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2022: a year in review

By David Hillier - Posted on 5 January 2023

What was 2022 like for you? Executive Dean Professor David Hillier reviews the year and what’s been happening in Strathclyde Business School. 

At this time of year, when we get the chance to reflect on the last 12 months, it’s gratifying to take some time out, look back and see how our students, staff and alumni continue to strive and succeed. 

Our November graduations saw many celebrating their Strathclyde journey and, as well as students from our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, we also saw our Executive Education courses and three cohorts of Breaking Barriers graduate in person. 

This year we continued to work with organisations across industry and the third sector to move forward with our socially progressive agenda. Like our Breaking Barriers programme, I was delighted to see another partnership flourish. Together with the Malcolm Group and Wise Group, we now deliver a business skills course and applied learning placement to prison leavers. Forming Futures will enable people who have recently completed a short-term prison sentence or a Community Payback Order to achieve an accredited University of Strathclyde qualification and make the first steps towards fair, sustainable work. 

Programme Update 

Strathclyde Business School continues to move forward with innovative education programmes. Among our new offerings in 2022, the MSc Work & Organisational Psychology was accredited by the British Psychological Society, making it the only BPS-accredited occupational psychology programme in Scotland. 

Our MBA offering was fully reviewed and updated this year, focusing on responsible leadership and strategy in practice. The new MBA includes extensive business engagement opportunities, including a new MBA leadership series of workshops, a case competition and networking events. We were also delighted to introduce our Global Practitioners initiative – thirty professionals from across the business world bridge theory and practice and play a crucial role in stimulating and facilitating learning for our MBA, executive education and specialist Masters students. 

We have created an exceptional Sustainable Energy Futures MBA in deep collaboration with industry partners. Sustainable Energy Futures takes a systems-thinking perspective so that learners not only benefit from everything our core MBA provides but places their learning specifically within the energy sector to help organisations innovate in the drive to achieve net-zero and sustainability objectives. The Sustainable Energy Futures MBA will run its first cohort early in 2023. 

Keeping sustainability in mind, we have an exciting new specialist Finance programme starting in September 2023. The MSc Sustainable Finance will draw on the School’s academic finance expertise and industry links to provide learners with the tools to make sustainable investment decisions and drive positive societal change through applied finance. 

One of the key events in the academic calendar took place this year. As some of you will know, years of work go into the UK government’s Research Excellence Framework exercise. The latest one recognised the University of Strathclyde for its research and impact on society and the economy, where almost 90% of the University’s research has been rated ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Reflecting Strathclyde's motto as ‘the place of useful learning’, the University's impact and research environment were recognised as particularly strong, with both quality profiles being above average for the sector. 

The Business School performed very well in its unit of assessment too. Our research-active staff has grown by 58% since the last REF in 2014, with 55 new academics joining the school over the seven years. In terms of performance improvement, our research income grew from £20 million to £42 million; we increased research output quality from having 9% of our publications ranked world-class in 2014 to 28% in REF 2021. We also grew our number of impact studies from 7 to 9, reflecting the increased strength of the Faculty. 

The first anniversary of the incredibly generous donation from alumnus Charles Huang has just passed, and our Stephen Young Institute for International Business (SYIIB) is making great strides. We are delighted to have appointed Professor Emma McDonald as our inaugural Institute Director and have submitted our first annual report to the Charles Huang Foundation. The SYIIB website is expected to launch early in the New Year, and we have begun recruiting for the Stephen Young Global Leaders Scholarship. The first cycle of the Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Awards is now complete, and a second cycle is due to begin – a total of £275k has already been awarded through this scheme. 

Rankings 

Rankings are a necessary part of the Business School’s calendar, and I’m delighted our MBA was featured in the Corporate Knights Better World MBA Rankings in November. Since this ranking looks at MBAs from a sustainability perspective, and with our emphasis on this critical challenge as a business school, it was gratifying to see us recognised for our efforts. 

Our MBA was ranked in the top 100 of the FTs Executive MBA and the top 95 of the FT’s European Business School rankings. Notably, we were one of just 17 UK business schools in the European ranking and one of only three in Scotland. 

Students 

As ever, our students continue to inspire and shine. Sarah Lawson, an MSc Human Resource Management graduate, has won the HR Graduate of the Year award at the HR Network National Awards 2022, making it the second year in a row a Strathclyde graduate has won HR Graduate of the Year at the prestigious event. Overall, it was a very successful night for the Department of Work, Employment and Organisation - three 2020/21 graduates were shortlisted for the HR Graduate of the Year Award: Hannah Yule, Rona MacKenzie and Sarah Lawson, with Sarah being announced as the winner in this category. Another win for a Strathclyde graduate was Kevin Staunton, Head of HR at Turning Point Scotland, for winning HR Director of the Year. Kevin graduated from our part-time MSc HRM in 2019. 

A group of four SBS students were given the OR Society Undergraduate Award for their dissertation, which looked at modelling the factors influencing AI-related business decisions. Matthew Cohn, Fraser Maclean, Benjamin Malcolm and Josh McKay won the award for Strathclyde by completing the best OR project. In addition, Dr Glory Alozie, a PhD graduate of the Management Science Department, won the OR Society Doctoral Award for her work in operational research. 

Undergraduate student Lewis Cameron won an annual award sponsored by the Incorporation of Maltmen in Glasgow, which was presented to a student ‘demonstrating academic excellence and application of class concepts on relevant practical cases through an individual written assignment’ in Hospitality and Tourism Management. 

