20 May 2004
Aston leaps to third, but it's tight at the top
MANCHESTER UNITED'S Alex Ferguson may well consider finishing third in this season's premiership battle as a little disappointing. But this is largely because he is more accustomed to finishing first.
The fact is that when it comes to the sharp end of any league table a move of two places is significant. Liverpool, who jumped just one place from 5th last season to 4th this, are now judged to be so successful that a foreign prime minister and a multi-millionaire are fighting to take over the club. It is difficult to imagine the frenzied interest if the Reds had jumped two- rather than just one league place.
This is partly the reason that staff and students at Aston Business School (ABS) are so pleased with the school's jump from 5th last year to 3rd in this year's Times newspaper ranking of the best 99 universities in the UK.
ABS, according to this influential guide, trails just Oxford and LSE; neither of which is best described as a full range business school: LSE specialising in economics while Oxford offers its undergraduates joint- rather than single honours programmes.
The best of the rest of the Midlands' universities for business is Warwick which takes 4th spot; while Birmingham sits in 20th place.
And like the leading football teams, ABS continues to build on its sound foundations. The school's trophy cabinet bulges with all of the most important awards: AACSB*, EQUIS, AMBA accreditations; it also has a coaching accolade that not even world champions could better - a flawless 24/24 from the QAA for teaching quality.
Yet the school knows that now is not the time to rest on its laurels. It is investing �20 million on a business school's equivalent of a new stadium - a major extension to its headquarters, due for completion in 2005.
It is also strengthening its already strong squad of around 100 of the best business school academics: ten new appointments have been made this season; it is currently scouting for more players of the right calibre.
All of which means that its rising stars are among the most sought after in the country. With 84.4 per cent, The Times ranks Aston 4th in the UK for employability or further training, making it the best of the Midlands' universities.
Professor Gordon Greenley, head of faculty and deputy head of ABS, said: 'This is another wonderful accolade for Aston Business School, which the staff and students thoroughly deserve.
'They have all worked hard to achieve this latest ranking, which reinforces our position as one of the leading business schools in the UK and Europe, and progressively the world. Our future plans include further quality-led growth, attracting more leading academics, and continued innovation in our programmes. We look forward to achieving these plans.'
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Notes for editors:
* AACSB: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business: www.aacsb.edu/accreditation/
EQUIS: European Quality Improvement System
AMBA: Association of MBAs
QAA: Quality Assurance Agency
Aston Business School: www.abs.aston.ac.uk/