Are AMBA, AACSB and Equis Accreditations Important When Choosing an MBA?

Written on 08 April 2019.


You might have heard or seen the term ‘Triple accreditation’ or the ‘triple-crown’ which means a school has received accreditation from the Association of MBA’s (AMBA), Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) and EQUIS. Whilst there are other regional or more specific accreditations, these are the 3 most respected and well-known, hence the term ‘triple crown’. But what does each accreditation mean and most importantly do they matter?

What Do the Accreditations Look At?

The AMBA accreditation is the only accreditation out of the 3 which focusses on the MBA programmes specifically. It has a very rigorous assessment criteria and only 3% of business schools world-wide have accreditation so if you are looking to do an MBA, checking that it has AMBA accreditation is recommended because it means the programme has been assessed in detail in terms of quality and standards of faculty, curriculum and student experience. Accreditation is awarded for a maximum of 5 years and then the programme is re-assessed. EDHEC’s MBA programmes have just been re-accredited – you can read more on the findings here.

AACSB and Equis are accreditations for business schools as a whole versus a specific programme and again, the process for assessment and accreditation is very through. AACSB is a US-based organisation which reviews the business school’s mission, faculty qualifications and curricula. The initial accreditation process can take between 3 to 5 years and includes in-depth self-evaluations and reviews by peers and committees. Accreditation ensures that students are learning material most relevant to their field of study, preparing them to be effective leaders upon graduation. Like the AMBA, accreditation is reviewed every 5 years – EDHEC as re-accredited in 2016 and counts amongst the 5% of business schools world-wide to be accredited. Beware: some schools say they are AMBA members – this is not the same as accreditation!

The European Foundation for Management development established the Quality Improvement System known as EQUIS to act as quality benchmark for business schools and unlike AMBA or AACSB it places more focus on diversity and internationalisation. Re-accreditation can take place up to 5 years after initial accreditation, like EDHEC’s reaccreditation in in 2015.

Is Triple Accreditation Important?

Choosing an MBA is a complex process with many things to consider because finding the right programme and school for you is key. Therefore, knowing that an MBA has the AMBA accreditation means that you can be confident of the overall quality of the programme from faculty to facilities through to experiences and support. In the same way, AACSB and EQUIS act as a quality benchmark for the school as whole and are based on vigorous assessments involving faculty, staff and students.

Other factors are important too, so you should check a school has the most important accreditations first so that you know it offers a high standard in terms of educational experiences and then look into other key factors like duration, programme content, location and cost. If you want more advice on things to consider when choosing an MBA, read our top tips.

There are only 1% of business schools in the world who currently have triple-accreditation because the assessment process is very rigorous and the standards so high. Edhec is proud to be one of the 90 schools to hold the triple crown.

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