validation issues with our participating members. This year we are going even further. Our Business Education Intelligence team has developed a validation algorithm that will generate an automated validation report for each participating school within a few days of their initial submission. Starting in April, before our staff even put eyes on each survey for the first time, this feature will be available to notify schools of potential issues right away so that they can go in at their earliest convenience and either address the issues or leave explanatory comments as appropriate.

The 2018–19 iteration of the BSQ is open for data entry through June 7, 2019. Our upcoming free instructional webinar on how to fill out the BSQ will cover all changes and offer tips for completing the survey in its entirety. The webinar will be held in multiple time zones on March 20, 2019. As always, we welcome comments or questions regarding any of our data collections at datadirect@aacsb.edu.


Colin NelsonR. Colin Nelson is senior manager of business education research and data services at AACSB International, based in Tampa.

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