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UCD Smurfit Executive Development retains Top 50 Financial Times ranking among the world’s elite Executive Education providers

  • Date: Mon, May 14, 2018

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Picured: Prof. Anthony Brabazon, Dean of UCD College of Business and Helen Brophy, Director of UCD Smurfit Executive Development

UCD Smurfit Executive Development has been ranked 48th in the world, for its Open Enrolment programmes, according to the prestigious 2018 Financial Times Executive Education Rankings, which have been published today. In securing 48th place it is the second consecutive year that Smurfit Executive Development has achieved a global Top 50 ranking (2017: 48th) demonstrating consistency at the highest standard in the delivery of world-class executive education programmes. 

Among its European peers, UCD Smurfit Executive Development was ranked 26th and is one of only nine business schools in the UK and Ireland to feature in the ranking including: London Business School; Cambridge; and Oxford. Post Brexit it will be the only Top 50 ranked European centre of excellence for delivery of executive education and leadership development in an English speaking EU member state.

The study, which assesses performance across a number of criteria including course quality, faculty, facilities and diversity showed UCD Smurfit Executive Development ranked 40th in four categories, namely Course Design, Teaching, Aims achieved and Faculty. 28th position was achieved for Partnerships with peer centres of excellence while 15th place in the Top 50 was attained for Female participation.  A Top 10 position was secured for Repeat business and growth highlighting the extent to which organisations rely on UCD Smurfit Executive Development for delivery of Executive Education programmes and continue to choose Ireland’s executive education exemplar for further leadership development.

Following the publication of the ranking, Prof. Anthony Brabazon, Dean, UCD College of Business said: “Attaining recognition from highly regarded international rankings such as the Financial Times is a key benchmark of our offering against the very best in the world as we continue to strive to be a standard-bearer in the delivery of executive and graduate business education in Ireland. The second successive ranking in the Top 50 for our Open Enrolment Executive Education programmes demonstrates the consistency required to be truly considered a global Top 50 business school which we aspire to achieve by 2020 for all programmes”.

Helen Brophy, Director, UCD Smurfit Executive Development said: “Maintaining Top 50 status for our Open Enrolment programmes has required the collective efforts both of the management and Faculty who, with the backing of the Irish and North American Advisory Boards, have delivered continuous improvements over many years to provide impactful executive education programmes for our participants. We are also seeing the fruits of the transformational €5 million investment in our state-of-the-art Executive Development Centre opened last September which was designed to integrate the very best facilities of the world’s elite Executive Education providers”.

Martin Shanahan, CEO, IDA Ireland also commented: “Attracting FDI to Ireland remains highly competitive and as an inward investment development agency we must demonstrate that Ireland has world-class infrastructure to both attract and retain multinationals. Having a top business school and Executive Development Centre considered among the best in the world is just one of many factors that helps IDA Ireland build a compelling inward investment proposition for Ireland. With Brexit on the horizon, UCD Smurfit Executive Development will soon become the only Top 50 globally ranked EU-based centre in an English speaking country”.

In recent months, UCD Smurfit Executive Development was formally admitted to UNICON, an invitation-only alliance of the world’s leading university-based executive education providers. Members of the alliance share knowledge, research and perspectives to support the evolution of executive development programmes and to ensure that they continually provide best practice informed by global insights.

UCD Smurfit Executive Development is the only Irish member of UNICON being amongst just 22 European business schools including INSEAD, London Business School, IESE, Oxford Saïd and IMD to be awarded full membership. Other international members comprise the very elite of Ivy League business schools; Harvard, Cornell, Columbia, Dartmouth, Yale and the University of Pennsylvania which are all top ten ranked Executive Education Providers for Open Enrolment Programmes as well as the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

Rankings with strict objective criteria such as the Financial Times are the only truly independent and internationally respected classifications by which the world’s top business schools and Executive Education Programmes are benchmarked.


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