Alumni Perceptions of AACSB Accreditation to the Undergraduate Program

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1 Alumni Perceptions of AACSB Accreditation to the Undergraduate Program Juan M. Dempere, Metropolitan State College of Denver Ramon Griffin, Metropolitan State College of Denver Paul Camp, Metropolitan State College of Denver ABSTRACT A major objective of many business schools worldwide is to achieve AACSB accreditation. This distinction is considered to be among the most prestigious achievable by business schools. Metropolitan State College of Denver (Metro State), a four year undergraduate only institution, is currently in the early phases of working toward such accreditation. The major goal of this article was to provide statistical evidence about whether and how much graduates of Metro State s business program have been disadvantaged because the program is not among AACSB accredited schools. The results of this article suggest that the negative effects of the lack of AACSB accreditation on Metro s alumni are negligible. Almost ¾ of the respondents or 576 out of 770 respondents (74.81%) have not heard about the AACSB accreditation, and just 194 out of 770, or percent have heard about this accreditation. The results provide clear evidence that the lack of AACSB accreditation had a minimum negative impact on the respondent s access to graduate programs, professional marketability, career options, earning potential, obtaining the job skills needed to be successful, obtaining the knowledge needed to succeed, or on the quality of the faculty members to whom they were exposed. Finally, our results also suggest that most respondents seems to strongly agree and simply agree in perceived potential benefits associated with the AACSB accreditation. The perceived benefits still exist in the mind of most respondents even after indicating that the Metro State's lack of AACSB accreditation had almost no impact in many aspects of their professional and academic life after graduation. INTRODUCTION A major objective of many business schools worldwide is to achieve AACSB accreditation. This distinction is considered to be among the most prestigious achievable by business schools. Metropolitan State College of Denver (Metro State), a four year undergraduate only institution, is currently in the early phases of working toward such accreditation. One of the questions frequently posed in discussions regarding this endeavor has been whether and how much graduates of Metro State s business program have been disadvantaged because the program is not among AACSB accredited schools. 1

2 This paper reports the results of an alumni survey of Metro State s business school. The sample was drawn from a sampling frame of some 4000 Metro State business alumni, and an online questionnaire was used to assess the degree to which the respondents believe that achieving this distinction would have been helpful to them in securing their employment or furthering their careers. The questionnaire requested various demographic, job related, and educational data as well as questions about the perceived benefits to the sample of achieving AACSB accreditation. Additional questions were designed to determine whether the lack of accreditation on the part of Metro State s School of Business has hampered respondents either in their careers or in pursuit of a graduate education. The results of this article suggest that the negative effects of the lack of AACSB accreditation on Metro s alumni are negligible. Almost ¾ of the respondents or 576 out of 770 respondents (74.81%) have not heard about the AACSB accreditation, and just 194 out of 770, or percent have heard about this accreditation. The results provide clear evidence that the lack of AACSB accreditation had a minimum negative impact on the respondent s access to graduate programs, professional marketability, career options, earning potential, obtaining the job skills needed to be successful, obtaining the knowledge needed to succeed, or on the quality of the faculty members to whom they were exposed. Finally, our results also suggest that most respondents seems to strongly agree and simply agree in perceived potential benefits associated with the AACSB accreditation. The perceived benefits still exist in the mind of most respondents even after admitting that the Metro State's lack of AACSB accreditation had almost no impact in many aspects of their professional and academic life after graduation. The rest of this paper is organized as follows: section 1 summarizes the relevant literature review on this topic; section 2 provides an overview of the data used in this article; section 3 describes our major empirical results; section 4 summarizes the major findings; and section 5 lists the bibliographic sources mentioned in this article. LITERATURE REVIEW Daily, Farewell, and Kumar (2007) Daily, Farewell, and Kumar (2007) study the factors affecting the decision of a foreign student to select a business institution in the U.S. In particular, they analyze the impact of AACSB accreditation to this decision by the students. They find that respondents misunderstand the meaning of AACSB accreditation. However, they also find that AACSB accreditation is a critical factor for students in the choice of an educational institution. McGeel (1999) addresses some ethical problems with the accreditation standards that the AACSB requires of its accredited institutions. He mentions the monopoly represented by the AACSB in the sense that it is the only accreditation agency that has the approval of the U.S. Department of Education to accredit business schools. (McGeel, 1999, page 471). This monopolistic position results in lower quality and higher prices and prevents other accreditation agencies from entering the market. DATA Our sample was selected from the database provided by the Office of Information Services and Alumni at Metropolitan State College of Denver. Their database consisted of 14,552 records of business alumni by spring 2009, of which 5,120 have addresses and 9,432 have mailing addresses but not addresses. Due to cost constrains we decided to perform an survey, so we used the first group of 5,120 business alumni. After applying the survey, we 2

