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What could be more important to business growth than strong management and leadership excellence? That’s why the Ulster Business School is nailing its colours to the mast with the announcement of its new Department of Management and Leadership.

Launched at a high profile conference in Belfast headlined by international business leader Sir Christopher Bland, Ulster’s Department of Management and Leadership brings the finest minds in management and leadership education in Northern Ireland to focus on creating the new business leaders of tomorrow.

Professor Marie McHugh, Dean of the Ulster Business School, said:
“Developing the softer business graduate skills is something the Ulster Business School has been engaged in for over 30 years, and it is important that we continue to develop this capability. Recent research has indicated that an important factor in the growth of the Northern Ireland economy is enhanced management and leadership capacity within our business organisations. Drawing upon our extensive bank of knowledge, skill and expertise in this field, our mission is address effectively this identified gap in capacity.”

In addition to educating the next generation of business leaders, the new Department also forms a skills resource for existing business. Its academics and researchers have a wealth of world-wide experience and strong international expert networks that they can bring to bear on management issues facing Northern Ireland’s business community.

Head of Department is Heather Farley: “One of the drivers behind our name change is to better reflect what we already do well. Management and leadership are both important, but top flight leadership is often the element that makes the difference in driving a company forward, bringing a creative edge and motivation to staff to help them move the enterprise forward at the speed required in today’s business environment.”

With programmes like the Masters of Business Administration, Business Improvement and the Masters In Executive Leadership, Ulster has been at the forefront of business education in Northern Ireland for many years.  But there’s always more that can be done, says Farley: “ Our links with business are second to none:  much of what we do is about embedding the softer skills through the courses that we teach, helping our students acquire and develop those skills that will enable them to make an early impact on the business environment.”

Many of the Department’s students – especially at MBA level – are already employed in business, and the focus is on equipping them with the ability to take their businesses and careers forward to the next level, says Mrs Farley.

“The skills we teach are broad based: every business needs management, every business needs leadership. But we also target our offer to the needs of particular target markets –some explicitly designed for senior managers and executives, others like the Masters in Business Studies (MBS), are tailored for graduates coming from a wide range of backgrounds, often from specialist fields such as engineering or other disciplines.

“What they need is a year’s intensive grounding in management skills, helping them develop their capabilities in management and leadership.”

Business education at Ulster has a track record of success over its 30 year history of engagement with Northern Ireland’s commercial environment. As one entrepreneur,  businessman and trained engineer Michael Ludlow chose the Ulster Business School to acquire the management and leadership savoir-faire he needed to build his business.

“It’s the best thing I ever did,” he said. Today, Michael’s aerospace company Lenis Aer, stands on the brink of international success, having won both the £25K award and the InterTradeIreland Seedcorn award for its revolutionary aero engine nacelle technology.  Michael has also recently been appointed as a Visiting Professor to the Department.

Last word goes to Professor Marie McHugh: “ The development of management and leadership capacity in Northern Ireland’s business community is pivotal to the future growth of our economy: and Ulster’s Department of Management and Leadership is determined to play a major part in that success.”