Word from the dean

Dear Vlerick friend,

Philippe HaspeslaghBy now you may already have discovered our new Vlerick website at www.vlerick.com, which is the second step in our rebranding exercise. This latest addition to the family was born on 13 November at 10.15 in the morning; it weighs in at 1,450 pages and measures 23,750 lines of code. It already speaks three languages: English, Dutch and Russian. And it’s just full of new tricks. So do take a look and complete your personal My Vlerick profile. We’ll then be able to pre-complete most web forms for you once you’re logged in so you won’t have to fill in your personal details over and over again. Logging in is also possible with your Facebook or LinkedIn account. And you’ll be able to inform us about your communication preferences or easily update us on your latest career move. A programme finder will help you discover which of our programmes may fit your needs. Not forgetting the many informative articles that will help you keep up to speed on the management issues you’re interested in! The next step for our web team, together with the alumni, is to turn their attention to integrating the alumni website.

All this is part of our ongoing efforts to bring our content to both the Vlerick network and the wider world, to make doing business with us easier, and to win the battle in the e-marketing space.

In this issue you can once again catch up on what’s happening at your school. Whereas in our Belgian and Dutch markets, we’re pushing against an economy in which companies take longer to decide, and longer to pay, our Russian colleagues started in October with a full EMBA classroom, a nice backlog and a growing customised activity. Internationally, demand for our customised programmes is on the increase, with new clients signing up in Russia (Kraft Foods Russia), the Netherlands (Heerema, TNO and NXP) and also here in Belgium (Cyberonics, Attentia and La Lorraine).

We are also continuing to innovate. A new cycle of our Executive MBA in Financial Services is piloting the paperless programme as participants leave behind their traditional binders and go from module to module with sleek iPads, with all the requisite materials uploaded, and equipped for note-taking. And our degree students have had the opportunity to work in mixed teams with design students to develop and pitch their entrepreneurial ideas in the context of BRIDEE, an initiative to bridge design and entrepreneurship.

The focus in this issue is on our research, partnerships and programmes in Marketing and Sales. You will discover that our Marketing team is concentrating on leading-edge issues such as the use of crowdsourcing, the personalisation of ads, the evolution from offline to online marketing, the use of big data analytics, the problem of choice overload, business model innovation and much more. And consistent with our sector focus strategy, much of their research and teaching deals with financial services and retailing applications, as you’ll see in testimonials about the research activities of our BNP Paribas Fortis Chair in E-Banking, the Optima Chair in Financial Planning Practice or the customised programme experience of the Macintosh Retail Management Academy, amongst others.

At the same time, we are building up an American-style expertise in Sales. The Sales Management Centre, which Professor Deva Rangarajan started in 2011, is not only developing sales management and key account management research and programmes – it’s also making a career start in sales attractive to our Masters students through a stimulating sales competition and a very active Sales Club.

We look forward to your visit to our website and welcome your feedback. Enjoy Change!

Philippe Haspeslagh
Dean, Vlerick Business School

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