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As part of one of the UK’s top research universities, and located in the UK’s second financial centre, the University of Edinburgh Business School ticks many of the right boxes for a top-notch institution. But although Edinburgh is one of the UK’s most ancient universities, its business school is still a real novice.
The current school was established just a decade ago and moved into its refurbished listed building in 2010. The past few years have seen a rapid growth in both programmes and faculty. Indeed, 60 per cent of the 90 faculty have joined the business school in the past five years.
Outgoing head Nick Oliver admits this creates its own problems. But he believes the status of the university will help secure the future of the fledgling school. “The cachet of the university is hugely helpful to us,” he says.
This has been particularly true at undergraduate level, with 17 applicants for each of 210 places each year on the four-year degree. The MBA is proving particularly popular in the US – 20 per cent of students are from North America. The school will launch an executive MBA for working managers in 2013.
The biggest growth in new programmes has been in masters degrees. As well as its masters in management programme, Edinburgh has 10 specialised masters, with an emphasis on banking and finance and environmental programmes. Indeed, as well as its established MSc in Carbon Management, run jointly with the school of geosciences, Edinburgh professes to be the first school in the world to run an MSc in carbon finance, which investigates the financial and business opportunities that derive from climate change policy.
According to Prof Oliver, “carbon is the strongest differentiator” between Edinburgh and other UK schools.
The topic should help secure Edinburgh’s role in the global business community. Francisco Ascui, director of the MSc in Carbon Finance, says there is huge demand from Chinese leaders and universities for this kind of management and financing.
For Ian Clarke, newly appointed dean of the school and former director of Newcastle University Business School, the school has huge potential. “The building blocks are in place to move forward. At the front of my mind is how we raise our game. We need to plough surpluses into bringing in people. We need to get to 100 faculty. We need genuine all-rounders, fantastic teachers and great researchers,” he says. Joint programmes and improved career services will all be part of the package.
The business school will also be building on the heritage of the city. The Edinburgh arts festival is right outside the front door and this year, for the first time, the institution ran a summer school for those in the arts and arts management.