Our History


1895 – where it all started

Our origins can be traced back to Aston University’s beginnings in the Birmingham Municipal Technical School, established in 1895.

In 1947, the Technical School created a Department of Industrial Administration – the second to be founded in the United Kingdom. When the Department was created, few would have anticipated that it would one day grow to be one of the largest and best business schools in the UK, or indeed that would gain international recognition for its world-class research and teaching. David Bramley was the first Head of Department.

1961 – Research and ‘Aston Studies’

Research at Aston Business School has its roots back in 1961, when the Industrial Administration Research Unit (IARU) was set up and, within it, the ‘Aston Studies’ on organisations. The research was groundbreaking, with the study of groups of workers and individuals being carried out in their workplace and organisation setting.
In response to the growth in postgraduate education, a joint venture with the University of Birmingham formed the Graduate Centre of Management Studies in 1964. The same year, a BSc in Behavioural Science and an MSc in Industrial Administration was introduced.

1979 – The Aston MBA

In 1979 our first MBAs were awarded.  

1987 – Aston Business School

In 1987 the Management Centre was renamed Aston Business School.

The 90s – MSc aplenty

The mid 1990s saw the development of a range of integrated one-year MSc programmes and the undergraduate programmes expanded. Between 1980–1997 we launched an MSc in Public Services Management, the Work Organisation Research Centre (WORC), the Innovation Design and Operations Management Centre (IDOM), a distance learning MBA, an MSc in International Business and opened a dedicated suite for postgraduate students.

1999 – EQUIS accreditation

We’ve always been committed to maintaining the quality of our courses. In 1999, we formed the ABS Advisory Board and Undergraduate Advisory Panel to ensure that they were rated excellent. The first of our triple accreditations– EQUIS (EFMD Quality Improvement System)  – was also achieved in the same year.

2000 – AMBA accreditation awarded

Our AMBA accreditation (The Association of MBAs) was first awarded in 2000. The Aston MBA is one of the longest-established MBA programmes in the UK, and one of the first to achieve AMBA accreditation.

2003 – AACSB accreditation and Triple Accreditation

In 2003, we gained AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accreditation. Aston Business School is part of an elite group of global business schools who hold the gold standard of ‘triple-crown’ accreditation.

2006 – Aston Business School Building

In 2006 we saw a £20m extension to the Nelson Building which is now called the Aston Business School Building which includes a dedicated MBA suite. 

2008 – 60 years at Aston

In 2008 we celebrated our 60th birthday and named two of our lecture theatres after Adrian Cadbury and Susan Cadbury, in recognition of their long association.

2015 – AMBA 

Our AMBA accreditation (The Association of MBAs) was re-awarded in 2015. The Aston MBA is one of the longest-established MBA programmes in the UK, and one of the first to achieve AMBA accreditation. In 2018, the programme celebrated 40 successful years.

2017 – Aston Law School

Our department of Law became Aston Law School, sitting alongside Aston Business School as part of the College of Business and Social Sciences.