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Don Burleson Blog 








Poor Quality, Diploma Mill MBA Schools

Because you have the right to my opinion

Not all MBA Schools are equal

Back in the 1930's, a high school diploma was a big achievement, and in the 2000's, a Bachelors degree is about at the same level, common as dirt.  To get ahead in corporate America, students must graduate from a "professional school", usually an MBA, JD, or PhD from a GOOD UNIVERSITY with competitive standards.  See  GPA LSAT GMAT test score matrix grid for details.

Seizing on this market trend, boatloads of "fully accredited" professional diploma mills are offering-up almost worthless MBA's to students with poor GMAT scores and low GPA's.

There are three tiers of MBA schools:

  • The MBA Ivies - The Ivies are great, not because of the quality of their programs (George Bush, Harvard MBA), but because of their selectivity.  Ignoring alumni admissions, the Ivy MBA programs require a brilliant GMAT (700) and high GPA (over 3.4).  Corporate America knows that the MBA schools have done the weeding-out for them, and getting into an Ivy MBA virtually guarantees wealth.  Median salaries are over $140k, not bad for a 24 year-old, and you quickly rise into upper management where you command multi-million dollar salaries.

  • Standard AACSB MBA schools - The AACSB is the only accrediting body for business schools, and many state universities have competitive MBA programs requiring competitive GMAT and GPA scores.  All AACSB schools are required to have the same high standards.

  • Crappy MBA programs - Many employers call these "clown colleges", MBA programs that claim to be "fully accredited" but do not require that the students pass the GMAT exam.  As an employer, I'm amazed to see how many job applicants list phony or crappy MBA's on their resumes.   If you get a resume with an MBA program that is not AACSB accredited, toss it. 

MBA Diploma Mills

These shoddy MBA's claim to be fully accredited, and they rely on your stupidity not to notice that they are accredited by someone like North Central, the same accrediting body used by kindergartens.  Click here to see some hilarious "fully accredited"  MBA schools.

Of course, HR departments are not easily fooled and most employers will not pay tuition for employees to attend non-AACSB programs.

In today's competitive market, MBA's from non-AACSB schools are worse than worthless and many HR departments immediately chuck them into the wastebasket.  When I get a resume featuring a non-AACSB MBA, I assume they the applicant is an idiot, and I'm usually right. 

The Fully Accredited MBA Trap

Every business school graduate knows the the AACSB is the only recognized body for American University Business schools, and any non-AACSB school that calls itself "fully accredited" should be jailed for fraud, IMHO.

They are trying to deceive the stupid segment of the population (usually those with low GPA's and poor GMAT scores), who are likely to fall for the ruse.

Read this interesting note on accreditation mills.  If your "fully accredited" business school is accredited by any of these bodies, you may want to run to your nearest AACSB school:

  • Southern Northwest Association of Colleges
  • Distance Learning and Tuition Enhancement Commission
  • Higher Learning Commission of El Paso
  • Commission on Colleges of the Southern Idaho Association of Colleges and Schools
  • National Assembly for Collegiate Business Education Profiteering
  • Accreditation Association for Crummy Schools of Business (AACSB)

Reader comments:

I must write to inform you folks on how harmlessly offensive this article was. The article, about MBA programs and how AACSB business schools and MBA programs are superior to non-AACSB programs was so over the top, it reaches humorous levels of contrived elitism and egocentric nonsense. I know a lot about college rankings, college reputations and college prestige as I did research on these very subjects while in grad school.

What is most disturbing about this article is the author's claims that non-AACSB schools are "worthless." Sure, if you want to work at (or rather, be slave to) the so-called best firms in NY, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, you may need this AACSB accreditation. You just may need it tattooed to your forehead too when submitting your vita while sitting for your interview along with the 500 other pinheads who buy into your claims.

However, there are many wonderful non-accredited AACSB colleges and universities in the nation that offer MBA's with strong academic foundations. Dismissing them in your article as "...worthless," and "shoddy," and as "diploma mills" is offensive and mildly sad when one thinks about the thousands of students who attending your list of so-called "Crapo-MBA Programs" and the efforts they put forth to seek knowledge, enhance their lives, and work toward personal growth.

Many fine schools exist to serve degree seekers who aren't looking to make 250K a year, they aren't looking to be the next Donald Trump, and they aren't trying to break the Forbes' list. I'm talking about intelligent, well-intentioned students who attend good, solid, public, state schools that offer a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degrees in business and business related fields.

A vast majority of state schools offer undergraduate and graduate business degrees, yet they have no intention of trying to jump the politically motivated and expensive hurdles of obtaining an AACSB endorsement. More important, all state universities and colleges are regionally accredited by the most important accreditation body linked to any academic institution and that is the regional accreditation organizations that endorse schools. These regional outfits are the only ones that matter in the big picture because every accredited institution recognizes any other academic institution that carries the regional accreditation stamp of approval for academic soundness.

So, for those who seek an MBA but can't afford a fine private school, or for those who did not enjoy high school success to the degree that they were overwhelmed with scholarship offers, and for those who have a family and/or work, and for those who want to build promotion through knowledge and education may need to look to the nearest state school to fulfill their goals, aspirations, and dreams of becoming educated. Thus, I bet the next husband and father of two small children who applies for a Regional Manager position at Wal Mart (sic), where $75,000 annually is a very welcomed income, won't look back at his MBA from San Marcos State University with contempt or regret.

Probably because he will have known that San Marcos States is one of the 23 very academically sound universities of the California State University System; which, not withstanding California's UC system, may be the finest state college system in the nation. And, certainly, the mother of four is elated that her Master's Degree in Information Technology with an emphasis in Business Administration from Western Oregon State University, allowed her to properly raise her children and be close to her aging mother. The secondary benefits included obtaining that entry level management promotion at the local RE/MAX where that 40 percent salary increase and health insurance for her family will come in handy.

These two hypotheticals (sic) surely resemble real life situations where receiving a quality Master's Degree from one of these very real academic institutions probably cost less money than one single course at Brown, NYU, Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Cornell, Duke, MIT, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Emory, Notre Dame, or Georgetown, and the scores of other schools in the nation that promote elitism, contrived prestige, and classism (sic).

However, I am sure that the two students in my scenarios would look at your view of their so-called "shoddy," non-AACSB endorsed "degree mills" and would care less as the public college systems in their respective states seemed to have served them well. Nor would it seem to have any bearing on their professional lives, how they are perceived or how their degrees might have held them back from bigger and better things.

As a holder of several degrees, a few of which are graduate degrees from top tier Universities in California that indeed bear the ACSB (sic) accreditation you speak of so highly, education becomes a funny thing. It molds us, allows us to look at the world from different perspectives, it shapes our lives, enhances our creativity, and perhaps most importantly enlightens us to the, sometimes humorous, mildly interesting, yet, narrow minded, self-indulged and egocentric crap we read in your article.

Good Day,

Darden M. Rossell



If you like Oracle tuning, you may enjoy the new book "Oracle Tuning: The Definitive Reference", over 900 pages of BC's favorite tuning tips & scripts. 

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