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Self-service makes for better business

Cambridge Judge Business School is the business school of the University of Cambridge. As a provider of management education it is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top business schools.

With a belief in the business of transformation – of individuals, of organisations and society the school works with every student and organisation to identify important problems and questions, challenging and coaching people to find answers, and creating new knowledge.

Their students are drawn from all parts of the world, some come from a business background while other aspire to enter the business world. With this background and remit the school believes their approach demands an environment that replicates that found in the business world.

A unique environment

The Judge Business School has a unique design style, created by the architect John Outram in 1991 on the existing old Addenbrooke’s Hospital, first established on this site in 1766. Little now remains of the original buildings frames, but the facade was restored as part of the School development.

The rebuilding created the Information Centre, Common Room, seminar rooms, teaching rooms, balconies, break-out boxes, meeting rooms, the main hall of the new School, and space for expansion. Three new buildings were also created:

  • The Ark, containing rooms for faculty, research graduates, and administrative staff
  • The Castle, containing two key lecture theatres and MBA teaching spaces and room
  • The Gallery, an 80 feet (24.5m) high space containing seminar rooms, multi-level circulation routes, the social stair, and part of the hall

With floating staircases and the balconies in the Gallery, arranged rather like opera boxes, Outram’s vision of a space for interaction and collaboration can be seen at its best. The impetus for incorporating large break-out areas originally came from the late Sir Paul Judge, one of the main benefactors, who wanted the interior of the School to stimulate a networking environment.

The balconies provide room for collaboration and encourage both students and faculty to bring workgroups and seminars out into the open, and to share ideas and concepts.

Meeting their design and business needs

When the existing self-service system for the Information Centre and Library needed upgrading the managers looked for a solution that fitted their ethos;

  • It needed to be modern, with a look and feel that reflected the working environment students would experience in a work situation.
  • The functionality needed to be fast and intuitive.
  • It needed to be able to cope with 24 hour access for the 1500 Judge Faculty, staff and students and 9-5 access for the 20,000 students across the rest of the university.

To meet their needs Ange Fitzpatrick, Information and Library Services Manager and her Deputy Andrew Alexander were keen to find a supplier with products, software and background that would understand their aspirations.

More than just the practical needs for the Information Centre the managers wanted the self-service solution to have the quality that fitted with the other services the School provided for students. Typically the school places high importance on the physical and mental wellbeing of staff and students and has an external user group tasked with upgrading and checking student needs.

Andrew explained it is often simple things that can help in delivering a holistic education “…for example, what do students carry in their bags? Some carry their life, others just that days essentials. The answers we receive help us understand the students…things change so fast, particularly with technology,…we have to be constantly alert to these changes”

To meet the wide mix of students‘ age, experience and culture the Information Centre now has work spaces that offer not only formal seating and bean bags, desking with height adjustment and spaces signed to direct those with different temperature sensitivities to comfortable areas.

To deliver the self-service solution Andrew was happy to outline the reasons for their choice “Our chosen supplier, 2CQR have delivered superb products and support to the school previously. They satisfied the tender requirement for the best budget and once again have provided a perfect solution. The desktop self-service unit suits our students’ way of working and the security gates are unobtrusive and stylish”

The resulting effect is an Information Centre and Library, on two floors with a modern, stylish business look and feel. The RFID systems are easy to use, have total compatibility with the LMS and the staff and student’s needs.


The Centre is now perfectly prepared for the expansion of the school that began in 2015 and has an estimated budget of £34m.