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Title boost for top business school

16 April 2003

Title boost for top business school

ASTON BUSINESS SCHOOL (ABS) today (Wednesday 16 April) announced that it has won its industry equivalent of rugby's Grand Slam.

The Birmingham based business school's latest accolade is accreditation from America's Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).*

ABS is the seventh** UK business school to receive international recognition from AACSB. What makes Aston unique is the fact that it is the only full range UK business school to also hold the other top accreditations: EQUIS (1), which it retained in February, and AMBA (2) in addition to an RAE (3) ranking of 5 and a flawless teaching quality score of 24/24 from QAA (4).

The American association picked up on the fact that ABS has an innovative and inclusive approach to business education: '[it is] committed to encouraging student exposure to the realities of employment,' says AACSB's report. All the undergraduates met by the assessors said that the employment placement scheme was one of the main reasons they chose to study at Aston.

ABS offers a placement experience, said AACSB, 'which elevates the maturity of the students and enhances their overall opportunities in the job market.' It could not have been surprised to learn that ABS has the UK's best graduate employment record among business schools, with 85 per cent of its graduates gaining employment within six months of graduating against a national average of 69 per cent.*** Unsurprisingly, its graduates are sought by many of the world's top companies.

This is a record ABS is particularly proud of, especially as it works in tandem with a policy that is strictly non-elitist. Mirroring Aston University as a whole, ABS has established a record - extolled by HEFCE - of helping students from non-traditional backgrounds onto its programmes; a fact favourably commented upon by EQUIS.

ABS's staffing policies were also praised: 'There are clear drivers for faculty growth in specific functional specialities, allowing for hiring for anticipated growth and then assessment mechanisms that will allow for redirection of resources if an area fails to met enrolment projections,' states AACSB's report.

The assessors were also impressed with the faculty load model which ensures each academic pulls his or her weight, generates adequate funding and pursues rigorous research of international interest. ABS, said AACSB, employ 'a sophisticated algorithm for allocating and measuring all faculty activities related to teaching, research and administration.'

ABS's continued expansion of technology was another area of commendation: 'ALMIR is impressive,' states AACSB's report, referring to the Aston Laboratory for Multimedia & Interactive Research, the new ��m facilities that officially opened in March. 'The use of technology in classes and other learning environments is reflected in the School's mission,' it states. 'Technological support is impressive in its breadth or use and quality of support.'

'It is great to see our school recognised by the people in America where business education was born,' said Professor John Saunders, head of ABS. 'It is all part of doing the best we can in bringing people to excellence in business management education to improve their career prospects.'

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For further information please call 0121 204 4549 or email: b.a.l.coombes@aston.ac.uk

Notes for editors:

• * For further information on AACSB see its website: www.aacsb.edu/accreditation/

• ** AACSB accredited schools in the UK: Ashridge, Cranfield, Henley, London, Manchester and Warwick

• *** HESA First Destinations survey

1) EQUIS: European Quality Improvement System
2) AMBA: Association of MBAs
3) RAE: Research Assessment Exercise
4) QAA: Quality Assurance Agency

• On several criteria, ABS now has a leading position in the UK:

• along with Aston University as a whole, ABS's access, completion rates and graduate employability are outstanding (ranked 1st by the Financial Times)

• the largest integrated undergraduate programme in the UK (ranked 2nd by The Times)

• postgraduate MSc programmes are market leaders in scale and price

• RAE based research income is the 5th highest for Business and Management in the England

• in several research areas, ABS is among the strongest in the UK: Marketing, Public Services Management, Operations Management were each flagged by HEFCE

• Aston was identified by HEFCE as an 'exemplar' university for equal opportunities and the access it provides for disadvantaged groups

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research