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University of Bradford School of Management awarded Times Higher Education Business School of the Year 2021


University of Bradford School of Management at the Times Higher Education Awards

School of Management wins Business School of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards 2021.

The School clinched the prestigious award - at a ceremony widely regarded as the ‘Oscars of higher education’ - last night (November 25) in London.

The news also comes just one day after the University was awarded the coveted Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its world-leading work in developing archaeological technology and techniques.

Times Higher Education Award 2021

Members of the School, including Professor Sankar Sivarajah (Head of School), Professor Amir Sharif (Dean of the Faculty of Management, Law & Social Sciences), Professor Vishanth Weerakkody (former dean) and others, attended a celebration dinner at Hilton London Metropole Hotel.

Commenting on the THE award, Prof Sivarajah said: “This is a real honour for our staff and everyone who have contributed to the successful development of the School and continuing to do so. Much of the work for this award was focussed on the period during the pandemic when we were actively engaged in supporting students and the community, launching a number of initiatives that really did make a difference to people. Business school should add value to society and so this award means a lot.”

The School was shortlisted in September - its application cited numerous innovations and initiatives from the last 12 months, including:

  • An MSc course in AI and Data Analytics to help mature students (particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds) gain new skills - funded by £700,000 from the Office for Students
  • The first national pilot of SAS Step, a training and re-skilling course for graduates
  • Its Career Booster programme, designed to give industry knowledge to students
  • Offering help and guidance to SMEs, especially with post-pandemic recovery
  • Launching a mini-MBA Series for Year 12 and Year 13 School Students at Bradford Girls’ Grammar School

The University’s School of Management is world renowned - it was the first business school to be jointly accredited by AMBA and BGA in England and in February this year, its MBA was ranked No.1 in the world for value for money by the Financial Times.

Making a difference

Professor Congdon said:

“I’m thrilled that we have gained yet another high profile, national award. This is an enormous achievement both for the School of Management and the University, and coming on the back of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize, really does show that we are making a difference in people’s lives."

“Our vision is a world of inclusion and equality of opportunity where people want to – and can – make a difference. We want to be the place to make that difference, and these awards show we are making that vision a reality.”

Professor Sharif said: “This is fantastic news for the School, the Faculty and the University. Just to be shortlisted for the THE Awards represented a significant achievement, but to win means we have excelled not just in our own eyes but those of our peers.

“This award reflects the hard work done by colleagues across the School, in their stewardship, in delivering practical knowledge to students, in engaging with businesses, especially during the pandemic. This is a just reward for all their efforts. It is a proud day, and one which will only lead us on to greater things.”

THE awards logo

Professor Zahir Irani, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic, Innovation & Quality) said: “I’m so proud of this award and recognition and absolutely delighted for the team - but I’m even more delighted for Bradford. 

“This is a powerful recognition by our peers in the sector that we are doing the right thing for our students, our staff and our community. Many congratulations to everyone who contributed to this amazing achievement.”

The Times Higher Education Supplement is currently celebrating its 50th year. The THE Awards are now into their 17th year.


THE editor, John Gill, said: “The Times Higher Education Awards have been recognising outstanding achievements in UK higher education for the best part of two decades, but never before have they shone a light on the level of effort and creativity that was demanded of universities throughout the 2019-20 academic year.

“The response required, and delivered, in the face of a global pandemic was unique, and many of the awards submissions reflected those unprecedented circumstances.

“But universities’ great strength is not just that they respond to circumstances, but that they also provide a level of constancy at times of uncertainty and change.

“2019-20 was not just a year of pandemic disruption, it was also a year in which incredible achievements were made in all the areas you would hope and expect: world-changing research, brilliant learning and teaching, international and industrial engagement, and the full gamut of activities that run through universities like words through a stick of rock."

Clear strategy

The THE Award judging panel stated: “This was an impressive entry, showing a very clear strategy, well executed, and a business school that is an integral part of the local community.”

It went on: “The University of Bradford’s School of Management has focused on becoming an engine of economic and social regeneration. During the pandemic, the school focused its initiatives on helping graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds navigate the disrupted jobs market and on providing support for local businesses dealing with crisis trading conditions.

“This included launching new programmes in artificial intelligence and fintech for ethnic minority students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, with funding from the Office for Students and in partnership with Barclays, SAS and Amazon.

“The school also developed a pilot scheme to train and reskill recent graduates, who had become unemployed, to pursue careers in data analytics. This scheme was launched in December 2019 and then rolled out nationally to support workers hit by the pandemic. The school also conducted research to better understand the effects of the pandemic on the region’s small and medium-sized enterprises, running Covid-19 resilience and recovery guidance events that were tailored for SMEs in Bradford and West Yorkshire.

“Bradford’s School of Management also supported local schools and colleges with an innovative ‘mini-MBA’ virtual programme to help Year 12 and Year 13 students supplement their learning during the Covid-19 lockdown period.”