MBA Research
Not-for-profit, research-based support for all Business Administration educators: entrepreneurship, finance, hospitality, management/administration, and marketing.
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MBA Digital Badges

MBA Research Digital Badging: Proof-of-Learning for resumes, portfolios, digital media

New, portable MBA Digital Badges make it easy for your students to document and share individual achievements in learning. Each offers significant value-added for students who earn badges. Students can accumulate multiple badges that can be used for resumes, electronic portfolios, scholarship applications, and more.

What’s a digital badge?

Think of them as stackable credentials. Each digital badge represents a special area of achievement.  Students use them to document particular accomplishments – at school, at work, and in the community.  Instead of a patch to sew on a sash, digital badges are web links that can be attached to a resume, portfolio, or anything that accepts links. More about badges

How it works

Each MBA Research digital badge has its own set of requirements that can range from passing an online exam to completion of sophisticated projects. Instead of working for two or three years to pass that huge end-of-program exam, students can work on smaller pieces of the larger credential – and be recognized at each step along the way.

Each time an individual meets criteria for a given badge, s/he’ll claim it by giving MBA Research permission to post it on a private website. (Each recipient will have his or her own password access.) Once posted, each student may then access the website, copy the badge and its link, and post it to most digital media, including digital portfolios, resume’s, LinkedIn, and any of the many other social media sites popular at the time.

Each badge is linked to its own web page. Potential employers, colleges, scholarship sponsors, or anyone with whom students choose to share their badges, can access a detailed badge description. Backed by challenging, research-based, MBA Research assessment criteria, the documentation for each badge will give readers detailed information describing both the content that the badge represents and the specific requirements required to earn it (e.g., exams, projects, or documented experiences).

Click here for a short video by Tammy Cyrus, teacher in North Carolina, explaining the digital badging system and why it should be an important part of your business and marketing program. 

Differentiating MBA digital badges

Initially, all digital badges will utilize an online exam created by MBA Research and based on the National Business Administration Curriculum Standards. All exams will maintain a level of rigor appropriate for the type of badge being offered. Some badges will be based on exams that are more comprehensive in nature and/or may represent a higher level of difficulty (i.e., High School of Business™, A*S*K Institute). Badges based on an individual standard or instructional area will consist of 25 questions. Exams at a course level will be 50 questions, while a program of study (end of program) exam will be 100 questions. The graphic depiction for each series of badges will look different depending on the exam criteria. Instructional area badges will look different from course level badges, which will look different from end-of-program badges. Eventually, each series of badges may have multiple achievement levels (e.g., gold, silver, bronze) depending on additional requirements beyond the exam (e.g., authentic assessment, special projects). The criteria for all requirements will be developed by MBA Research.

Digital Badge Levels

MBA Research will offer 5 levels of badges. Each level will represent a specific series that is differentiated by how comprehensive the qualifying exam is or by a level of difficulty. Likewise, each badge level will have a distinct graphic depiction. All badges will have their own distinct purpose or value and do not represent a good, better, or best achievement. Teachers are able to view which performance indicators are being assessed. Once a student claims a badge and puts it into their “backpack”, the performance indicators are accessible by the “viewer” of the badge. All questions addressed on the badge exam are drawn from the industry-validated MBA National Business Administration Curriculum Standards and utilize the planning levels from the MBA Research curriculum model. Click links for more info.


Experiential Learning Badges for Students

A series of student badges is planned that capture learning in a variety of professional and community-based settings. Experiences including community service activities, internships, project management, service learning, leadership, and work-based activities all provide great opportunities to document learning in both formal and informal settings as well as both inside and outside of the classroom. This adds tremendous value to a student’s portfolio in terms of demonstrating skills and knowledge demanded by employers and adds to student readiness for college and careers.

Badge ROI?

Will there be a return-on-investment when students take the extra steps needed to earn them?  Absolutely.  

Badging is a quickly growing initiative in schools nationwide.  With its roots in gaming, badging has an immediate upside in terms of student motivation.  With the opportunity to earn multiple badges each year, and with a variety of rigor levels, students will be able to focus on those that are most appropriate to your business/marketing program and to their individual needs and abilities. Our preliminary research suggests that the value of a badge will be highly dependent upon its requirements and on the credibility of the organization behind it.  MBA Research-sponsored badges will focus specifically on outcomes and achievement. (Some badge sponsors award badges on the basis of participation.)  MBA Research badges will offer immediate return on the investment if badge holders communicate them appropriately.  Each badge will be fully documented with detailed learning outcomes so that appropriate readers (employers, colleges, scholarship sponsors, etc.) will have a clear explanation that the badge represents significant effort and achievement on the part of its holder.

Digital badges for teachers

A series of teacher badges is also being planned. Digital badges will enable teachers to document professional experiences and activities that can work in conjunction with a professional development plan or possibly license renewal requirements. 

In most cases, an activity will include a performance element as opposed to just completing the activity.  An easy example: We do not anticipate awarding educator badges for attending our Conclave conference.  We do, however, intend to offer badges for specific achievements that result from the conference.

  • Educator Badges, for achievements by individual business and marketing teachers, such as:
    • Accreditation activities/implementation
    • Assessment design
    • Association leadership
    • Authentic assessment
    • Business engagement
    • CTSO leadership
    • Curriculum design and decision-making
    • High School of Business™ implementation
    • Professional development activities
    • Project-based pedagogies
    • Professional presentations

How much will they cost?

This is a brand new initiative, so there are some unanswered questions.  We offer exam-based badges at no additional cost beyond the cost of the exam itself.  Individual instructional area badge exams are currently offered from our online store for $3.47 (member), $4.95 (non-member). Course level badges based on an exam only are currently $5.57 (member) and $7.95 (non-member) from our online store. Eventually, badges that require a level of documentation beyond testing will require a fee to underwrite the associated costs.  We anticipate a range of pricing for badges that include significant authentic assessment and/or projects. The pricing structure for ASK exams and end-of-program exams will remain with the added advantage that a digital badge will be available for students who meet the criteria for passing those exams.

Updates on the program

The MBA Digital Badging program is an exciting, new way to document proof of learning and to recognize student achievement and contributions of business/marketing teachers. It is a program that will evolve over time. New badges will come online, new processes will be implemented, new graphics will be designed, and more. Watch your Perspectives newsletter for immediate updates or return to this section of our website frequently for complete documentation of this brand new initiative. 

Questions/Ideas?  

We’re truly excited with the potential for this new MBA Research initiative and believe it can have long-term implications for all of our nation’s business and marketing students at both the high school and college levels.  We also recognize that this is an evolving concept and that there are many ways to add value.  We welcome your input and encourage you to share your own ideas.  Email Rick Mangini at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .