Hult International Business School and Ashridge Complete Merger

Hult and Ashridge merger completed

The US-based Hult International Business School and the UK’s Ashridge Business School have completed their merger more than a year on from signaling their intentions to do so. 

In practice, the two business schools will operate as one, and under the moniker of Hult International Business School. The remit of Ashridge, whose research expertise was a key attraction to Hult, will lie mainly in the realms of executive education and, according to a report in the Financial Times, the school’s own MBA and EMBA degrees will effectively close to make way for those already on offer from Hult.    

Ashridge to expand executive education offerings overseas

Dwindling finances, brought on by a lack of uptake for its executive education offerings in the wake of the Great Recession, is said to have lain behind Ashridge’s search for a strategic partner. Although this was denied by the school itself, Ashridge is now in a position to take its research expertise and executive education teaching onto a global stage by utilizing Hult International Business School’s campus locations in the US, UAE and China.

From Hult’s point of view, meanwhile, acquiring greater academic credibility had been a concern, the school’s president Stephen Hodges told the FT, while maintaining a focus on management practice. The merger should also help in Hult’s search to acquire the EQUIS and AACSB accreditations already held by Ashridge.

Indeed, one of the reasons the merger’s completion has been so lengthy was the need to amalgamate the two institutions’ differing accreditation processes. Having received approval from both the accreditor and regulatory bodies in May, this process is now complete and has drawn praise for the lack of consternation over job losses on display – something that often accompanies such mergers.  

To all intents and purposes, the two schools will operate as one but, because their nonprofit status prevents them from being legally merged, Hult and Ashridge will remain separate degree-awarding bodies. As such, students graduating next year will leave with two certificates. The newly launched Hult and Ashridge executive education websites confirm that the two institutions remain separate legal entities that are operationally merged under the common brand, ‘Hult International Business School’.

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Written by Tim Dhoul

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).

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