Conference Update

AACSB ICAM 2023 – Key Takeaways

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AACSB ICAM 2023 – Key Takeaways

ICAM 2023 was the first of five conferences that QED is attending before the end of June.  As always, it was a great opportunity to catch up with friends, clients and colleagues – as well as hear some interesting speakers and updates on accreditation. As always, there was lots to choose from – but in the interests of focusing, my top three takeaways were:

1. Societal Impact was a recurring theme in several meetings and conversations.  Several key principles within AACSB were re-emphasised throughout multiple sessions: 

  • It is up to Schools to define their areas of priority for positive societal impact – in alignment with their mission and values.  AACSB does not prescribe what areas are required.  Nor does it prescribe the use of the UN SDGs as a framework. However, many schools use the SDGs as it is widely understood and often aligns with institutional work for the PRiME network.
  • It is not about demonstrating lots of activity across a wide range of SDGs – but about deciding which areas are being championed/emphasised (again, in alignment with mission and values). Most, if not all, schools have limited resources – so AACSB is encouraging schools to decide on the key areas of societal impact and focus resources (financial, human, organisational etc) accordingly. This does not preclude other activity from taking place – but places the focus clearly on areas where it might be possible to ‘move the needle’ and have real impact.
  • Some participants are clearly struggling with the definition of impact and how to measure impact. In essence, there isn’t a ‘stock’ measurement system, as the metrics employed by any school will need to align with its identified area of focus.  However, it may be helpful to revisit AACSB’s White Paper on Societal Impact – and note particularly the definitions of, and relationship between, activities, outputs, outcomes and impact (Page 7 of the report)

2. Dr Linda Hill gave an incredibly engaging, thought-provoking session on the ABCs of Leadership and Building an Agile Organisation.  There was so much to choose from in this session, and I need to review my notes and the slides again to get more of the learning. One of the things that stood out to me were her tips for identifying key barriers to change – using six key questions

Identify Key Barriers & How to Address Them

  • How much do you spend on “shoulds” and “coulds?
  • How do you encourage diversity of thought?
  • How do you get people to view reasonable missteps and intelligent failures as learning opportunities?
  • How do you ensure that people don’t compromise too quickly – as opposed to working through differences – when making decisions?
  • Are you developing talent to be value creators and game changers?
  • Is your team collaborative-ready?

3. In the Q&A session for Initial Accreditation, the presenters shared the key reasons why iSERs are sent back to Institutions for further review before being accepted (i.e. revise and resubmit decisions).  These are:

  • Standard 1 – Strategic Plan: At the point of submitting the iSER, the strategic plan is expected to be specific and current.  This includes having key objectives, timelines and metrics (for measuring success or not).
  • Standard 5 – AoL: The iSER should demonstrate a good understanding of AoL.  A School may not be implementing the AoL process fully, but there should be a clear timeline for implementation, which demonstrates the overall understanding of the process and the ability to complete two cycles of measurement before a Peer Review Visit.
  • Standard 3 – Faculty Qualification Criteria: Faculty qualification criteria (for SA, PA etc) should be aligned with mission and reasonably specific.  For example, if a school has a strong mission to engage with practice, then the PA and IP criteria should strongly reflect the need for this engagement.  The quality of activities should also be referenced – be it quality of research publications; level and type of practice engagement or other activities.

If you were at ICAM, what were your key takeaways?  We’d love to hear them.

For those who may have missed last week’s email, take note of the inclusion of an AoL module within Accredinator.  For further details, or to book a demo, please email

ANZQAN Takeaways 2022

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ANZQAN Takeaways


After the ANZQAN Conference, one attendee reached-out to us with, “all generally share the same challenges, but there are so many different ways to approach those challenges”. This is where the real benefit of these events arises – the ability to hear alternative approaches to challenges and perhaps be inspired to find more innovative approaches within our own domains.

