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New article – Managing MBA Degree Offers as a Portfolio

By | Resource

Image for article on MBA degreesRead a recent article that calls for greater focus on degree connectivity when managing MBA offerings. The article has been co-authored by Ulrich Hommel (Xolas), Joanne Powell (QED) and Sarah Hardcastle (Hardcastle and Associates); and published in MBA International Review, Nr. 82, pp. 14-16.   A copy of the article is also available here.

This article focuses on the advantages of managing a portfolio of MBA degrees as a portfolio. Whilst this might sound tautological, it reflects our experience that many business schools continue to run MBA programs on a relatively stand-alone basis, which can be explained by path dependency or internal governance arrangements. More typical is what we term the traditional portfolio approach, a focus on increasing gross revenue returns via market segmentation and realizing cost economies by pooling activities across programs.

We suggest a complementary and generally overlooked viewpoint that offering MBA programs with within portfolio connectivity in mind can help to realize revenue (and additional cost) synergies that increase gross returns in the aggregate. They will “carry the day” if outweighing the opportunity cost of de-segmentation of the overall offer.

Email QED to learn more

AACSB EMEA – Conference Takeaways

By | Conference Update, Resource

AACSB EMEA – Conference Takeaways 2022


November and December are particularly busy this year – with three conference/meeting events, in addition to the usual ‘end-of-year’ deadlines.  Event #2 was AACSB’s Annual EMEA Conference in Amsterdam.

Our key take-aways from Amsterdam were as follows:

  1. The question of purpose is still significant for many schools. The first key note session focused on the social entrepreneur mindset – and linked to the challenge of educating for business where individuals are committed to pursuing societal goals whilst still making a profit.  Several challenges were discussed but the one that stood out to us was linked to Milton Friedman.  Whilst there’s been an ongoing call for business and policy to move on from the share-holder centric theories of Milton Friedman, more attention needs to be given to really answering the question “What’s the alternative (to Milton Friedman)?”
  2. Assurance of Learning (AoL) continues to be a key pitfall for accreditation.  AoL is a concern that we regularly observe within our client community. Hearing (formally) that lack of a systematic and routine process (with clearly identified competency goals for every degree programme) is a barrier to accreditation was confirmation that this is an ongoing area of challenge– particularly for those schools working towards initial accreditation. QED will prepare some AoL advisory posts over the next few months – to summarise some of the key insights, plus advice from our experiences with Schools.  If there’s anything in particular you’d like us to address as part of this, please email your suggestions.
  3. Research Impact was the topic for an excellent and well-balanced session from Prof Barry O’Mahony (Abu Dhabi University) and Adam Thomas (University of St Gallen).  There was lots to choose from here, but a key takeaway was the reminder that schools can leverage online repositories such as Google Scholar to help build the impact narrative.  This is not primarily about the numbers (which give very limited information) but the ‘story’ behind the numbers.  For example, are researchers or articles from the school listed as primary sources for key topics (thought leadership impact) or as a primary resource for a degree programme (teaching and learning impact).

For advice and further details on any of the above, please contact the QED Accreditation Team at info@QEDaccreditation.com.


QED Advisor nominated for LIFT Award

By | News, Resource

QED advisor,  Joanne Powell, has been nominated for a LIFT (https://liftireland.ie/) award in the leadership category of Competence. Her nomination included reference to her “love for learning and self improvement and implementing change for the betterment of the organisation” and also noted that she “is highly respected and hugely trusted because of her competency.

LIFT Ireland is a social enterprise aimed at increasing the level of positive leadership in Ireland.  All nominations are being reviewed in the coming weeks, with the shortlist being announced in early January, before the live awards ceremony (date tbc).  To learn more about the LIFT values and LIFT process, visit https://liftireland.ie/about/

Email QED to learn more

Accreditation Fees & Costs – Nov 2022

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Accreditation Costs

There are several facets to the costs of accreditation:
  1. Payments made to the relevant accreditation bodies and comprise a mix of membership fees, accreditation fees and other expenses etc.  These are relatively fixed and easy to estimate (see link below).
  2. Staffing and advisory costs to support accreditation.  These are harder to estimate, and depend on several factors. For example:
    • Will there be an accreditation team with sufficient time and experience to manage the full accreditation process?
    • Are there additional faculty allowances given to accreditation?
    • Will the School require some external input, to support the internal resources?
  3. Investment Costs:  These vary hugely from school to school and naturally depend on each School’s strategic priorities.  Of course, strategic investment costs are not always linked to accreditation: Some strategic decisions will be made regardless of accreditation plans.  Others may only be made as a consequence of accreditation.

QED has listed the costs and fees associated with each of the accreditation bodies (#1 above), valid as of 11 November 2022.  These can be viewed here.

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AACSB Business Accreditation Standards: Updates 2022

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AACSB Business Accreditation Standards: Updates 2022

AACSB significantly updated its Business Accreditation Standards in 2020.  Since then it issues annual amendments and updates – usually on 1 July.

QED’s overview of the updates made as part of the 2022 publication, together with an assessment of the significance of the change can be found in this downloadable PDF file.

Many of the updates reflect clarification and additional explanation. However, there are a small number of changes which could potentially impact schools (particularly those schools that are pre-eligibility). As always, QED recommends that all schools within an AACSB accreditation process (whether initial or renewal) should review and ensure they have understood the changes and clarifications.

NB: QED’s material represents QED’s interpretation of the AACSB Updates.  We always recommend that you view the updated standards directly – which are available from AACSB’s website in the following formats: 

As above, QED’s summary of the updates across the key documents is available in this downloadable PDF file.

For advice and further details on any of the above, please contact the QED Accreditation Team at info@QEDaccreditation.com.