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AACSB Accreditation Gives Grads a Leg Up in the Job Market

By Bruce E. Beans

The business school was reaccredited this year by the International Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

AACSB accreditation, which the school first achieved 20 years ago, is the hallmark of excellence in business education. Less than 5 percent of the world's business schools earn the distinction. Today, there are 762 AACSB-accredited business schools in 52 countries and territories-the overwhelming majority of which are not private liberal arts schools of SU's size.

"We are very proud of our AACSB accreditation," says Marsha Kelliher, dean of the business school. "For students and their future employers, this should inspire confidence in knowing that students who graduate from Susquehanna's Sigmund Weis School of Business have received the very best in education.

"Some graduate schools will only consider graduates of AACSB-accredited business schools and some employers will only hire graduates from such schools."

Michaeline Shuman, assistant provost for postgraduate outcomes and director of the Career Development Center, agrees. 

"When they graduate, it really helps our students improve their chances of finding a job that meets their expectations," she says. "It demonstrates that we are maintaining the highest-quality faculty, and our faculty are maintaining a relevant curriculum that challenges students and begins transforming them into business professionals from their first semester on campus, with our Global Business Perspectives class."

Reaccreditation every five years involves rigorous internal and peer reviews. Since the AACSB requires accredited schools to complete a survey each year, the reaccreditation process really never ends. This time the process culminated with an SU campus visit by an AACSB reaccreditation team in spring 2015.

To achieve reaccreditation, the school focused on developing and implementing a plan aligned with AACSB's accreditation standards. These reqiure excellence in areas relating to strategic management and innovation; actively participating students, faculty and staff; learning and teaching; and academic and professional engagement.

The fundamental purpose of AACSB accreditation is to encourage leading business schools and accounting academic units to voluntarily hold themselves accountable for improving business and accounting practices through scholarly education and impactful intellectual contributions. Reaching the standards set by AACSB is a benchmark for success among business schools, and recent revisions to those standards encourage ongoing growth among member schools, according to Kelliher. "Now programs must provide evidence of continuous quality improvement in three vital areas: engagement, innovation and impact," she explains.

In anticipation of the AACSB review, the school-which already offered undergraduate majors in accounting, business administration, economics and finance-revised the business administration major to allow greater customization. It also converted finance, global management and marketing emphases into majors and created a new major in luxury brand marketing and management.

Founded in 1916, AACSB International is the longest-serving global accrediting body for business schools that offer undergraduate, master's and doctorate degrees in business and accounting.



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