I think most business schools across America and around the world would agree that accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is the gold standard for business schools. It is the paragon of excellence. To put this in perspective, there are approximately 13,000 business schools in existence worldwide. Of these schools, only 716 hold the AACSB accreditation. That’s less than 5 percent!
The Cameron School of Business at UNCW just received notice that the AACSB approved maintenance of Cameron’s accreditation status, meaning Cameron is part of this gilt-edged group! This is important to the university, school, students and faculty, but also to the community and prospective employers.
According to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the top 10 things employers look for in new college graduates are:
- Ability to work in a team structure
- Ability to make decisions and solve problems (tie)
- Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization
- Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work
- Ability to obtain and process information
- Ability to analyze quantitative data
- Technical knowledge related to the job
- Proficiency with computer software programs
- Ability to create and edit written reports
- Ability to sell and influence others
Business schools with AACSB accreditation have degree programs designed to provide students with the knowledge, tools and skills needed to be successful. The guidelines that AACSB uses for accreditation qualifications are called “standards.” There are 15 standards that fall into categories including Strategic Management and Innovation and Academic and Professional Engagement. Standards 8-12, the Learning and Teaching standards, require the transmission and mastery of the knowledge and skills listed above. Let’s take a look at the skill and knowledge areas required for accredited universities:
Skill and Knowledge Areas Required in AACSB Standards 8-12
- Interpersonal relations and teamwork (able to work effectively with others and in team environments)
- Analytical thinking (able to analyze and frame problems)
- Written and oral communication (able to communicate effectively orally and in writing)
- Ethical understanding and reasoning (able to identify ethical issues and address the issues in a socially responsible manner)
- Information technology and statistics/quantitative methods impacts on business practices, to include data creation, data sharing, data analytics, data mining, data reporting and storage between and across organizations including related ethical issues.
- Application of knowledge (able to translate knowledge of business and management into practice)
- Information technology (able to use current technologies in business and management contexts)
- Diverse and multicultural work environments (able to work effectively in diverse environments)
- Reflective thinking (able to understand oneself in the context of society)
Note that these requirements map nicely into the skills desired by businesses. Thus, when a business school gains AACSB accreditation, you can take it to the bank that the school’s graduates are the gold standard and that they will make great employees. Why look any further for an intern or employee than your own backyard?
Dr. Robert T. Burrus, Jr. is interim dean of the Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Before taking on the role, Burrus was the department chair for economics and finance and a professor of economics. He has been on Cameron’s faculty since 1998. The Cameron School of Business has 90 full-time faculty members and 29 administrative and staff members. The school hosts approximately 2,000 undergraduate students and 170 graduate students. International students come to study at Cameron from all over the world. The Cameron School of Business is AACSB accredited; offers capstone experiences; houses a Financial Trading Markets Room; provides for overseas learning opportunities; and is a founding member of the Trans-Atlantic Business School Alliance. To learn more about the Cameron School of Business, please visit http://csb.uncw.edu/. Questions and comments can be sent to [email protected].