UCD College of Business has announced a major €65 million investment plan that it hopes will take it to the next tier when it comes to the international competition.
Having consistently ranked in the top 100 – of the some 16,000 business schools around the globe – in recent years, it is aiming to break the top 50 within five years.
The programme includes the construction of a new "Future of Learning" building at its main campus in Belfield, as well as upgrades to facilities at Carysfort College.
UCD College of Business comprises four key elements: the Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School in Carysfort; the Lochlann Quinn School for undergraduates at Belfield: Smurfit Executive Education; and UCD Business International, which operates in Singapore, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka
The university has stressed this won't involve public funding. Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Dean of UCD College of Business joined Breakfast Business this morning to explain that the expansion would be funded "primarily from philanthropy and our own resources". He told Vincent Wall that 70% of its current funding comes from non-Exchequer sources:
"And it's important to say that we're already [top 50] in some cases," he noted. "Our MSc in International Management is ranked 22nd in the world, Finance is 36th.
"So many of our programmes are already in that space and that attracts international students, that creates its own revenue stream, and its own support in terms of philanthropy. In a way, this is a signal of what universities and business schools in particular can achieve if properly resourced."
The programme will see investment in "excellent faculty" in particular sectors, with the digital space being targeted in particular, as well as providing more scholarships to attract the best students.
"Our students compete with the best in the world and so should we," Ó hÓgartaigh continued. "We are already. We've a long tradition of being, for about 15 years, in the top 100.
"And we feel now we have the opportunity to move on from there, given that tradition, given that heritage and given the ambitious plans that we have and the support we have to do it."
Corporate sponsorship will continue to play a big role when it comes to philanthropic donations.
"We already have a track record of that," Ó hÓgartaigh said. "In the digital space, ICON has supported us very strongly in analytics. And this does two things: creates a track record but also creates the buzz, the presence.
"Part of our thinking is that students would recognise both the financial services and the digital space as areas where Dublin would have strength and would come to Dublin, create a talent pool of graduates for employers and we would work with employers very closely. Part of the philanthropy is not just financial support, but also working with corporates very closely to define the curriculum, bringing their wisdom into the classroom and so on."
Turning to the planned "Future of Learning" centre, Ó hÓgartaigh said:
"The undergraduate population is the one where we make a lot of impact. It's a very large group, they're with us for three or four years, so we can really there create a different learning environment. Not necessarily about technology.
"What we're finding is students appreciate face-to-face. They want more presence. They're connected in many ways, but not connected, through technology so I think that richness of presence with students will be part of the key aspect of that Future of Learning project."