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Thunderbird School of Global Management awarded prestigious reaccreditation from AACSB

Today’s global environment requires quick, collaborative, creative thinkers who can disrupt the status quo and deliver results. It requires global leaders who call for innovation at every level of their organization. And it requires the leadership and management training that will prepare those global leaders for success.

How do you find that type of education? One way is to check a school’s accreditation. 

The Thunderbird School of Global Management has just earned reaccreditation for a standard five-year extension by AACSB International, the premier accrediting agency for bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in business-related fields. The school has been AACSB accredited since 1994. 

Founded in 1916, AACSB International is the longest serving global accrediting body for business schools that offer undergraduate, master's and doctoral degrees in business and accounting. AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in business education and has been earned by just 845 business institutions in 56 countries and territories — fewer than 5% of the world's business programs. 

“To earn and maintain an AACSB accreditation is a remarkable achievement, recognizing academic excellence and a commitment to continuous improvement,” said Sanjeev Khagram, director general and dean of Thunderbird School. “Business and management schools can be a force for good, contributing to a prosperous, inclusive world’s economy and to planetary sustainability. AACSB is a hallmark of excellence and helps spread that message to a wide range of stakeholders — students, alumni, global business and society at large.”

Rigorous review 

To earn and sustain business accreditation, an institution’s program is required to undergo a rigorous review and evaluation process.

During the accreditation process, a team of business and management school deans with substantial knowledge of business education and accreditation standards visit the school and evaluate the program.

Thunderbird’s review was based on 15 business accreditation standards organized into four categories: 

  • Strategic management and innovation.
  • Participants — students, faculty and professional staff.
  • Learning and teaching.
  • Academic and professional engagement.

The standards are built around the three themes of engagement, innovation and impact. These themes are integrated throughout the standards to challenge and assist schools in striving for continuous quality improvement.

Continuous improvement

“As part of ASU, Thunderbird is in a unique position to expand our ability to excel in global engagement, innovation and impact. Transdisciplinary partnerships across ASU’s campus give us the opportunity to add significant breadth and substance to Thunderbird’s programs,” said Dean Khagram, who met with AACSB’s peer review team to walk them through the many Thunderbird programs that bear the hallmark of excellence for global leadership education. Representatives of faculty, staff, students, alumni and strategic partners from the industry also participated in the peer review interviews.

The fundamental purpose of AACSB accreditation is to challenge business educators to pursue excellence and continuous improvement in their business programs. AACSB achieves this purpose by defining a set of rigorous criteria and standards, coordinating peer reviews and consultation and recognizing high-quality business schools.

AACSB’s business standards have continued to be revised to ensure quality and continuous improvement in collegiate business education throughout the years.

“This level of accreditation places Thunderbird’s management education among the most prestigious in the world,” said Mary Teagarden, associate dean of faculty and administration and professor of global strategy. “This reaccreditation tells the world that we really are on the cutting edge in our faculty and programs. Yet, it also comes with a challenge. We know that the standards constantly evolve and so will Thunderbird.” 

Read more:  Thunderbird rankings and accreditation