The AACSB - A Club You Don’t Want to Belong To

Jeffrey J. Anderson

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, or AACSB, markets itself as an official accreditor of business schools. An AACSB designation doesn’t carry any legal or regulatory meaning.

That’s just one of the reasons why the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management (LFGSM) has chosen not to become a member of the AACSB. Here are a few more reasons we’ve chosen not to join:

1. AACSB isn’t an accreditation agency

LFGSM is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), which is an accrediting agency sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Education to oversee higher learning institutions in Illinois and 18 other states. Their stamp of approval is required to operate and to dispense federal student loans.

The AACSB can’t officially certify MBA programs and has no regulatory authority. AACSB operates more like a membership club than an agency – one that requires members to pay dues and meet certain superficial requirements.

2. The AACSB “club” relies on an old business school model

One of the AACSB’s requirements is that at least 50 percent of member institutions’ faculty consist of traditional, full-time, tenured professors. Even the nation’s top business schools are acknowledging that this model no longer serves students or businesses.

In fact, the AACSB recently published an interview with Kellogg’s Dean Sally Blount about the future of business education in which she said this:

“The speed of change in the global marketplace means that in order to stay relevant, our tenure-line faculty will need to be regularly partnering in the classroom with seasoned executives.”

We agree with Dean Blount’s assessment, and at LFGSM, we are already way ahead of the game with our elite team of Business Leader Faculty®. They are experts in their fields, and they share their on-the-ground experience with our students to give them the best combination of theory and real-world application.

3. AACSB may actually be holding business schools back

Unfortunately, the AACSB’s main interest is maintaining the status quo. Its labyrinth of rules actually discourages the type of experimentation that is so badly needed in higher education today. That’s a bad recipe for any business, and we’re happy that we are free to adjust to the needs of students and businesses.

Lake Forest represents the way business should be taught – from those who understand deeply how things really work.


Jeff Anderson, President & CEO, LFGSM

Jeffrey J. Anderson is the 5th President and CEO of Lake Forest Graduate School of Management (LFGSM). Prior to joining the School in October 2014, Mr. Anderson served as an Associate Dean for Leadership Development at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. At Booth, Anderson harnessed his business experience to bring a practical, proven perspective to the leadership development curriculum.

Mr. Anderson is also a co-founder and partner at The Chatham Group, a consulting advisory firm that he launched in 2003. He has worked with senior executives in the distribution, consumer product, energy, investment banking, consulting, telecommunication and automotive industries. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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