Queen Victoria Statue

Fusing business and technology since 1955

1851 – The Great Exhibition inspires the first colleges in South Kensington

The Great Exhibition of 1851, a Victorian global fair of culture and industry, provides the impetus for the formation of several educational colleges in South Kensington. Prince Albert took a great interest in the exhibition and supported the idea of South Kensington becoming a hub for science, the arts and industry.

1907 – Imperial College gains a Royal Charter

The City and Guilds College, the Royal School of Mines and the Royal College of Science merge to create one university, the Imperial College of Science and Technology.

1910 – Work starts on the Royal School of Mines building

The Royal School of Mines building, designed by Sir Ashton Webb, is now part of the current day Business School facilities. The building has been featured in several films and has been seamlessly incorporated into the modern frontage of the Imperial’s main entrance.

1954 – Imperial expands postgraduate education

Owen Saunders, Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department, with strong support from Imperial College Rector Sir Patrick Linstead discusses plans to launch production engineering and management studies as part of a significant expansion of postgraduate education at the College.

1955 – First postgraduate management degree launched

The Mechanical Engineering Department launches an MSc in Production Engineering & Management, appointing Samuel Eilon to lead the programme, with a focus on production technology and production management.

Nicol Gross appointed first Reader in Production Engineering

Imperial appoints Nicol Gross as the first Reader in Production Engineering in the Mechanical Engineering Department to develop an MSc in Production Engineering.

1956 – Production Engineering Section established

Imperial establishes the Production Engineering section at 14 Prince’s Gardens and appoints Samuel Eilon to head the section.

1957 – Joan Woodward appointed

Joan Woodward joins the Production Engineering section as a lecturer in industrial sociology.

1959 – Samuel Eilon appointed Reader in Production Engineering and head of section

Samuel Eilon is appointed Reader in Production Engineering and returns to Imperial to head the Production Engineering section. He oversees growth of the MSc and a research programme in operational research.

1961 – MSc Operational Research and Management Studies launched and Section is renamed

Imperial launches MSc in Operational Research and Management Studies. The Production Engineering section is renamed the Production Engineering & Management Studies section.

1964 – Executive Education courses launched

Production Engineering and Management section launches its first short courses in Operational Research for managers from industry.

1965 – Production Engineering and Management Section moves into new Mechanical Engineering building

The Production Engineering & Management Studies section moves into the new Mechanical Engineering building due to growth in teaching and research.

Dorothy Wedderburn appointed

Dorothy Wedderburn, at the instigation of Joan Woodward, joins the Industrial Sociology unit as a lecturer in industrial sociology. The pair successfully attract significant research funds from research councils and organisations such as Fords, ICI, and government bodies including the Post Office.

Imperial and the LSE co-sponsor the founding of London Business School

At the request of the UK Government, Imperial’s Rector joined the founding governing body of the London Graduate School of Business Studies (later renamed the London Business School) in order to guide and help the new school. Roger Hall was seconded from the Production Engineering & Management Studies section and became one of the original seven members of the academic staff at London Business School.

1966 – Section renamed Management Science section

Production technology moves to the Applied Mechanics section, leaving Production Engineering & Management Studies section to be renamed the Management Science section.

1967 – Industrial Sociology unit established by Joan Woodward

Social Science & Business Studies splits from the Management Science section (Operational Research) to form the Industrial Sociology unit with Joan Woodward as its director. The new unit moves to 11 Prince’s Gate

Management Science section launches business seminars for industry

Samuel Eilon launches Business Policy seminars at Imperial, which included industrialists who came to talk about their companies and their strategic problems

1969 – Joan Woodward appointed first Reader in Industrial Sociology

Joan Woodward appointed first Reader in Industrial Sociology

Joan Woodward becomes the second woman to hold a Chair at the College when she is appointed Professor of Industrial Sociology. Joan was one of the world’s foremost organisation theorists. She was invited to join a group of the top seven theorists, which called itself the Magnificent Seven. This international recognition was a huge achievement for a woman in the 1960s.

MSc in Industrial Sociology launched

The Industrial Sociology unit launches an MSc in Industrial Sociology.

Dorothy Griffiths appointed

Dorothy "Dot" Griffiths and Sandra Dawson join the Industrial Sociology unit as research assistants.

1971 – Department of Management Science established

The Management Science section achieves departmental status, with Imperial recognising Operational Research had moved beyond inventory control and scheduling of manufacturing operations to cover applications in non-manufacturing activities and in service industries, including banking and finance.

Joan Woodward passes away

Joan Woodward, at the early age of 54, tragically succumbs to breast cancer. Her colleagues and collaborators felt her loss acutely and in her memory endowed undergraduate and postgraduate prizes and a memorial lecture series in her name.

1973 – Dorothy Wedderburn appointed Reader in Industrial Sociology and unit director

Dorothy Wedderburn is appointed Director of the Industrial Sociology unit by new rector Sir Brian Flowers.

1978 – Department of Social and Economic Studies established

The Industrial Sociology Unit achieves departmental status and is renamed the Department of Social & Economic Studies. The new department is headed by Dorothy Wedderburn.

Aubrey Silberston CBE appointed Imperial’s first Chair of Economics.

1981 – Aubrey Silberston appointed Head of Department

Aubrey Silberston appointed to head the Department of Social & Economic Studies.

1987 – The Management School established with David Norburn as Director

The Departments of Management Science and Social & Economic Studies merge to form the Management School with David Norburn as its Director and Sandra Dawson as Deputy Director. The new School moves to remodeled facilities in 53 Prince’s Gate and is charged to compete with the best business schools in the UK. The School focuses on the integration of management, new technology and entrepreneurship.

