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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.

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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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Updates from EFMD Conference 2022

By | Conference Update, Resource

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 normal.business 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 could.do 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 info@QEDaccreditation.com.





EFMD Programme Accreditation: Updates 2022

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EFMD Programme Accreditation: Updates 2022

EFMD revises the documentation supporting EFMD Programme Accreditation periodically and updates are usually provided in the first third of each calendar year.  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.

The 2022 updates are notable as they mark an extensive review, designed to provide “easier orientation” for viewers, as well as reflecting relevant developments and trends.  These trends are summarised within this document.

Overall, QED’s view is that the revised documents do not carry significant changes from an accreditation viewpoint.  They are easier to follow and reference, plus the increased emphasis perceived in previous updates is continued here – with specific identification of two key areas (digitalisation and research) as areas of focus. These two ‘areas of focus’ are in addition to the normal transversal themes of Internationalisation, ERS and Connections with Practice.

It should be noted that the updates and developments include several changes to the format and content of the EFMD Programme Accreditation Datasheet.

NB: This document represents QED’s interpretation of the EFMD Accredited Updates.  We recommend that you view the updated documents directly – which are available from EFMD’s website

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.