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Do Accreditations Play A Crucial Role In Building B-School Credibility?

Accreditations are a peer review process on a set of predefined criteria, which help any B-school to dedicate its resources and emphasize on criteria consistent with the school’s vision and mission besides meeting chosen thresholds on a regular basis.

Accreditations help organizations in any sector signal quality and credibility. Educational institutions and business schools (B-schools) are no different. All the important stakeholders of a B-school such as students, recruiters, prospective faculty and international partners have started looking towards accreditations in a crowded space to make their respective choices. Some national regulatory bodies view them as an essential indicator of threshold quality and as prerequisites for subsequent approvals.  

Accreditations are a peer review process on a set of predefined criteria, which help any B-school to dedicate its resources and emphasize on criteria consistent with the school’s vision and mission besides meeting chosen thresholds on a regular basis.

Why does accreditation matter? 

Aspiring students seek assurance of an excellent learning environment that is capable of building the required skills and competencies valued by employers. This is usually a healthy blend of industry-relevant curriculum and high-quality classroom and off-classroom interactions. Students also desire opportunities to meaningfully interact with industry and get hands-on experience in a corporate set-up. Accreditation bodies such as NBA, EQUIS, AACSB, AMBA and SAQS require active engagement of the faculty members with industry thus, aligning schools’ offerings with student aspirations.  

Faculty members engage in corporate and government consulting assignments, writing and publishing business cases, applied research, and training industry executives and officers from corporate and government organizations. Such continuous engagement with industry and academia is used by accreditation bodies as indicators of quality and continuous update of faculty members’ knowledge and skill. While this has been viewed as being too demanding of faculty members at times, these requirements ensure relevance and quality of learning besides providing a progressive academic environment for faculty as well. 

A holistic experience  

B-schools are a melting pot of students from diverse backgrounds – region, gender, age and experience. The richness this exposure brings to the personality, outlook and maturity of students who are going to step out as decision-makers and business leaders cannot be overemphasized. Student-driven clubs are an integral part in most B-schools that supplement classroom teaching and faculty mentoring tremendously, besides shaping their personality. Diversity in student composition, student-faculty interactions, environment and facilitation of peer learning are a few aspects that accreditation bodies emphasize on. 

Beyond the classroom 

Besides continuously improving on their curriculum and teaching-learning environment acquiring and maintaining accreditation requires B-schools to keep up with technology-enabled learning processes. Accreditation bodies expect schools to put in place an environment for innovation while also inculcating a sense of social responsibility and ethics. They also look for financial stability, transparent and streamlined processes and state-of-the-art infrastructure, which only makes the working and learning environment smoother and more effective. The accreditation process helps B-schools to work in a strategic manner rather than making ad-hoc decisions. Accreditations also inculcate discipline in working, such as proper documentation and processes. At times this might seem to get excessive and constraining. 

Eligibility for accreditation  

In the last decade, a large number of B-schools have voluntarily opted for both national and international accreditations. While the focus area of each accreditation may be different, the essence of all accreditations is continuous quality improvement through an assessment and feedback system. B-schools should choose the accreditation(s) that is aligned with their mission and vision while taking the financial aspect into consideration. 

Conclusion 

Earning and maintaining accreditations require a cohesive approach with all the stakeholders equally executing their responsibilities. Accreditation bodies are continuously evolving their standards and criteria, which are important to keep themselves relevant with time, globally and to make this a win-win for all the members of this ecosystem. International accreditations are expensive, especially for Indian B-schools, when the value of the rupee is weakening against the dollar and euro. To get the best results, B-schools should treat accreditation as the means to achieve sustained quality rather than making it an end goal. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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Accreditations b-school Credibility

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