Business schools face off in battle to raise profile

THE battle of the business schools is about to get tougher with both Murdoch University and the University of Western Australia making a dedicated effort to raise the profile of their respective business schools.

Murdoch University has poached Edith Cowan University’s head of the school of justice and business law, Nara Srinivasan, to head its business school.

An inaugural WA Business News 40under40 winner, Mr Srinivasan spent 12 years with Edith Cowan promoting avi-ation security, corporate governance and community policing. He was successful in gaining partnerships with Singapore Airlines, Emirates Airlines, Pricewaterhouse-Coopers and ASIC, in addition to building a strong reputation throughout South-East Asia for the university’s corporate governance credentials.

Mr Srinivasan said a key objective of his new position was to build Murdoch business school’s profile.

“One of my jobs is to build business partnerships and industry contacts with the private sector,” he said. “I want to build research partnerships as well as industry contacts to increase job placements.”

Mr Srinivasan said the university wanted to increase its profile in WA, across Australia, and internationally.

He said that he would not pro-mote Murdoch business school as a separate entity from the university.

“It’s important to promote the business school as a part of Murdoch University,” Mr Srinivasan said.

“Most people associate us with veterinary studies; we need to promote what the business school offers.”

The University of Western Australia is preparing for the official launch of its business school in August in an attempt to secure more of the State’s top achieving high school students and to increase brand awareness throughout Asia.

UWA business school associate dean Ken Robertson said the school had outsourced de-signers to deliver a new image, which was prompted by an organisational restructure earlier this year.

“As part of the university re-structure in January, the faculty of economics and commerce became the school of business,” Mr Robertson said.

“We’ve taken the opportunity to go back to the basics and find out who we are and where we want to be and promote the image we want. We were dull and we wanted to raise the image.

“We have imposed, across the school, the one look and the one image.”

He said the new image was contemporary and bright and would help raise the business school’s profile overseas.

“Internationally we have a really good reputation and in the past we haven’t used the reputation and reinforced that with an image to build on,” Mr Robertson said.

The school is currently assessing its post-graduate programs and profile, a process that will be completed later this year.

Mr Robertson said the graduate school of management would run as a separate identity, with a review to take place in three years.

“The GSM has its own image and position and to change it now would undermine that,” he said.

Mr Robertson said the two divisions would amalgamate under the one banner at an appropriate time. UWA business school will also begin promoting ex-students next year as part of the continuing awareness campaign.

“We’re not just working with the image but at the grass roots with the alumni level to give them something to identify with,” Mr Robertson said.

“The chairman of Singapore Airlines was a graduate, the chairman of Cathay Pacific was a graduate. We are looking at finding the best students over the past 10 years and doing biographies that we will promote.”

He said the university hoped to attract a greater proportion of the State’s top students over the next few years.

“We currently have 75 per cent of the top 1,000 students choosing us; those who don’t usually choose other universities because they offer a course that we don’t,” Mr Robertson said. “Those outside the 1,000 go to other universities and some of those try and transfer to UWA, but we do not have the places.”

The UWA business school launch is on August 12.

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