3 determined a total of 258 invalid addresses, so our final group of potential respondents was 4,862. This group constitutes percent of the total business alumni universe (14,552) at Metro State. From the group, we received 770 responses, and this number represents percent of the 4,862 alumni with valid addresses, and 5.29 percent of the total universe of 14,552 business alumni at Metro State. This small percentage means that any inferences or conclusions derived from this survey will have associated a significant margin of error. This is one of the major limitations of our results, but this is one quite common for most survey-based research efforts, particularly based surveys. RESULTS Table 1 shows summary statistics about demographic information collected with our survey. About 61% of the participants are male while just 39% are female. Most respondents studied a major in management (24.16%) and accounting (23.51%). Regarding ethnic heritage, most students identify themselves as white American (77.40%), followed by Hispanic or Latino students (10.13%). Most respondents graduated from Metro State over 60 months ago (76.75%), they are full time employed (75.19%) and have ages that range from 36 to 55 years old (47.92%). Similarly, most respondents earn an annual salary between $40K and $79,999 (42.86%), most work for large organizations (43.33% work for employers with more than 1K employees), and the most common type of function is accounting (20.34%) followed by information technology (11.44%). More than half of respondents have no academic achievements after graduation from Metro State (54.31%), and the most common academic achievement after graduation among those that decided to continue their education is professional certification (12.98%). Finally, regarding to the question about the respondents awareness of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business or AACSB accreditation, most of them (74.81%) are not aware of it, while just 25.19% are aware of it. Table 1. Summary Statistics Gender: Responses: Percentage: Chart: Male % Female % Academic Major: Responses: Percentage: Chart: Accounting % Comp. Info. Syst % Economics % Finance % Management % Marketing % Other % 3

4 Age: Responses: Percentage: Chart: Less than % % % % % 66 or higher % Prefer not to report % Ethnic Background: Responses: Percentage: Chart: White American % African American % Asian American % Hispanic or Latino(a) % American Indian and Alaska Native % Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander % Prefer not to report % Other % Graduation Year: Responses: Percentage: Chart: 2008 (within the last 12 months) % 2007 (within the last 13 to 24 months) % 2006 (within the last 25 to 36 months) % 2005 (within the last 37 to 48 months) % 2004 (within the last 49 to 60 months) % Over 60 months ago % Employment Status: Responses: Percentage: Chart: Employed full-time (FT) % Employed part-time (PT) % Not employed, studying % Not employed, seeking employment % Not employed, not seeking employment % Retired % Prefer not to report % 4

5 Annual salary: Responses: Percentage: Chart: Less than $20K % $20K - $39, % $40K - $59, % $60K - $79, % $80K - $99, % $100K - $149, % $150K - $250K % More than $250K % Type of function: Responses: Percentage: Chart: Accounting % Investment Management 0.28% 2 Brand/Product Management 0.85% 6 Manufacturing 0.85% 6 Consulting 3.39% 24 Marketing/Sales 9.32% 66 Financial Services 5.79% 41 General Management 7.49% 53 Operations 3.11% 22 Human Resources 2.12% 15 Information Technology 11.44% 81 Strategy/Planning 0.71% 5 Other 34.32% 243 Size of employer: Responses: Percentage: Chart: Small (less than 50) % Medium (between 50 and 1,000) % Large (more than 1,000) % Academic Achievements after graduation: Responses: Percentage: Chart: MBA % Master Degree other than an MBA % Ph.D./Doctorate % Professional Certification (CPA, CFP, CFA, etc.) % Another bachelor degree % None % Other % 5

