Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to identify and model the key barriers to the issue of adoption and implementation of AACSB accreditation standards in business schools. Business school management can focus on removing the key barriers and implement accreditation standards and practices to improve the quality of programs offered by them. Design/methodology/approach: The present study adopts the interpretive structural modeling (ISM) approach to develop a hierarchical-based model of the key barriers to implementation of Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation standards. It also depicts the mutual relationships among the key barriers. Findings: The paper has identified the key barriers and presented an integrated model using ISM. Business schools need to pay maximum attention to diagnose and overcome these hindrances for effective implementation of AACSB accreditation standards. Research limitations/implications: The model is based on the experts’ opinions, which may be biased, influencing the final output of the structural model. The developed model is to help the business school management in understanding the significance of the barriers, to prioritize or eliminate the same for the implementation of accreditation standards. Originality/value: The depiction of barriers in the form of an ISM-based model is a new effort in the area of business school accreditation. The results will be useful to understand the barriers and overcome these for successful implementation of AACSB accreditation standards in business schools. © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited.