Monday, June 23, 2014 at 1am

Ashridge Business School in Strategic Partnership Talks: MBA News

Ashridge Business School in Strategic Partnership Talks: MBA News main image

Ashridge Business School is looking to form a strategic partnership that can guarantee its “continuing independence” according to the UK institution’s chief executive, Kai Peters.

Peters, however, denied that financial trouble lay behind the decision to seek a strategic partnership. He also said that the school’s charity status meant that a takeover would be impossible.

It was Ashridge Business School’s accounts for the year ending 2012, submitted to the UK’s Charity Commission last summer, which posited the idea of economic difficulties. The school made a loss of £1.5 million (c. US$2.5 million), drawing attention to the fact an estimated £2.3 million (c. US$4 million) was spent on preserving the Hertfordshire estate which Ashridge Business School calls home – something it is obliged to do because Ashridge house, an important example of Gothic Revival architecture, enjoys protected status in the UK.

Ashridge Business School says that it expects soon-to-be-released figures for the year ending 2013 to prove that the 2012’s loss was an exception, citing an uptake in interest for its executive education offerings since that time. Instead, it sees the talks – with unconfirmed parties – as offering the chance to source new opportunities, having already set up a deal with education publishing firm, Pearson, to start offering undergraduate degrees.

Thunderbird reportedly reconsidering ASU link-up

Meanwhile, the saga concerning Thunderbird School of Global Management’s own attempts to form a strategic partnership with Arizona State University (ASU) rumbles on.

Having had an agreement with Laureate Education rejected by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) in March, there are reports that talks have now resurfaced between Thunderbird and ASU.

Before a link with Laureate Education was seemingly tied up, ASU was said to have been in and out of talks about a strategic partnership with Thunderbird for several years – with the two sides never able to reach a consensus over financial terms.

Whereas Ashridge Business School denies that financial uncertainty has spurred them into action, Thunderbird’s economic woes are well-documented. Indeed, the school’s president promised that swift action would be taken in the wake of the Laureate Education deal’s demise in a bid to “remove ambiguity for prospective students and to retain high-quality faculty and staff,” which appears to be happening with ASU.

Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).