The Triple Crown Business Schools In The United Kingdom

UK business schools

Just about everyone interested in a business degree consults one of the many rankings out there that purport to measure the quality and reputation of a given business school’s programs.

But far fewer would-be students know about the so-called Triple Crown schools, many of which remained unranked by the Financial Times, Poets&Quants, or the other ranking lists. Yet, the Triple Crown—meaning a school is accredited by the three most important accreditation agencies in business education: The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Association of MBAs (AMBA), and EFMD Quality Improvement System (EQUIS). 

While less important to applicants and employers than a global ranking, accreditation assures students that a business school adheres to high-quality standards across its curricula, programs, and faculty. That’s especially important when a school doesn’t make a major ranking because many of the most highly ranked schools, including Stanford, Harvard, and Wharton, have not pursued triple accreditation.

‘IF YOU DON’T HAVE TRIPLE ACCREDITATION, YOUR SCHOOL IS PUT INTO A DIFFERENT CATEGORY’

best business schools in the UK“Students pay attention to it,” believes John Colley, associate dean of post-experience masters programs at Warwick Business School. “If you haven’t got it, you are put into a different category. If you want to compete in the upper echelon of business education, you have to have it now. Once you have it, it’s not such a big deal to get it renewed. You have the quality standards, processes, and procedures already in place. When you try to get accredited in the first place, the accrediting bodies do make you jump through a lot of hoops.”

Schools that have obtained the Triple Crown use it as a marketing tool. The University of Liverpool’s Management School notes that it is “amongst an elite group of business schools to hold the gold standard triple accreditation.”

The designation also has an upside for faculty and school officials. “There is a benefit in being part of those international networks and being at the table with other prestigious business schools, learning from them and engaging with them,” explains Sally Everett, vice dean for education  at King’s Business School at King’s College London. “They are very useful quality assurance mechanisms that hold us to account, whether it be an assurance of learning or how sustainability is embedded throughout our programs. A number of universities would say it’s important for recruitment. Students identify that these are schools of quality because they have this accreditation.”

Only an elite group of schools can boast triple accreditation, a mere 1% of the world’s business schools. To get the Triple Crown requires a school to meet or exceed a host of guidelines that essentially assure students that a business school meets and maintains high-quality standards across its curricula and faculty. Simply getting AACSB accreditation can take between three to five years and includes in-depth self-evaluations and reviews by peers and committees.

Warwick Business School was the first to win the Triple Crown in  2001 and since then many other schools have sought and won the designation. “When we first got triple-accredited,” says Colley, “not so many schools had it. So it was a big deal. You had effectively reached high standards on a global basis. A lot more schools have it now so it has become you have to have it anyway. The markets and competitors we compete against all have it. So it has become almost a baseline to compete in that sphere. At one time, it was a differentiator.”

SOME 125 BUSINESS SCHOOLS IN THE WORLD HAVE GAINED TRIPLE ACCREDITATION

Little more than 125 business schools in the world are triple-accredited, with 27 of them in the United Kingdom, more than any other country. That’s a remarkably high percentage of the more than 100 business schools in Great Britain. France now claims 20 Triple Crown winners, while mainland China boasts 15. While London Business School is triple accredited, Oxford University’s Said Business School is accredited by AACSB and EQUIS, while  the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School has just one accreditation from EQUIS.

Most of these schools have expansive portfolios of programs, from undergraduate business degrees to master’s programs in specific fields beyond the MBA. At the triple-accredited Adam Smith Business School at the University of Glasgow, for example, there are 30 post-graduate master’s programs that range from an MSc in behavioral science to an MSc in quantitative finance. Adam Smith also has undergraduate degrees in five fields, including accountancy and finance and business and management.

Like most of the Triple Crown schools, Adam Smith boasts a small MBA program with a full-time enrollment of just 50 students, with 86% from outside the United Kingdom. That is true at many of these schools. At Cranfield School of Management, the typical full-time MBA cohort numbers about 41 students.

What’s more, the tuition rates for these full-time MBA programs is highly reasonable. At Kent Business School, the full tuition fee is just $31,104, while at Lancaster University Management School it’s $40,652 for U.K. residents and $49,546 for international students.

School Undergraduate MBA Master’s Programs
Adam Smith Business School (University of Glasgow) Yes Yes 29
Alliance Manchester Business School (University of Manchester) Yes Yes 17
Aston Business School (Aston University) Yes Yes 28
Bayes Business School (City, University of London) Yes Yes 33
Birmingham Business School (University of Birmingham ) Yes Yes 29
Bradford University School of Management (University of Bradford) Yes Yes 12
Cranfield School of Management (Cranfield University) No Yes 11
Durham University Business School (Durham University) Yes Yes 19
Henley Business School (University of Reading) Yes Yes 24
Hult International Business School Yes Yes 6
Imperial College Business School Yes Yes 15
Kent Business School (University of Kent) Yes Yes 16
King’s Business School (King’s College London) Yes Yes 20
Lancaster University Management School (Lancaster University) Yes Yes 22
Leeds University Business School (Leeds University) Yes Yes 24
London Business School No Yes 5
Loughborough University School of Business & Economics Yes Yes 14
Manchester Metropolitan University Business School Yes Yes 24
Newcastle University Business School Yes Yes 18
University of Nottingham Business School Yes Yes 18
Open University Business School Yes Yes 4
University of Sheffield Management School Yes Yes 15
Strathclyde Business School (University of Strathclyde) Yes Yes 30+
Edinburgh Business School (University of Edinburgh) Yes Yes 14
University of Exeter Business School Yes Yes 8
University of Liverpool Management School Yes Yes 22
Warwick Business School (University of Warwick) Yes Yes 12

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