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.
'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).
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.
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).
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:
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