Timothy S. Mescon, Executive VP of AACSB tells about the accreditations and online MBA programs
Timothy S. Mescon, Executive VP of AACSB International and Chief Officer in Europe, Middle East and Africa, was among the key speakers of Gaydar Forum. On request of portal «МВА in Moscow and Russia» Yuri Tazov, president of The Russian MBA League, asked him several questions.
Yuri Tazov: Mr. Mescon, the question about the distance MBA programs. In Russia, after the termination of state accreditation of MBA programs, we see the unrestrained growth in the number of MBA programs offered in distance format. There are a lot of firms which offer such MBA programs, but often they do not have competencies in business education and enough experience. Students are attracted first of all, by the low price, is about $1,000 for a one-year program. Is there a similar situation in the US and Europe? What is the attitude of employers to the diplomas of such MBA programs?
Timothy S. Mescon: This is a wonderful question. There are indeed similarities worldwide. Generally, the differentiator that demonstrates true global quality and adherence to global quality assurance standards is the imprimatur of accreditation. In the case of AACSB accredited schools, distance learning/digitally delivered programs must be of the same quality as those delivered face-to-face or in a blended format. There is no acceptable alternative.
Y.T.: Recently it became known that AMBA has accredited the first Russian distance-learning MBA program. At the same time, in such an advanced market as Britain there is only one online program MBA of the Business school at Birmingham University which was accredited by AMBA. What is the attitude of AACSB to accreditation of distance learning MBA programs?
T.M.: We have many business schools worldwide that offer face-to-face and distance learning programs. As I referenced, the online/digitally delivered programs must meet the same rigorous 15 standards as those met by the face-to-face programs. Specifically, the most notable example of an online provider AACSB accredits in the UK is the Open University, which has one of the largest business schools in the world.
Y.T.: The issue relates to the transfer of AACSB brand. It appears that some MBA programs without any accreditation could exist at the expense of joint programs with accredited business schools. For instance, the business school without accreditation, creates the MBA program of two diplomas with accredited business school. Some courses of the Russian part of the MBA programme is taken into consideration and complemented by the part of MBA courses of the accredited business school. This allows the Russian business school tells to its customers that it offers a program accredited by the AACSB. How do You feel about that?
T.M.: In fact, there are partnerships globally between AACSB accredited and non-AACSB accredited schools. In these cases the AACSB-accredited program is responsible for the overall quality assurance of the program. The only degree that AACSB "accredits" is the one delivered by the AACSB accredited school. For example, CEFAM in Lyon, Paris offers a double degree program. Students study for 3 years in Lyon and than one year at one of five CEFAM, AACSB-accredited partners in the U.S. The students earn two degrees, one from CEFAM and one from the U.S. partner. The only degree that is AACSB-accredited is the one offered by the U.S. partner.
Y.T.: Thank you for your answers!