Bert de Reyck, director of the UCL School of Management: "We’re going for triple accreditation."
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University College London, one of the UK’s elite universities, has launched a School of Management on its Bloomsbury campus, just a stone’s throw away from both London Business School and LSE, the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The director of the school is Bert de Reyck, who was headhunted from LBS seven years ago to set up a management department at UCL. The decision to launch a fully-fledged school of management “has always been the plan,” he says.

The announcement follows a successful submission to the UK government’s Research Excellence Framework in 2014, in which 70 per cent of UCL’s academics were judged to have conducted research that classified as either 3* or 4*, the two top grades.

The launch of the school is part of a growing ecosystem of business teaching in London. In 2014, both Lancaster and Warwick Business School announced they would teach in London — Warwick’s London campus is in the Shard, the capital’s tallest building.

Meanwhile, two of the most highly rated London schools, London Business School and Cass, had already announced expansion plans in the city. London Business School has begun the multimillion pound refurbishment of Old Marylebone Town Hall as a teaching facility, which will increase its teaching space by 70 per cent. Cass has also opened additional teaching facilities in the City for executive short courses.

Prof de Reyck says that when the UCL School of Management was conceived seven years ago, the decision was taken to make it a different sort of business school. “We focused on technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.” Nonetheless, the school will emphasise its central London location and the reputation of its parent university.

Prof de Reyck point out there is still a way to go in building the school, which has a core research faculty of only 25. Nonetheless this figure is growing be around 10 researchers a year, and he says the school is attracting scholars from some of the top universities in the US as well as Europe. One of the conditions on which he insisted when he joined UCL, he explains, was that the university would be prepared to pay globally-competitive salaries.

The school’s most popular programme to date has been the one-year Masters in Management degree, set up five years ago. It now enrols 150 students a year — in 2014 there were 3,000 applicants. The school runs a second masters degree in technology and enterprise, as well as two bachelor degrees, in IT and management and management science.

All its degrees are now taught on UCL’s campus in Bloomsbury, but from May 2016, all postgraduate degrees will have a new home in Canary Wharf, as part of the UCL plan to extend its footprint to the east. “We want to be right in the business centre,” adds Prof de Reyck.

The move will also enable the school to launch additional programmes, notably a Masters in Finance degree in 2017 and an MBA in 2018. Initially, the MBA will be a two-year executive programme, drawing on the financial and business community in Canary Wharf for its participants, but that will be followed by a one-year full-time degree.

In 2016, the school of management will also launch a joint masters degree with the computer science department in business analytics and an executive masters in healthcare with the medical school.

The school is also applying to the international accreditation bodies for their official stamp of quality. First on the wish list will be accreditation from the AACSB, but there are no plans to stop there. “We’re going for triple accreditation,” confirms Prof de Reyck.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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