EQUIS Accreditation System Celebrates its 20th Anniversary

LatestNews 2017 EQUIS 20th anniversaryThis year marks the 20th anniversary of EQUIS - EFMD Quality Improvement System, launched two decades ago at the Deans and Directors General Conference at Schloss Gracht, now part of the ESMT Berlin.

This international quality benchmark and improvement process was created to give European and, subsequently, business schools worldwide, a rigorous tool to assess, certify and improve their quality in 10 key areas, including governance, programmes, students, faculty, research and, foremost, internationalisation, ethics, responsibility and sustainability as well as corporate engagement.

Since its establishment, a strong emphasis on internationalisation and corporate connections have been the differentiating points of the EQUIS business school accreditation system. Coupled with recently added ethics, responsibility and sustainability standards, they have created a solid framework for quality measurement for international business schools.

In this interview, Gordon Shenton the former Quality Services Director and the founding father of EQUIS, talks about the evolution of EQUIS since the initial idea, its development and core values, and draws some perspectives for the future.
EQUIS is not only a quality assessment but also a quality improvement process, very much rooted in the mission of EFMD. As David Saunders, the Dean of Smith School of Business at the Queen's University in Canada and Chairman of the EQUIS Accreditation Board, comments: “No matter how good your school is, you can always improve and that is a critical core component of EQUIS – continuous improvement.”

EQUIS has always aimed at building a community of mutual learning and best practice for business schools coming from different higher-education systems. Sue Cox, Dean Emerita of Lancaster University Management School in the UK and former EFMD Board member, stresses the emphasis on schools’ differentiating points in the EQUIS quality framework. “EQUIS actively encourages schools to consider their unique selling proposition within the strategic planning process,” she says.

Over the last 20 years, EFMD has conducted over 600 peer review visits, with over a thousand outstanding experts devoting their time and knowledge to the development of the system.

More than 10 deans and experts who have contributed to the development of the EQUIS accreditation system have given their voices to the value and role EQUIS has played in enhancing the quality of management education worldwide as well as the future development of the management education industry.
“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 is an excellence benchmark and a striving for perfection in the continuous improvement process,” adds Eric Cornuel, EFMD’s Director General and CEO.

In its short history, EQUIS accreditation has become widely recognised by potential students, employers, the wider business education industry and the media as the most holistic and rigorous accreditation process, often being a pre-requisite for entry to rankings.

With an estimated number of 15,000 business schools worldwide, only a handful (167 institutions from 41 countries) hold the EQUIS quality label and they can say without being too boastful that they are part of “1% of leading business schools.”

To commemorate this landmark achievement, EFMD plans to celebrate the success of EQUIS over the course of 2017 at EFMD events across the international community.

More information on EQUIS is available at www.efmd.org/equis

Online Learning: Expecting Quality

Online Learning EOCCS
Today, the need to expand knowledge is being required with increasing frequency both professionally and personally. In the workplace, at school, and at home, we can benefit from the enormous, rapidly growing volume of online learning experiences that are offered by a seemingly unlimited number of providers on the web. Some courses provide fantastic learning opportunities – but some don’t.


By Anne Swanberg,
 
In this short article I am asking two questions that I think all providers – and consumers – of online learning should give thought to.

The first is, ”Why should we be concerned about the quality of online courses?” This can easily be answered by pointing to the development in the MOOC arena. Where appropriate infrastructure exists, online learning has become a readily available commodity, and Coursera, EdX, and FutureLearn have attracted millions of learners to their open online courses over the last three years. Having said this, the drop-out rate is, in fact, quite high, although the MOOC participants certainly enrolled with the intention of learning online. Perhaps they achieved what they were looking for before completing the course – or the course simply did not meet their expected level of quality.

Skeptics of the growing popularity of online delivery of education have been vocal in their concern about the quality of learning. Even after thirty years of delivering distance learning online, we are still in the early days of true online learning for the masses, and we are still seeking the best and the most efficient learning methods in this realm. Because our lives demand continuous learning, and the fact that this learning increasingly happens online, we should be concerned about the quality of the learning process and the outcomes from online learning experiences.

