Newly Accredited: University of Maribor on Earning AACSB Accreditation

Lidija Hauptman, dean of the University of Maribor's Faculty of Economics and Business, discusses the university's experience through the accreditation process and key takeaways for the school.

In this blog series, AACSB is spotlighting business schools around the world that have recently earned AACSB Accreditation. We ask the business school leadership about their journey to accreditation and what the new achievement means to them. In this interview, Lidija Hauptman, dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Maribor in Slovenia, shares how the AACSB accreditation journey enhanced the university's confidence in their competitive advantages and provided a positive impact for the region as a whole.

Why was it important for your school to undergo the rigorous process of earning AACSB Accreditation?

We understood AACSB Accreditation as a unifying standard of quality, which provides a valuable external assessment of processes and achievements at the University of Maribor’s Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB). This is important for two reasons: It can be used internally as a persuasive managerial tool for motivating and rewarding our faculty, administration, and students through a clearly defined mission; and externally, it is a quality brand that improves our opportunities for international cooperation, thus enhancing positive impact for the whole region.

What did you learn about your school through your accreditation journey?

The most valuable lesson from our accreditation journey came first in the form of increased awareness of our competitive advantages. At the same time, AACSB’s quality matrix based on engagement, innovation, and impact showed us how to identify meaningful opportunities and embed them into the action plan. In other words, our planning process became much more inclusive and understandable for our stakeholders.

What was the most challenging/rewarding part of the accreditation process?

The biggest challenge in the whole process was demonstrating the “hard and soft” benefits of the AACSB accreditation process to all stakeholders. Therefore, we organized various workshops to create the opportunity for everyone to ask questions and present their opinions. This way we avoided the risk of treating the accreditation process as a pure bureaucratic procedure. The AACSB accreditation process introduced valuable changes to the whole organization, but the key benefit lies in transforming the organizational culture.

What impact do you hope to see from having achieved AACSB Accreditation?

Equipped with an additional dose of optimism after AACSB Accreditation was awarded, we have already started to apply the continuous improvement principles. It is FEB’s ambition to use AACSB’s confirmation of quality by developing new programs and initiating research projects with accredited partners. Moreover, FEB has started initiatives to augment innovative behavior in the region.

What advice would you give to another school approaching the accreditation process?

First, use the unique opportunity for a broad consultation of your mission statement and strategic goals and streamline your processes accordingly. Activate all your stakeholders to join the quality-based continuous improvement process and enjoy your journey.

Lidija HauptmalLidija Hauptman is dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Maribor in Slovenia.