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Celebrating 60 years in business


Journeys of Hope full

The University of Bradford’s School of Management celebrates its 60th anniversary this month.

Since its inception in 1963 (pre-dating the foundation of the University of Bradford), it has been pioneering in its approach. It was one of the first business schools in the country and one of the first UK-based schools to launch an MBA. It was accredited by AMBA in 1970 and is today one of the top one per cent of business schools to hold coveted triple accreditation (AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB).

It launched its award-winning Executive MBA in Dubai in 1995. In 2020, it was named Business School of the Year at the Educate North Awards, and in 2021 was also named Business School of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards.

Bright Building on University of Bradford campus

As it prepares to mark a year of celebration, it remains a leading light, for example through the launch of its MSc in Applied AI and Data Analytics, a programme that resulted in Bradford having the most AI graduates in the UK.

The 60th anniversary milestone will be marked by a series of events over the coming weeks and months, including a management lecture in November, an academic conference in April and a special staff and student ball in July.

Dean of the School of Management

Dean of the School of Management Professor Sankar Sivarajah, pictured above, said: “Our School of Management focuses on ensuring students graduate with skills that are relevant to the world we live in today and by ensuring those graduates are ready for the challenges of the future.

“Our student-centred approach, coupled with our excellent ties to industry and world-leading research is reflected both in our funding successes for new programmes and our numerous awards. We are proud to be celebrating 60 years in business and we look forward to 60 more.”

Recent achievements include:

  • Times Higher Education Business School of the Year 2021
  • £1.4m funding over three years from the Office for Students for its MSc Applied AI and Data Analytics, offering 80 £10,000 scholarships, meaning Bradford now has the most AI graduates in the UK
  • Triple accredited by AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB (Only 1% of business schools in the world hold the triple accreditations)
  • Compiling the first ever Top 100 Bradford business list
  • Celebrated 25 years of its Executive MBA in Dubai in 2022

Notable alumni include: Murthy Renduchintala, the donor who helped found the Bradford-Renduchintala Centre for Space AI, Kate Hall, Design Director for HS2 and F1 pit-lane engineer to Sir Lewis Hamilton Stephanie Travers.

Professor Shirley Congdon

Vice-Chancellor Professor Shirley Congdon, pictured above, said: “Our School of Management is known and respected across the world. It was one of the first business schools in the UK and it remains at the forefront of modern thinking, thanks to its ability to adapt to meet emerging challenges and its excellent links to industry. There have been many achievements over the last six decades and I am sure there will be many more to come.”

The School of Management runs numerous events and programmes, including a series of inspirational talks featuring alumni who have gone on to found successful businesses. These have included George Mullan (who graduated with an MBA in 1988), CEO of SIS Pitches, which provided artificial pitches for the Qatar World Cup; and Kevin Gaskell, former managing director of BMW UK, who graduated from the university with a BEng in Civil Engineering in 1981 and went on to complete an MBA in 1982 - he became an honorary doctor of the University in 2016.

Forthcoming events will include:

  • 60th Anniversary Management Lecture
  • 60th Anniversary Academic Conference
  • 60th Anniversary Staff and Student Ball

Student holding clipboard

A rich history...


The School of Management was established in 1963, making it one of the first established university-based business schools in the UK. 

The original home to the School of Management was the Emm Lane building, originally built and partially financed by Sir Titus Salt as the Congregationalist Airedale College in 1874.

In 1966 the Charter of Incorporation was granted to create the University of Bradford and then Prime Minister Harold Wilson was named as the University's first chancellor, a role which he held for 19 years.

In 1968 the School of Management launched the Bradford MBA programme, making it one of the first UK-based schools to offer the programme.

Ernestso Zedillo (back row, firth from left) pictured in 1973 in Bradford


The 1970s saw the School of Management start to build its reputation. In 1970 the School was awarded the AMBA Accreditation for its work with the Bradford MBA.

