UK business schools failing to prioritise corporate governance

London, 16 May 2016 – The UK’s leading business schools do not give enough emphasis to the principles of corporate governance that could stand students in good stead as future business leaders, according to a study carried about by ICSA: The Governance Institute.

Chris Hodge, ex-FRC Director of Corporate Governance and now a consultant within ICSA’s Policy team, carried out an assessment of the published syllabuses of the UK’s leading business schools and found that less than one third of them offer modules on corporate governance on their Master of Business Administration (MBA) programmes.

Of the top twenty business schools:

  • Only three have core modules with governance in the title (Cass Business School (City University), Cambridge Judge Business School and Strathclyde Business School), and only a further three have dedicated optional modules (Birmingham, Nottingham and Warwick)
  • Several business schools (including Leeds and Bath) make no mention of corporate governance in their summary of course content at all.

Chris comments: ‘Leading UK business schools appear to be failing in their duty to instil in the future business elite the principles of effective governance. Businesses are ultimately only as good as the people who provide leadership and direction, and it appears counter-intuitive in the wake of recent and ongoing governance failures, that the providers of business education have not adapted to prepare their students to fill future positions of business leadership responsibly.”

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Notes to Editors:

  1. ICSA: The Governance Institute is the professional body for governance. We have members in all sectors and are required by our Royal Charter to lead ‘effective governance and efficient administration of commerce, industry and public affairs’. With 125 years’ experience, we work with regulators and policy makers to champion high standards of governance and provide qualifications, training and guidance.
  2. The study of course content available on business school websites included the following business schools: Alliance Manchester Business School; Ashridge Executive Education; Birmingham Business School; Cambridge Judge Business School; Cass Business School (City University); Cranfield School of Management; Durham University Business School; Henley Business School; Imperial College Business School; Lancaster University Management School; Leeds University Business School; London Business School; Nottingham University Business School; Saïd Business School (University of Oxford); Strathclyde Business School; University of Bath School of Management; University of Bradford School of Management; University of Edinburgh Business School; University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School; Warwick Business School.
  3. Chris Hodge: Chris was Director of Corporate Governance at the UK’s Financial Reporting Council for ten years until 2014. He was responsible for developing and promoting the UK Corporate Governance Code, one of the earliest and most influential codes for companies. The practices that he introduced include board effectiveness reviews and public reporting on the management of significant risks. Chris was also responsible for introducing the first national stewardship code for investors in the UK in 2010. More recently Chris was the FRC’s Strategy Director, responsible for developing the FRC’s overall strategy for 2016-19 and for co-ordinating the FRC’s external communications, public affairs and international influencing activities.

    Chris also established, and chaired for eight years until 2015, the European Corporate Governance Codes Network. The Network shares information and good practice among the bodies responsible for codes in 28 European countries, and its advice is regularly sought by the European Commission when developing its proposals for European level regulation.
  4. The report findings can be read in full at 
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