UCD College of Business Launches Ambitious Strategy to achieve Top 50 Global Business School status within five years

€65 million of non-exchequer funding committed to UCD Smurfit School, UCD Lochlann Quinn School and Smurfit Executive Education to achieve ambition

Posted October 05, 2016

Having secured the reputation as Ireland’s top business school across undergraduate, post graduate and executive education, with a Top 100 Global ranking achieved annually for many years, UCD College of Business today launched a new strategy and investment programme to achieve Top 50 Global status within five years. A central theme of the UCD College of Business Strategy is to continuously redefine how business is taught and learned to inspire the next generation of leaders, in particular in the areas of digital business and the future of financial services.

UCD College of Business comprises: UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School; UCD Lochlann Quinn School; Smurfit Executive Education; and UCD Business International operating in Singapore, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka.

The strategy unveiled today will have four key pillars – the commitment to research, innovation and impact on business and society focused in particular on strategically important business sectors for Ireland, namely digital business and financial services – the development of a transformational learning environment – further deepening of mutually beneficial partnerships with leading corporates and other organisations – and ensuring graduates are aware of their broader responsibilities in not only contributing to business but also to society by acting with integrity at all times.

The advisory board of UCD College of Business (which comprises UCD Smurfit School, UCD Lochlann Quinn School and Smurfit Executive Education), Chaired by Niall FitzGerald KBE, has sanctioned the investment of additional €65 million over the next five years to support the achievement of this aim.

The €65 million incremental investment committed to in this five year programme will include: a focus on World Class Expertise by adding to existing faculty of international standing already at UCD College of Business; implementing The Future of Learning Project with the creation of a learning environment on par with global leaders with new buildings and the development of a world-class Executive Education facility; and creating Leaders of the Future by attracting the very best students from Ireland and overseas with new scholarships.

This €65m will be fully funded from non-exchequer sources through a mix of operating surplus, income from overseas operations, sponsorships and gifts.

In developing the strategy, the leadership team at UCD College of Business has ensured that the evolution of its offering is reflective of current and future trends informed by international insights while also playing to the comparative strengths of Irish business and the needs of Ireland’s economy. Both financial services and digital business are truly internationalised services where, not only has Ireland enjoyed success, but where significant scope exists to carve out leadership positions. For instance, Ireland is a leader in the aviation finance sector, which manages half of the world’s leased aircraft, employs over 1,000 people and contributes €4.1 billion to the Irish economy. Similarly, with Ireland now home to nine of the top 10 global software companies, nine of the top 10 US technology companies and all of the top 10 ‘born on the internet’ companies in a sector employing over 105,000 people there is a need for the delivery of world-class academic programmes at both undergraduate and post graduate level to ensure Ireland remains at the cutting edge of this sector.

Important elements of the strategy are already in train in the key sectoral areas of focus of– financial services and digital business.

Finance – earlier this year a new Chair of Aviation Finance was established at UCD Smurfit School to leverage Ireland’s global leadership position in this industry along with the development of a world-leading specialist Masters Programme in partnership with the industry.

Digital business and Disruptive Innovation – to support this a new Chair of Business Analytics has been established. Among the outcomes from this focus is the creation of an MSc in Business Analytics – the very first programme of its kind which is already over-subscribed. UCD College of Business’ has also significantly increased expertise in digital marketing, digital innovation and innovation enterprise and design.

Plans or the Future of Learning Project are also progressing well for the new state-of-the-art learning facility located beside the Lochlann Quinn Business School in Belfield. The centre of learning will be at the cutting edge of international best practice in education delivery integrating new technologies, research insights and enabling more diversified learning experiences.

As part of the focus of building the international reputation that Smurfit Executive Development has acquired over many years, work on the refurbishment of Management House in the Carysfort Campus is well underway. Once complete it will ensure the facility will be based on the most up-to-date thinking and technology.

Speaking at the announcement, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Dean UCD College of Business said: “UCD Business has, over many years, been relentless in becoming an exemplar in the provision of business education in Ireland. While much has been achieved in consistently attaining Top 100 status out of some 16,000 business schools internationally there has always been a desire to do better and be among the Top 50 business schools internationally. Today’s strategy launch represents a step change for UCD College of Business and with an investment of over €65 million in faculty and facilities over the next five years, we are confident we will deliver on our intent to be among the very elite of business schools in the world. Our students compete with the best in the world – and so must we.”

Responding to the launch, Mr. Niall FitzGerald, Chair, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School added: “When I became Chair of UCD Smurfit School two years ago it was clear that the UCD College of Business, which was already the leading business education provider in Ireland, could and should have the aspiration to become an international leader. With the strategy launched today it has a clear and credible pathway to become one of the Global Top 50 business schools by 2020. I congratulate the Dean, Faculty and Staff who have developed the strategy and who have the commitment and expertise to deliver on this ambition over the next five years."

Welcoming the strong links between the UCD College of Business and Irish business, Mr. Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Education and Skills said: “It is encouraging to see that the academic programmes of the UCD College of Business are constantly evolving to serve the needs of Irish business and the economy. Its focus on key growth sectors for the Irish economy such as digital business and financial services, ensures that it supports the development of Irish society by providing future business leaders who are educated to the highest international standards. Beyond these shores, graduates of UCD College of Business continue to make their mark on the world stage by making a positive contribution to business and society globally.”