How do ACBSP and AACSB differ

Beware of the black sheep: Recognize dubious MBAs

The MBA degree has been in increasing demand for years, as companies view this academic degree as a criterion for high-quality further education. As a result, the capacities of serious business schools are partially overloaded. This calls for dubious providers who abuse the title of the MBA or advertise with false accreditation. When choosing your MBA, you should therefore be particularly critical when it comes to accreditation.

Accreditation of MBAs

AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS and FIBAA? If you want to be sure to attend a recognized MBA course, you first have to decipher the abbreviations of the seal of approval. You should note that, for example, the accreditation agencies AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS are not valid in Germany and can only be used in addition to an accreditation to award the seal of the Accreditation Council. In the following you will find brief information on the most important accreditation agencies for MBA courses in Germany and internationally:


AACSB is short for the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The most prestigious accreditation for business programs is awarded by AACSB International. The non-profit organization operates almost entirely from the United States. Educational institutions must meet 21 quality standards, such as the excellent qualification of the teachers or the obligation to continuous improvement, in front of an international team of experts.


AMBA stands for Association of MBAs. According to experts, it is the most reliable accreditation body in Great Britain.


The European Quality Improvement System, EQUIS for short, is an initiative supported by the European Union, which aims to guarantee a comparable quality standard for business schools in Europe.


FIBAA stands for Foundation for international Business Administration Accreditation. It concentrates on the German-speaking area, but is also accredited in other European and non-European countries.


The Agency for Quality Assurance e.V. (AQAS) accredits German courses at technical colleges and universities. The agency, which was founded in the course of the Bologna Process in 2002, not only accredits Bachelor, Master and MBA courses, but also offers a procedure for system accreditation of universities.


ZEvA is the name of the Central Evaluation and Accreditation Agency. As the oldest German accreditation agency, ZEvA has already checked numerous MBA courses for their quality. She is a member of various international accreditation associations and, in addition to the accreditation of study programs, advises universities on the concept of new study programs.

However, there are also qualitative differences among these renowned accreditation bodies for MBAs, which are reflected, among other things, in the number of excellent study programs.

How do I recognize a dubious MBA?

The MBA - the Master of Business Administration - "is a degree in general management and corporate governance", according to the European Guidelines of the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD). In recent years, this original form of the MBA degree has been supplemented above all by specialized MBAs, which require caution - even if they are officially recognized. You should be careful with the following programs:

  • Doubtful or illogical MBA specializations, such as "MBA for Business Administration" or "MBA for Economics"
  • MBAs with a study duration of less than 6 months
  • MBAs without practical projects, stays abroad or guest speakers

How do I avoid dubious MBA providers?

The following criteria will help you to choose a reputable MBA course:

quality assurance

Information about which independent accreditation apart from AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS, ZEvA, AQAS or FIBAA is also credible can be found on the website of the Accreditation Council. This not only makes it possible to determine which MBA courses are recognized, you can also screen out dubious providers relatively easily. In this way you avoid falling for a course of study that adorns itself with worthless accreditations.

Content and costs

You should carefully weigh up the content and costs of the individual MBAs in Germany. Because even with MBA courses, expensive does not necessarily mean that the course is good. Neither overly expensive nor unusually cheap courses are recommended. In addition, rankings that appear objective do not necessarily protect you from an MBA sham. Providers generally advertise their own course content and degrees. Therefore, try to compare curriculum plans from different providers, these usually give you a better impression of the course than a mere list of the contents.

Experiences of the graduates

Try to get information from graduates through experience reports on neutral websites or through acquaintances. These sources are very valuable as they give you the most honest reviews of your MBA degree.