Brunel Business School continues to celebrate its success of winning the Business School of the Year 2013 at the Times Higher Education awards, by looking back at key achievements as well as looking to the future.
Road to Success
Commenting on the road to success, Head of School, Prof. Zahir Irani notes:
“It has been a long journey to this point – but this is wonderful recognition for all the hard work carried out by staff and students. It is a great achievement and I feel proud for us all as winners from amongst a very strong peer group. Through a combination of targeted recruitment, linked with an increasingly strong focus on student employability outcomes Brunel Business School (BBS) has sought to balance growth across all of its programmes. In a rapidly changing HE landscape, I foresaw that the only constant apart from change, was to adhere to quality as far as student enrolments is concerned. Our tariff requirements reflect that. To maintain this, we developed what we believe to be an effective conversion strategy through our experiential Business Boot Camp, where AAB+ applicants are invited to experience Brunel first hand by staying and learning on campus.”
Innovative Student Recruitment
Business Boot Camp has been an innovative way to seek higher applicant conversion rates – so much so that this is being scaled across the University. Professor Amir Sharif, Assistant Head also adds that:
“Another key element has been in revamping admissions and recruitment activity in the last year. This has included the School literally getting on the road to visit a wide number of feeder schools and colleges. Working with colleagues in our excellent marketing team in BBS and centrally in the University, we have taken a wider team-based approach to ensure enrolment success.”
Once at BBS, students are encouraged and provided with opportunities to develop their employability skills through the ‘Business Life’ programme. BBS is maturing an approach it started several years ago to embed employability across all of its
programmes. Prof. Irani notes:
“Improving leaver outcomes is really important. In BBS we provide a wealth of employability skills sessions throughout the year. These are provided as part of the degree.”
Indeed employer recognition and input is part of the success behind these initiatives, with a number of companies and chartered bodies being directly involved across the School. Amanda Clay, Head of Brand at Telefonica and a board advisor to BBS notes:
“I have always worked in the private sector and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to help a university shape its programmes so that students can meet the needs of industry. Personally, this allows me to have a meaningful input into the curriculum and relationship with the students.”
BBS has seen its share of UK research council and EU-funded projects rise dramatically, even in the last few months. Comments Prof. Irani:
“Research is a vital part of our success. To be an internationally-recognised business school, I continue to maintain that you need to have strong research credentials.”
BBS has steadily grown the number of research centres since its inception, with strong representation across all key business fields such as marketing, HR, operations, IS, accounting and international business. Supported by an increasingly heavy-hitting research pedigree, the School is seeking to reap success in its REF 2014 submission as well.
What of the future?
With deep partnerships across countries as varied as Bahrain, India, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Sudan and Turkey to name but a few, the vision of BBS is decidedly going places.
“Business is global. Our students themselves represent a wide selection of countries – and so it follows that we need to prepare students to be global citizens.”, comments Prof. Sharif.
Given all of the above, BBS has also seen a rapid improvement in National Student Survey results over the last two years, a point which Prof. Irani reflects on:
“We have to take our recent success in context. None of these elements can exist in isolation. Everything that we have done and are seeking to do is about maximizing the value that we can add. We have always been and will continue to be committed to developing BBS in order to make sure we can continue to be a business school of choice.”