The University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) today became the only school of an African university to be triple accredited, having now also earned accreditation from the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools in Business). USB is the first ‘African-born’ school to gain the sought-after AACSB accreditation after previously achieving both EQUIS and AMBA accreditations.
AACSB Accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in business education, and has been earned by less than five percent of the world’s business programmes. Today, there are 666 business schools in 45 countries and territories that maintain AACSB Accreditation.
Commenting on the achievement, Prof John Powell, director of the USB, said: “It’s been a long journey. Some years ago USB made a decision that it would measure itself against the finest business schools in the world. We set out to gain accreditations from the three international bodies. EQUIS and AMBA came first and today we heard that the final jewel in the crown, AACSB, has just fallen into place. Well, not fallen exactly; it’s taken many years of preparation, self-reflection and development carefully to position the USB in this upper echelon of international business schools.”
He added: “There is no escape from the eagle-eyed gaze of these accreditation teams; they look everywhere and end up knowing your business better than you do, and that’s actually the benefit. The recognition is great, for sure. To be a member of an elite group of perhaps 60 schools in the world who wear this Triple Crown is satisfying, but the real benefit is the contribution all three bodies have made to the development of the School. We can be sure that from our students’ point of view we are offering top-tier international standard business education – from all points of view.”
Powell said it was a great day for the USB, its students, management, support staff, faculty, alumni and friends in the business world, and while the USB believed firmly that there are many excellent business school in South Africa, “I hope they will allow us to feel, at least for today…that we are the best”.
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. AACSB Accreditation represents the highest achievement for an educational institution that awards business degrees, according to John J. Fernandes, president and chief executive officer of AACSB International.
“AACSB congratulates the University of Stellenbosch and Director John Powell on earning accreditation, and we welcome them into the family of AACSB-accredited business schools,” said Fernandes. “Director Powell and the faculty, directors, and staff of the University of Stellenbosch are to be commended for their role in earning accreditation.”
Achieving accreditation is a process of rigorous internal review, evaluation, and adjustment and can take several years to complete. During these years, the school develops and implements a plan to meet the AACSB Accreditation Standards, which require a high quality teaching environment, a commitment to continuous improvement, and curricula responsive to the needs of businesses. Also required by the AACSB standards, all accredited schools must go through a peer review process every five years in order to maintain their accreditation.
“It takes a great deal of self-evaluation and determination to earn AACSB Accreditation, and I commend the University of Stellenbosch Business School for its dedication to management education, as well as its leadership in the community,” said Fernandes. “Through accreditation, the University of Stellenbosch Business School has not only met specific standards of excellence, but has also made a commitment to on-going improvement to ensure that the institution will continue to deliver high quality education to its students.”