EQUIS Success Story: Nottingham University Business School

Nottingham

EQUIS 20th Anniversary - Blog Series

In 2016, Nottingham University Business School welcomed an EQUIS peer review team for the third time, having previously been accredited for two spells of three years. Alistair Bruce, the School's Dean, discusses the customised nature of the process. 

Our School is distinctive in having three international locations, the original UK operation and parallel activity at the University’s Malaysia and China campuses, established in 2000 and 2005 respectively. This presents challenges in explaining the common principles underpinning operations in each location alongside local differences in the specifics of operation, the idiosyncrasies of financial reporting, local regulatory frameworks and requirements, and the different stages of evolution at each campus, which are reflected in observable, though narrowing, performance differentials, for example in terms of research outputs.

Preparation for the visit was, for the first time, managed by our new Accreditation Standards Committee (ASC). This body, chaired by the Dean and linking all campuses via videoconference, aims to professionalise our support for accreditation. It involves regular meetings of those responsible for leading the School’s accreditation, as well as discipline, programme and functional (e.g. research) leads and is supported by a dedicated Accreditation Manager. The ASC manages the scheduling of work, strengthens buy-in to the process and embeds accreditation and continuous improvement at the heart of the School’s work.

The PRT’s visit was by some distance the most productive and enjoyable we have experienced. The tone was set by an experienced and sensitive Chair who was able to stimulate a rich and open set of conversations with a range of groups by encouraging mutual trust, frank self-reflection, celebration of achievements and honest identification of challenges. There was a genuine sense of developmental engagement, that the PRT was working with us, rather than merely testing our performance against the standards. This offered an interesting contrast to our earlier PRT visits and appeared to signal a nuanced and welcome change of approach.

The positive feeling was echoed across the range of groups, our academic and administrative staff, students, alumni, corporate partners and advisory boards, which met with the PRT. In my view, the richness of the experience was largely a function of the team’s deep knowledge and experience of the business school world and context. For example, they understood the particular need for business schools within larger institutions to retain a distinctive identity and a degree of strategic autonomy and agility in order to sustain and enhance competitive profile and position. Several very positive suggestions emerged during discussions and in the recommendations, particularly in relation to further development of an authentic international operation. The team also recognised the value of the School’s strong community culture, which underpins its structures and processes in delivering its mission.

The outcome of the visit was our first five year accreditation, an enormously important validation of the collective efforts of our core team and of all of our stakeholders.

The positive nature of the experience inspired me to make myself available as a PRT member and I’m already looking forward to my second assignment in this capacity. It’s a role which I’d highly recommend!

Alistair Bruce,
Dean of Nottingham University Business School

Call for Nominations to the EFMD Quality Services’ Committees

EFMD members only to nominate potential new candidates

The EFMD Quality Services Team is inviting EFMD member schools and corporations to nominate potential members of the Quality Services Committees. Candidates should belong to an institution that is a full member of EFMD. 

Nominations are sought for the members of the EQUIS Committee and the EQUIS Accreditation Board, of the EPAS Committee and the EPAS Accreditation Board and of the EDAF Committee. Members’ roles and responsibilities are further explained in the above links, also stating the expectations and commitment that membership to these bodies entails. Potential members will be selected from among those nominated and finally appointed by the EFMD Board during its meeting on 7 June 2017. 

There are now vacancies on all these bodies. Applicants should meet the following experience requirements: 

EQUIS Committee and EQUIS Accreditation Board 
Academic members should be or have been Deans of well reputed, preferably EQUIS accredited business schools; corporate members should be or have been senior executives of well-known international companies, e.g. directors, senior managers, heads of corporate universities or HR directors. Successful entrepreneurs are also eligible. 

EPAS Committee and EPAS Accreditation Board 
For the EPAS Committee, academic members should be Deans, Associate Deans or senior Programme Directors (e.g. experienced and generally running large programmes) preferably from EPAS accredited institutions. For the EPAS Accreditation Board, academic members should preferably be Deans from EPAS accredited institutions. For both bodies, corporate members should be or have been senior executives of well-known international companies, e.g. directors, senior managers, heads of corporate universities, HR directors. Successful entrepreneurs are also eligible. Having experience as EPAS reviewer is a plus. 

EDAF – EFMD Deans Across Frontiers Committee 
For the EDAF Committee, members should be current or former Deans or Associate Deans from business schools in developed or developing economies. Nominations either for yourself or for another person from within or outside your organisation are acceptable. The particular decision-making body to which the nomination applies should be clearly indicated.

Nominations should be sent before 12 May 2017 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and should include full name of the candidate, name of the institution, his/her position, e-mail address and biographical summary.