University Relations and Marketing

Contacts:
Dr. Gary Young, Dean, College of Business, 657-2326
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269

April 22, 2010

College of Business receives coveted accreditation

Faculty, staff, students have been working for a decade on seal of quality

MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — The Montana State University Billings College of Business has joined an elite group of colleges, thanks to The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

AACSB International announced earlier this week at its annual meeting in California that MSU Billings is one of 14 institutions of higher learning from nine countries to have earned accreditation in business this year. MSU Billings Chancellor Ron Sexton and Dr. Gary Young, the dean of the College of Business, formally announced accreditation to the university and the Billings community on Thursday afternoon.

Chancellor Ron Sexton and, in the background, Dean Gary Young, announcing the accreditation of the College of Business at MSUBThe MSU Billings College of Business is now one of fewer than five percent of the world’s business schools to have earned this distinction and one of only 60 undergraduate business schools that are AACSB accredited.

AACSB accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in business education. There are 593 business schools in 37 countries that maintain AACSB accreditation. Similarly, 173 institutions now maintain an additional specialized AACSB accreditation for their accounting programs.

Sexton said the formal accreditation confirms what many in Billings already know: That the College of Business faculty and students are among the best in the nation.

“MSU Billings had been working hard on achieving accreditation over the course of the past decade and it not only reflects well on the incredible perseverance of the faculty and staff, but also on the amazing support of the Billings community,” Sexton said. “Through unique partnerships across all areas of the community — finance, retail, wholesale, health care, the energy industry and education  — MSU Billings and the College of Business have been able to garner vital support for outstanding academic and outreach programs.”

Young said that joining the ranks of internationally accredited business programs will open many doors for the future.

“This should be a break-through decade for the College of Business with expanded new modern programs, graduate classes and programs, more online programs and increased numbers of students,” he said.

Young pointed out that accreditation is a “seal of quality” that future students can count on for consistent and excellent academic programs and businesses can distinguish as providing outstanding graduates. He also the two dozen people at the press conference that MSU Billings adds value to already brilliant students through real-world experiences and challenging curriculum.

“We take students from where they are to places they never thought they would be,” he said.

Achieving accreditation is a process of rigorous internal review, evaluation, and adjustment and can take several years to complete. During these years, the school develops and implements a plan to meet the 21 AACSB standards requiring a high quality teaching environment, a commitment to continuous improvement, and curricula responsive to the needs of business.

To realize accounting accreditation, an institution must first earn or maintain AACSB business accreditation. Then, in addition to developing and implementing a mission-driven plan to satisfy the 21 business accreditation quality standards, accounting accreditation requires the satisfaction of an additional set of 15 standards that are specific to the discipline and profession of accounting.

“It takes a great deal of commitment and determination to earn and maintain AACSB accreditation,” said Jerry Trapnell, executive vice president and chief accreditation officer of AACSB International. “Schools not only must meet specific standards of excellence, but their deans, faculties and staffs make a commitment to ongoing improvement to ensure that the institution will continue to deliver high quality education to students.”

The College of Business has been an integral part of MSU Billings for decades, but had no formal home until the late 1990s. Before that time, courses were taught at open classrooms across the MSU Billings main campus and faculty had offices in the Liberal Arts building. In 1996, the MSU Billings Foundation purchased the former Lowe Professional Building on the south side of Poly Drive just off of North 27th Street and worked with the university to transform it into the College of Business home base.

The building was dedicated Sept. 17, 2003, and was named in honor of the Judith C. and Sam E. McDonald, Jr., family, who committed $1.4 million to the MSU Billings Foundation to benefit the College of Business.

Students who study in the College of Business have the degree options in five areas: accounting, finance, marketing and management, business administration and management information systems. This academic year, 22 faculty members in the college provided education to 622 students. Of the 892 graduates from MSU Billings this May, 120 will be College of Business graduates.

The college is also served by a 26-member advisory board, made up of business, industry and education members from around Billings.

The College of Business is one of five academic colleges at MSU Billings, a comprehensive urban university in Montana’s largest financial, retail, energy, health care and education hub. The other colleges provide two-year, undergraduate and graduate education in arts and sciences, education, allied health professions and technology.

For more information on enrolling in business or other courses at MSU Billings, call 657-2888 or go online to www.msubillings.edu.

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MSU Billings College of Business quick facts

  • Number of faculty: 22
  • Number of students (spring semester 2010): 622 students
  • Number of students to graduate this spring: 120
  • Degree options: Accounting, Finance, Management and Marketing, Business Administration, Management Information Systems.
  • Number of student internships or cooperative education experiences in the community each year: 45
  • Number of consulting, marketing or case studies undertaken by faculty and students each year: Between 40-50
  • Notable programs: The BSBA general business degree can be obtained entirely online. The College of Business has 140 online students from across Montana and seven other states.
  • Notable students: The MSU Billings American Indian Business Leaders club has won the top business plan competition in 2009 and placed third in 2010.  Two of the three Outstanding Senior awards given this year are to College of Business students.

PHOTO ABOVE: Dr. Ron Sexton, left, chancellor of Montana State University Billings shows the official accreditation certificate from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Dr. Gary Young, the dean of the MSU Billings College of Business, is in the background.

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