Choosing to go to business school brings a seemingly endless number of opportunities, but an experience that really stays with people is the chance to study on some beautiful campuses. Business school PR consultants Georgina Tierney and Stephanie Mullins from BlueSky Education take a look at some of the campuses to watch in 2023, whether that’s for their beauty, facilities, innovation or even sustainable practices. Each school brings something different to the table, both in terms of the learning and the personal time people spend on campus.
Nyenrode Business University
To begin, Nyenrode Business University. Nyenrode is based in The Netherlands and has a campus of wonder. There’s a sense of magic here. The Breukelen campus includes a breathtaking castle, and it comes with a bundle of history.
The castle was built in the 13th century and was dedicated to The Count of Holland. It was developed on the river Vecht, with a moat surrounding it for extra protection. Throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, it was destroyed and subsequently rebuilt each time. It changed ownership a handful of times, but eventually landed in the hands of Jacques Goudstikker in 1930.
Jacques was an art dealer and felt that the less fortunate should have the opportunity to view art just like everyone else. With that in mind, he opened the castle to the public to share all of the art he had acquired. During the war, Jacques had to flee from the Nazis and was tragically killed at sea. Many years later, Jacques’ widow, Desiree, decided to officially transfer ownership of the estate to the Nederlands Opleidings Instituut voor het Buitenland (N.O.I.B.), as they had been renting it out previously. NOIB is now known as Nyenrode Business University.
Since then, the castle has been revamped so that it is suitable for students, and multiple buildings have been added. The campus holds great facilities, such as a bar, sports amenities, and a gym. The rich history and beautiful setting would be a thrill to experience during studies, and certainly an incredibly special experience. A project to attract contributions for the upkeep of the castle is ongoing at the school.
INSEAD’s campus in a forest in Fontainebleau, France, is truly spectacular. Surrounded by trees and nature, the first buildings of the campus were designed by Bernard de la Tour d’Auvergne in the 1960s, and it was hailed as Europe’s “most advanced educational building.”
Fontainebleau is just a 45-minute train ride away from the bright lights of Paris but brings a sense of peace and natural beauty to students. Current and past pupils have all said that the tranquillity of the campus helps them to focus more on their studies, and on themselves as people. The forest is one of the largest in France and has plenty of trails suitable for walking, biking and even horse riding.
Recently, a 10-year plan to integrate the campus more closely with the forest was announced as part of a campus re-imagination master plan. Core to this will be creating spaces for collaboration; whether that be the students with one another, faculty over research, or the architecture working with the forest – collaboration will be at the heart of the new campus layout. Attila Cselotei, Chief Operating Officer at INSEAD, highlights that: “We reimagine our physical campus to be a dynamic hub with a primary focus on human experience and greater integration with nature. By creating a campus for good, INSEAD will again lead the way in redefining management education by responding to the new imperatives of people, place and planet.”
Additionally, INSEAD’s dreamy forest location is based near the Fontainebleau Château – which is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is a breathtaking palace built by French monarchs from the 12th to the 19th century and housed over 30 monarchs until Napoleon III. It is definitely worth a short trip to learn more about French history.
Acquiring your degree in a location such as this one would be an experience you would never forget, and we don’t doubt that this campus is certainly on the list for any nature lovers.
EHL Hospitality Business School
EHL Hospitality Business School’s Swiss campus, based in Lausanne, is undeniably an experience worth shouting about. The school has been open for over 125 years and was created with the idea that it is “by students, for students”, the recently revamped campus is proud to have 12 food and beverage outlets, one of which is a Michelin-star restaurant. These restaurants are run with the help of students, along with external staff members, to help the students learn what it is like to be in each role of hospitality. Each of these areas are seen as other classrooms, where students learn the practical, hands-on side of hospitality. There seems to be no limit to the roles they take on, from cleaners to waitresses to chefs. The campus holds a state-of-the-art sports centre, with around 30 different clubs, and is also near Lake Geneva and ski slopes, so it is ideal for any sports or nature enthusiasts.
EHL continues to be incredibly innovative. Their sustainability practices are particularly noteworthy. EHL adopted a 100% renewable energy-based mix, known as “Nativa”, and has made substantial efforts to reduce waste across their campuses.
In 2022, the school opened their newest campus in Lausanne after five years of construction. Here you will find an organic garden and orchard, where are over 300 trees, 400 vines and 5,500 species of shrubs to help to foster a natural ecosystem on campus. They also take their commitment to lowering their energy consumption very seriously. The campus is equipped with 44 geothermal poles and a ‘wastewater’ heating system which will cover 80% of their heating needs. They are also solar-powered.
The luxury feeling on this campus is striking, and they truly do practice what they preach too in terms of sustainability and the environment.
King’s Business School
Students at King’s Business School get to experience the excellent location of Bush House, situated in the heart of London’s vibrant West End, just a short walk from Covent Garden and the River Thames.
The campus at Bush House is a modern and spacious building that offers state-of-the-art facilities for teaching, learning and research. It includes lecture theatres, seminar rooms, a library, a cafe, and a range of other amenities that are designed to support the needs of students and staff, including a spacious courtyard between the buildings.
The campus is also home to a number of research centres and institutes, including the King’s Entrepreneurship Institute. But the building also boasts some impressive history; originally designed and built in the early 1900s to be a trade and commerce centre, it later became one of the most expensive buildings in the world and a former headquarters for the BBC. Business is at the heart of this campus’ history, remaining to this day with the building’s current business school occupants.