The second question I am asking is, Can the quality of an online course be measured accurately? One definition of quality is whether the learners actually experience what they expected when they enrolled in a course. This definition is based heavily on the individual learner’s previous experience with both learning in general and online learning in particular.

As we gain more insight and knowledge about how we approach an online learning situation and how we interact with the learning material, we may also draw up some common standards for what we assume to be “good” learning experiences in an online environment. For example, the structure of learning materials and how they are presented to the learners are important quality indicators. The user interface of the VLE/LMS also affects participants’ experience, as do the length, sound, and image in a video – all of which clearly indicate something about the quality of the course in general. Standards help to describe whether quality meets expectations, or rises above or falls below them. In addition to experience and the development of standards, benchmarking and peer assessment are also methods of measuring quality.

As we are constantly moving in the direction of online delivery, it is even more important to make sure that the online learning outcomes are of high quality. In 2016, EFMD Global Network has piloted a new certificate for online courses (including MOOCs) within the field of management education: EOCCS – the EFMD Global Network Online Course Certification System. A set of criteria and standards has been developed by an expert panel consisting of members of EFMD. The assessment of quality is based on standards and criteria measured through a self-assessment and a peer assessment method. The EOCCS process is open for regular certification since November 2016.

Watch Anne Swanberg's presentation on Improving Quality in Online Learningat the Online Educa Conference in Berlin.


Dr. Anne Swanberg is the Director of LearningLab, a competence centre for teaching, learning and ICT at BI Norwegian Business School, which has 20,000 students, among them 3000 online-course participants. She is also the Project Director of the EFMD Global Network Online Course Certification System (EOCCS), which is working to enhance the quality of online courses.


Get Access to Top Talent Pool Through the Global Internship Platform

EFMD blog stickyEFMD Global Network and HigherEd join forces to launch the first global internship portal to connect companies and top business schools and students worldwide.
How can your company benefit from the access to the talent pool?

The portal will give the companies an access to an exclusive pool of three million outstanding international intern prospects from 600 top business schools in the EFMD Global Network, creating a unique opportunity to follow the students that are in their target groups throughout the lifecycle of their specific education and career paths.

The platform will connect companies, top business schools and students at an unprecedented level, adding great diversity and corporate innovation possibilities.

Tapping into a vast pool of selected quality graduate talent in one single place is at the heart of this initiative which will become the largest and most targeted recruitment tool available in the education industry.

This initiative will only be available to the corporate members of EFMD Global Network.

We are launching a pilot phase of this initiative over the next months and are gradually on-boarding schools and corporate members, so if you are interested in seizing this unique opportunity, please visit http://www.highered.no/for-companies/ and contact Bernt Blankholm, CEO of HigherEd or Matthew Wood, COO at EFMD at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Nineteen Business Schools Awarded with BSIS Impact Label

Since its launch in 2014, BSIS, run as a joint venture between EFMD Global Network and FNEGE, has successfully assessed nineteen business schools all over the word.

Please have a look at what the value of the BSIS process was for the Schools, what tangible outcomes the BSIS process brought in terms of showcasing their impact on the local environment and in terms of raising impact awareness with regard to the Schools' internal and external stakeholders.

In order to formally recognise the efforts schools put into undertaking the impact assessment exercise, EFMD Global Network officially transformed BSIS - Business School Impact Survey into BSIS - Business School Impact System and agreed to confer the BSIS Label upon all the schools which have gone through the impact assessment exercise. The objective of the Label is to recognise business schools that are aware of the importance of measuring and assessing their impact not just within the management education community, but within society at large.

