What is a business school vs a university in Australia?
In Australia, all higher education providers must meet the higher education standards framework defined by the government regulator (TEQSA) in order to be certified. In this system, there are different categories for universities or other higher education providers.
A business school is an independent higher education provider that provides business administration and management courses. Kaplan Business School, for example, offers nationally accredited diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate level courses in business and business-related areas.
On the other hand, the (mostly government-funded) universities in Australia must be at least 85% self-accrediting. This means they have the authority to accredit their own courses and degrees.
It’s important to note, that higher education providers that have not been granted self-accrediting authority still have all their courses accredited and held to the highest standards by an external authority. In Australia, this is the Tertiary Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), Australia’s independent national quality assurance and regulatory agency for higher education.
Universities are required to offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses across a minimum of three different fields of study. So, unlike a business school, you cannot have a university that offers only business programs.
Universities also need to provide a broader spectrum of degrees and staff are required to research in addition to teaching. Unlike other providers, universities also offer doctoral and master’s degrees by research. Significant funding and effort go towards research.
Why do universities label their business faculties as 'business schools'?
You would have likely heard of universities who have labelled their management faculty as a 'business school' e.g. Harvard Business School, London Business School and Melbourne Business School, which can be confusing.
These are not actual stand-alone business schools but management faculties that are part of a wider university. In most instances, this is the case with huge universities with a strong reputation in business, where it makes sense to operate and market this faculty somewhat independently under the umbrella of the university.
The argued advantage of these integrated business schools is that students benefit from being part of a well-established institution that has access to greater funds and resources.
On the other hand, stand-alone business schools are considered more agile, have greater freedom in financial decisions and decision-making, and can therefore adapt more quickly to today’s changing business environment.