A Reception to Support the Recommendations From the Business Schools MSB Task Force Report

The Association of Business Schools (ABS) recently hosted a joint reception with the kind support of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills to support the findings of the Business Schools Taskforce Report. (Business School/Mid-Sized Business (MSB) Collaboration – supporting growth in the UK’s mid-sized businesses.

The report sets out a number of practical steps to help improve how schools and these companies work together to support growth, improve company management and develop courses that are attractive to local firms.

Distinguished guests from the higher education sector heard from from Rt Hon David Willetts MP, the Minister for Universities and Science, along with the Chair of the Business Schools Taskforce, Professor Sue Cox OBE, and Professor Angus Laing, Chairman of the ABS and Dean of Business and Economics at Loughborough University.

Prof. Sue Cox OBE

Chair of the Taskforce, Professor Sue Cox OBE, Dean at Lancaster University Management School said:

‘As Chair of the Taskforce I welcome the launch of our report.  The challenge that our report throws down for business schools is not simply a motivational rhetoric around greater engagement but, after much consultation and consideration, it reflects a detailed agenda and implicit action plan for that engagement. These go beyond the provision of more educational and training programmes for those joining MSBs or currently managing them.  The agenda and action plan represented in the report’s recommendations not only target business schools, but also MSBs, Government and the wider business community.’

Rt Hon David Willetts MP

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:

"The Business Schools Task Force report sets out practical, workable innovations that our business schools and mid-sized firms can take to increase the knowledge and growth potential of their local area. What we need now is for our business schools and businesses to act on the recommendations put the proposals into action and start seeing the benefits."
"Our 10,000 mid-sized firms are already successful, but if they work together with our world class business schools they can set their ambitions high, and be equipped to compete and win in the global race."

The Association of Business Schools (ABS) is now welcoming corporate members. The corporate membership is growing steadily and ABS believes this will be an effective way of stimulating more effective engagement with businesses of all sizes, with a particular investment in shaping the future development of business and management education in the UK and globally.


Prof Angus Laing, Chair ABS and Dean Business and Economics Loughborough

Professor Laing concurred:

“It is an honour to be able to be part of this project, the theme of which is how to enhance engagement between business and business schools, this has never been more important.

There are currently more than 100 business schools in the UK. They have been one of the biggest success stories of UK higher education over the past 60 years, enjoying a remarkable rise. In 2010 the student full-time equivalent for business and administrative studies was 269,000, with another 20,000 in private institutions. Business schools are consequently one of the leading sources of talent for the business community in the UK, providing an extensive skill and knowledge base for business through both skilled graduates and ground-breaking research.    

Although international evidence highlights the importance of continuing management training and education in fostering economic success, in the UK there is a shortage of managers with the skills required to compete in the global economy, the lack of which in turn places constraint on corporate and broader economic performance. The impact on mid-sized businesses of such a skill gap is a critical constraint on their capacity to grow and realize their potential in delivering a dynamic economy capable of delivering the jobs and prosperity which the country needs.   

The ABS and its member Schools are in a unique position to be able to influence this skill gaps and set positive strategy to benefit UK Plc. We look forward as a community to working with mid-sized businesses and BIS to realize the potential of this key sector of the economy”.

The ABS has also established a National Industrial Advisory Network to serve as a forum for the chairs of business school advisory boards. Advisory Boards play an important role in assisting business school’s engagement with local, national and international business communities, and in supporting the case of the school within university governance structures.