1989 – Executive MBA programme launched



1990 – Sue Birley appointed first Professor of Entrepreneurship

Sue Birley FRSS is appointed Professor of Entrepreneurship, Director of Research and also leads the MBA's 120-hour specialisation in entrepreneurship and innovation.

Sandra Dawson is appointed first Professor of Organisation Behaviour.

2001 – Entrepreneurship Centre established

Sue Birley is appointed the Director of the Entrepreneurship Centre after a £2 million government award won from the University Challenge Fund competition.

2002 – Innovation Studies Centre and Centre for Health Management established

Distance Learning MBA launched

2003 - Imperial College Business School is awarded Faculty status

The School’s position in the College is officially recognised with its elevation to Faculty status alongside the Faculties of Natural Science, Medicine and Engineering. David Begg is appointed Principal of the Business School.

Innovation & Entrepreneurship Group established
David Gann appointed to head the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Group. The Group establishes a centre of excellence in innovation and entrepreneurship, influencing policy and practice by working at the interface of science, engineering and business management.

2004 – The Queen officially opens new Business School building

A dramatic modern building to house the College’s main entrance and the School is officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen, accompanied by the Duke of York, on 24 June 2004. The building was designed by Lord Norman Foster and includes seven lecture theatres in a drum-shaped metal core.

2005 – Edtech Lab established

The Edtech Lab, Imperial College London's very first digital learning and education group, launches. The Edtech Lab champions the substantial increase in the use of educational technology at the Business School, leading to the launch of a Global Online MBA programme in 2015.

2005 MSc in Management launched

MSc Management Science merges with the MSc in Technology & Industrial Organisation (formerly MSc in Social & Psychological Aspects of Science, Technology & Industry) to form the MSc in Management.

2006 - MSc Risk Management and Financial Engineering launched

A part-time MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering is launched.  

The Executive MBA increases it's flexibility by offering a weekend delivery option (in addition to the weekday delivery option).

School first accredited by EQUIS.

2007 – Imperial Centenary

The Business School celebrates Imperial's Centenary with the first ever Business School Alumni Reunion. The event brings together over 150 alumni from as far afield as Russia, Egypt, Brazil and India.

Full-Time MSc Risk Management and Financial Engineering launched

2008 – Imperial College London incorporates "business" into its mission

The Imperial College London mission is changed to incorporate the word "business", confirming the greater esteem in which the School is held.

2011 – MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management launched

MSc Strategic Marketing and MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management launched.

Executive Education Open Enrolment Portfolio launched.

2012 – Dot Griffiths appointed Dean and School achieves triple accreditation

Dot Griffiths is appointed Dean following David Beggs' retirement after 10 years as Principal.

School achieves triple accreditation with EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA.

MSc Economics & Strategy for Business launched.

2013 - Anand G. Anandalingam appointed Dean

Anand G. Anandalingam joins Imperial College London as Dean of the Business School.

The Business School launches a Summer School programme.

2014 – Global Online MBA launched

Imperial College Business School takes its teachings to the world via its new online MBA programme. The Global Online MBA is a flexible, part-time, online programme that allows students to gain core business knowledge and skills without having to be physically present in the classroom for the majority of the programme.

2014 – Brevan Howard Centre for Financial Analysis launched

The Brevan Howard Centre is launched after one of the largest donations in business education history: £20.1 million. The gift comes from Brevan Howard, the world’s third largest hedge fund, at the behest of its co-founder Alan Howard, an Imperial alumnus (MEng Chemical Engineering & Chemical Technology 1986). The Centre is headed by Professor Franklin Allen and Professor Douglas Gale. 

MSc Investment & Wealth Management and MSc Accounting and Finance launched.

ELITE Programme launched
In partnership with the London Stock Exchange, Imperial provides support for high growth small and medium-sized enterprises.

2016 – Woodward Buildings named after Professor Joan Woodward

Woodward Buildings, located in North Acton, is named after Professor Joan Woodward, a leading academic in organisation theory. She was the second woman to ever receive a chair at Imperial College and the first to have a building named in her honour. Woodward was a pioneer of empirical research in organisational structures and analytical frameworks that established the link between technology and production systems.

2016 – Centre for Climate Finance & Investment launched

The Centre for Climate Finance & Investment is launched. The Centre's purpose is to unlock solutions within capital markets to address the challenges posed by global climate change, using interdisciplinary research. 

2017 – Francisco Veloso appointed Dean

Francisco Veloso joins Imperial College London as Dean of the Business School.

2019 – Leonardo Centre launched

The Leonardo Centre aims to contribute to the positive evolution of business by exploring how companies can be more inclusive and sustainable. 

The Centre was launched in 2019 by Scientific Director Maurizio Zollo, Professor of Strategy & Sustainability and Head of the Department of Management & Entrepreneurship, and Executive Director Livio Scalvini.

2020 – Centre for Responsible Leadership launched

The Centre for Responsible Leadership aims to generate meaningful change in businesses and organisations through evidence-based research that addresses the key economic, social, environmental and technological challenges facing organisations today. 

The Centre's directors are Celia Moore, Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Nelson Phillips, Abu Dhabi Chamber Chair in Innovation and Strategy and Associate Dean of External Relations. 

2020 – Centre for Digital Transformation launched

The Centre for Digital Transformation is the meeting point between industry and academia – enabling the Business School’s academic experts to help businesses address and capitalise upon the challenges, implications and opportunities brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

2021 – First Business School space opens at White City

The Business School opens a new 12,000 ft2 teaching and research space at Imperial's White City Campus, located in the heart of West London’s innovation district.

The development is part of Scale Space – the UK’s first community created specifically to help innovative businesses accelerate growth – enabling students to forge connections with scale up companies, as well as the wider entrepreneurship community of White City.