Below are our takeaways:

Key Learning #1: There was a great Dean’s Panel discussion on managing accreditation strategies.  This covered a variety of themes but the key take-away and reminder was to “keep doing the small (everyday) stuff” and not just wait for the “big events” to happen.  This comment took place in the context of sustainability and a reminder that everyone has a role to play (and the importance of discussing and sharing good practice).  However, it resonated more widely as a reminder that change is often present in a multitude of smaller habits that take place consistently.  “We are what we repeatedly do: Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.”(Will Durant, attributed to Aristotle)

Key Learning #2: There was some great sharing of good practice related to socialising the mission. We really liked the suggestion to “embrace mission in both function and optics”.  It spoke to the importance of ensuring that an organisation’s mission needs to be front and centre of

  1. discussions, decisions and strategy (function)
  1. documents, merchandise, and other visuals (optics)

By embracing both function and optics, schools (or other organisations) are better placed to optimise the integration of the mission into every-day operations and strategy.

Key Learning #3: Internationalisation was a key topic for multiple reasons – including both general challenges arising from the Covid 19 pandemic, as well as ongoing geo-political challenges in several regions of the world.  Reference was made to EFMD’s internationalisation framework (EFMD Accredited Process Manual Annexes (Annex 10, page 61)) OR  EQUIS Standards and Criteria 2022 (last section of Chapter 8, page 73, “Further Guidance on Assessing Internationalisation” ) with one school (Curtin) illustrating how it has developed a set of parameters for each of the 12 dimensions of internationalisation (across the four categories of Policy, Content, Context and Network).  The parameters for each dimension outline what characterises low, medium and high performance, in line with the School’s own mission and strategy.  This seems like an excellent way to frame a School’s internationalisation priorities and a great example of good practice.

Finally, both EFMD and AACSB presented to the meeting.  A key takeaway from each that might be of interest:

  • EFMD: The EFMD update included the news that in certain (limited) circumstances, eligibility (for schools in the initial EQUIS process) may be extended to 48 months rather than limited to the current 24 months.  This potentially impacts the length of time available to complete the Self Assessment Report (SAR) and Peer Review Visit for schools that have significant, key areas to address and where it makes sense to delay the process.  Such situations are likely to require the approval of the EQUIS Board and Schools will be required to complete some interim reporting.  No further details are publicly available to date, but QED expects that the 2023 Process Documentation will include updated guidance.  In the interim, we suggest that any questions are submitted directly to your EFMD account manager or advisor.
  • AACSB’s session focused on reporting for positive societal impact.  There was a lot of good advice here, but the key points noted were: i) ensure the vision for positive societal impact is identified clearly in the context of a School’s mission and values;  and ii) consider using ‘counter factuals’ to help conversation (e.g. “What would happen if we didn’t do xyz?”)

For advice and further details on any of the above, please contact the QED Accreditation Team at


AABS Deans’ & Directors’ Forum 2022

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AABS Deans’ & Directors’ Forum 2022


The AABS (Association of African Business Schools) forum for Deans & Directors was almost three days of learning, meeting people, amazing conversations and discovering.  While QED, specifically our Joanne, attended the conference as a speaker and below are the takeaways from the Forum:

1. Sometimes if you don’t disrupt, you may end up getting disrupted! 

In his keynote, Prof Fred Olayele (Carleton University, Canada) spoke to the need for those involved in business education to take a step back and really think about not just WHAT they do, but also HOW they do it.  A key challenge lies in policy innovation and the fact that forging a ‘more dynamic economy’ across Africa requires (in addition to research etc) more openness to experimentation, testing, piloting and prototyping – all with the focus of creating more innovative approaches to the policy development process.

Key Question: What can business schools (not just in Africa) do to ‘move the needle’ in terms of business sector innovation? 

2. Peter Diamandis’ 6D Framework 

Kevin Allen spoke around exponential organisations and the challenges therein. There was so much to digest, but it was good to be reminded of Peter Diamandis’ 6D framework to describe the basic roadmap of technical innovation.  The 6 Ds are: Digitize, Deceptive, Disruptive, Demonitize, Dematerialize, and Democratise. An explanation of each is available at

Key Question: Where does the use of technology within << Test Organisation >> sit on Diamandis’ 6D Framework and what else should/could your organisation (or department) be doing to move further along the technical innovation roadmap? 

3. Fast beats Slow 

What a privilege it was to listen to both Tim Mescon and Jon Foster-Pedley on the topic of Deanship.  Our take-away was watching how both these leaders shared an incredible richness of experience and wisdom with humility, lack of ego and generosity. There was much to choose from, but we think the focus on being clear on your purpose and really working to explicate the distinctiveness of your organisation were some of the key points. We were particularly struck by Tim’s reminder that “fast beats slow” – and the need to be agile and nimble (rather than large) so that the organisation can adapt to the changing context.  Whilst the challenge was posed to deans and directors, there is a sense that this guidance is valid for all of us in some way within our own individual roles.

