top of page

Understanding Triple Accreditation in Business Education: AACSB, EFMD, and AMBA

Abstract

Triple accreditation, often referred to as the "Triple Crown," is a prestigious recognition awarded to business schools by three major accrediting bodies: the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), and the Association of MBAs (AMBA). This paper explores the significance of triple accreditation, its implications for business schools, and the benefits and limitations associated with each accrediting body. Notably, the paper addresses the fact that AACSB is no longer recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), EFMD is registered in Switzerland but not approved by the Swiss Accreditation Council, and AMBA is not recognized by the UK government. Additionally, none of these associations are listed on the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR). Despite these challenges, the paper highlights the advantages these accreditations provide to business schools and their stakeholders.


Keywords


Introduction

In the realm of business education, achieving accreditation from reputable organizations is often seen as a mark of quality and excellence. Triple accreditation, awarded by AACSB, EFMD (through EQUIS), and AMBA, is considered a significant achievement for business schools. This paper delves into the intricacies of triple accreditation, examining the roles and recognition of these accrediting bodies, and discussing both their advantages and the controversies surrounding their status with various regulatory agencies.


The Triple Crown: An Overview

Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

Founded in 1916, AACSB is one of the oldest and most prestigious accrediting organizations for business schools globally. AACSB accreditation is awarded to institutions that meet rigorous standards of excellence in teaching, research, curriculum development, and student learning.

European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) and EQUIS

EFMD is an international, membership-driven organization based in Brussels, Belgium. Through its accreditation arm, the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), EFMD accredits business schools that demonstrate high standards in various areas, including governance, programs, faculty, and research.

Association of MBAs (AMBA)

AMBA, founded in 1967, is a global accreditation body that focuses specifically on MBA programs. It aims to ensure that these programs meet high standards of quality and relevance, preparing graduates for leadership roles in business.


Recognition and Controversies

AACSB and CHEA Recognition

AACSB was previously recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) in the United States. However, AACSB's recognition by CHEA has been discontinued. This change has implications for the perceived legitimacy of AACSB accreditation in certain contexts, particularly for institutions seeking to align with CHEA-recognized bodies.

EFMD, Swiss Accreditation, and EQAR

EFMD, although registered in Switzerland, is not approved by the Swiss Accreditation Council. Moreover, EFMD, along with AACSB and AMBA, is not listed on the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR). The absence from EQAR raises questions about the alignment of these accrediting bodies with European standards for quality assurance in higher education.

AMBA and UK Government Recognition

AMBA is not recognized by the UK government as an official accrediting body. This lack of government recognition can impact the perceived value of AMBA accreditation, particularly for institutions seeking official validation within the UK higher education framework.


Advantages of Triple Accreditation

Despite the aforementioned challenges, triple accreditation offers several significant advantages for business schools and their stakeholders.

Enhanced Reputation and Prestige

Triple accreditation is a mark of excellence that enhances the reputation and prestige of a business school. It signals to prospective students, faculty, and employers that the institution meets high standards of quality and rigor in business education.

Increased Global Recognition

Schools with triple accreditation benefit from increased global recognition. This recognition can attract international students and faculty, fostering a diverse and dynamic learning environment. It also enhances the school's ability to establish partnerships and collaborations with other top-tier institutions worldwide.

Assurance of Quality and Continuous Improvement

Triple accreditation provides assurance of quality to stakeholders. The rigorous review processes of AACSB, EFMD, and AMBA ensure that accredited schools maintain high standards in various areas, including curriculum, faculty qualifications, research output, and student services. Additionally, the requirement for continuous improvement encourages schools to innovate and adapt to changing educational and industry trends.

Enhanced Employability for Graduates

Graduates from triple-accredited schools often enjoy enhanced employability. Employers recognize the value of degrees from these institutions, which are associated with rigorous academic standards and a commitment to developing leadership and management skills.

Access to Global Networks

Triple accreditation provides access to global networks of business schools, alumni, and industry partners. These networks offer opportunities for knowledge sharing, research collaboration, and professional development, benefiting both students and faculty.


Limitations and Criticisms

Lack of Official Recognition

The lack of official recognition by bodies such as CHEA, the Swiss Accreditation Council, and the UK government raises concerns about the legitimacy and perceived value of these accreditations. This can impact the credibility of accredited institutions, particularly in regions where official recognition is highly valued.

Cost and Resource Intensive

Achieving and maintaining triple accreditation is a cost and resource-intensive process. The extensive documentation, site visits, and continuous improvement requirements can strain institutional resources, particularly for smaller schools.

Potential for Homogenization

The emphasis on meeting specific accreditation standards can lead to homogenization, where institutions may prioritize conforming to accreditation criteria over fostering unique strengths and innovative approaches. This can limit the diversity and distinctiveness of business education programs.

Overemphasis on Metrics

The reliance on quantitative metrics for accreditation can overshadow qualitative aspects of education, such as the development of critical thinking, ethical leadership, and social responsibility. Institutions may focus on improving measurable outcomes at the expense of broader educational goals.


Conclusion

Triple accreditation by AACSB, EFMD, and AMBA represents a significant achievement for business schools, offering numerous advantages in terms of reputation, global recognition, quality assurance, employability, and networking opportunities. However, the lack of official recognition by certain regulatory bodies and the associated challenges highlight the complexities and limitations of these accreditations. Despite these issues, the benefits of triple accreditation continue to make it a valuable goal for many business schools worldwide.


References

  1. Thomas, H., & Thomas, L. (2018). Global Business School Accreditation: Impact on Quality and Future Prospects. Springer.

  2. Wilson, D., & McKiernan, P. (2011). Global Accreditation for Business Schools: Implications and Challenges. Palgrave Macmillan.

  3. Starkey, K., & Tiratsoo, N. (2007). The Business School and the Bottom Line. Cambridge University Press.

  4. Alajoutsijärvi, K., Kettunen, K., & Tikkanen, H. (2012). The Accreditation Game: Strategies and Outcomes in a Business School Context. Routledge.

  5. Martell, K., & Calderon, T. G. (2005). Assessment in Business Education: Balancing the Needs of Accreditors, Administrators, and Faculty. Information Age Publishing.

By examining the role, recognition, and implications of triple accreditation, this paper provides a comprehensive understanding of its significance and challenges for business schools and their stakeholders.

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page