The University of St Andrews has revealed its plans to launch a new business school, combining two of the University’s existing academic units, the School of Management and the School of Economics & Finance.
A statement announcing the merger explained that the new school “will provide the University’s internationally renowned experts in economics, finance and management with the environment, investment and support to respond most effectively to the post-pandemic, climate-emergency agendas and new economic, social and political challenges.”
The move will bring together the 80 full-time permanent academic staff from the existing schools, and, per the University, will not cause any compulsory redundancies.
The University added that the merger will not result in changes “to teaching programmes or degrees awarded to currently enrolled students or students who have accepted a place to study at either School”.
In an email to students, Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal of the University, explained that “the new School will encourage interdisciplinary research and teaching, and, we hope, add to Scotland’s reputation as a centre of research and higher education excellence”.
“We believe the vision which underpins it will resonate with local, national, and international stakeholders,” Mapstone said.
At present, the University is undertaking a process of planning and engagement with students and other stakeholders, while the existing academic schools will enter a transition period during summer 2023.
St Andrews has announced its appointment of Professor Brad MacKay as Interim Dean of the Business School, tasked with overseeing the transition. In his current roles at St Andrews, Professor McKay serves as the Vice Principal for International Strategy and External Relations and as a Professor of Strategy in the School of Management. Previously, McKay held various leadership positions at the University of Edinburgh Business School, serving at different points as Associate Dean and Head of MBA programmes.
The new St Andrews Business School will launch formally in September 2024, when a new dean will be appointed, alongside the launch of new master's degrees and executive education programmes.
In 2027, the Business School will move to a new location at the former campus of Madras College on South Street in St Andrews, which the University has named “New College”. The University acquired Madras’s old South Street campus as part of a land swap deal signed in 2019, under which Madras received some of the University’s land at Langlands in St Andrews. When New College is finished, the Business School will share the site with the School of International Relations.
In the meantime, the Business School will be based at the Gateway, the current home of the School of Management, and at Castlecliffe, home to Economics & Finance.
While the University has high hopes for the new Business School, some St Andrews students expressed their apprehension regarding the merger of the existing schools.
Ellinor Palliotto, a fourth-year economics student, highlighted some differences between the undergraduate management and economics courses at St Andrews.
“There is a corporate finance module for economics and then one for management, but the economics one is way more maths-based than the management module,” Palliotto said.
Palliotto expressed her disapproval of the inclusion of economics in the Business School: “They are separate subjects. Economics is a discipline which differs significantly from management. It would make more sense to have management and finance in a school of business”.
But other students held more optimism about the Business School’s potential, like Seth Jhaveri, a fourth-year student of management and international relations.
“Synergistically the merger seems like it could add substantial value, but the University’s execution will play a key role in whether the project will prove a success,” said Jhaveri.