6 Have you heard about the AACSB accreditation? Responses: Percentage: Chart: Yes % No % Table 2 shows summary statistics about seven aspects that may have been impaired or hurt respondents further education as a result of the Metro State's lack of AACSB accreditation. Each aspect is measured using a Likert-type scale ranging from one to five, where one is Not at all and five is Extremely. The respondents that selected Not Applicable or Unsure are treated separately. Table 2 also shows summary statistics about the mean responses of these seven aspects including the mean and standard deviation. The results of this table include exclusively the perceptions of those respondents who have heard about the AACSB accreditation (179 out of 770 respondents). Table 2. Summary & Descriptive Statistics To what extent has Metro State's lack of AACSB accreditation impaired or hurt: Your access to graduate programs. Responses: Percentage: Chart: Not at all % Somewhat % Moderately % Very much % Extremely % Not Applicable % Unsure % Your professional marketability. Responses: Percentage: Chart: Not at all % Somewhat % Moderately % Very much % Extremely % Not Applicable % Unsure % 6

7 Your career options. Responses: Percentage: Chart: Not at all % Somewhat % Moderately % Very much % Extremely % Not Applicable % Unsure % Your earning potential Responses: Percentage: Chart: Not at all % Somewhat % Moderately % Very much % Extremely % Not Applicable % Unsure % Obtaining the job skills you needed to be successful in your career. Responses: Percentage: Chart: Not at all % Somewhat % Moderately % Very much % Extremely 0 0% Not Applicable % Unsure % The knowledge you needed to succeed. Responses: Percentage: Chart: Not at all % Somewhat % Moderately % Very much % Extremely 0 0% Not Applicable % Unsure % 7

8 The quality of the faculty members to whom you were exposed at Metro State. Responses: Percentage: Chart: Not at all % Somewhat % Moderately % Very much % Extremely % Not Applicable % Unsure % Descriptive Statistics of each Factor Mean Std. Dev. N Your access to graduate programs Your professional marketability Your career options Your earning potential Obtaining the job skills you needed to be successful in your career The knowledge you needed to succeed The quality of the faculty members to whom you were exposed at Metro State Note: Std. Dev. stands for Standard Deviation. The descriptive statistics of Table 2 provides clear evidence that, for most respondents, the Metro State's lack of AACSB accreditation has not impaired or hurt any of the respondents aspects measured in our survey. In other words, the lack of AACSB accreditation had minimum negative impact on the respondent s access to graduate programs, professional marketability, career options, earning potential, obtaining the job skills needed to be successful, obtaining the knowledge needed to succeed, or on the quality of the faculty members to whom they were exposed at Metro State. As we mentioned before, the results of this table considers exclusively the perceptions of those respondents who have heard about the AACSB accreditation (194 out of 770 respondents). Table #3 provides the percentage over the total sample of those respondents that have heard about the AACSB accreditation and that have been extremely or very much impaired or hurt because of the Metro State s lack of accreditation. Table 3. Descriptive Statistics: Percentage of Affected Respondents over the Entire Sample Respondents that Selected Very much & Extremely Responses: Percentage: To what extent has Metro State's lack of AACSB accreditation impaired or hurt: Your access to graduate programs % Your professional marketability % Your career options % Your earning potential % Obtaining the job skills you needed to be successful in your career % The knowledge you needed to succeed % 8

