Which sentence is better one ?

Harvard's MBA programme is regarded as the finest in the country.


Harvard's MBA programme is regarded the finest in the country.

Just like like the use of As with consider / considered is diminishing and its all right to use consider without as, Can we omit as in the above sentence ? Is it grammatically correct ? I am not able to figure the difference in above given sentence but in the below given sentence its clearly wrong to use regard without as :

He regarded her as his sister.

Please don't suggest anything else like replacing regarded with considered as I don't have that privilege .Its a exam question , considering just those two sentences suggest which one is better.


You should use regarded with as which has meaning of to consider or have an opinion about something or someone.

For example:

Her parents always regarded her as the smartest of their children.

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