Business schools are told to 'cut apron strings'

November 8, 2002

Business schools should be given more independence from their universities, according to the outgoing chair of the Association of Business Schools.

Steven Watson, principal of Henley Management College, said: "Business schools need an enhanced level of autonomy from their parent institutions so that reinvestment can further improve the quality and quantity of what they do."

He said that business schools were constrained by central university administrations in terms of who they could hire and on what salary, and on their spending activities. "Business schools are different. Our commercial customers come and go and the people are more mature."

He said that increased emphasis on development of practical skills and arranging placements meant that business studies had become more expensive to run, and called for funding council support to be increased.

In May, the Council for Excellence in Management and Leadership published its final report on the quality, quantity and effectiveness of management education in the UK. The report, commissioned by the government, found that only a fifth of UK managers had any management education or development. It concludes there is a large market for such education, but it has yet to be stimulated.

* Sue Cox, dean of Lancaster University Management School, is to take over the chair of the Association of Business Schools.

Professor Cox is a former industrial chemist and safety psychologist. Her research and teaching expertise is in human factors, safety management systems and risk. She was previously director of Loughborough Business School.

Professor Cox takes over from Steven Watson, principal of Henley Management College, who is a former dean of the LUMS. The ABS represents 100 UK business schools that provide courses in business and management for some 250,000 students.

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