9 The quality of the faculty members to whom you were exposed at Metro State % These results clearly suggest that in almost all the seven factors evaluated in our survey, between 1 and 2 percent of all respondents were extremely and very much impacted by the Metro State s lack of AACSB accreditation. These results suggest that the tangible benefits of the AACSB accreditation are negligible since the lack of it can only results in significant negative consequences for less than 2 percent of 770 respondents. Table 4 shows summary statistics about five statements about the AACSB accreditation. Each statement is measured using a Likert-type scale ranging from one to five, where one is Strongly Agree and five is Strongly Disagree. This table also shows summary statistics about the mean responses of these five statements including the mean and standard deviation. The descriptive statistics of Table 4 provides plain evidence that, for most respondents, the AACSB accreditation will provide benefits in terms of enhanced reputation for both the business program and its graduates, superior quality of the business faculty members, and increased academic standards. However, respondents seem to be unsure about whether the AACSB accreditation will increase the tuition costs. The results of table 4 suggest that most respondents seems to strongly agree and simply agree in perceived potential benefits associated with the AACSB accreditation. The perceived benefits still exist in the mind of most respondents even after admitting that the Metro State's lack of AACSB accreditation had almost no impact in many aspects of their professional and academic life after graduation, according to the results of the previous table 3. Table 4. Summary & Descriptive Statistics Please check the box that best expresses your personal opinion regarding the following statements. Achieving AACSB accreditation will enhance the reputation of MSCD s business program. Responses: Percentage: Chart: Strongly Agree % Agree % Unsure % Disagree 0 0% Strongly Disagree % Achieving AACSB accreditation will improve the quality of the MSCD s business faculty members. Responses: Percentage: Chart: Strongly Agree % Agree % Unsure % Disagree % Strongly Disagree 0 0% 9

10 Achieving AACSB accreditation will increase the tuition costs at MSCD. Responses: Percentage: Chart: Strongly Agree % Agree % Unsure % Disagree % Strongly Disagree % Achieving AACSB accreditation will enhance the reputation of MSCD s business graduates. Responses: Percentage: Chart: Strongly Agree % Agree % Unsure % Disagree % Strongly Disagree 0 0% Achieving AACSB accreditation will increase the academic standards of MSCD s business program. Responses: Percentage: Chart: Strongly Agree % Agree % Unsure % Disagree % Strongly Disagree 0 0% Descriptive Statistics of each statement Mean Std. Dev. N Achieving AACSB accreditation will enhance the reputation of MSCD s business program Achieving AACSB accreditation will improve the quality of the MSCD s business faculty members Achieving AACSB accreditation will increase the tuition costs at MSCD Achieving AACSB accreditation will enhance the reputation of MSCD s business graduates Achieving AACSB accreditation will increase the academic standards of MSCD s business program Table 5 contains descriptive and summary statistics about five respondents factors that encouraged them to pursue their business degree at Metro State. Each factor is measured using a Likert-type scale ranging from one to five, where one is Not at all and five is Extremely. The respondents that selected Not Applicable are treated separately. The table also contains descriptive statistics about the mean responses of these seven factors including their means and standard deviations. 10

11 Table 5. Summary and Descriptive Statistics To what extent did the following factors encourage you to pursue your business degree at Metro State? Tuition fees Responses: Percentage: Chart: Not at all % Somewhat % Moderately % Very much % Extremely % Not Applicable % Location Responses: Percentage: Chart: Not at all % Somewhat % Moderately % Very much % Extremely % Not Applicable % Reputation of faculty members Responses: Percentage: Chart: Not at all % Somewhat % Moderately % Very much % Extremely % Not Applicable % Students Responses: Percentage: Chart: Not at all % Somewhat % Moderately % Very much % Extremely % Not Applicable % Reputation of the program/college Responses: Percentage: Chart: Not at all % Somewhat % Moderately % Very much % Extremely % Not Applicable % 11

