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Ulster Business School gets ready to mark 40th birthday

By Margaret Canning

Published 11/02/2015

Happy Birthday: Marie McHugh of Ulster Business School joined Gerry Mallon, Danske Bank chief executive and chairman of alumni group yesterday, to celebrate the school’s 40th anniversary
Happy Birthday: Marie McHugh of Ulster Business School joined Gerry Mallon, Danske Bank chief executive and chairman of alumni group yesterday, to celebrate the school’s 40th anniversary

Ulster Business School, which has fostered entrepreneurs in everything from mashed potato to venture capital, is marking its 40th birthday.

The institution's graduates include Tracy Hamilton, a director at Mash Direct, and Colin Walsh of Crescent Capital.

Danske Bank chief executive Gerry Mallon is the head of the alumni group and will lead a year of celebrations to mark the anniversary of the school, which is part of Ulster University.

The institution was set up in 1975, providing courses in business and professional studies.

It was led by Professor Aidan O'Reilly, with 40 staff and 300 undergraduates. Since then it has become one of the university's largest faculties - and what the school describes as "a major engine of growth within Ulster University".

School dean Marie McHugh said: "Our vision has always been to provide our students with a professional education to prepare them for professional life.

"To continually deliver that vision, our approach has evolved and developed significantly over the last four decades reflecting the rapidly changing social and economic environment and workplace challenges faced by our graduates."

She said the school had "much to celebrate" and would be involving its 60,000 alumni.

"We are delighted to have such a distinguished group of alumni helping to shape the year's programme and look forward to attending the many events, both academic and social, which are planned."

While it started out with 300 students, it now has 6,000, and 200 staff.

There are 100 undergraduate, post-graduate and PhD degrees.

The school said it made "a highly significant contribution to the growth and development of the regional economy".

The school has links to Harvard and Babson College in Boston and has aimed to develop into a major centre management and business education internationally.

Its research has placed it seventh in the UK of 101 business schools in the REF 2014, the UK government assessment of university research.

Danske Bank chief executive Gerry Mallon said: "I'm delighted to play a part in the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Ulster University Business School.

"I have very fond memories of my time there completing the MBA course.

"It was not only stimulating, challenging and thoroughly enjoyable but also provided an opportunity to forge links which I'll have for a lifetime.

"The school is to be congratulated for all that it has achieved and can indeed look forward to the next 40 years with even more confidence."

Undergraduates or postgraduates at the Ulster University, in its four campuses of Jordanstown, Belfast, Coleraine or Magee, from 1975 on who pursued a business-related course such as accounting, finance, hospitality, tourism, marketing, entrepreneurship, human resource management or international business, are invited to register for more information at www.business.ulster.ac.uk/forty.

Ulster Business School alumni - when they attended and where they are now?

Angela McGowan - 1992 to 1993 - Danske Bank

Tracy Hamilton - 1979 to 1982 - Mash Direct

Gary McCausland - 1988 to 1992 - property developer

Philip Bain - 1995 to 1999 - Shredbank

Sean Gallagher - 1997 to 2000 - entrepreneur and former investor on RTE's Dragons' Den

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