I was delighted to hear that a team of marketing students have come top in an international marketing competition – which makes it the fourth time our students have done so in five years. Marta Nowak, Kelly Wong, and Eve Blaikie comprised the winning Strathclyde team in this year's The Pitch competition, which is run by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and designed to recognise marketing talent of the future. 

Afsa Mukasa, a third-year Doctoral Researcher at the Hunter Center for Entrepreneurship, was awarded a Responsible Research in Business and Management (RRBM) ‘Dare to Care’ dissertation scholarship earlier this year. Afsa is one of eight winners of the RRBM scholarships, awarded in recognition of proposals that emphasise an ecosystem approach while promoting equality and diversity in today's global society. 

Research Update 

With all the research that goes on across the Business School, I can’t hope to detail all of it, but I can share a few new achievements that showcase the breadth of our research expertise: 

Dr Stewart Johnstone is leading a multi-disciplinary research project worth more than £680,000 to investigate the extent, nature and effectiveness of worker voice. The three-year ‘Amplifying Employee Voice and Hearing the Unheard’ study aims to fill a significant knowledge gap by delving into workers' lived experiences on differing contracts, with diverse working arrangements and in multiple work settings and occupations. 

A Management Science team - professors Susan Howick, John Quigley, Lesley Walls, George Wright, and Dr Ian Belton – has started a new three-year project worth £760,000, funded jointly by the NERC and Canada’s National Research Council (NRC). The project aims to strengthen the whole-of-society search and rescue (SAR) system in the Canadian Arctic territory of Nunavut through capacity and skill building and by creating a decision support model for current and future planning, preparation, and infrastructure development. 

Dr Aylin Ates, Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, and Dr Steve Paton, Department of Management Science, are leading a new research project with AAC Clyde Space - Boosting Strategic Capability: Process and Product Management in Small Satellite Innovation. Demand for high-quality, timely data from space has never been greater, and the increasing commercial interest means businesses must adapt to respond to the global opportunity. Following an active period of acquisition, integration, and expansion Clyde Space is now planning the next phase of growth, focusing on building and launching its own constellation of satellites to establish a leading position in the supply of Space-Data-as-a-Service. 

Research by Strathclyde Business School academic Dr Livia Pancotto of the Department of Accounting and Finance has shown that gender diversity in banks’ boardrooms contributes to fighting climate change via more sustainable lending strategies. 

Professor Alec Morton, former head of the Department of Management Science, and Lee Knifton, co-director of the Centre for Health Policy at Strathclyde and Director of The Mental Health Foundation for Scotland and Northern Ireland, have helped co-author a major report on mental health and how Government investment in its prevention can save money in the long term as well as reduce future mental health issues in the population. 

Executive Education 

This year saw our MBA and Executive Education teams brought together under the same umbrella so that all our MBAs in Glasgow and overseas now sit in the same structure as our MBAs tailored to the specific needs of businesses such as Iberdrola and Babcock International. We have long-standing relationships with these companies, and it was fantastic to see them back on campus - some for the first time since starting their studies in 2021 due to Covid restrictions. 

Another impactful initiative is Help to Grow, a UK Government-subsidised management programme for SMEs. So far, we have nine cohorts who have completed or are actively participating in this programme. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’re delighted that we have three more cohorts planned for this year and a third year of the programme commencing in August 2023. 

People 

Again, it’s impossible to highlight all the successes of our Strathclyde people, but I’ve picked out a few to share: 

Professor Peter McKiernan, Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, was awarded the Cooper Medal for Outstanding Contribution and Leadership at the British Academy of Management - Peter was nominated for his leadership of the academic community as a researcher, for university administration, as twice elected Dean of the BAM Fellows College and through his work with the Responsible Research in Business and Management (RRBM) initiative which he co-founded in 2016. 

Professor Iain Black was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Scottish Geographical Society for his work promoting the understanding of climate change issues and the development of the Climate Solutions programme. 

Professor Mairi Spowage, Director of the Fraser of Allander Institute, has been recognised in the Women’s Awards 2022 for Services to Accounting and Finance. Mairi was also appointed to the National Statistician’s Committee for Advice on Standards of Economics Statistics, set up by the UK Statistics Authority. 

Finally, a celebration of the life, legacy and accomplishments of Strathclyde marketing pioneer Professor Michael J. Baker took place at the 2022 Academy of Marketing Annual Conference in July, where Professor Anne Marie Doherty launched the Professor Michael J. Baker Annual Doctoral Thesis Awards. These awards are jointly sponsored by the Department of Marketing and the Academy of Marketing to honour the legacy of Strathclyde’s most remarkable marketing pioneer. 

Final Remarks 

I am honoured and proud to lead SBS as we contribute to the University of Strathclyde’s role as a socially progressive leading international technological university. On all fronts, Strathclyde Business School aims to be a place of useful learning that makes a positive difference to the world. Despite the challenges the world has faced over the past twelve months, the Business School has continued to improve and impact the lives of our many students, staff and stakeholders. 

The year ahead will no doubt bring its surprises, but with the quality of staff and students we have in the Business School and wider university, I have no doubt we’ll continue to be bold and ambitious, seek to innovate with our industry and societal partners and keep our people at the centre of all our operations. 

Have a great 2023! 




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