8th October 2003
Non-traditional Aston welcomes higher ranking
A MIDLANDS BUSINESS SCHOOL is among the best in the world according to one of the most authoritative guides on the subject.
Aston Business School* (ABS) has shot up the world rankings from 45th place last year to 26th spot of the latest edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit's Which MBA?** which ranks schools' ability to deliver the most important elements (as identified by the students themselves) that students look for when choosing an MBA.
The news means that as well as being the Midlands' premier business school, ABS is Europe's ninth best provider of the masters of business administration (MBA) program, the cornerstone of business education. The fifteenth edition of Which MBA? places ABS above the likes of Imperial (37th), Manchester (41st) Warwick (50th) and Oxford (57th).
For a school that could at best be described as average less than a decade ago a rise of 19 places up a notoriously competitive table is an achievement in itself. It follows accreditations from EQUIS, AMBA and, most recently, ABS became only the 7th UK business school to receive international recognition from America's Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).***
Yet, unlike some of its counterparts, ABS remains accessible. It is a full range business school, (virtually unique among the UK's elite schools) teaching under- as well as postgraduates. ABS strives to offer people from non-traditional university backgrounds a chance to study among some of the best researchers in their fields. Aston University itself is an equal opportunities 'exemplar' according to the UK government's university funding council. The university has already reached the government's benchmark of taking in 12 per cent of undergraduates from low participation neighbourhoods; almost 40 per cent are from ethnic minority groups while 91 per cent of ABS's undergraduates come from state schools.
Professor John Saunders, head of ABS, was pleased though not totally surprised by the latest results: 'Our aim is to build like no other while retaining an open, equitable culture,' he said. 'You could say we're building a model that allows participation: we recognise that people working together produce far better results than the sum of individuals' autonomous efforts.
'At ABS, nobody stops anyone else doing things - there is positive encouragement all around the school. We recruit the right people in the first place then allow them to get on with what they're good at. ABS is excelling because of its people and, we're proud to say, that not all of those people are from privileged backgrounds.'
'At the moment we're probably the fastest growing business school in the UK,' he continued. 'The �� million we invested in our e-business facilities last year makes them the best of any business school in the UK. The �22 million being spent to expand our headquarters will give us facilities that are likely to further improve our position in future league tables.
'Surveys of this kind prove that we're not just getting bigger, we're also getting better. The Which MBA? results vindicate our approach to achieve excellence in all we do, building the best faculty and recruiting the best students,' he concluded.
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Notes for editors
* For further information see ABS's website: www.abs.aston.ac.uk
** The Economist Intelligence Unit is a specialist publisher serving companies establishing and managing operations across national borders. For over 50 years it has been a source of information on business developments, economic and political trends, government regulations and corporate practice worldwide. The firm is a member of The Economist Group. For further information see its website: www.eiu.com
Whitehead Mann was invited by the Economist Intelligence Unit to scrutinise the fairness of the MBA rankings process. The firm based its judgement on the choice and weighting of the criteria used to construct the rankings, as well as on the security of the data collection process and the safeguards in place to prevent or exclude a distorted response. Whitehead Mann found the methodology and processes to be satisfactory, and the results fair and representative.
*** The Quality Assurance Association scores ABS's teaching 24/24 while the Financial Times awarded it 100/100 for graduate employability.