Higher educational institutions have recognized TQM as a powerful tool for improving management effectiveness in evolving new educational environments. This paper aims to identify the critical success factors during the process of applying for the Taiwan National Quality Award (TNQA) from the perspectives of top management. We use the case study research strategy to provide multiple sources of evidence from a single university. Data for this study were collected from internal documents, the university's website, TNQA audit reports, and semi-structured interviews. Several examples of quality activities on how to improve performance are presented. The research also profiles numerous insights and feedback from the top managers in drafting various quality management strategies for the purpose of better competitiveness. Six core factors corresponding with Kanji's Business Excellence Model are identified. Leadership is the most critical driver among all factors. The pragmatic realities of that experience, the lessons learned, and improvements made toward institutional excellence. Findings may serve as useful examples for other institutions interested in making similar improvements or applying for a similar quality award.