12 Descriptive Statistics of each factor Mean Std. Dev. N Tuition fees Location Reputation of faculty members Students Reputation of the program/college The descriptive statistics of Table 5 clearly suggest that most respondents consider Tuition fees and Location as the most important factors that encouraged them to pursue their business degree at Metro State (means of and respectively). The reputation of the program/college moderately explains the respondents selection of Metro State to pursue a business degree (mean of 2.960), while the reputation of the faculty members seems to have rather somewhat influence in their decision (mean of ). The Metro State s students clearly constitute the less important factor of the respondents choice (mean 2.107). Table 6 shows summary statistics about the respondents that have heard about the AACSB accreditation (referred to as Aware of AACSB henceforth and Unaware of it when the respondent has not heard about the AACSB accreditation) using the demographic variables gathered with our survey. The results are remarkably consistent among all categories, with just about ¼ aware of the ACCSB accreditation and about 25% that is unaware of it. Table 6. Summary Statistics: AACSB Accreditation Awareness by Demographic Variables Gender: Responses: Percentage: Chart: Male Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Female Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % 12

13 Academic Major: Responses: Percentage: Chart: Accounting Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Computer Information System Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Economics Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Finance Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Management Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Marketing Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Other Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Size of employer: Responses: Percentage: Chart: Small (less than 50) Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Medium (between 50 and 1,000) Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Large (more than 1,000) Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % 13

14 Age: Responses: Percentage: Chart: Less than 25 Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % 66 or higher Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Prefer not to report Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Employment Status: Responses: Percentage: Chart: Employed full-time (FT) Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Employed part-time (PT) Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Not employed, studying Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Not employed, seeking employment Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Not employed, not seeking employment Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Retired Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Prefer not to report Aware of AACSB % 14

15 Unaware of it % Ethnic Background: Responses: Percentage: Chart: White American Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % African American Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Asian American Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Hispanic or Latino(a) Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % American Indian and Alaska Native Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Prefer not to report Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Other Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Graduation Year: Responses: Percentage: Chart: 2008 (within the last 12 months) Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % 2007 (within the last 13 to 24 months) Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % 2006 (within the last 25 to 36 months) Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % 2005 (within the last 37 to 48 months) Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % 2004 (within the last 49 to 60 months) Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Over 60 months ago Aware of AACSB % 15

16 Unaware of it % Annual salary: Responses: Percentage: Chart: Less than $20K Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % $20K - $39,999 Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % $40K - $59,999 Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % $60K - $79,999 Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % $80K - $99,999 Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % $100K - $149,999 Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % $150K - $250K Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % More than $250K Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Academic achievements after graduation: Responses: Percentage: Chart: MBA Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Master Degree other than an MBA Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Ph.D./Doctorate Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Professional Certification (CPA, CFP, CFA, etc.) Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Another bachelor degree Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % None Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Other Aware of AACSB % 16

17 Unaware of it % Type of function: Responses: Percentage: Chart: Accounting Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Investment Management Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Brand/Product Management Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Manufacturing Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Consulting Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Marketing/Sales Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Financial Services Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % General Management Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Operations Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Human Resources Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Information Technology Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Strategy/Planning Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % Other Aware of AACSB % Unaware of it % In table 6, significant differences arise but just for those variables with a few responses. For example, 100% of all Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander have never heard about the AACSB accreditation. However, we had just 2 respondents within this category, so meaningful 17

