About Us

We believe that education has the potential to change lives
and that accreditation is a key ingredient in unlocking that potential

Company Overview

We all know the impact one great teacher can have. But great school management maximises the impact of education across the entire student body.

QED The Accreditation Experts is a higher education consulting firm that provides tailored strategic advice to business school Deans and Executive offices across the globe. Through our unparalleled expertise, we help client business schools choose the accreditation that will benefit their school and help them achieve their aims.

We also help clients manage accreditation processes and we provide tailored support and assistance as required.

We understand the complexity of the different international accreditations and we help to demystify these for all involved. Furthermore, we draw upon our intimate understanding of quality peer review processes to help our clients plan and prepare peer review visits so that they can put their very best foot forward.

Meet the Experts

Joanne Hession

Founder & Managing Director

Following a full time career with University College Dublin, QED’s founder and Managing Director, Joanne Hession established QED in 1998 to independently advise international Business Schools with their international accreditation applications and maintenance. Joanne is extremely experienced at leading accreditation projects and has a wide knowledge of management education having worked with business schools since 1993 and led many successful accreditation projects since 1998. Joanne’s experience also includes membership of educational committees and advisory boards, research with top European and American Business Schools, feasibility trips to China for European Universities and as a peer review team panel member for a number of international business school accreditations including EQUIS and EPAS.

Joanne also has a keen interest in entrepreneurship education and founded The Entrepreneurs Academy (formerly known as QED Training) in 1998, to successfully get people started and staying in business, a company of which she remains a Director. In 2012 she co-authored “Don’t Get A Job, Build A Business,” #1 on the Irish best sellers list in February 2013. In 2018 Joanne founded a national leadership initiative, LIFT Ireland to build authentic leadership across the island of Ireland. She is holder of many accolades including one of the top All-Ireland Business Women, and is cited as a voice of entrepreneurship and authentic leadership in Ireland.

Joanne has a first hand experience of what is required to be a successful business person and she brings this energy, efficiency and professionalism to each client institution she works with.

Joanne Powell

Senior Advisor & Executive Coach

Joanne is a learning and development professional with extensive experience in education, training and assessment. In addition to her extensive work with international business schools seeking international accreditation, she is also a certified Executive Coach, specialising in working with senior managers within the higher education sector.
Education is Joanne’s passion. Following several years working in second level and vocational training, she qualified as a chartered accountant and subsequently worked in public practice before returning to an education role. In 2006, she joined Chartered Accountants Ireland, initially as its Syllabus Development Manager and subsequently as Head of Assessment and Syllabus. During that period, she worked extensively with senior accountants and academics to develop and review syllabi and assessment strategy and processes for trainee chartered accountants.

Joanne is also certified as a DISC Trainer (DISC Personality Profiling) and a Leadership Facilitator. Her leadership philosophy is centred on a core belief that authentic leadership comes from within. She brings that philosophy to QED’s Leadership Portfolio, with a focus on deepening awareness of individuals’ core characteristics and values to raise overall effectiveness and impact.

Joanne is recognised as a skilled communicator and for having the ability to work with committees and teams to identify issues and find practical solutions. She joined QED in 2015, bringing her energy, passion and commitment to the business and its clients.

David Hession

Senior Advisor

David’s experience specialising in consulting to the educational sector spans more than 10 countries across Europe and Asia. He is extremely experienced at leading accreditation projects leading to the top international business school awards having assisted business schools with their accreditation projects since 2003. He has also managed the root and branch reviews of academic programmes, departments and Business Schools. He is renowned for working seamlessly alongside Business School management and faculty teams and for demystifying the complexity of the different accreditations, saving Business Schools significant time and resources.

David qualified as a solicitor in 1992 with one of Ireland’s largest corporate law firms, McCann Fitzgerald. Upon qualification, he joined the tax and legal services division of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dublin, working with a large number of major national and international corporate clients. David joined QED in 2003, bringing a wealth of research, analytic and advisory experience to the company.

David Simmons

Senior Advisor

David has spent his professional life in management and education. Since 2002 he has been a member of faculty at Cranfield School of Management, holding a variety of roles including Executive Director of the MBA, Admissions Director and International Development Director. As a lifelong Francophile, David spent 17 years in France initially as the founding Head of an international school which now has more than 350 students, and then as European Manager for Oxford University Press, and subsequently as Sales Director, EMEA-ELT (English Language Teaching) Division of Pearson Education.

For more than a decade David has successfully led Cranfield’s AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA accreditations and has served on various EPAS and AMBA panels in Europe and North America. He has also chaired the MBA Redesign group at Cranfield and developed an innovative module, the International Business Assignment that has enabled students to take part in developmental projects in over 30 countries from Mongolia to Malawi.

David holds a Masters degree in English Literature and a Postgraduate Certificate of Education, both from the University of Cambridge. As a former teacher, David believes that schools need to develop an accreditation culture, built around intellectual rigour alongside powerful story-telling. Beyond the world of work, David is a practising Adult and Youth Magistrate (Justice of the Peace), sitting on the Cambridge bench.


We care about education

We care about our clients and we care about results. We drive for distinctive, lasting and substantial improvements based on recognised, global best-practice. We value integrity, collaboration, continuous learning, self-leadership and relationships. We become personally invested in and celebrate each and every success. Most of all we believe that proven expertise counts and that you can count on us.

Is your School looking to embed continuous improvement and achieve accreditation?

We can help you.


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