Key Question: What small thing could you do within your role (whativer your organisation) to improve adaptability in a changing context? 

For advice and further details on any of the above, please contact the QED Accreditation Team at



Updates from EFMD Conference 2022

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Updates from EFMD Conference 2022

In June 2022, we attended EFMD’s Annual Conference in Prague.  The theme of the event was “What brought us here might not get us there” and it’s fair to say that the conference focused heavily on reminding us of the need to continually reflect and adapt in a constantly changing world.  We could have picked multiple points to share – but (as always) we’ve confined ourselves to just three broad areas:

Faculty Models – Connecting Research and Teaching
Patrick De Greve (Vlerick Business School) and Mark Smith (Stellenbosch Business School) presented an interesting session on employment models for faculty.  There was lots to ponder, but my key take aways were:

  • Strive to have ‘healthy’ faculty models that include aspects of each of research, teaching and service (in varying proportions, depending on misson, faculty interest etc).  Ensure there is a strong empathy and respect for each of the teaching and research activity.  One is not ‘superior’ to the other and one of the best ways to build this empathy and respect is to ensure that everyone participates in each activity to an appropriate extent.  (This may be challenging for schools that are developing very specific ‘research’ vs ‘teaching’ pathways).
  • Alternative faculty ’employment’ models are workable and can faciltate more flexible faculty management outside the school model – especially in the context of building industry links. Vlerick Business School’s ‘Partnership’ model uses an academic entrepreneurship framework to build a body of  ‘partner’ faculty with strong committment to the School, but who sit ‘outside’ of the School.
  • It is important to be able to say ‘goodbye’ to those faculty who don’t have a committment and ‘fit’ for the School’s strategy and vision.

Key Challenge: Do Business School faculty models fully serve their mission and strategic priorities?  If not, what type of model might work (do we need to think ‘outside of the box’)?  

The challenge of  internationalisation within constantly changing geopolitical climates was a key theme of a session by Caron Beaton-Wells (Melbourne Business School) and Delphine Manceau (NEOMA).  In addition to advice around developing range and depth of partnerships; and using digitalisation to complement internationalisation activity; my key take-aways were:

  • Geopolitical instability is likely to remain a  disrupter internationally (the only constancy is change itself!).  This reinforces the need to build more versatile and resiliant models of internationalisation – but always keeping students “at the heart” of communities.
  • Be smart and strategic when building international relationships.  One tip was to use the public development plans of countries to build relevant initiatives in preferred (geographic) regions.  There are often opportunities for collaboration across areas of mutual benefit.
  • If not already in place, adapt curricula to prepare students to be leaders in a world where geopolitical challenges are a constant.

Key Challenge:  How are Business Schools placed to manage and adapt to geopolitical instability – both in terms of a) internationalisation activity and b) preparing students for a world of geopolitical instability.  Remember, EFMD provides a potential model to examine and reflect on internationalisation across the entire school: See EQUIS Standards 2022 (especially pages 73-74) and Annex 10 of the EFMD Programme Accreditation Process Manual Annexes.

EFMD Updates
The EFMD team presented an update on each of the key accreditations.  Most of these are covered within the most recent QED summaries of updates to each of EQUIS and EFMD Accredited (Available on the QED website for download).   The following additional points are also relevant:

  • Face-to-face peer review visits are expected to be resumed in 2023 (both EQUIS and EFMD Programme Accreditation).
  • Within EQUIS, the guidance for ERS is sometimes ‘suggestive’ in tone (e.g. “A school x, y, z...”.  As Schools become more mature in the integration of ERS principles across all activities, it is anticipated that the guidance will become more ‘expectant’ (e.g. “A school should do x, y, z..“).  This is not unexpected, but continues to signal EFMD’s committment to supporting schools to develop quality ERS strategies and frameworks.
  • EFMD Accredited are about to launch three free webinars (open to all EFMD Accredited Schools).  Invites will be sent directly to the Schools and these will focus on each of internationalisation; Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs); and ERS.

For advice and further details on any of the above, please contact the QED Accreditation Team at