Nineteen Schools, including SKEMA Business School, AUDENCIA Nantes, Corvinus University of Budapest, EM Normandie, Grenoble Ecole de Management, Groupe ESC Troyes, Groupe ESC PauGroupe Sup de Co La Rochelle, HEC ULg Liège, IAE de Bordeaux, IAE de Grenoble, IAE de Lyon, IAE Nice, Montpellier Business School, San Telmo, Sobey School of Business, Toulouse Business School, University of St Gallen & USEK Lebanon were awarded with the BSIS Label during the EFMD Annual Conference in Rome on 12-14 June 2016. Many congratulatuons!

The BSIS scheme identifies the tangible and intangible benefits that a business school brings to theLogo BSISystem HR community. At the heart of the BSIS measurement process is a framework of around 120 indicators covering financial, economic, societal and image dimensions of impact.

"Demonstrating the many ways in which they add economic and social value to the environment in which they operate has become a challenge for business schools. To meet this demand for greater accountability, BSIS is an effective tool to help schools identify, measure and communicate all the positive contributions they make to the world around them," said Prof. Gordon Shenton, who, together with Prof. Michel Kalika, IAE Lyon, has been appointed one of the two co-directors of BSIS.

"I am really proud that we can now offer a tangible sign of international appreciation for the tremendous work the schools put in collecting and analysing data on their impact on the local environment. The label also raises the internal awareness within the business schools, proving their relevance, meaning and real impact on the community. It is a seal of recognition for the schools who consider their impact as vital," added Prof. Michel Kalika, BSIS co-director.

If you would like to receive further information or are interested in your school taking part, please visit www.efmdglobal.org/bsis or contact: Gordon SHENTON: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Michel KALIKA: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Special Offer for EFMD Members: Smart Certificate™ with Smart Ads™ Free

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Value of EDAF - EFMD GN Deans Across Frontiers: Videos

In a few short videos, Michael Osbaldeston, EFMD Director of Quality Services, and Christian Delporte, EDAF Director, talk about EDAF - an assessment and mentoring system for Business Schools.

In the full interview - available here - Michael and Christian explain the value of EDAF and how it fits into EFMD’s wider social responsibility, the mentoring aspect of EDAF, who can benefit from the system, the process and cost involved, as well as a possible path towards EPAS and EQUIS accreditations.
EDAF logo15 LR
“What has pleased us most about the EDAF mentorship is that the process is a collective one, directed towards the needs of the institution. Our experience has been one of unity and collaboration across departments and teams looking to improve our processes of internationalisation, research and teaching.”
Ms Gisele Becerra, Undergraduate Programmes Director, CESA, Colombia


Please find below direct links to the podcasts where we answer the following questions:

1. What is EDAF?

2. How did the need for EDAF arise?

3. Who is EDAF for?

4. What is the current status of schools involved in EDAF?

5. How does the EDAF process work?

6. How does the mentoring process within EDAF work?

7. How EDAF can help a school on a path towards EQUIS or EPAS accreditation?

8. What are the benefits for schools taking part in EDAF?

9. How does EDAF fit into EFMD’s wider social responsibility?

10. What are the costs involved in going through the EDAF process?

11. What are the long term hopes for EDAF?

The whole playlist with all the individual videos can be accessed via the following link or by pasting the following URL http://bit.ly/1JKD8i5

Learn more about the EDAF: download EDAF brochure in English and Spanish or access directly EDAF webpage.

Value of EQUIS and EPAS Accreditations: Videos

In a few short videos, Prof. Michael Osbaldeston, EFMD Director of Quality Services, explains the value of EQUIS and EPAS accreditations, the process, a possible pathway between EPAS and EQUIS, the cost-benefit report, as well as internationalisation, alumni and research dimensions of the accreditations.

Please find below direct links to the podcasts where he answers the following questions:

- What is the value for schools in participating in EQUIS and EPAS?

- What role does EFMD feel alumni should be playing?

- The cost of accreditation versus its value

- Is EPAS a valid pathway to EQUIS?

- What is the value from all the work required to complete accreditation assessment reports?

- What are the challenges of internationalisation?

- How is EFMD approaching the impact of research?

