Official start of the academic year at the brand-new Vlerick campus in Brussels

Yesterday evening the Vlerick Business School celebrated the start of the new academic year at its new campus in Brussels. Pascal Smet, Flemish Minister of Education, Youth, Equal Opportunities and Brussels, President Louis Verbeke, Dean Philippe Haspeslagh, General Manager Patrick De Greve, professors and students attended the event, which also marked the inauguration of the new Brussels campus by cutting the ribbon.

During the opening ceremony, Philippe Haspeslagh, Dean of Vlerick Business School, explained that our ambition is to become the number 1 business school in the heart of Europe: “Our courses boast a solid academic foundation, tackle hot management topics, support responsible leadership, offer an international perspective and stimulate entrepreneurship. We assist people in the shift from education to career, or from budding career to a higher level with more responsibilities. We help them develop their skills in three core fields: as professional managers, as future leaders and as potential entrepreneurs.”

New student base

For the 60th time since its foundation, Vlerick Business School is starting a new academic year, this time welcoming 325 new students – 250 have chosen a Master’s degree course and 75 an MBA. We have noticed a slight increase in the number of students compared to the previous academic year, particularly for the Master’s courses, which confirms our school’s appeal and excellent reputation.

International mix

Vlerick Business School’s international allure is reflected in the new students that we are welcoming this year. Almost 30% of our new students are foreign. In the full-time MBA course, 80% of all students are foreigners, representing a total of 21 countries. Women are also strongly represented: they account for 40% of our student base in this course. In the Master’s courses – which generally attract more Belgians – there are 50 international students from 27 different countries.

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The start of the new academic year also marks the opening of the brand-new, high-tech campus in Brussels. Vlerick Brussels boasts 4,800 sq m of modern infrastructure and educational facilities in the heart of Belgium’s capital city. The playful architectural design is ideal for networking and for establishing informal contacts.

Why did Vlerick Business School, which already had campuses in Louvain and Ghent, decide to invest an additional 5.7 million euro in this building?

Dean Philippe Haspeslagh explains: “In these times of “Massively Open Courses”, investing in brick and mortar can be regarded as risky. However, we are also investing in content, technology, software and business games. In our quality niche we resolutely opt for a “blended learning” approach which mixes high tech and high touch. In our management courses we conceive and implement development processes in collaboration with line management and HR. In this framework, classes are sometimes real and sometimes virtual, and in-class reflections seamlessly blend with practical applications. Last but not least, I think real diversity and internationalisation should start here in Brussels and not in Singapore or Miami.”

Brussels: new Executive MBA evening course

Dean Philippe Haspeslagh is convinced Vlerick Brussels will thoroughly shuffle the cards in Brussels. “We built this campus as a venue where managers of Brussels-based service companies, managers of European multinational headquarters and professionals working with the European institutions can further their knowledge and skills. We believe we can play an important role in assisting people and companies in the change processes they face.”

Vlerick Business School has launched a new course, the Executive MBA, a unique evening course for locals and expats starting in October. To date, this type of course, which scores high in the rankings, was a missing link in Brussels.

The structure of the Executive MBA in Brussels was given a lot of thought. Koen Dewettinck, Academic Director of the new programme, explains. “We want to meet the needs of a wide range of candidates, from executives looking for a fresh start mid-career to expats who want to make the most of their time in Brussels and partners of expats who are keen to give their dormant career a new impetus with this MBA. That is an evening course, with two lessons a week, spread out over 18 months, seemed like the best option.”

Sixteen of our open management courses and many of our more than 100 custom courses for businesses will also be taught here. An example: the new “Business in Europe” course for managers of business schools from all over the world who are interested in European policy and business.

Moreover, the new campus in Brussels will host a number of specific industry platforms of Vlerick Business School: financial services, health care management, retail and consumer goods and energy. Apart from hosting its own courses, Vlerick hopes its new campus in Brussels will become an open platform for education, meeting and networking where all stakeholders are more than welcome.

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