AFBE Accreditation

I am pleased to announce the following:

AFBE has awarded unconditional accreditation to Level 3 (International) for a period of 5 years to the Executive MBA program at KIMEP University, Kazakhstan, in recognition of the efforts of the staff and faculty of both the Executive Education Center and the Bang College of Business. The Executive MBA is a program that we believe is equivalent to a world-class standard.

Victor Egan,
Accreditation Sub-committee Chairman

AFBE has awarded unconditional accreditation to Level 3 (International) for a period of 5 years to the MBA and BSc programs of the Bang College of Business, KIMEP University, Kazakhstan, in recognition of the efforts of staff and faculty. The programs have been audited and assessed as equivalent to a world-class standard of business education.

AFBE is a member of the Asia-Pacific Quality Network (APQN), an association for quality assurance agencies in higher education in the Asia-Pacific region.  APQN is supported by the World Bank and UNESCO (see


AFBE awarded The Distinguished Service Award in the field of education by KIMEP University, April 2013.



AFBEA has been designed as an alternative approach to the current ‘big three’ (i.e., EQUIS; AACSB; AMBA), and as a inclusive mechanism for business schools and their programs. AFBEA is premised on the following beliefs:

1. That current international accreditation systems are exclusive, designed to eliminate all but the most prestigious business schools, and hence, provide no mechanism for program quality improvement for the vast majority of business schools that do not meet the most stringent of international requirements.

2. That current international accreditation systems are time-consuming and expensive, to the extent that a typical accreditation process may take 12-18 months and cost over US$100k.

3. That current international accreditation systems focus on the entire business school, and hence, a high-quality business program may go unrecognised if the business school is not able to achieve accreditation.

4. That current international accreditation systems attempt to expropriate European or US criteria to any context, and irrespective of local cultural and political milieu.

In order to counter the negative consequences of the ‘big three’ alluded to above, AFBEA has been designed as:

1. An inclusive system that uses ‘levels of accreditation’, so that no business program is excluded from the system. AFBE will subsequently provide guidance to business schools as a means of improving quality standards towards international best practice.

2. A cost-effective and expeditious process, in which we seek to audit and accredit a business program within 6 months, and at a cost of about US$25-30k (note: costs are low because AFBE is a not-for-profit organisation; cost will vary somewhat according to location of institution and number of programs).

3. A program-focused system that will audit the quality of business programs, rather than an entire institution.

4. A process that accounts for regional and local contextual differences, and recognises that these differences, while perhaps not complying with European or US subjective criteria, may none-the-less not negatively impact on the quality of a business program.

The object of AFBEA is to accredit English language business degree programs. The accreditation process involves application by an institution, followed by a peer-review visit by an international committee of auditors. A full explanation of the accreditation criteria is contained in the AFBEA Quality Standards document.

It has been envisaged that AFBEA will act as an intermediate step for those institutions that may seek full international accreditation at a later time. As such, the dynamic model was created to provide compatibility with:

1. European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS);

2. Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); and,

3. Association of MBAs (AMBA).

In addition to the standards of the ‘big three’ of international accreditation of business schools, AFBEA quality standards have been informed by the following sources that have been utilised to provide an internationally recognised benchmark for business education quality:

1. European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (EAQAHE);

2. Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA);

3. International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE);

4. Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU);

5. Australian Department of Education, Higher Education Division, Benchmarking Manual;

6. Australian Council on Open, Distance and E-learning (ACODE);

7. Commonwealth of Learning;

8. National Assessment for Accreditation Council (NAAC), India;

9. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), European Centre for Higher Education (CEPES).

AFBEA Dynamic Model

The AFBEA dynamic model has been designed around 10 domains of quality criteria that interact with the institution and the program, and that are the focus of program quality development . The model recognises that the interaction between the institution, the program, students, and academic staff is at the core of program quality. The model also recognises that domains have differing degrees of significance, in terms of their impact on the quality of educational outcomes.

The 10 domains of the model, and the relative weightings, are:

1. Context and Mission 1.00

2. Program Quality 2.00

3. Students 2.00

4. Academic staff 2.00

5. Research 1.50

6. Personal Development 1.75

7. International Issues 1.50

8. Physical Resources 1.50

9. Service to the Community 1.00

10. Corporate Connections 1.50

Levels of AFBEA

AFBEA has been designed as an inclusive system that provides a mechanism for institutions to improve the quality of business programs towards international best practice. As such, the possible decisions that can be made by the AFBEA Standing Committee are:

· Award International Accreditation (for a period of 5 years) to the program when AFBE is satisfied that all of its accreditation international standards are met (this level is equivalent to the international standards that would allow full accreditation to the ‘big three’).

· Award Level 2 Accreditation (for a period of 3 years) to the program when it is satisfied that all AFBE Accreditation regional standards are met.

· Award Level 1 Accreditation (for a period of 3 years) to the program when it is satisfied that all AFBE Accreditation local standards are met.

· Award Associate Accreditation (for a period of 3 years) to the program when AFBE believes that there are significant areas in which its standards of accreditation at the local level have not been met.

Mission Statement, Objectives, and Guiding Principles

In order to provide an accreditation process that is internationally credible and focused on the issues as outlined above, AFBEA has been designed in accordance with the following mission, objectives, and guiding principles.

Mission Statement:

AFBEA seeks to provide an independent and inclusive accreditation system for award courses offered by business schools that provides a path for educational quality enhancement towards international standards.


1. AFBEA shall provide world class accreditation for award courses offered by business schools.

2. AFBEA shall remain independent of any third-party influence.

3. AFBEA shall provide an inclusive accreditation system for award courses offered by business schools.

4. AFBEA shall provide a mechanism for development of program quality towards international best practice for the achievement of educational outcomes.

5. AFBEA shall provide a source of guidance to business schools in developing a culture of quality assurance.

Guiding Principles:

1. AFBEA quality standards should be directed at educational outcomes for the business profession, and as such, should focus on the preparation of graduates for their professional lives.

2. AFBEA quality standards should embody the underlying standards and values expressed by the major international accreditation agencies (i.e., AACSB; EQUIS; AMBA).

3. AFBEA quality standards should reflect public expectation of the business profession.

4. AFBEA quality standards should be cognisant of a business school’s position within a broader institution, and should respect an institution’s broader responsibility to local society.

5. AFBEA quality standards should clearly identify those issues that are directly related to objective educational outcomes.

6. AFBEA quality standards should recognise diversity and creativity in:

(a) the organization and structure of the business school;

(b) how an institution should best allocate scarce resources; and,

(c) how an institution should formulate appropriate policies and procedures to facilitate educational outcomes within their particular context.

7. AFBEA peer-review teams should be:

(a) experienced in higher education institutions in an OECD environment, and the quality systems that are reflective of international best practice educational outcomes;

(b) knowledgeable of quality systems and processes;

(c) cognisant of local cultural norms and contextual nuances that may impact on a business school and/or its institution; and,

(d) exclusive of conflict-of-interest.

8. AFBEA decisions should be expeditious, impartial, rigorous, thorough, fair, transparent, and consistent.

9. AFBEA quality standards, processes, and guiding principles should be subject to regular internal reflective, and external advisory, review.

We would be happy to discuss further the AFBEA system, and how accreditation would benefit your institution and business program. For further information, please contact:

Dr Victor Egan,
Chairman Accreditation Sub-committee