Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Reading between the lines

Everyone here is, not very surprisingly, talking about the proposed merger of Henley Management College with Reading Business School.

The funny thing is - concern over the nuts and bolts of how it will all happen notwithstanding - there is a generally optimistic consensus which accepts not only the advisability of such a move but also the synergy and opportunity.

Reading has no corporate clientele (beyond those sponsoring some research) and no MBA. I suspect the lack of MBA is more to do with how recently their Business School was formed as a unit rather than anything else. Whatever the reason, it does mean that we should be able to carry on doing what we do in the special way we do it. But we'll be doing this on a fresh investment in infrastructure, on economies of scale in support and business development, and on depth of resources in faculty and expertise. This should help us in the rankings, so as long as the Henley brand is retained, this is very good news for all current members and alumni.

So I'm very excited by what this will mean. I wouldn't want to lose a single drop of what makes Henley unique, and I suspect that colleagues at Reading will be feeling the same (their Real Estate and Economics departments, for example, are world renowned), but the very simple truth is that it's a win-win.


Anthony S said...


Thanks for the update on a very interesting development.

From a narrow-minded perspective I’d be interested to know whether – as someone expecting to graduate in Q4 2008 – the degree would be awarded by Henley or Reading?

The high placing on the Economist rankings was a key part of deciding to do the MBA course at Henley. For all its fine attributes, which I do appreciate, Reading doesn’t have this cache and is unknown internationally (at least in my circles).

So, although it’s probably too early for these issues to have been resolved, my worry is that this would devalue the worth of the qualification.

On the plus side, notwithstanding the other benefits, the merger might give you the chance to get more talent in to improve your lamentable showing in the annual softball tournament.

All the best


Anonymous said...

Anthony, did you know that IESE in Barcelona belongs to the University of Navarra? Probably you didn't. The fact is that being in a larger structure has many benefits, but a school is renowned on its own. I believe that Henley can benefit of additional resources, while Reading will have a first-class business school with a well known brand that carries a lot of value too and can coexist perfectly with its own. Small and medium schools need to get bigger the right way. This one sounds like a good match.

Best regards


Chris Dalton said...

I guess this question is on everyone's mind at the moment. As pointed out, and as is the case in just about every business school with a name that stands alone without reference to the issuing university (e.g. Wharton, Kellogg, Ashridge, Stern, Cass) the MBA brand resides in the name of the business school first and foremost.