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Benefits of AACSB International Accreditation for SDSB, Lums.

Byline: Shiza Shahzad

Suleman Dawood School of Business (SDSB) achieved AACSB International accreditation in February 2019 as the first business school in Pakistan to attain this prestigious recognition. AACSB accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in business education. As a prerequisite for accreditation,a school must meet stringent quality criteria defined by AACSB and confirm its commitment to continuous improvement through innovation, engagement, and impact. Considering a large number of business schools in the world, choosing a school for a business degree can become a daunting task. Accreditation is a useful filter to reduce the choice set and assure prospective students that the school has passed rigorous quality standards.

What is AACSB?

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is one of the oldest and most widely renowned international accrediting body for business schools worldwide. The association ensures the quality and relevance of programs offered by a business school through its rigorous accreditation process that spans from five to seven years. AACSB aims at instilling values of engagement, innovation and impact in business education. AACSB Accreditation provides a framework of 15 international standards against which business schools around the world assess the quality of their educational services. These standards ensure continuous improvement and provide focus for schools to deliver on their mission, innovate, and drive impact.

AACSB-accredited schools such as SDSB have successfully undergone a rigorous review process conducted by volunteer deans of leading business schools, ensuring that they have the resources, credentials, and commitment needed to provide students with a first-rate, future-focused business education.

Synonymous with the highest standards of quality, AACSB accreditation inspires new ways of thinking within business education globally and, as a result, has been earned by only 5 percent of the world's business schools. Today, 836 institutions across 55 countries maintain AACSB accreditation. This figure implies that AACSB accreditation is granted to only the top business schools. Therefore, it is extremely significant to choose a business school that is AACSB accredited to ensure that you have a valuable learning experience and that your money is well spent. Becoming a part of this elite group of business schools, for SDSB-LUMS it is not only an external validation of the quality but also a source of national prestige.

"Achieving AACSB International accreditation is a resounding external validation of the quality of business programs offered at LUMS," said the Vice Chancellor, Dr. Arshad Ahmad. "This recognition strengthens our collective resolve to achieve excellence through continuous improvement by taking teaching, research, and service to new heights."

"This achievement would not have been possible without the unwavering support of all our stakeholders including faculty, staff, students, alumni, corporate partners, and the university leadership," said Dr. Alnoor Bhimani, SDSB honorary dean. "We are delighted with the accreditation outcome, and will continue to foster engagement with our stakeholders to ensure that our programs and research remain relevant with tangible societal impact."

Director of Accreditation, Dr. Fazal Jawad added, "The School has benefited enormously from AACSB's quality assurance standards and its underlying themes of engagement, innovation, and impact. Attaining AACSB accreditation is a significant milestone for the School which reinforces its commitment to meeting the highest international standards in business education."

AACSB accreditation process is a tremendous learning experience for a school to align with best practices with numerous benefits. Some of the key benefits are highlighted below:

International recognition

Achieving AACSB International accreditation places a school on the same platform as some of the other leading business schools in the world. AACSB accreditation enhances a school's national and global visibility and opens up opportunities for collaboration with other leading institutions and industry. A degree obtained from an AACSB accredited school assures prospective employers of relevant and high quality of educational experience.

External validation of quality and assurance of learning

The accreditation involves a comprehensive self-assessment by a school against the 15 AACSB standards in the form of a Self-Assessment Report which forms the basis for external review and assessment by a Peer Review Team comprising deans of leading business schools. An important component of the accreditation process is the requirement of having a well-established Assurance of Learning (AOL) program to assess achievement of program learning goals and trigger continuous improvement. The attainment of AACSB accreditation further enhances the credibility of programs offered at SDSB beyond the national borders.

Career opportunities

One of the most important factors students consider while applying to a business school is the career prospects following graduation. An AACSB accredited business school assures better placement opportunities for its graduates than schools that are not accredited. There are international corporations which only hire graduates from AACSB accredited institutions. As a result of accreditation, SDSB graduates are likely to have greater access to recruiters, especially regional and global.

Graduates from AACSB accredited schools typically enjoy higher compensation packages in the job market, providing an edge over non-accredited schools. From the employers' perspective, the degree programs offered by AACSB accredited schools meet the highest academic standards and are responsive to industry expectations.

International linkages

AACSB international accreditation will enable SDSB to further enhance its linkages with reputable international organizations and educational institutions to enrich the learning experience. This would mean increased exchange opportunities for SDSB students. International students are also more likely to collaborate with SDSB students and consider coming to LUMS. As a result, doing a degree program at LUMS business school would increase students' exposure to diversity and provide a truly global experience.

Best faculty resources to deliver degree programs

An AACSB accredited business school follows a strict faculty hiring and qualification criteria. This ensures stakeholders that students opting for an accredited school such as SDSB will have access to highly qualified faculty to create a rich learning environment and produce outstanding graduates. A survey was conducted with deans at 234 AACSB-accredited institutions from Asia, Europe, North America, and South America - 66 percent of the respondents reported an increase in the quality of their faculty (as reported by student surveys) following the achievement of AACSB Accreditation.

Quality of student intake and higher education opportunities

AACSB accreditation has a positive correlation with the number and quality of applicants as well as student retention and learning outcomes. Based on responses from deans at 234 AACSB-accredited schools an increase in retention and graduation rates were reported. Furthermore, given the quality stamp by AACSB, SDSB graduates will have greater access to many more reputable international institutions as well as greater probability of acceptance to pursue further studies.

Following are some interesting findings drawn from an AACSB survey conducted recently with 305 deans of AACSB accredited institutions.

* 89 percent of the respondents reported that AACSB Accreditation helps them to produce higher caliber, better educated graduates who are more desirable to prospective employers.

* 83 percent reported an increase in the number of recruiters and employers that were interested in their graduates after achieving AACSB Accreditation.

* 86 percent of students who attended accredited schools said that their program improved their chances of finding a job that meets their expectations.

* 86 percent said it gave them a competitive advantage in the job market.

* 88 percent of the respondents reported that AACSB Accreditation enables their school to increase its hiring standards and ultimately select higher quality faculty.


These findings further reinforce that a degree obtained from an AACSB accredited business school is a tremendously rewarding experience that significantly augments the job prospects of its graduates. So, come to LUMS to earn a premier qualification from Pakistan's only business school that meets the highest global standards of business education!
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Publication:Pakistan & Gulf Economist
Date:Apr 7, 2019
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