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Email Forwarding Retirement 2016


From 2003 until 2007 WBS provided an email forwarding service. This allowed students to register a personal email address and have anything sent to their old WBS email address forwarding to this address. The intention of this was to make it easier for alumni to keep in touch with friends they made at WBS and also to ensure that if someone applied for a job or similar using their WBS email address they would still be able to receive any response after they graduated and their account was closed.

The service was discontinued for new students in 2008 when we adopted a WBS-branded Googlemail system instead (which we branded mail.wbs... you may also have an account on that system, if so please note that system is not changing in any way). This new Google system was considerably more powerful in that it allowed students to keep a full email account after they graduated rather than just a email address that they could forward elsewhere.

So what is happening now?

The above forwarding service was closed to new entrants in 2008. For a few years thereafter users could update their registered personal email accounts via the WBS alumni pages. This option was removed around 2012 and any changes since then have had to be done manually by contacting the WBS Helpdesk. We are now retiring the system completely so that from 1st September 2016 any emails sent to your old WBS email address will no longer be forwarded to your personal email account.

What do I need to do?

We expect that for the vast majority of you there is no need to do anything. The chances are that this service is providing no value to you beyond forwarding spam messages you don't want anyway.

If you do occasionally receive emails from friends who studied with you at WBS and who might be using this old WBS email address you may wish to contact them now to advise them of your preferred email address. Beyond that you do not need to do anything. On 1st September 2016 we will switch off the system here at WBS and any emails that would have been forwarded to you will no longer be sent. Instead the sender of the message should receive a bounce-back warning them that the address no longer works. If you are not sure who might be sending you messages to this address run a search in your personal email system to see all messages sent to your old WBS email address (something like and then send them your preferred email address if you wish to stay in touch.

Why are you making this change?

For a few reasons:

  1. When we introduced this service in 2003 we believe it gave real benefit to students. At that time Gmail accounts were still by invitation only and social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter didn't exist. Now however we believe this service is provided little value as anyone can sign up for a powerful, permanent email account for free with a provider such as Gmail. As an example of the low level of usage of this service since 2012 it is has been necessary for a user to contact our helpdesk if they want to update their registered personal email address, yet in that time we have only received a single query.
  2. Another change since 2003 is that most large organisations now outsource their email to a cloud provider such as Google or Microsoft. This forwarding service however still requires us to run a web service on campus on our own servers. Finding staff who have knowledge and experience of this is increasingly difficult. We prefer to close this service in a managed way now rather than face a situation in the future where it breaks and we are unable to fix it leading to us removing the service without giving you warning.

What was my old WBS email address?

The forwarding service would only ever work if you distributed your email address in a particular format, something like where the XX represented the year you started your course and YY represented the qualification for which you are studying. So if Jane were studying for a PhD and started in 2004 her address would have been .

While Jane was a current student this represented a regular email account, that is she could log in and see her old email and send messages with this address etc. Once she graduated her account was closed and ultimately deleted. Although she could no longer log in and see her old email or send messages from this address any messages sent to her old address of could be redirected to a personal address like provided Jane had registered this personal address with us.

I have a query or question, whom should I contact?

If you have any questions, concerns or queries please contact emailretirement2016 at mail dot wbs dot ac dot uk