Why triple crown? What is the best business school accreditation?

What is professional accreditation?

Professional accreditation & the triple crown of AACSB, AMBA & EQUIS triple accreditation

Accreditation is the formal recognition by an independent professional body that an organisation - in this case a university and/or business school - is competent to perform specific processes, services, activities or tasks in a reliable, credible and accurate manner. Organisations apply (and pay) for accreditations, submitting a detailed report of their performance against the specific standards and criteria. The initial accreditation process typically involves an assessment visit by inspectors likely to have worked in similar organisations. If successful, accreditation will be granted for a set duration of time. 

What is the triple crown?

Three crowns representing 'triple crown' business schools triple accredited by AACSB AMBA & EQUIS

'Triple crown' is an unofficial term, originally coined 15 years ago by QED The Accreditation Experts, a consultancy service which supports schools in developing the strategy and activities needed to receive professional accreditation. It has been used ever since by business schools to signal their success in achieving all of the three main business and management education accreditations - AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), AMBA (Association of MBAs) and EQUIS (the European Federation of Management Development's European Quality Improvement System). 

Why is triple crown important to you?

1triplecrownschools.com 10 key attributes at triple accredited business schools (AACSB AMBA EQUIS)

For prospective students, if you are considering studying with a triple accredited or triple crown business school, it means that they have undergone rigorous ongoing assessment to meet a set of ever-evolving quality standards. These prove they provide an outstanding student experience and excellent education, one that is relevant to future employers and valued across the globe. Here at triplecrownschools.com, our analysis shows that triple crown business schools have 10 key attributes which set them apart from the rest.

Continuous improvement

Triple crown triple accredited business schools (AACSB AMBA EQUIS) must show continuous improvement

To maintain accreditation, business schools are required to demonstrate their commitment to continuous improvement. They submit regular progress reports and re-apply in full each time the prescribed time period for accreditation/re-accreditation has elapsed. Accrediting bodies act as an official watchdog for a specific industry or service sector and it is not uncommon for several professional membership and accrediting bodies to exist. AACSB and EQUIS both consider performance across business schools (institution level), while AMBA's accreditation relates to specific programme/s, such as Master's or Doctorates (programme level).

Our overview of AACSB, AMBA & EQUIS accreditation

What is AACSB, AMBA & EQUIS accreditation? Why does it make triple crown business schools some of the world's best business schools?

The three 'triple crown' accreditations examine in detail the quality and effectiveness of the management of a business school and its operations. As our overview chart shows, each accrediting body gives a slightly different focus to specific aspects of the school's service or activity. This means that, despite the natural overlap, the sum of  the 'triple crown' as a whole is definitely greater than its individual parts. In summary:

  • AACSB is the most comprehensive of the accreditations with 15 separate standards to be achieved, though Standard 14 about Executive Education (corporate training and professional development) is not compulsory if these type of programmes are not offered by the business school concerned. Most of AACSB's attention is focused on engagement, impact and innovation in terms of staff, students and the business world. It analyses the management and development of both faculty and professional services staff, their availability, qualifications and ongoing engagement with industry. AACSB also has stringent requirements for the admission, progression and career development of students. More 

  • AMBA concentrates its focus at a programme level with separate accreditations for Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Business Management (MBM) or Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA). It seeks to ensure the value of postgraduate qualifications for potential students, graduates and employers. Not surprisingly, AMBA looks closely at the development, delivery and review of programmes and how they sit within the business school's portfolio. Within the MBA guidelines examined here, there are 10 principles which consider aspects such as programme design and leadership, assessment rigour and relevance, curriculum breadth and depth, together with the competences, graduate attributes and learning outcomes of the degree. More

  • EQUIS also has 10 standards (Standard 6 for Executive Education is optional). EQUIS considers school operations at an institutional level, its position within an international context and the regulatory and competitive environment. As such, it pays particular attention to the business school's management, positioning and its impact on the professions and professional practice, inspecting its context, governance and strategy, as well as its connections with practice and research and development. It is also the only accreditation with separate criteria dedicated to internationalisation and ethics, responsibility and sustainability (ERS). More