Newly Accredited: Bournemouth University on Earning AACSB Accreditation
Stephen Tee, executive dean of Bournemouth University Business School, shares the challenges and rewards of undergoing the initial accreditation process, and the impacts he hopes will follow.
In this blog series, AACSB is spotlighting business schools around the world that have recently earned AACSB Accreditation. We ask the business school leadership about their journey to accreditation and what the new achievement means to them. In this interview, Stephen Tee, executive dean of Bournemouth University Business School in the U.K., shares his experience with the initial accreditation process, emphasizing that a successful outcome is highly dependent on a team effort.
Why was it important for your school to undergo the rigorous process of earning AACSB Accreditation?
AACSB Accreditation was essential to our strategic ambition to be recognized among the best business schools in the world. The rigorous process enabled us to reflect on the quality of our practices and to make improvements in order to meet the stringent AACSB standards. This was important for developing a culture of continuous improvement and for being confident that we are preparing the best graduates for the business community.
What did you learn about your school through your accreditation journey?
I learned a great deal about the school in terms of its strengths and areas for development. The process revealed areas of excellence that we were able to celebrate, such as our strong engagement with business and industry, but also areas of practice that we could develop further. I was also delighted with the degree of passion and commitment displayed by all business school staff, students, and stakeholders, throughout the process, which ensured we were successful.
What was the most challenging/rewarding part of the accreditation process?
The most challenging part of the process was to sustain focus and maintain energy levels toward successful accreditation over a five-year period. To address this issue, we, as an institution, identified AACSB Accreditation as one of our key strategic goals and invested significantly in a team that took responsibility for guiding and informing our staff throughout the process. This ensured accreditation was at the forefront of our thoughts in everything we did.
The most rewarding aspect was undoubtedly the whole team coming together during the panel visit to articulate the many successes the business school achieved over the accreditation period and our vision for the future. There was a tangible sense of pride displayed by everyone involved, which has had impact well beyond the business school.
What impact do you hope to see from having achieved AACSB Accreditation?
The impact we would hope to see as an outcome of the accreditation process is to be students’ first choice for a business degree when applying to university. We would also like to attract an increasing number of international collaborators on research and knowledge exchange projects through the networks provided by AACSB, as well as attract high-quality applicants to work at Bournemouth University Business School.
What advice would you give to another school approaching the accreditation process?
I would encourage them to appoint a good leadership team and approach the accreditation process with enthusiasm to ensure the importance and significance of accreditation is recognized at all levels of their organization. This is vital for ensuring the process receives an appropriate level of investment. I would also advise them to take time to rehearse in preparation for the accreditation visit to ensure everyone is well prepared to be able to confidently articulate all the hard work that goes into delivering a successful business school.
Stephen Tee is executive dean of Bournemouth University Business School. He has a health leadership background and has held senior positions at Kings College London and Southampton University.