Business School Accreditation Value

Our son, incoming senior, is only applying to colleges that offer cycling scholarships, very limited choices. Liberal Arts colleges, he’s unsure of career path, but is relatively confident he wants a career in the cycling industry. He likes idea of coaching, but thinks a business degree/marketing will offer more consistent employment opportunities. Only one of the three colleges he wants to apply to has an accredited business program. How valuable is this distinction within the marketing sector? Any thoughts or advice appreciated. Thanks.

Depends on the overall prestige of the LAC. If not well known, the accreditation can be used to gauge standards. The business school in a nonelite college I am familiar with is not accredited . That fact has not been useful for recruiting good students into that program, according to a friend who is faculty there.

You can Google the list of accredited business programs from the accreditation organization and see who all are listed there.Combining with cycling may be a bit more difficult, though. I see your challenge.

Thank you for responding. I did find the Accreditation website prior to posting which added to our dilemma. It wasn’t something my son, or us, thought to consider, nor had his guidance counselor mentioned it. Truthfully, what my husband and I are struggling with is that the accredited college is the furthest from home. We’re in NY, Ft. Lewis is in CO (the other varsity college is Lee’s McRae in NC, not accredited).

I think the accreditation may be important, and we shouldn’t discount that because of distance. Ultimately, we want the best education for him. My husband is curious if accreditation matters that much if our son isn’t interested in financial management, stock market, banking, etc. Such big decisions and transition ahead, likely more difficult for us than our son. I dread the distance, but any variable that increases the chance of success presumably matters.

Thanks, again.

I assume that you are referring to AACSB accreditation:
The list of accredited business programs include many schools that are in no way prestigious. AACSB accreditation is not a high hurdle to achieve. I would be cautious about an unaccredited program.

I would personally prioritize the accreditation.

@TomSrOfBoston, yes, that is the website I found, it is definitely a mixed lot! @momofsenior1 I agree.

Agreed with @TomSrOfBoston - it’s not a high hurdle to clear. The cycling portion is what is directing you to far flung colleges, I assume. But I would prioritize the accreditation. I hate to say this, but there are lower tier private colleges that add a business major just to attract students. It’s not an easy area in which to attract good full time faculty, and requires some investment on the part of the college and that’s what may be holding back their accreditation.

Business is one of the most popular college majors. Unless your family has connections for him to get internships and an entry level job regardless of the college where he got his degree , I would look for an accredited program with a reasonable reputation.

If you are even considering a program that isn’t accredited I would want to find out why the program hasn’t been accredited.

For any small LAC that doesn’t have a “name” in the business world, I would also try to get information about student outcomes after graduation – ex. do kids who graduate from the program get jobs? where? what kind of jobs?

Note that there is another business accreditation organization, ACBSP. However, it appears to have lower standards than AACSB, based on the list of schools with that accreditation.

There are schools which do not have full (AACSB accredited) business majors, but offer business-type courses under an economics or “business economics” major. Examples include Claremont McKenna, Chicago, and UCLA.

I was told if you go to a local school known to be good in your area and look for a job there the accreditation(aacsb) doesn’t matter that much but if you are looking to move to a different area the lack of accreditation can prevent you from getting a job offer. That said it seems like schools working on accreditation can’t tell you when they expect to get it.

This is all excellent feedback, thank you. Yes, cycling is the driving force. There are dreams of riding pro for a few years, but really, the education is what he’ll fall back on, and he’s all over the place. Marketing somewhere within the cycling industry appeals to him, but so does coaching/training and the science behind it. Parks/outdoor rec management is also on the radar. He’s a B+ student, and cycling has transformed him as a young man, so we don’t want to discourage this. He rides/trains seriously, has found direction and purpose, and his level of confidence and happiness have soared. We genuinely believe he’s found his “calling” so-to-speak, and we’re honest in our discussions with him that this is a narrow field with limited income opportunity. The varsity coaches have been honest about this too, and it’s something you have to enter wanting a balance for family and quality of life. If he discovers marketing is something he’ll be good at and want to pursue, then finding the varsity college with the strongest program is a key factor. Our emotions as parents are secondary.

