Triple Crown accreditors
The Association of MBAs (United Kingdom)
The EFMD Quality Improvement System (European Union)

Triple accreditation, also known as Triple Crown accreditation, is the combination of accreditations held by less than 1% of business schools in the world, granted by the three largest and most influential business school accreditation organizations:[1]

Triple accreditation has been awarded to only 90 business schools globally, out of more than 13,670 schools offering business degree programs worldwide (as of March 2019).[2][3]


Accreditation comparisonEdit

Each of the three institutions assesses a business school according to different criteria and scope:[4][5][6]

Scope of business school accreditation for AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA
  • Scope of accreditation
AACSB has the broadest scope, as it accredits management and accounting programs at the entire university (e.g. management programs at the business school and the school of engineering) and grants university-wide accreditation.
AMBA has the most focused scope as it accredits only the business school's portfolios of MBA programs (full-time, part-time, executive, distance-learning), MBM programs (including MSc International Management) and DBA (also known as DMgt in China).
EQUIS's scope ranks in the middle, as it accredits the business school but not the university and not specific portfolios of programs.
  • Duration of the accreditation process
AACSB: 2–7 years
AMBA: 9–18 months
EQUIS: 2–3 years
  • Reaccreditation
AACSB: full re-accreditation every 5 or 10 years (the 10-year accreditation is being phased out)
AMBA: full re-accreditation every 3 or 5 years (1-year accreditation is a possible outcome of reaccreditation in exceptional circumstances)
EQUIS: full re-accreditation every 3 or 5 years
  • School audit team
AACSB's peer review team includes deans and business school administrators.
AMBA's assessment team includes deans, associate deans, program directors and one AMBA representative.
EQUIS's team includes three deans and one corporate representative.
  • Evaluation report content
AACSB's report reflects compliance with the AACSB standards
AMBA's report includes compliance with criteria, conditions and recommendations
EQUIS's report reflects compliance with the EQUIS standards
  • Criteria/Standards size
AACSB: 77 pages for Business Accreditation; 36 pages for Accounting Accreditation
AMBA: 24 pages (9 pages for MBA; 9 pages for MBM; 6 pages for DBA)
EQUIS: 71 pages
  • Quantitative vs Qualitative
AACSB has more quantitative criteria (checklists)
AMBA has more qualitative criteria
EQUIS is in the middle (between AACSB and AMBA)
  • Internationalization
AACSB conducts the evaluation against the school's own mission, so AACSB has no internationalization requirement unless internationalization is part of the school's mission.
AMBA has internationalization criteria for research, curriculum and student enrolment. However, these are reviewed in a regional context for less internationalized regions (e.g. Latin America and Russia).
EQUIS has strict requirements on internationalization.
  • Faculty numbers
AACSB: prescribed faculty ratios (AQ/PQ ratio)
AMBA: no prescribed faculty-to-students ratio
EQUIS: prescribed minimum numbers of faculty

Feb 2014 Survey Results among MBA applicants, in response to the question: "Which of the following accreditations is/was most important to you when choosing a business school?" [7]

  AMBA (45.81%)
  AACSB (18.23%)
  ACBSP (7.88%)
  EQUIS (12.32%)
  EPAS (4.43%)
  Other (11.33%)
  • Visiting faculty
AACSB disapproves of heavy use of visiting faculty.
AMBA allows the visiting faculty model, as long as the visiting faculty are managed by the core faculty (and as long as the quality and course content is monitored).
EQUIS disapproves of heavy use of visiting faculty.
  • Research
AACSB requires research in line with the mission of the school.
AMBA requires research and publications in international refereed journals or proof of impactful research at national level.
EQUIS requires research with an international dimension.
  • Program-specific criteria
    AACSB has no program-specific standards since it evaluates the entire university.
    AMBA has program-specific criteria such as:
      • at least 3 years of full-time work experience for all admitted MBA students;
      • at least 500 contact hours (scheduled class hours) for a full-time MBA curriculum and a minimum of 120 contact hours for a distance-learning MBA;
      • at least 20 students enrolled in an MBA program;
    EQUIS has some program-specific standards in the context of the evaluation of the entire business school.
  • Accreditation fees
AACSB: 47,000 USD for initial business accreditation (or 63,500 USD for both business and accounting accreditation). In addition, an annual business accreditation fee is charged: 4,500 USD annually for a 5-year accreditation cycle or 2,500 USD annually for a 10-year accreditation cycle.[8]
AMBA: 22,000 GBP for initial accreditation or 15,000 GBP for re-accreditation.
EQUIS: 52,800 EUR for a 5-year initial accreditation or re-accreditation and 46,200 EUR for a 3-year initial accreditation or re-accreditation.[9]


There are 87 triple-accredited schools based in 33 countries and territories as of March 2018:[10][11][12]

















Costa RicaEdit

  Costa Rica













Hong KongEdit









The NetherlandsEdit


New ZealandEdit

  New Zealand















South AfricaEdit

  South Africa












  United States


  United Kingdom



Top schools without triple accreditationEdit

A major reason for the small number of triple-accredited institutions in the world is the requirement of the Association of MBAs that AMBA-accredited business schools should only admit MBA applicants with at least three years of full-time post-graduation work experience.[17] Some analysts[who?] claim that most top US business schools cannot meet this criterion as they sometimes (though rarely) admit applicants with only a bachelor's degree and little or no work experience. They claim that it is why triple-crown accreditation is pursued primarily by European institutions.[18] However, it is not the case when some (former) triple accredited institutes, City University of Hong Kong for example, only require applicants having "relevant work experience is desirable (though not specifically required)".[19]

Another reason for this is that a (small) number of top business schools choose not to allocated the work resource and incur the financial cost required for international accreditation and rely only on accreditation by their national accrediting body (usually the country's education ministry).

Another reason is that the top schools in some regions do not meet one or more of the detailed criteria of the accrediting institutions and choose not to amend their policy. Notable examples are some top US business schools: Harvard Business School, Wharton, Stanford GSB, Columbia Business School, Chicago Booth, Tuck School of Business, etc., which do not meet AMBA's mandatory three-year student-work-experience requirement for all MBA students.

A third reason is that most of the schools that have obtained AACSB accreditation in the US and Canada (either via the standard accreditation process or via the granting of accreditation based on their reputation as top schools) do not look outside of North America for further validation, such as through European or British accreditation.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Triple accredited business schools (AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS)". MBA Today.
  2. ^ MBA Today - Triple Accreditation Business Schools
  3. ^ The Economist. Oct 15th 2011. "Is time running out for business schools that aren’t quite elite?"
  4. ^ AACSB Standards
  5. ^ AMBA Criteria
  6. ^ EQUIS Standards and Criteria
  7. ^ CarringtonCrisp report titled "Tomorrow's MBA", February 2014
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ AMBA-accredited schools:
  11. ^ AACSB-accredited schools: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-09-03. Retrieved 2011-11-09.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ EQUIS-accredited schools:
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-08-03. Retrieved 2015-07-22.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ . Frankfurt School of Finance and Management Retrieved 5 September 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ AMBA. "MBA Accreditation Criteria 2016". p. 3.
  18. ^ "Andreas Kaplan: European Management and European Business Schools: Insights from the History of Business Schools". European Management Journal. 32: 529–534. doi:10.1016/j.emj.2014.03.006.
  19. ^ "MBA Admissions Requirements, City University of Hong Kong".