Smart in Choosing an International Accredited Business School

BINUS BUSINESS SCHOOL is one of the only two universities in Indonesia that has received international accreditation from Association of Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the most prestigious accreditation institution with a high international standard. This has proven that the pedagogical quality is able to produce graduates who possess international competence. This recognition makes BINUS BUSINESS SCHOOL the right choice for prospective and professional practitioners who want to upgrade their competencies through the bachelor’s, Master of Business & Management program, as well as the doctoral program.

Questions like “what was your degree?”, “where did you study?” or “which major were you?” often appear in conversations with new acquaintances, especially in the professional world. Of course, the answer must be delivered with pride, especially when the university in question has a high reputation, or bona fide, that puts it among the ranks of top universities.

However, what are the benchmarks used to judge whether a higher education institution can hold this title or not? The most important thing is accreditation, because it closely relates to the quality of education guaranteed to be provided. Though, what kind of accreditation should be attained?

During a virtual discussion session in April 2021, representatives from several universities discussed the most prestigious international level accreditation, namely the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). On that occasion, the Director of BINUS BUSINESS SCHOOL, Dezie L. Warganegara, Ph.D, was present as one of the panelists.

Dezie talked about the experience of BINUS BUSINESS SCHOOL (BBS) in attaining the accreditation that has a very strict standard. “At that time, in 2010, our rector said that in 2017 we must have received the international accreditation. Even though we had some setbacks, in 2019 we managed to get [the accreditation from the AACSB],” he said.

The goal to attain international accreditation was initiated by BBS desire to improve the teaching quality. In the 1990s, according to Dezie, BINUS University had managed to get an “A” accreditation from BAN-PT (now called ‘Unggul’).

“We wanted to level up to the international grade and the prestigious one is AACSB. From the superiors (the rector), there was this pressure, and from below (the students) there was also a need,” continued Dezie.

Another panelist, Achmad Ghazali, Ph.D, Director of QA and Accreditation at the School of Business and Management ITB agreed with the statement. Ahmad, who said that his institution was struggling to get AACSB accreditation, saw the importance of international accreditation.

“The motivation stemmed from when we wanted to build international relations, when we wanted to approach several universities abroad, it turns out that AACSB has become a benchmark. They only want to work together with universities that have been accredited by AACSB,” he revealed.

BINUS BUSINESS SCHOOL and UGM are still the only two Indonesian universities that have received accreditation from AACSB. As for AACSB membership, there are 20 business schools in Indonesia, and 4 of them are in the process of accreditation.

The importance of accreditation was recognized by the Director of BAN-PT, Professor Chan Basaruddin. According to him, international accreditation has now become a policy in Indonesia with the aim to improve the quality of higher education in Indonesia together.

“The quality should be defined to go beyond the national boundaries and the presence of AACSB in Indonesia is very important to encourage the improvement of our education quality, particularly in the areas of business administration and management. We at BAN-PT welcome it,” said Prof Chan.

The Difference Between ‘Member’ and ‘Accredited’

The accreditation stages from AACSB require a long process, which begins by registering for membership or becoming a member. Afterwards, the university can apply for an accreditation process which generally takes years. BBS started the accreditation process from the moment it officially became a member in 2011 and was only accredited by AACSB in 2019.

However, as members, universities can enjoy a variety of great benefits and can encourage improvements in their institutions. For Dr. Beta Yulianita Gitaharie, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business at UI, being a member could open networking opportunities with other business schools around the world who are also members of the AASCB.

“Secondly, we can participate in various events such as conferences, seminars, workshops that provide a lot of insight,” said Beta.

According to Geoff Perry, Chief Officer of AACSB Asia Pacific, his institution could open a wide business network because of its 1,638 business school members worldwide. Among these members, not all of them have succeeded in obtaining AACSB accreditation, but the opportunity is still widely available.

“AACSB provides learning development opportunities, information related to research trends and curriculum for business schools, as well as a chance of building collaborations. We also open opportunities for international accreditation,” said Geoff when opening the discussion session.

The Winding Road Towards Accreditation

Nevertheless, attaining the AACSB accreditation is not an easy matter. Every university faces different challenges. For BBS, the toughest challenge was restructuring the undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral levels into one unit called BINUS BUSINESS SCHOOL.

The process was certainly meaningful, it created a significant impact on the educational institution itself. Dezie explained that the journey to get it has changed quality into an organizational culture, as well as improving the learning quality and the competence of graduates. The institution’s reputation has also risen.

Meanwhile, Beta also felt the benefits from the process towards accreditation that she was undergoing. Her institution is now developing a more realistic vision & mission and focused on finding ways to achieve it.

“There have been changes in academic culture at FEB UI, from teaching oriented to research oriented. Now we can meet the qualification requirements for the SA (for lecturers). Another benefit in terms of management is that the faculty has more direction, is more able to measure achievement since we now have curriculum management, and it’s more transparent,” said Beta.

Experienced in obtaining the AACSB accreditation for BBS, Dezie shared tips for business schools that will or are still in the accreditation process. First, according to him, there should be strong support from the rector and the foundation, because this process requires huge resources and takes a long time.

“There must be a strong commitment from all levels, as well as teamwork. We have a special team called Academic Development and Assurance to coordinate work,” said Dezie.

Finally, he continued, consistency and persistence are needed to meet all the standards required by the AACSB. Continuous improvement on each of these standards must be pursued.

Even more so, the AACSB has introduced new standards in 2020 that are more stringent and output-oriented which aim to highlight the characteristics of each business school. Liyan Chen from AACSB explained there is a society impact standard that was previously not included.

“So, this business school is also measured for its positive impact on the community around them,” said Chen.

Currently, BINUS BUSINESS SCHOOL as a part of BINUS University has campuses located in various major cities in Indonesia, namely BINUS Malang, BINUS Bandung, BINUS Senayan-Jakarta, BINUS Alam Sutera-Tangerang, BINUS Bekasi, and BINUS Kemanggisan-Jakarta. **