EFMD Business School Accreditations FAQ

EFMD is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation with the specific purpose of improving excellence in management education. Accreditation of an institution or programme is one of the services we offer to help schools indicate their level of quality to the world. When a school goes through one of our rigorous accreditation processes, it is evaluated in multiple areas, including context and strategy, connections with practice, internationalisation and ethics, responsibility and sustainability while maintaining respect for their diverse institutional frameworks and contexts.
The process does not stop once an accreditation is received. Our accredited schools are required to actively pursue a development plan for continuous improvement and are re-evaluated every three to five years to maintain the accreditation.

Membership with EFMD Global is a non-accreditation status that provides organisations with access to a network of business schools, management development consultancies and corporate learning organisations, as well as professional development opportunities, research, and other resources.

Accreditation with EFMD Global, on the other hand, is a formal process of evaluation and recognition of the highest quality of a business school. The accreditation process involves a comprehensive assessment of the school's curriculum, faculty, research and other aspects of the educational experience. Accreditation with EFMD Global indicates that a business school has met the organisation's rigorous standards of pedagogical and research quality and that its degrees are recognised as credible by employers and other stakeholders.

In summary, membership with EFMD Global is a way for organisations with an international outlook to participate in the network and access resources, while accreditation with EFMD Global is a formal recognition of the quality of a business school's educational programmes. Membership is a prerequisite for accreditation.

Achieving accreditation is a signal of your level of quality to your prospective students, faculty, community and stakeholders. It is not only an assessment but a quality improvement process. Accreditation assessment: 

  • provides powerful tools to connect all the strategic elements within a business school;
  • supports schools in thinking through their purpose and strategy and what that means for their optimal organisational balance;
  • helps schools benchmark against the leading management development organisations while maintaining respect for their diverse institutional frameworks and contexts;
  • spurs the development of robust internal quality processes and data collection systems;
  • helps schools communicate internationally through their unique stories and differentiating points;
  • creates a positive impact and excellence culture that permeates the institution.

EFMD Quality Improvement System (EQUIS): EQUIS is an institutional accreditation system for business and management schools. It was created in 1997 with a commitment to internationalisation, respect for diversity and the importance of corporate connection. The goal of EQUIS is not only to provide accreditation for business schools but to improve the quality of management education around the world. Starting with 19 pioneer schools in Europe, EQUIS accreditation now encompasses 210 accredited schools in 44 countries. Since January 2013, the EQUIS assessment process has fully embedded ethics, responsibility and sustainability. EQUIS assessment respects diversity by accepting wide differences in the organisation and delivery of management education, understanding each local context’s uniqueness.

EFMD Accredited: EFMD Accredited is a thorough programme accreditation system for business and/or management degrees and courses. The programmes may be face-to-face, blended or online (as long as you have a physical location). It constitutes a benchmark for what is considered an internationally recognised and peer-reviewed programme. Key values include respect for diversity, an international dimension, responsible management and connections with practice. The accreditation covers all facets of programme provision: from its institutional, national and international environment, through its design, delivery, outcomes and impacts, to its quality assurance processes. 

Begin with the dedicated pages for EQUIS or EFMD Accredited on the EFMD website, where you will find detailed information and all relevant documents. The Process Manuals and Eligibility Criteria for each type of accreditation will help answer many of your questions. (See flowchart examples of the EQUIS and EFMD Programme Accreditation process below.) You may use the ‘Contact’ forms on our website to express your interest and get in touch with our accreditation team.

Starting the accreditation process requires an enquiry with a draft datasheet. Based on the information you provide, you will receive advice on the likelihood of success. To start the formal process, you will then need to complete an application form and datasheet. From the beginning, you will have a key account manager who will guide you through the process.

Table 1 Example of EQUIS process

EFMD Accreditation FAQ - EQUIS process graph 2023

Table 2 Example of EFMD Programme Accreditation process

EFMD Accreditation FAQ - EFMDa Process Flowchart

Eligibility requirements cover a wide variety of areas, and your account manager will help you with this. However, some basic requirements must be met. The first requirement for all accreditation applications is to be an EFMD member in good standing. If you are not yet a member, please visit our website to begin that process. A second basic requirement is that your institution needs to be in operation for at least five years to apply for EFMD Accredited programme accreditation and ten years to apply for EQUIS accreditation.

EFMD Accredited requires that the programme has been producing graduates for at least two cohorts with a minimum aggregate of 30 graduates from the programme in the two years prior to the date of your accreditation application. There should be a minimum cohort size of 20 students for all programmes for each mode of delivery and intake. EQUIS requires that the school has a core faculty of at least 25 FTE-qualified academics. Additional requirements are covered in the Eligibility Criteria documents available on the dedicated pages for EFMD Accredited and EQUIS on the EFMD website.

The process for an initial institution or programme accreditation will typically require two to three years from the time of eligibility. 

Table 3 Example of EQUIS timeline

EFMD Accreditation FAQ - EQUIS timeline 2023

Table 3 Example of EFMD Programme Accreditation timeline

EFMD Accreditation FAQ - EFMDa Timeline

You can find the EFMD Accredited Fee Schedule here and the EQUIS Fee Schedule here.

Management of an accreditation process should be aligned with the school’s strategic objectives and organisational structure. It typically involves an academic lead and an accreditation manager to ensure a seamless accreditation process.

It is not required that a school holds an EFMD programme accreditation before applying to EQUIS. However, a programme accreditation can be a beneficial stepping stone to achieving EQUIS accreditation.

It can also be maintained in case of successful completion of the EQUIS accreditation process and a further differentiation point.

If you do not yet meet the eligibility requirements for accreditation, you can start by going through the membership process. We then have several other assessment options to help you work towards your goal:

EFMD GN Deans Across Frontiers (EDAF): EDAF is a unique quality improvement system to assist your business school in further development through mentoring of your senior management team. EDAF offers your school assistance in development, consultancy and mentoring by an experienced Dean or former Dean through a flexible system, taking into account the diversity between institutional models, countries and cultures. All to help your institution strive towards excellence and be more impactful in the management development community.

Business School Impact System (BSIS): BSIS is designed to determine the extent of a school’s impact on its local environment – the city or region in which it is located. The BSIS process is offered in collaboration between EFMD Global and FNEGE as a service to EFMD members in any part of the world. The impact of the business school is analysed based on the following seven areas of impact: financial, educational, business development impact as well as intellectual, societal, image, and impact within the regional ecosystem.

EFMD Global Online Course Certification System (EOCCS): EOCCS provides an international quality benchmark in diverse education landscapes whereby digital technology is applied to teaching and learning. EOCCS gives online courses within universities, business schools, corporate learning organisations and public agencies a top international quality benchmark in the online learning landscape, strengthening not only their market positioning but also allowing for critical self-reflection and peer assessment. 

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