25 June 2004
ASTON BUSINESS SCHOOL (ABS) is putting its money where its reputation is by investing �22 million to massively increase the size and capacity of its operation. The huge extension, due for completion in December 2005, will enable the school meet future demand for its leading programmes.
The news will come as a further boost to the Eastside area of Birmingham, where a �6 billion regeneration project is already underway.
Currently ranked as one of UK's best business schools*, the new development brings Aston alongside Europe's finest schools for business education in the heart of Birmingham.
The extension, some five storeys high, enables the school to further develop its conferencing- and its academic facilities.
Corporate clients will see an additional 80 luxurious bedrooms, new restaurant and lounge-bar as well as a business support centre.
On the academic side, a new MBA1 area will include two additional lecture theatres with a total of 215 seats; an airy common room; syndicate- and flat floor teaching rooms; and 40 additional academic offices complete the space.
When finished the new building fulfils Sir Basil Spence's original plan to close the quad of the current L-shaped structure, so it will complete the architect's original intention. The new four-sided building, funded by a growth in income from additional programme provision, will be linked by an open courtyard with hard and soft landscaping.
The project is the cornerstone of ABS's strategic plan that states it will 'build facilities, faculty, resources, support teams and programmes that are among the best in Europe and are fitting for Britain's second city and one of the world's leading industrial, commercial and cultural centres.'
It is also consistent with ABS's established mission to develop as an agile, progressive and leading European business school, influencing policy and practice in organisations on a local, national and international level. The business school now plans to bring international business programmes to the city. New joint programmes for Birmingham will bring together people from Europe's other leading business schools. Munich, Lyon and Nice are key members of the network.
Professor John Saunders, head of ABS, said: 'we have partnerships with most of the region's significant businesses and as they prosper we need to provide first class facilities and programmes that befit their own aspirations. Standing still in a city like Birmingham which, as everybody knows is experiencing explosive regeneration, is simply not an option. We're growing alongside Birmingham and we're both doing great!'
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Notes for editors:
For further information see ABS's website: www.abs.aston.ac.uk/
1. Masters of Business Administration
* The MBA programme was ranked in the top 10 in Europe's and 26th in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit's Which MBA 2003 survey. See: www.eiu.com
The Times newspaper recently ranked ABS 3rd best business school in the UK and the top full range school. See: www.timesonline.co.uk/section/0,,6734,00.html
The Financial Times awarded ABS 100/100 for graduate employability
AACSB: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business: www.aacsb.edu/accreditation/
EQUIS: European Quality Improvement System
AMBA: Association of MBAs
QAA: Quality Assurance Agency scored ABS teaching a maximum 24/24
RAE: Research Assessment Exercise. ABS is ranked 5B with 5* as the best mark