AACSB Pursues ISO Certification to Strengthen Its Service to Global Business Education Community

Tampa, FL, USA—In support of its commitment to process improvement, AACSB International (AACSB) announces its decision to pursue a globally recognized quality assurance certification through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

This move underscores AACSB’s global focus, aligns with its new mission and vision, and facilitates increased engagement with the worldwide business community. ISO certification is sought after by leading businesses around the world and is achieved after a comprehensive third-party review of processes and quality control mechanisms—similar to AACSB’s own accreditation processes.

“AACSB’s accredited schools operate in more than 50 countries worldwide, each of which must navigate varying country-based regulations, remain vigilant to cultural nuances, and provide quality educational services to meet differing market and student needs,” said Thomas R. Robinson, president and CEO of AACSB International. “The completion of ISO’s stringent global review will further validate AACSB’s quality improvement processes, empowering our accredited schools to deliver the highest value in business education.”

Today 56 percent of AACSB member institutions are located outside of the United States, and over 80 percent of schools currently seeking AACSB Accreditation are from other world markets. Further, AACSB’s entire membership network seeks innovative ways to establish stronger academic collaborations across borders and greater alignment with the international business community, with the ultimate goal of producing high-caliber business leaders who are ready to navigate a diverse and global environment.

AACSB has taken transformational steps since Robinson assumed the role of president and CEO in January 2015. The organization launched an industry-wide new Collective Vision in April 2015 in addition to its own new organizational mission and vision in July 2016—positioning AACSB to bridge the gap between academia and business, identify and address the needs of the international business community, and foster innovative approaches to prepare a new generation of globally minded business leaders. AACSB also reorganized its operations into three distinct world regions, with headquarters in each, in order to support the demographic and market needs of each region.

Concurrent to pursuing ISO certification, AACSB has decided to step away from the Washington, D.C.-based Council for Higher Education (CHEA) and discontinue its voluntary recognition process. “We appreciate our years of affiliation with CHEA, as well as their service and commitment to AACSB and the higher education community,” said Robert Reid, executive vice president and chief accreditation officer of AACSB. “Our decision to step away is a reflection of our next step in AACSB’s global strategy, a journey we began more than fifteen years ago.”

AACSB applauds and stands behind CHEA’s call for transparency across the greater higher education landscape. In 2003 AACSB was one of the first accrediting bodies to include the assurance of learning as a formal output requisite within its standards, and in 2013 it began requiring schools to demonstrate impact. Similarly, in 2016 AACSB modified its standards to include making student performance information publicly available. In less than a year, over half of AACSB-accredited business schools have already voluntarily shared student performance metrics.

AACSB represents the highest standard of quality in business education and will continue to do so throughout the ISO certification process. AACSB quality is demonstrated both by the schools that have earned AACSB Accreditation and in the caliber and accomplishments of the alumni who come from these schools.

In fact, more than 90 percent of ranked business schools hold AACSB Accreditation, and 95 percent of CEOs who attended business schools and now run FT 500 companies attended an AACSB-accredited business school. Additionally, 75 percent of candidates completing the CPA exam in the United States are also graduates of AACSB-accredited schools, and had a 13 percent higher pass rate than students from non-AACSB-accredited institutions.

AACSB’s accreditation process will continue to support leading business schools in all major global markets, allowing members to deliver on their promise to students and the communities they serve through engagement, innovation, and impact. As the pace of change in business accelerates, business schools—and AACSB—must be able to adapt, keep pace, lead, and continually improve, all of which is underscored across the ISO process and AACSB’s accreditation standards.

About AACSB International

Founded in 1916, AACSB is the world’s largest business education network connecting academe with business, AACSB provides business education intelligence, quality assurance, and professional development services to more than 1,500 member organizations across 91 countries and territories. AACSB’s Accreditation is the highest standard of quality in business education, with 775 business schools accredited worldwide. AACSB’s global headquarters is located in Tampa, Florida, USA; its Asia Pacific headquarters is located in Singapore; and its Europe, Middle East, and Africa headquarters is located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.aacsb.edu.

Amy Ponzillo
Sr. Manager, Public Relations
AACSB International
+1 813 367 5238