The whole playlist with all the individual videos can be accessed via the following link or by pasting the following URL http://bit.ly/1LxOAvP

EPAS logo13 LR"The process of the EPAS accreditation has helped sharpen our focus on the strategic priorities. A mission and strategy are often easy to formulate but more difficult to implement. By focusing on the processes in the EPAS framework we know what variables we can work on over the coming years in our journey of educational excellence."
Prof. dr. Rudy Martens, Dean, Faculty of Applied Economics, University EQUIS logo13 LRof Antwerp, Belgium

"EQUIS accreditation is one of the most important benchmarks available to business schools to ensure excellence in teaching, student experience, research and outreach. I am very pleased that our substantial effort to continually improve in all aspects of what we do has been well recognised."
Prof. Jon Reast, Dean, Bradford University School of Management, UK

Learn more about the EFMD Quality Services offer: download the Quality Services brochure or access directly EQUIS and EPAS webpages.

Critical Family Business Issues: Top Cases on Talent, Ownership, Growth and Communications

Case2014winner logoInter-disciplinary coverage of family business entrepreneurship related issues is at the core of the “Family Business” category of the EFMD Case Writing Competition. The 2014 winner in this category is:

J.M. Huber: A Family of Solutions”, written by Benoît Leleux, and Anne-Catrin Glemser, both at IMD, CH.

imdThe J.M. Huber case, based on extensive personal interviews with senior executives and family members of the J.M. Huber family business, one of the largest and oldest American family businesses, investigates the unique culture and governance structures and processes of the firm, its roots and the multiple forms of expression that enables it to survive and thrive over six generations and about as many fundamental strategic shifts (pivots) and repositionings. The following questions are explicitly addressed:

  • Can a family business culture be a “weapon to attract talent,” as stated by the CEO?;
  • What factors should be included and how should they be weighted in the recruitment of the next CEO? What kind of CEO profile should they target?;
  • How much should the family business continue to open up its communication, both internally (for family shareholders and family members) and externally (for broader stakeholder groups)?;
  • How does the Huber family instil a sense of purpose and a shared vision among its owners? In particular, how much are the various factors – the family principles and values, the Huber business principles and the Mike Huber Award – contributing?;
  • Where does the firm find the infamous “family glue” and how does it try to strengthen these bonds?;
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of inclusion, i.e. incorporating as many family members, including in-laws? Why are many family firms reluctant to adopt/resist an inclusive environment? What structures and processes has Huber adopted to facilitate inclusiveness?

Also the finalist cases from last year in the “Family Business” category may be of interest to you:

"Trusted Family: For Families, by Families, forever… "by IMD Switzerland
This video-case is an innovative and entertaining basis to discuss a number of critical family business issues, such as governance and the communication needs of large multi-generational family firms, entrepreneurship by next generation members, the brand value of family names, etc.

"The Future of AFG: How Family Attachment Influenced Growth", Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, NL.The case deals with a dilemma the Italian family firm AFG faced after making a significant investment to grow its business and the strategic decisions to be taken by the CEO.

Hermès, INSEAD, FR. This case follows the evolution of two distinct types of family-owned luxury houses. Hermès represents traditional excellence – with its low-key style, highest quality workmanship, and dependable designs. LVMH is a luxury conglomerate that grows by acquisition of designer labels. The authors explore the ownership battle between them.

You are most welcome to consult the full list of winners for all 14 categories is on the EFMD website, as well as details for the  EFMD Case Writing Competition in general.

Accreditation, a key issue for management schools

"Avant tout, il faut comprendre que nous ne sommes pas dans une logique de sanction, souligne Eric Cornuel, directeur général de l’EFMD (lire ci-contre), qui délivre le label Equis à 18 institutions en France et 129 dans le monde (dont 30 % hors Europe). Notre objectif est d’être des vecteurs de progrès pour les institutions."

+ More // Les Echos

Pinnacle of Sasin's Pride - 2011 EFMD Awards Ceremony