The School continued to grow as the Emm Lane campus was expanded with the construction of the Cartwright Lecture Theatre and Yvette Jacobson Library Building, providing students with access to new resources to support their learning.

In 1972 Professor Chris Higgins was appointed as the Director of the Management Centre, a role which he would hold for 17 years.


The 1980s saw a period of development for the University of Bradford and the School of Management.

Academics were involved in the development of an Economics group which they took place in to develop discussions into the industry.

In 1986, Sir Harvey Jones became chancellor of the University and Honorary President of the MBA Alumni Board of Patrons.

1989 saw a year of change and development as Professor Christopher Higgins was replaced by Professor David Weir as the Director of the Management Centre whilst the School opened the new Airedale Building on the Emm Lane campus and a new partnership was developed with NIMBAS.


The 1990s represented a decade of extension for the School of Management. New partnerships continued to form and old ones continued to develop as the School held competitions with KPMG, held celebration events with the English Cricket Board and launched the BBC MBA and Diploma in 1992.

1992 saw the extension commence on Heaton Mount, providing space for the new Executive Education facilities to be used for MBA delivery.

In 1995 the School of Management Dubai Office was opened and saw the launch of the Emirate's MBA.


Emm Lane campus

As the University and City Campus continued to expand in the early 2000s the School of Management continued to hold its reputation.

In 2000 the AMBA accreditation was renewed once again and the School was given the EQUIS accreditation, something which would be re-accredited in 2009.

As the City Campus continued to develop with the build of the Richmond Atrium the School of Management was rebranded from the "Bradford Management Centre" in 2001. The new corporate branding was released with the update and the launch of the SME Knowledge Networks (now the Knowledge Transfer Network) was launched by David Williamson and Professor Francis.

2005 saw the opening of the Law School, something which saw the formation of the Faculty of Management and Law (which would later become the Faculty of Management, Law and Social Sciences). 

Professor Arthur Francis continued in his role as the Dean of the School of Management from his appointment in 1998 and as his tenure ended in 2010 the Debating Chamber on the Emm Lane Campus, pictured above, was renamed the Arthur Francis Lecture Theatre.


The 2010s commenced with Dr Sarah Dixon being named as the new Dean of the School of Management. 

Dr Dixon would be part of the celebrations in December 2012 as the School achieved the AACSB accreditation, achieving the "Triple Crown" of Accreditation, highlighting it's success and impact as a business school.

From 2012 to 2015 Professor Jon Reast would take over as Dean of the School of Management with Professor Zahir Irani (now Deputy-Vice-Chancellor of the University) holding the role from 2016 to 2019.

Reaccreditation for the triple crown would be achieved for AMBA (2015), AACSB (2017) and EQUIS (2018) with the School then receiving commendation at the North Educate awards in 2019 for Student Experience.

2019 also saw the restructure of the School of Management with the School relocating to Bright Building on the City Campus in 2019.


Professor Sankar Sivarajah led the School of Management into the 2020s, a period to date which has seen continued recognition for the impact of the School.

In 2020 the School of Management was awarded Business School of the Year at the Educate North Awards. This was followed up by the School becoming the first in the UK to receive joint accreditation from both AMBA and the Business Graduates Association (BGA) and a new partnership formed with Barclays who supported the Knowledge Transfer Network.

In 2021 the School was awarded the Small Business Charter and most notably the Time Higher Education Business School of the Year award.

2022 saw the School gain reaccreditation from EQUIS whilst being named as runner up in the European Triple Awards for Community Engagement Initiative of the Year. 

Individual programmes continued to receive recognition for their impact with the MSc in European International Business and Management being ranked in the Financial Times, the Executive MBA marking its 25th anniversary in Dubai and the Office for Students awarding scholarship funding for the School's MSc Applied AI and Data Analytics programme from 2022 to 2023.

2022 saw the formation of the Entrepreneurship Festival, supported by NatWest, providing students with insight into what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.