UCL School of Management Launched with Aim of Joining UK Elite

UCL School of Management to offer classes from Canary Wharf

University College London (UCL) is launching its own business school in a bid to expand on its existing program offerings in management and rival the UK’s leading business education providers.

The existing UCL management science and innovation department, housed within its engineering school, will go it alone as the UCL School of Management, as of tomorrow August 1 2015.

The stated vision for a university that placed fifth in the QS World University Rankings® 2014/15 is to gain a reputation in business education to match those of the likes of Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial and London Business School. The department’s - and now school’s - focus on innovation, analytics and entrepreneurship is what is intended to set them apart.

 “We aim to create a top school committed to the delivery of world-leading research, economic and societal impact and robustly academic business training,” said the former UCL management department head, and now director of the new School of Management, Bert de Reyck in a press release.

UCL School of Management to set up shop in Canary Wharf 

UCLWith this in mind, the UCL School of Management is taking its research and postgraduate teaching to Canary Wharf and the 38th floor of the iconic 50-floor building known as One Canada Square, which was also the UK’s tallest building for 20 years until Renzo Piano’s Shard came along.

Teaching at Canary Wharf will start next fall, September 2016, but it’ll be a further two years before prospective students can sample a UCL MBA. A two-year executive MBA is scheduled for 2018 with a full-time one-year program to follow thereafter, according to the Financial Times. Indeed, now that it forms its own entity, the UCL School of Management has started the process of chasing accreditation, with AACSB the first target on the planned pathway to a coveted ‘triple-accreditation’ status.

Many of the first postgraduate UCL management students seen wandering amid Canary Wharf’s working population of roughly 100,000 will therefore be those enrolled in its one-year master’s in management program, launched five years ago. It is said to have attracted 3,000 applicants for an intake of around 150 in 2014 – at 5%, that’s a highly selective acceptance rate in itself.

Although undergraduate programs will continue to be offered from UCL’s main campus in Bloomsbury, the university is seeking a greater association with the worlds of business and finance in its move to the east, as the Canary Wharf Group’s chairman and CEO, Sir George Iacobescu identified:

“The agreement between Canary Wharf Group and UCL will enable the brightest postgraduates to benefit from proximity to world-class financial and professional services institutions.”

Dean of UCL’s engineering school, Anthony Finkelstein, agreed that the new space would offer a “fertile environment for sharing knowledge and implementing new ideas,” adding that some specific benefits would be “access to firms, internships and the opportunity to develop personal relationships with globally important companies in the heart of corporate London.”

UCL management students look set to forge links to Level39 startup space

In meeting a further aim – the desire to center its reputation on innovation and entrepreneurship strength, the UCL School of Management is particularly looking forward to taking up residence beneath the technology accelerator space known as Level39. Since its launch in 2013, Level39 has now spread across two further floors at One Canada Square to become the largest startup space dedicated to FinTech in Europe - and one that has formed an inspirational model for a similar hub in Sydney. Among Level39’s current members is a quantitative finance think tank that takes its name from the first natural philosopher, Thales of Miletus, and a gamified social media platform, Maadly. Having already worked together as part of a series of financial industry debates put together by a UCL student society (UCL FINDS), further collaboration between the school and Level39 is strongly mooted.

In building on its chosen specialties, the school can already offer a master’s program in technology and enterprise and will launch a master’s program in business analytics (to be run jointly with the university’s computer science department) at the start of the UCL management school’s occupancy at Canary Wharf in 2016.   

The space on One Canada Square’s 38th floor, which has been vacant since October 2014, will allow for two lecture theaters, a large seminar room, 10 meeting rooms as well as office and desk space for administrative staff, faculty and research students. The move is far from being UCL’s solitary venture in search of pastures new – UCL East, a new campus on the site of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – the principal location of the London 2012 Summer Olympics - is expected to open in 2018.

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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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