But what does this title cover, who will decide on our eligibility, what should we do to maintain it, and what can we win if we manage to maintain it? We have collected the most important information.
What do you have to know about the EQUIS?
EQUIS, founded by the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) is one of the world’s best known international accreditation organisations. Following its foundation in 1997, it started by accrediting European universities only, but nowadays it is globally present on all continents. The list of schools accredited by them constantly expands; while in 2000 they listed only 21 schools in 5 countries, in 2018 there are already 174 institutions in 42 countries on their list. At the present time, 197 universities are the members of this tight circle, and more than half of them, 104 institutions, operate in Europe.
The prestige of the EQUIS is obvious: if we look at, for instance, the first 20 institutions in the 2019 European Business Schools List of the Financial Times, we can see that all of them have EQUIS accreditations. In addition, apart from the AACSB and the AMBA accreditations, the EQUIS is also required for the achievement of the so-called triple crown qualification, which is held only by top business schools in the world, presently by 100 institutions. In the optimistic scenario, Corvinus may acquire the third accreditation (AACSB) in 2022, and then it will be in the forefront of the world.
For the time being, the Corvinus University is the only EQUIS-accredited university in Hungary, and only five institutions can boast this title in Central Europe: the WU Vienna University of Economics and Business in Vienna; the School of Economics and Business, University of Ljubljana in Ljubljana; the University of Economics, Prague – Faculty of Business Administration in Prague, as well as two institutions in Warsaw, the Kozminski University and the Faculty of Management, University of Warsaw.
Why is the EQUIS accreditation useful for the university?
All over the world, at least 20 thousand economic science training programmes compete with each other to attract as many students as possible. From this enormous choice, it is not easy to stand out, but the acquisition of recognised accreditations may help. Accreditation actually means quality assurance to the outside world, from which the institution and the citizens of the university can all benefit.
The degrees acquired by students are more competitive internationally, too, as foreign companies feel more comfortable hiring people who graduated from a recognised institution. For the teachers and researchers, it is also advantageous to work for an EQUIS-accredited institution, as that offers an excellent basis for the development of their international scientific relations.
As to the institution itself, it is able to demonstrate that an examination by an independent quality assurance committee also confirmed is position among the best universities.
How does the process of accreditation take place?
The university has to compile a self-assessment report of 10 chapters and approx. 150 pages, in which, among other things, it declares its long-term objectives, strategy, the institutional identity, the composition of students and teachers, its financial standing and international relations. The Peer Review team of four members studies these materials and selects the date of assessment. For that, the university has to produce another voluminous documentation to certify that the statements made were correct.
The Peer Review team includes the rectors and deans of internationally recognised universities, who study the compiled materials and then ask questions and make interviews with the university’s leaders, teachers and researchers, former and present students and corporate partners.
At the end of the assessment, a detailed report is produced, which is forwarded to the management of the EFMD, and they will make the final decision about the accreditation. The university also receives this report, which contains recommendations, too, for the university, beside the decision.
What were the recommendations of the last Peer Review team, what did the university have to change?
In the course of the last accreditation in 2018, the team identified four recommendations:
The last assessment was before the change in the model, and the subject of the accreditation was the former Economic Science Faculty. Since then, the Corvinus has made significant progress in each area, as a new accreditation entity. This is emphasized and supported by facts in the presented self-assessment.
How do they ask for the opinion of the alumni community and the students?
The EQUIS finds it very important to consider external opinions about the institution during the accreditation, therefore the written material has to be accompanied by a so-called Students Report, which is compiled by the students, and the staff of the University may not modify it.
The team makes interviews with the 16 students, and meets several members of the alumni community. The staff of the University may not be present at these discussions.
If the Corvinus was successfully accredited in 2018, why does it have to go through the process again?
For two reasons. The first reason is that the EFMD gives accreditation for three or five years, and checks in every institution how they were able to develop and change compared to their previous status.
The second reason is the renewal process of he Corvinus. In 2018, the Economic Science Faculty got the accreditation, but during the change in the model, an agile matrix organisation replaced the earlier faculty structure, and this was communicated by the University to the EFMD, too. Following the EFMD reply to this, the Corvinus was allowed to remain an EQUIS accredited institution. During the present audit, special attention will be paid to the issue whether the whole organisation of the University meets all the quality considerations.
In what areas would the successful accreditation be of help to the Corvinus?
In addition to the already mentioned quality development, the EQUIS accreditation means that the university belongs to an international elite club, and remains the member of a professional community to which it wishes to belong according to its present structure. This also means that the Corvinus is part of a continuous exchange of professional experiences.
The universities of the network establish international partner relations more easily, so the established institutional links result in student and teacher mobility, joint research activities and other long-term cooperation.
When is it decided whether the Corvinus gets the accreditation?
The visit will take place between 5 and 8 October, 2021, in online form, because of the coronavirus epidemic. On the fourth day, the team will communicate its opinion verbally to the leaders of the university, but the final re-accreditation decision will be made in December, at the management meeting.