Sponsor Insight

EQUIS Accredited Schools 2020

With an estimated 15,000 business schools worldwide, it is increasingly difficult for prospective students, executives, corporate partners and other public and private stakeholders to recognise a quality institution. A growing number of applicants wish to study and work outside their home country, while research funding bodies reward innovative multi-partner projects, and cross-border double degree programmes are booming. Not to mention the proliferation of online learning which is transcending frontiers as we know them.

So, in this growing market, how can one identify leading institutions not only in terms of their perceived excellence but also regarding their commitment to continuous improvement and the impact imperative?

Various factors are important when assessing quality in business schools. We might ask how embedded the school is in its particular national higher education context? What is its reputation or position in the rankings? How rich or specialised is the curriculum? Does it have robust career services? And what are the fees and scholarship options? Yet these questions reveal little about the actual quality of the school and the student experience, nor about the school's long-term viability as a partner, or its potential for international development and growth.

One way to get a fuller picture is to check whether a school is accredited by a global accreditation body and meets internationally agreed quality standards. Why? Because a rigorous accreditation system doesn't just rely on a few criteria that may vary immensely from year to year, but rather gives a truly comprehensive picture of a school's offerings, ethos and value for students and partners.

EQUIS, short for EFMD Quality Improvement System, is the leading international quality benchmark and improvement process, launched in 1997 at the Deans and Directors General Conference at Schloss Gracht, now part of the ESMT Berlin. The system was created as a rigorous tool for business schools – first in Europe and now also worldwide – to assess, accredit and improve their quality in ten key areas, benchmarking them against international standards in terms of governance, programmes, students, faculty, research, and foremost, internationalisation, ethics, responsibility and sustainability, as well as corporate engagement.

It offers not only a quality assessment but also a quality improvement process, very much rooted in the mission of EFMD. True quality is about continuing to strive to do better, even when you are already excellent, and this focus on continuous improvement is thus at the heart of the EQUIS mission.

Currently, there are 189 EQUIS-accredited institutions in 45 countries.

Learn more about EQUIS at efmdglobal.org/equis

EQUIS Accredited Schools in Asia 2020

Across Asia, fast economic growth, rising population and higher disposable incomes have triggered a rapidly growing demand for business education, which inspired many young people to seek business degrees.

Driven by the pursuit of advanced learning and international experience, prospective students often chose schools in Europe and North America.

In parallel, the growth of attractive employment opportunities closer to home and the rising interest in further education and training led to more investment in business education in Asia, enhanced by quality benchmarking offered through international accreditations and partnerships.

In 2001, EQUIS accredited the first school in Asia - HKUST Business School - and in 2004, the first school in Mainland China - CEIBS. The latter triggered a heightened interest in the international accreditations from schools in the region.

The best testimonial to how rapidly the quality of management education has developed in Asia is the evolution of the number of EQUIS accredited institutions. Since 2010 the total number of EQUIS accredited schools has grown by 47%. In Asia, it has more than doubled, from 19 accredited schools in 2010 to 40 right now. Asian schools account today for over 20% of the EQUIS-accredited schools.

Their academic rigour, excellent corporate connections and exceptional career opportunities for graduates are proven by their international accreditations and their high placement in the world rankings.

Now, many of the institutions in the region can compete globally with the top business schools in the world.

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EQUIS Accredited Schools in Asia 2020

EQUIS Accredited Schools in Europe 2020

EQUIS accreditation and quality improvement system was born in Europe. When EQUIS was designed 20 years ago, EFMD aimed at creating a system which would reflect European values and approaches to quality in business and management education. EQUIS' respect for diversity, commitment to internationalisation and corporate connections are deeply rooted in the European concept of management education.

To date, EQUIS has accredited 102 leading business schools in the region, starting with pioneer schools in Spain, France, the UK and Italy in late 1990, and spreading rapidly to the rest of the continent.

To date, European schools represent over 50% of all the 189 accredited schools.

During the past couple of years, EFMD has actively engaged in the development and quality improvement among institutions in Central and Eastern Europe, with a regional representation based in Prague.

Eric Cornuel, EFMD's President, testifies to the central role of diversity in the EQUIS accreditation system: "EQUIS is a way of celebrating excellence in diversity, and I'm delighted to see how the EQUIS system and the accredited schools have evolved in these 20 years. There is no one harmonised definition of quality, but there are an excellence benchmark and a striving for perfection in the continuous improvement process."

Springing up from its European roots, EQUIS has evolved to adapt its standards to a broader array of institutional models and cultures, and to better respond to grand challenges of business and society, becoming the global standard for management education.

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EQUIS Accredited Schools in Europe 2020