18 inferences cannot be drawn from this result. We expected a higher level of AACSB awareness among those respondents with graduate studies. Nevertheless, just 30 out of 73 respondents (or 41.10%) who achieved an MBA after graduation at Metro State have heard about the AACSB accreditation. Similarly, 21 out of 65 respondents (or 32.31%) who achieved a master degree other than an MBA were aware of the AACSB accreditation. In the same way, although with just a few respondents, just 3 out of 7 respondents (or 42.86%) who achieved Ph.D./Doctorate degree were aware of the AACSB accreditation. These results are consistent with the question of employment status, where 3 out of 7 (or 42.86) of those who are not employed, but currently studying are aware of the AACSB accreditation. Finally, we also expected a higher level of AACSB awareness among those respondents working in some types of functions, particularly in functions related to human resources. However, only 8 out of 15, 53.33% of the respondents in this work category, have heard about the AACSB accreditation. Table 7 shows the results for the independent sample tests of the mean answers of two groups using the graduation year as the grouping variable. Respondents that graduated over 60 months ago are compared with those who graduated earlier than that. All the surveyed respondents factors that might be impaired or hurt as a result of the Metro State s lack of AACSB accreditation were evaluated, including the statements about the potential benefits of Metro s achievement this accreditation, and the surveyed factors that encouraged respondents to pursue their business degree at Metro State. Table 7. Independent Samples Test. Grouping Variable: Graduation Year Levene s Test for Groups N Mean Equality of Variances t-test for Equality of Means (Sig. 2-tailed) To what extent has Metro State's lack of AACSB accreditation impaired or hurt: Obtaining the job skills you needed to be successful in your career. > 60 months F = t = Sig. ( ) **** Equal variances not assumed 60 months (0.0175) ** The knowledge you needed to succeed. > 60 months F = t = Sig. ( ) ** Equal variances not assumed 60 months (0.0442) ** Notes: *, **, ***, and ****denote statistical significance at the 10%, 5%, 1%, and 0.1% significance levels, respectively. The first significant results were in the perceived negative impact at obtaining the job skills needed to be successful in the respondents careers. Respondents who graduated over 60 months ago consider on average that the Metro State s lack of AACSB accreditation had somewhat impaired obtaining these skills (mean of 2.098) compared to those who graduated earlier (mean of 2.936) that considered this negative impact as moderate. These results are significant at 5 percent level of confidence. The second significant results are in the perceived negative impact at obtaining the knowledge needed to succeed. Respondents who graduated over 60 months ago consider, on average, that the Metro State s lack of AACSB accreditation had somewhat impaired their obtaining the knowledge needed to succeed (mean of 2.076) compared to those who graduated earlier (mean of 2.766) that perceived this negative impact as rather moderate. The remaining factors and statements evaluated using the graduation year as the grouping 18

19 variable produce insignificant results that were not reported in this article. These results are also significant at 5 percent level of confidence. Table 8 shows the results for the independent sample tests of the mean answers of two groups using the academic achievements after graduation from Metro State as the grouping variable. Respondents with none academic achievement are compared with those some academic achievements after graduation. As in the previous table, all the surveyed respondents factors that might be impaired or hurt as a result of the Metro State s lack of AACSB accreditation were evaluated, including the statements about the potential benefits of Metro achieving this accreditation, and the surveyed factors that encouraged respondents to pursue their business degree at Metro State. Table 8. Independent Samples Test. Grouping Variable: Achievements after graduation from Metro State Levene s Test for Groups N Mean Equality of Variances t-test for Equality of Means (Sig. 2-tailed) To what extent has Metro State's lack of AACSB accreditation impaired or hurt: The quality of the faculty members to whom you were exposed at Metro State. None F = t = Sig. ( ) * Equal variances not assumed Some (0.0694) * Notes: *, **, ***, and ****denote statistical significance at the 10%, 5%, 1%, and 0.1% significance levels, respectively. The only significant result is about the perceived negative impact on the quality of the faculty members to whom the respondents were exposed at Metro State. Respondents with no academic achievements at all after graduation consider on average that the Metro State s lack of AACSB accreditation had moderately impaired the quality of the faculty members (mean of 3.088) compared to those with some type of academic achievement after graduation (mean of 2.466) that considered this negative impact less severe. These results are significant at 10 percent level of confidence. Table 9. Independent Samples Test. Grouping Variable: Accounting as Academic Major at MSCD Levene s Test for Groups N Mean Equality of Variances t-test for Equality of Means (Sig. 2-tailed) Please check the box that best expresses your personal opinion regarding the following statements: Achieving AACSB accreditation will enhance the reputation of MSCD s business program. Accounting F = t = 1.93 Sig. ( ) ** Equal variances not assumed Other Major (0.0571) * Notes: *, **, ***, and ****denote statistical significance at the 10%, 5%, 1%, and 0.1% significance levels, respectively. 19