University of Sussex Business School
The University of Sussex Business School is situated in the South West of England. Surrounded by green fields, and a stone’s throw from Brighton, its location is wonderful. The campus itself is a stunning, modern building which was built with the iconic Sussex architecture in mind, so it doesn’t take away from the beauty around it.
They have modern, spacious lecture theatres, and both private and cooperative working spaces dotted around the campus. There are cherry blossom trees, and plenty of green spaces for when you want to sit and enjoy nature for a few minutes.
They also proudly hold their “Bloomberg financial markets lab.” This state-of-the-art facility provides students with access Bloomberg trading platform, which is used by global banks, government agencies and corporations. This is incredibly useful to students as it allows them to witness and simulate real trading conditions. It provides them with a far more in-depth understanding of the industry and makes students incredibly employable.
University of Bradford School of Management
University of Bradford School of Management is situated in the North of England. Their campus is spacious and modern, close to Bradford’s lively city centre, and surrounded by nature.
Bradford is one of the UK’s oldest university-based business schools and has been running for over fifty years. Like some of the previously mentioned schools, this school has a fascinating history.
On campus, you will find the beautiful Heaton Mount building. Developed in 1866, it was previously owned by a slavery abolitionist and was acquired by the university in 1967. It was previously used as the School of Management’s Executive Education and Development Centre. Nowadays, it is available to view on English Heritage Days.
In more recent times, Bradford SOM moved into The Bright Building in 2019. This building is a true work of modern art. Not only is it beautiful to look at, it was awarded a 95.2% rating by BREEAM. BREEAM is an accreditation body that aims to help establishments become more sustainable. The rating achieved by Bradford is impressive and proves how much effort they have put into making the campus sustainable.
Alongside these efforts, they also keep beehives on campus to help the bee population and improve their biodiversity. Similarly, they harvest rainwater to reuse it in their public toilets, and they have embarked on an “edible campus” journey. They are growing fruit, vegetables and herbs, which they encourage staff and students to pick to eat and use for medicinal purposes.
It appears to us that this campus would be exciting and ethical to be a part of.
University of Mannheim Business School
The University of Mannheim Business School is both old and prestigious.
The school is located at Mannheim Palace, one of the largest Baroque palaces in Europe. Baroque is a style of architecture – as well as other arts – that flourished from the 17th to the mid-18th century. The castle was originally the main residence of the Prince-electors of the Electorate Palatinate of the House of Wittelsbach, a former German dynasty.
Although no continuous scientific college originally existed in Mannheim, the Wirtschaftshochschule, or business college, founded in 1907, drew inspiration from Elector Karl Theodor’s earlier college; the Kurpfälzische Akademie der Wissenschaften. This was the official scientific association of the Electoral Palatinate, established as early as 1763. The college then expanded its programmes in 1967, gaining university status.
The University of Mannheim now uses Mannheim Palace as its central building complex, still featuring historical tapestries, furniture, paintings, porcelain, and silverware.
POLIMI Graduate School of Management
Digital, distributed, and innovative: these are the three words that POLIMI Graduate School of Management in Italy use to describe their campuses. They started at their campus in Bovisa, the beating heart of their school, and then in 2022, launched their brand-new campus in the Navigli district.
The Navigli district itself is based in the middle of Milan’s creative and cultural centre. Built-in partnership with Microsoft and IBM, this campus is futuristic, technological, and sustainable in design. The interior spaces at the Navigli campus have been designed as places that encourage people to meet and exchange ideas, and to bring a sense of collectiveness and purpose. The campus also has an array of digital components, in line with the school’s strong focus on digitalization.
Classrooms are designed with a view to spatial, technological and functional flexibility, and students have access to a distinctive learning experience, capable of eliminating distances and favouring “connections” between all participants. All rooms are equipped with sensors that detect lighting, CO2, temperature, occupancy, people entering/leaving, and information on room usage is centralised. Classrooms are inspired by hybrid learning, featuring screens behind or next to students, auto-frame video cameras, and ambient sounds.
Ultimately, the purpose of the Navigli campus is to enable students to have an increasingly blended learning experience, characterised by physical and digital spaces that merge.
Suliman S. Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut (AUB)
Suliman S. Olayan School of Business is situated on the AUB campus, which is located in the capital of Lebanon, Beirut. The campus is in the Ras Beirut area, two streets away from the Hamra shopping district and not far from Beirut’s touristic Downtown district.
The 60.9-acre campus overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and includes athletic fields, a private beach, a bird sanctuary, and a repository of native and non-native trees and shrubs.
Lebanon enjoys a Mediterranean climate. Perfect for this school’s beachside location, and, while this may not be the automatic go-to for those first considering business education today, this is a historic institution with an attractive campus, one that we think really is one to watch.
In the heart of the German capital, ESMT Berlin’s main campus is located in a beautiful building with historical significance that includes a landmarked park. The main building was erected between 1962 and 1964 for use as the office of the State Council of the former German Democratic Republic, also known as East Germany.
From 1999 to 2001, the building served as the Federal Chancellery of the reunified Federal Republic of Germany, before extensive renovations were made between 2003 to 2005 for its new use as ESMT Berlin’s campus – which was ceremoniously opened by Angela Merkel in 2006.
The building has kept much of its original historical charm, but the required changes have also been made to transform the building into a campus with state-of-the-art technology, including auditoriums with large-scale video walls, tracking cameras, and intelligence microphone systems. The new equipment and technology have benefitted students and addressed an increasing demand for remote learning experiences.
Business school campuses are consistently adapted, and this article is just a selection of our favourites to highlight this year.