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UK: Assoc. of Business Schools has global agenda

A year after appointing a new CEO, the Association of Business Schools (ABS) organised a compelling conference this week, attended by Universities Minister, David Willetts, that sought to enable its members to understand global opportunities presented and to forge relationships with international counterparts.

(L) Conference chair John O'Leary, Warwick Business School Dean Mark Taylor, University and Science MP David Willetts, ABS CEO Paul Marshall, Chief Executive at Ashridge Kai Peters

ABS represents a sector in which one in four students are international

Given ABS represents a sector in which one in four students are international, it also used its conference to unveil  “Business Schools Seizing the Future” , a booklet which brings together participants’ comments on globalisation, regulation and challenges to UK business schools. The policy booklet was developed following a series of roundtable debates among business school deans and sector stakeholders.

“Business and management by its very nature is global,” said Victoria Robinson, director of communications at ABS. “Before we represented just UK business schools and we still do, but there’s a bigger world out there and we need to reflect that.”

“The more globally representative we are the more beneficial it is for our members”

For the first time in its 20-year existence, ABS opened the conference and its membership to the wider HE community, corporate stake holders and international counterpart associations. So far, reciprocal members include the Association of Asia Pacific Business Schools, the Canadian Federation of Business School Deans and the Australian Business Deans Council.

“We’re looking to go out and have two way dialogue in a real meaningful way. Now is a great time for us because we’re in a position to work with the policy networks to really influence at a high level,” said Robinson. “The more globally representative we are the more beneficial it is for our members.”

Initiatives to incite change in order to compete in the global HE sector topped the agenda at the convention. Seminars discussed how to find a balance between teaching and research, combine business entrepreneurialism with STEM innovation in multidisciplinary projects and engage more with the corporate sector.

The Business School Advisory Board network will bridge the gap between business and business schools

Chairperson, Angus Laing, also announced the launch of the Business School Advisory Board network which ABS hopes will bridge the gap between business and business schools.

Universities and Science minister Willetts attended the conference and endorsed ABS’s efforts to change. “British business schools attract people from all over the world because they are among the best in the world. But they operate in a very competitive environment and must constantly improve to remain ahead of the pack,” he said.

“I welcome the work the ABS is doing – under its new leadership – to protect, improve and reinvigorate the sector.”

Find more information about ABS members here.

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