By Colin Nelson
The 2014 International Conference and Annual Meeting (ICAM) convened last month in Singapore, and represented AACSB International’s first foray into hosting our flagship annual conference in Asia. That ICAM was hosted there so successfully is significant, as it is a recognition of the changing dynamic within AACSB’s global membership; as of this writing, 51.5 percent of our membership is now based outside AACSB’s birthplace in the United States. In fact, it was around this time last year that AACSB’s non-U.S. members first crossed the majority threshold.
The breadth of AACSB’s global reach is often a topic of discussion, as is the organization’s penetration in various countries or regions. I recently created a tool on our new website, regularly updated, which hopefully should be of great use for those curious about AACSB’s global reach:
This visualization now contains tabs that share data on both member and accredited member percentages in each country or territory in which AACSB currently has a presence, based upon our estimated number of total schools offering business degrees in each. (If you aren’t familiar with our visualization software, Tableau, by hovering your mouse over each country/territory, you can see a number of data points, including the number of member schools, accredited member schools, our current estimated total of schools offering business degree programs, etc.)
Also included is our official methodology for counting such schools, which I felt was important to include so that everyone can easily understand how we arrive at these estimations. The primary reason we use this particular methodology is that it allows us to quantify the breadth of the degree-based management education marketplace on a per country/territory basis, in a comparable and useful fashion. Using this methodology, for example, we are able to accurately declare that only about 4.4 percent of all institutions offering business degree programs worldwide currently hold AACSB accreditation. This cannot be said about the number of “business schools”, for the simple reason that there is no universally accepted definition of what precisely constitutes a “business school”, and thus no way to estimate that number.
As you can see, at this writing about 80 percent of our members, and 95 percent of AACSB-accredited schools, are located in countries that are currently classified as High-income economies by the World Bank. By contrast, we estimate that a far smaller percentage of all institutions offering business degrees worldwide are based in such countries:
Figure 1. Percentage of Estimated Schools Offering Business Degrees by World Bank Economic Category
AACSB’s push to expand our reach into previously untapped or underrepresented marketplaces is one of the most important of our nearly 100-year history. As AACSB reaches out to embrace management education and its providers in the developing world, I think we will end up being much more true to our mission.