Hard work pays off
On March 22, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences received the news that its Master of Science: Master of Business Management programme had received accreditation by the Foundation of International Business Administration Accreditation (FIBAA). The programme was awarded the FIBAA Quality Seal along with the FIBAA Premium Seal. FIBAA's committee has accredited the programme without conditions for the next five years. These seals certify that WUAS provides students with excellent business education, and recognises the hard work and dedication of the school's lecturers, Advisory Board, International Academic Advisory Panel, Executive Trust and non-academic staff in creating an exceptional environment for learning. The accreditation is only handed out if a programme fulfils a specific set of strict criteria.
Wittenborg's Assurance of Learning Manager, Kriszta Kaspers-Rostás, explains, "WUAS scored 'Exceptional' on the international orientation of the study programme design, on the internationality of the student body and the internationality of the faculty." A direct quote from the FIBAA report on the appraisal of Wittenborg's internationality states: "Internationalisation is one of WUAS aims and strengths. It is clearly an international institution that could be based anywhere in the world. The location in the Netherlands was chosen for its English-speaking environment. The staff including management has an international background and/or has gained international experience. All programmes are solely offered in English, which is the institutions working language as well. Moreover, the internationality at WUAS is not limited to western cultures (USA, Europe). WUAS refers to feedback from students, who do not always feel comfortable in those western business schools ... Graduates find employment around the globe and can enhance their international and intercultural competencies during the programme."
With this accreditation, WUAS stands out as one of only five Dutch schools to receive FIBAA accreditation for its programmes. Wittenborg's MBA programmes have also received FIBAA accreditation in the past.
The importance of accreditation
Next to the categories which were considered exceptional in practice at WUAS, Kaspers-Rostás highlights that WUAS also exceeded FIBAA's quality requirements in four key areas: "One of them is 'Admissions', counselling for prospective students and transparency and documentation of admission procedures and decisions." Another area was ‘Content, structure and didactical concept’, where the emphasis was on the "integration of theory and practice". Wittenborg's incredible guest lecturers and foreign language contents were also mentioned. Regarding the 'Academic Environment and framework conditions', Wittenborg's smooth internal cooperation and student support by faculty, programme director, process organisation and administrative support for students as well as faculty was recognised.
Furthermore, the 'Quality Assurance' of Wittenborg's development capacities and documentation exceeded expectations: "Evaluation by students, faculty, and external stakeholders is carried out on a regular basis and in accordance with a prescribed procedure; the outcomes are communicated to the people involved and provide input for the quality development process," and "the panel appreciates the vast and transparent documentation of the study programme and that it is updated regularly." You can learn more about Wittenborg's Premium-accredited MBM programmes here.
The FIBAA panel was also impressed by the quality of final theses, noting: "The panel finds that the final theses are mostly of a high quality, especially the literature study ... The examination monitoring system is very elaborate and state of the art. Based on examination data collected by an internal researcher, the school introduced new style answer keys to ease and enhance the quality control of each exam developed. A second independent (external) marker and if necessary even a third external marker are used to assess final projects."
The panel also mentioned a few areas where the programme can be further developed, including keeping track of graduates' employability rates, supporting the development of students' multidisciplinary skills (social and intercultural skills) and to let students benefit more from WUAS's strong business network. Wittenborg is continuously optimising all the aforementioned areas, with the latter field – its business network – being used to help organise the Job Fair Central Netherlands, taking place on 1 June, 2023. Wittenborg also recently launched a collaboration between itself and Global People, the Netherland's top recruitment network for diverse talent. At its current trajectory, Wittenborg is set to more than surpass FIBAA's recommendations.
FIBAA is an internationally recognised, independent accreditation body for business higher education. The body's transparent quality-assurance process evaluates bachelor's and master's programmes for excellence and real-world applicability, helping students choose which programme is right for them. Founded in the year 1994 following Germany's introduction of an academic accreditation system, the organisation is recognised in all German-speaking countries. Following the signing of the Bologna Accord to standardise European higher education – which was signed by the Netherlands in 1999 – FIBAA's pool of member institutions has expanded to include countries across Europe. Wittenborg's Premium-quality accreditation comes as Tim Mescon, former Executive Vice President and Chief Officer of EMEA for AACSB, joins Wittenborg's Advisory Board and International Academic Advisory Panel, following his amicable replacement of former Wittenborg Vice President of Academic Affairs, Ron Tuninga.
by Olivia Nelson & Kriszta Kaspers-Rostás