Vlerick launches two new, specialised masters programmes
The beginning of the new academic year, which was ceremonially opened in Brussels this week, marked Vlerick Business School’s launch of two new masters degree programmes. Students can study for a Masters in Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Leuven and a Masters in International Management & Strategy in Brussels. Both programmes, which respond to a trend towards greater specialisation, immediately got off to a strong start with 29 and 35 students, respectively. As is the case for the existing Masters in General Management, Marketing Management and Financial Management, the new programmes are intended for students who already have a masters degree.
Professor Wouter De Maeseneire, Programme Director of Masters Programmes at Vlerick: ‘With a view to a competitive market and a growing range of postgraduate masters programmes, we are very pleased to be able to launch both programmes with about 30 students from 14 different countries. There is growing demand for more specialised masters programmes. The decision to focus on innovation and entrepreneurship was an obvious one: besides being the very heart and soul of Vlerick, these areas have very much come to the forefront in recent years. The International Management & Strategy programme is our response to a demand put forward by our students for even more extensive experience abroad, on the one hand, and a more highly analytical perspective, on the other. A painstaking process preceded the development of both new programmes and their fine-tuning in terms of content. As a result, both new programmes will be able to offer the same outstanding level of education as our existing masters programmes, right from the start. We have already been given the go-ahead by the Dutch Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO) and we expect to receive the Flemish government’s formal recognition at the beginning of October’.
Although the programmes are designed for specialisation, there are also enough elective subjects for students to be able to focus on their own interests within a single learning pathway. ‘For both specialisations, the first part of the programme is identical to that of the Masters in General Management, which incidentally climbed nine places in the most recent Financial Times ranking to attain a thirty-first position worldwide,’ De Maeseneire explains. ‘We therefore begin with a broad introduction to all areas of management in order to create a strong initial basis. Starting in January we will take a more in-depth approach.’
Students who opt for Innovation & Entrepreneurship can expect specialist subjects such as ‘design thinking’ and ‘intellectual property’, a ‘Strategic Innovation’ boot camp highlighting a specific sector (healthcare, energy, financial technology or consumer goods), company visits in Silicon Valley and a start-up accelerator aimed at helping them set up their own business. ‘A lot of students starting now have already taken their first steps as entrepreneurs during their years as a student,’ De Maeseneire tells us. ‘The accelerator takes that to the next level. They put an idea into practice and receive coaching from entrepreneurs and managers.’
The programme ends with an in-company project focusing on innovation or entrepreneurship. The students either work in small teams within a given company on a specific assignment for an eight-week period, or they continue to work on their own start-up. Those who want to gain even more experience can opt for an additional work placement with an existing start-up.
The Masters in International Management & Strategy is intended for students who want to work for an international company and those who want to join the strategy department of a company or who aim for a career in strategy consulting. The syllabus includes specialised subjects in international business and strategy and a ‘Strategy Consulting’, ‘International Supply Chain Strategy’ or ‘Strategic Innovation’ boot camp. The climax of the programme is a month-long stay in China. As De Maeseneire explains: ‘We chose China from the perspective of the emerging economy and we cover Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. The study trip flows almost uninterruptedly into an in-company project abroad, which means that the students spend the last months of the programme entirely in other countries.’
Vlerick’s Dean Marion Debruyne, President Roch Doliveux and Vice President Frank Donck officially opened the new academic year on Monday, 12 September before an audience of students at the Brussels campus. A total of 263 masters students are embarking on five different programmes: the Masters in General Management (126), Masters in Financial Management (45), Masters in Marketing Management (28), Masters in Innovation & Entrepreneurship (29) and Masters in International Management & Strategy (35). The full-time MBA programme has 31 participants. The Executive MBA programme does not start until the end of September and it is still possible to enrol.