Business school central to Trinity's plans for growth
Trinity Business School embarks on a new phase of innovative business education
“The Trinity College community is made up of staff, students and alumni. We want that relationship with our alumni to be lifelong.”
There’s a natural rivalry between universities and at the annual comedy debate between Trinity and one of its Dublin rivals, all sorts of witty put-downs and wild accusations are thrown around. But there’s one thing that nobody could ever accuse Trinity of: a lack of ambition.
And by Trinity’s own admission, the Inspiring Generations campaign is aiming high by seeking to raise €400 million and inspire 150,000 volunteering hours “to help the university realise its vision and inspire many generations to come.” None of it will be possible without alumni, whose practical and financial help have been crucial in terms of getting the new Trinity Business School building built.
Provost of Trinity College Dublin, Dr Patrick Prendergast, says that the business school is central to the university’s plans for growth.
“The university is Ireland’s university on the world stage, known for its reputation, research and quality of teaching. And a top-tier university needs a top-tier business school.
“ But there is no public money being put into this new building, which is financed from private philanthropy, the university’s own resources and some borrowing. Our founding patrons have been essential.”
With so many worthy causes out there, why would a business school graduate with money to spare donate it to Ireland’s most internationally respected university? “I suspect many donors gift to several different causes,” says Dr Prendergast.
“Education empowers a lot of people and those who help build universities see the transformative power that education can have on people’s lives. We want to provide the best quality business education but we can’t do it with government resources or tuition fees alone. Our supporters understand that we can meet the global competition head-on with their funding”
The business school is located close to the science and technology schools on the campus, and the campus is in the heart of the city. Its courses are also a big part of the curriculum as well as the academic and research activities of the university.
“It’s not just the building but what goes on in the building that attracts the best students and staff and, with them, the best resources,” says Dr Prendergast.
“Trinity Business School is the fastest growing business school in Europe and a global leader in business education. With the help of a community of faculty, business leaders, alumni and donors we have steered this ambitious vision.
“It has been central to our philantrophic campaign, and we are delighted to be delivering on this flagship development.”
The new building, which is due to open from the end of May and in time for the 2019 to 2020 academic year, will be a big boost to its mission.
“It already has many top international rankings, and highly-ranked business schools are properly resourced. We have seven floors of excellent lecture theatres, including an auditorium that seats 600 people.
“Our Harvard-style lecture rooms will allow for more interactive teaching and collaborative project work. One floor will be given over to Tangent, an ideas workspace where innovation and entrepreneurship teaching will be available to all students, not just those from business courses.
“This will be a space where we can teach young budding entrepreneurs from arts, Stem or health courses, whether they are undergraduates or postgraduates, about innovation. It’s worth remembering that a lot of our best businesses aren’t always generated by business graduates, but students from areas such as humanities, engineering and the life sciences.”
Which brings us back to the alumni, where Dr Prendergast is keen to emphasise that Trinity graduates have a valuable contribution to make far beyond monetary donation.
“The Trinity College community is made up of staff, students, graduate and business leaders. We want that relationship with our alumni to be lifelong: they can support with mentoring of students or in working to support and sponsor student clubs and societies.
The university is asking its alumni to volunteer their time, whether acting as an ambassador, volunteering with one of its professional networks, or becoming a career mentor
“They can provide the internships that are increasingly important to third-level students, especially to business students, and we hope that our students will provide value for them too. Our alumni community can also provide vital support for students on overseas study or work programmes, including practical and emotional support as well as placements.”
With the costs of rents and housing in Dublin eating into disposable income, particularly for graduates under 40, not all alumni will have the financial wherewithal to offer cash or jobs.
That’s why, through its Inspiring Generations campaign, the university is also asking its alumni to volunteer their time, whether acting as an ambassador for Trinity, volunteering with one of its professional networks, becoming a career mentor or being a “class champion” that organises reunion events or gifts from the class towards a campaign project.
Meanwhile, the international welcome programme will connect Trinity students in non-EU countries with Trinity graduates who live locally.
For all this, however, let’s face it: there will be many graduates who feel that they paid enough to the university in registration fees and that Trinity, Ireland’s highest-ranking university, has enough. So why should they dig deep?
Trinity wants to help solve the challenges facing Ireland and the world
Dr Prendergast points out that a core goal of the Inspiring Generations campaign is to increase the number of students from diverse backgrounds, particularly students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
At the moment, around eight per cent of Trinity’s undergraduates come through the Trinity Access Programme, which has been widely recognised as providing some of the best and most innovative supports to students from less wealthy backgrounds.
Trinity wants to help solve the challenges facing Ireland and the world, says Dr Prendergast.
“Whether used by commercial firms or not-for-profit social enterprise, business is a tool for change and that is why it is so integral to Trinity’s overall strategy.
“Those who support our mission to have a more diverse campus built around students with a thirst for knowledge are giving young people, as well as mature students, the best chance to have a happy and successful life through a world-class education.”
Trinity has set about making a world class business school and now ranks in the top two per cent of business schools worldwide. Now amongst the fast growing business schools in Europe, its new facility opens on Thursday, May 23rd.