20 Table 9 shows the results for the independent sample tests of the mean answers of two groups using the academic major as the grouping variable. Respondents with an academic major in accounting (accounting and management are the two largest groups of academic majors in terms of respondents, see table 2) are compared with those with an academic major in any other areas. We also analyzed students with major in management, but we find no significant results, so these results were not reported in this article. As in the previous table, all the surveyed respondents factors that might be impaired as a result of the Metro s lack of AACSB accreditation were evaluated, including the statements about the potential benefits of this accreditation, and the surveyed factors that encouraged respondents to pursue their business degree at Metro State. The only significant result is on the perception that achieving AACSB accreditation will enhance the reputation of MSCD s business program. Respondents with a major in accounting agree on this statement less than those with a major in other area (mean of vs ). These results are significant at 10 percent level of confidence. CONCLUSIONS Metro State is currently in the early phases of working toward such accreditation. The major goal of this article was to provide statistical evidence about whether and how much graduates of Metro State s business program have been disadvantaged because the program is not among AACSB accredited schools. The results of this article suggest that the negative effects of the lack of AACSB accreditation on Metro s alumni are negligible. Almost ¾ of the respondents or 576 out of 770 respondents (74.81%) have not heard about the AACSB accreditation, and just 194 out of 770, or percent have heard about this accreditation. The results provide clear evidence that for most respondents the Metro State's lack of AACSB accreditation has not impaired or hurt any of the seven aspects measured in our survey. In other words, the lack of AACSB accreditation had a minimum negative impact on the respondent s access to graduate programs, professional marketability, career options, earning potential, obtaining the job skills needed to be successful, obtaining the knowledge needed to succeed, or on the quality of the faculty members to whom they were exposed at Metro State. These results are based exclusively on the perceptions of those respondents who have heard about the AACSB accreditation (194 out of 770 respondents). Regarding to those respondents who have been extremely or very much impaired or hurt because of the Metro State s lack of accreditation, our results clearly suggest that in almost all the seven factors evaluated in our survey, these respondents represent between 1 and 2 percent of our survey. These results suggest that the tangible benefits of the AACSB accreditation are negligible since the lack of it only resulted in significant negative consequences for less than 2 percent of 770 respondents. Similarly, our results suggest that for most respondents, the AACSB accreditation will provide benefits in terms of enhanced reputation for both the business program and its graduates, superior quality of the business faculty members, and increased academic standards. However, respondents seem to be unsure about whether the AACSB accreditation will increase the tuition costs. Our results suggest that most respondents seems to strongly agree and simply agree in perceived potential benefits associated with the AACSB accreditation. The perceived benefits still exist in the mind of most respondents even after admitting that the Metro State's lack of AACSB accreditation had almost no impact in many aspects of their professional and academic life after graduation. 20

21 Regarding the five surveyed respondents factors that encouraged them to pursue their business degree at Metro State, our results suggest that most respondents consider Tuition fees and Location as the most important of these factors. The reputation of the program/college moderately explains the respondents selection of Metro State to pursue a business degree, while the reputation of the faculty members seems to have only somewhat influenced their decision. The composition of the student body clearly constituted the least important factor of the respondents choice. Finally, regarding to the respondents that have heard about the AACSB accreditation classified by demographic variables, our results are remarkably consistent among all categories, with just about 25 percent aware of the ACCSB accreditation and about 75 percent unaware of it. We find that just percent of those who achieved an MBA after graduation at Metro State have heard about the AACSB accreditation. Similarly, percent of those who achieved a master degree other than an MBA after graduation were aware of the AACSB accreditation. In the same way, percent of those who achieved Ph.D./Doctorate degree after graduation were aware of the AACSB accreditation. We also find that percent of the respondents working in human resources have heard about the AACSB accreditation. References Daily, Cynthia M.; Farewell, Stephanie; and Kumar, Gaurav (2007). Factors Influencing the Decision of International Students to Attend U.S. Business Schools Working Paper, University of Arkansas at Little Rock - College of Business Administration. McGeel, Robert W. (1999) Some Economic and Ethical Issues Involved in AACSB Accreditation. Journal of Accounting, Ethics & Public Policy, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp

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