Manchester Business School Archive

  • Reference
      GB 133 MBS
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      2 li.m.
  • Location
      Collection available at University Archive and Records Centre, main University Library.

Scope and Content

Archive of the Manchester Business School. Records date from the foundation of the School in 1965, but overall coverage is patchy. Many records date from the 1990s and early 200s including minutes of the Board, Faculty Board and Departmental Board.

In addition to committee records, there is an incomplete set of annual reports, a small number of MBS prospectuses, details of participants in early courses, and a very incomplete collection of School newsletters and magazines.

The archive does not include the records of the Federal School of Business and Management, which are a separate archive. A decision has not yet been taken on whether this archive will include accruing records from the post-2004 MBS.

Administrative / Biographical History

Manchester Business School was set up in 1965. It was the outcome of the Franks Report on Management Education (1963) which recommended that two business schools be created in the UK to teach management education, following the example of the USA. Manchester and London were chosen as the first UGC-funded business schools.

Manchester Business School was part of the University of Manchester, but it enjoyed significant autonomy over its internal organization. The School's status and powers were defined in the University's ordinances. These stipulated that it was subject to the University Council, and was integrated into the University's system of academic government (Senate and Faculty). From 1968, the School's admissions, curricula and examinations were overseen by a Faculty of Business Administration, headed by a Dean. The School had its own Director and was advised by the MBS Council, made up of business leaders, trades unionists and academics. The MBS did not have initially any formal connection to the long-established department of management sciences at UMIST.

The MBS differed greatly from other University departments in its academic organisation, student recruitment and methods of teaching. There were no separate departments, and a very strong inter-disciplinary ethos was encouraged. Teaching was organised by directors of studies (graduate courses, doctoral programmes and management courses), and the School did not accept undergraduates (in contrast to UMIST's department of management sciences). Most of its early students were already employed in business (and in a few cases, the public sector), and they studied for diplomas and masters degrees; the most significant degree was the master of business administration (MBA). In the late 1960s, Ph.Ds were introduced (a special Doctor of Business Administration [DBA] was added in the 1980s). The School also ran shorter courses for business executives, such as the 12-week Management Course for middle managers, and the 3-week Executive Course for senior executives. The School promoted an innovative form of pedagogy known as the "Manchester Method"; this stressed a heuristic "learning by doing" approach, and encouraged students to use their 'real world' business experiences in their studies. Although the school's initial focus was on teaching, it developed specialist research centres such as the Banking Centre (1973) and the New Enterprise Centre (1981).

The Manchester Business School initially occupied rented offices in Hilton House in the city centre, but in 1971 moved to the Precinct Centre on campus.

The organisation of the School has changed significantly over the years. Initially, the Director and the Directors of Studies played a significant role, assisted by a Professors' Committee. In 1977, the School introduced a system of Centres, which focused on a Postgraduate Centre, to which all Faculty staff belonged, and from which other Centres - International Banking, Executive Development, New Enterprise and the Language Centre - could purchase teaching time. This system was overseen by a new School Management Committee. In 1990, the School undertook a further reorganisation, when it created five subject areas groups (SAGs): Business Economics, Accounting and Finance, Information and Operations, Human Resource Management, and Marketing and Strategy. This brought greater disciplinary identity to the School, and was also intended to boost research work. Operational centres (Postgraduate Centre and Executive Development Centre) bought time from SAG staff. An Academic Management Board oversaw these groups. The Professors Committee continued to operate until the 1990s, providing academic advice; a Departmental Board oversaw more routine matters relating to operations and services. As in other University faculties, in the late 1990s a Policy, Planning and Resources Committee was created to oversee strategy and resource allocation within the School.

During the 1990s, MBS began to work more closely with the UMIST School of Management, and a Federal School of Business and Management was initiated in 1995. Despite posting disappointing results in the first Research Assessment Exercise (2 -1988), the School's performance improved greatly during the 1900s (it scored 5 in 2001). Student numbers continued to expand, with an increasing number of research-based degrees and more international students. Many students did not necessarily have an extended business career before studying for a qualification.

In 2004, with the creation of The University of Manchester, the MBS became a constituent part of a new Manchester Business School, along with the UMIST School of Management and the former School of Accounting and Finance, and Policy in Research in Science and Technology (PREST) unit of the University of Manchester. This made it the largest business school in the UK. In 2015, on the fiftieth anniversary of MBS, it was renamed the Alliance Manchester Business School.

Directors of the MBS 1965-2007:

  • W Grigor McClelland 1965-1977
  • Tom Lupton 1977-1984
  • Robert Telfer 1984-1988
  • Tom Cannon 1989-1993
  • John Arnold 1994-2007


  • /1 MBS Board minutes
  • /2 Faculty/Departmental Board minutes
  • /3 Departmental Board minutes
  • /4 Strategy Committee minutes
  • /5 Library Committee minutes
  • /6 School Memoranda
  • /7 Annual Reports and Accounts
  • /8 MBS Students documents
  • /9 Prospectuses
  • /10 Promotional Literature
  • /11 MBS reprints
  • /12 Magazines and Newsletters
  • /13 Miscellaneous

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader unless otherwise stated.

The collection includes material which is subject to the Data Protection Act 2018. The University of Manchester Library (UML) holds the right to process personal data for archiving and research purposes according to the provisions of the Act. In accordance with the DPA, UML has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately. Users of the archive are expected to comply with the Data Protection Act 2018, and will be required to sign a form acknowledging that they will abide by the requirements of the Act in any further processing of the material by themselves.

Acquisition Information

The records were transferred to the Archives in May 2012 and January 2016.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Custodial History

The archive was maintained at the School until it was transferred to the University Archives.

A number of early records of the School (to 1986) have been destroyed. John Wilson in The Manchester Experiment (1992) [p.146] reports that records of the Finance and General Purposes Committee, the Research Committee, and the Academic Management Committee, Professors' Group, Development Group, Policy Group, Operations Group and Centre for Business Research papers were destroyed. Other records which have not been located include those of the Faculty of Business Administration (to the 1990s) and the MBS Council.


Accruals are expected.

Related Material

The UMIST School of Management archive (TSM) is larger than that of MBS and will have significant, complementary information. The records of the Federal School will be catalogued as a separate collection. The W Grigor McClelland papers are as yet uncatalogued, but include papers relating to his teaching and research work during his time at the School. Post-2004 records of the School have not yet been catalogued.

Further details of the School's work will be found in the University reports of Council, 1966-1996 (UOP/2). The Vice-Chancellor's archive includes several files on the School: VCA/7/581, VCA/7/593, VCA/7/771VCA/7/828VCA/7/910 and VCA/7/773.


John F Wilson, The Manchester Experiment: a history of the Manchester Business School 1965-1990 (London 1992); this is a detailed history of the School in its first 25 years. There is as yet no successor volume.

Geographical Names