The AACSB accreditation gives the business school credibility and increases one’s chances of being admitted to a good graduate business school.

He may be better off thinking about grad school. If he is set on cycling, get a good degree. Maybe work for a few years. Then go get the MBA.

What if he has an injury or illness that derails the cycling at college- is he stuck at a place where is dealing with insufficient challenges academically, no social network? Or are these colleges otherwise a good fit for him and the cycling is a bonus?

If you can tell us the schools on the list we can probably help more.

I have been hiring for large corporations for over 30 years, and can tell you that I have no idea which business programs are accredited and which ones aren’t. So that’s not hugely important in my experience. But when I hired CPA’s I knew how the pass rates compared from UT Austin to little podunk accounting program nobody has ever heard of, and when I hired marketing people I knew the difference between the rigor at Ross vs. a small LAC which did not require math past pre-algebra.

So it’s not the accreditation per se- it’s the overall rigor of the college (which big corporations definitely understand) AND the general reputation of the business program (or the general reputation of the rigor in general.) I’ve hired kids to enter rotational programs in strategic planning, investor relations, finance, manufacturing, distribution, etc. who studied philosophy at Princeton or Art History at Swarthmore… it’s not the content of what they learned, it’s that they can PROVE that they can learn, seek out, synthesize information, write, present, think.

So don’t focus on accreditation- what’s the quality of the program overall? You don’t really want him to coast for four years, do you? This is his education… it needs to be sufficiently challenging.

What great feedback! As you mentioned, we read somewhere that the college must be a good fit, and someplace you’d want to be if you’re injured, we ask our son to consider that as we go on tours. The varsity colleges he’s considering are: King University, Lees McRae, Ft. Lewis, Mars Hill, Belmont Abbey and Colorado Mesa. Mesa is off the list now because they are not accepting new riders. We’ll visit Ft. Lewis in September. We’ve been to the others. Lees McRae is the only one he felt comfortable in of all the schools we toured. He’s leaning towards marketing or coaching. The varsity level colleges will give him the most exposure to the industry, and it’s honestly the only way we can afford college and the cost of racing, which is significant (for us, anyway). We think he’ll need time in college to figure out what he’d like to major in.

It is a great suggestion to look to the strength of the programs and courses required to ascertain a sense of rigor, not something we ever would have thought of on our own - thank you!

A little surprised at the people saying AACSB accreditation is not a high hurdle As a faculty member who has participated in the accreditation and re-accreditation perocess, I would say it requires a significant amount of work. And the standards for faculty are one significant difference between an accredited school and a non-accredited one. AACSB is much stricter on faculty qualifications and full-time/part-time ratios. AACSB accreditation draws quality faculty because most want to teach at an accredited school. If your choices are between an AACSB accredited school and one that is not, I’d pick then accredited one.

I remember reading about faculty being one component, though I do not know enough about the criteria to be able to make a fair judgment. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Probably depends on what kind of hurdle – meeting a high minimum standard of quality of the curriculum, faculty, instruction, etc., or whether the business program has high enough prestige to be attractive to recruiters in elitist companies and industries. Accreditation is much more about the former than the latter.

I just thought of something else I heard on some tours (aacsb schools) - if you can find out how often alumni recruit and do they return year to year for new recruits.

Being accredited also allows him the option of transferring to another school at some point if he decides to move on. I believe transfering from a non-accredited to an accredited program is going to be difficult, with many class credits not transfering. I bring up transfering as an option because many students do transfer, especially athletes.

Fort Lewis is isolated from civilization. There is just no other way to put it. For a biker, skier, climber, mountaineer or misanthrope it could be heaven on earth. Durango does have an airport so you can get in and out. By car, it’s six hours to Denver, over Wolf Creek pass. Most students are from Colorado, many from Denver and many from the small towns throughout the state. Being part of the Colorado State University, many kids move on to CSU or even CU after two years.