Groundbreaking for Cambridge Judge Business School expansion caps 25th anniversary year that included focus on women in business and entrepreneurship.

The Centre is not just an academic exercise, but matters to Cambridge and indeed to the UK

Christoph Loch

The groundbreaking for a £32 million expansion of Cambridge Judge Business School capped a 25th anniversary year that also included a focus on women in business, creation of a new Entrepreneurship Centre and a gala reception at the House of Lords.

“This is a very special occasion,” said Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, who participated in the 26 November groundbreaking ceremony. “Twenty-five years ago it was a dream that we would set up a business school here that is distinctive and different.”

The new 4,790-square-metre Simon Sainsbury Centre, which will include new lecture theatres, seminar rooms and dining facilities, will help further “the integration of the business school into everything the University does,” he said, adding that it was important that the business school is located at the heart of the University community in the centre of Cambridge.

The new building is supported in part by a generous donation from the Monument Trust, whose founder Simon Sainsbury was one of the business school’s original benefactors a quarter century ago. The new building, designed by London architects Stanton Williams, will sit directly behind the former Addenbrooke’s Hospital building that now houses Cambridge Judge.

The role of women in business has formed a central part of the 25th anniversary year at Cambridge Judge. A new Women’s Leadership Initiative was launched at the School to serve as a platform to enable women’s empowerment and leadership in the business world globally, and held its inaugural conference in June. A study on “The Rise of Women in Society: enablers and inhibitors” led by Sucheta Nadkarni, Sinyi Professor of Chinese Management at Cambridge Judge, was unveiled at a London conference and attracted worldwide attention; it found that increasing the economic power of women throughout society, rather than quotas, is the key factor in women reaching and staying on corporate boards.

In addition, the Executive Education division of Cambridge Judge teamed up in with LexisNexis to publish a new magazine, FLUX, which examines women in the legal profession, while Cambridge Judge also agreed to sponsor a Woman Entrepreneur of the Year award in Business Weekly publication’s annual awards.

The new Entrepreneurship Centre, which in July welcomed to Cambridge its patron, HRH The Duke of York, KG, creates a new centre that reflects the full journey of entrepreneurship – from idea creation to attracting start-up funding to growth. It brings together several of the business school’s initiatives including the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (CfEL) and Accelerate Cambridge, while serving as a focal point for the School’s interaction with the wider Cambridge Cluster of research and enterprise.

“The Centre is not just an academic exercise, but matters to Cambridge and indeed to the UK,” Cambridge Judge Director Christoph Loch told the Duke of York and other guests – adding that the new Centre will help individuals prepare for entrepreneurial activity, develop their management skills and address the “scale-up problem” that impairs many young companies’ ability to grow.

Complementing the new Entrepreneurship Centre is a recently opened Centre for Social Innovation, which is overseeing the launch in 2016 of a new part-time two-year Masters in Social Innovation programme.

The 25th anniversary reception in September, attended by 250 people at the House of Lords, was hosted by Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, CBE, DL, a member of the Cambridge Judge Advisory Board. A nine-minute video shown at the event recounted the School’s origins and themes – including student diversity and how business can play a positive role in society.

“Cambridge didn’t have a business school at all, but within the Engineering Department students could take management studies,” Professor Stephen Watson, inaugural Director of Cambridge Judge (1990-1994), recalls in the video. “We thought there ought to be more than this, we thought in fact there out to be a full-scale business school in Cambridge.”

So that’s what happened. From a first class of just 19 MBA and 19 MPhil students, Cambridge Judge this year has 157 MBA students, 63 Executive MBA students, 64 Master of Finance students, 32 PhD students, 126 MPhil students and 41 undergraduates attending classes.

The expansion of programmes and the student body means that the historic Addenbrooke’s Hospital and adjacent buildings are too small to accommodate all the school’s activities. So when completed in 2017 the new building will provide world-class teaching and conferencing facilities for the School’s next quarter century and beyond.

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