Proactive change!

Chair will help MasterCard prepare for future challenges

On 30 March global payment technology provider MasterCard entered into a five-year Chair partnership with our Centre for Financial Services. The Chair is called “Transforming for the Future” and is expected to enable just that.

Vinciane Verbiest, Group Head Human Resources Europe, explains why MasterCard decided to fund an academic chair: “The financial services sector is evolving rapidly and fundamentally. So we felt it would be useful to call in the support of an academic partner to help us rethink our business – not to simply fine-tune what we’re used to doing, but to gain an in-depth understanding of why and what we need to change in our business model.”

Perfect background

For MasterCard, a partnership with Vlerick Business School was the obvious choice. “We knew Vlerick had already worked alongside organisations in the energy and healthcare sectors,” Vinciane says. “These industries have also undergone and are still undergoing significant changes – incidentally, also in their regulatory environment, as is the case for the financial services sector. That’s why we wanted to team up with the School. We’re convinced it has all the background and expertise needed.”


Philippe Haspeslagh, Dean at Vlerick, smiles broadly. “We’re happy that a global player like MasterCard has chosen to fund our Centre for Financial Services and join in with our research efforts. Chairs like these are important, as they enable us to develop a deeper understanding of the changes in the financial services sector and how they affect the organisations involved. Helping companies with their transformation, offering them an outside perspective, is also of great value to us as a school because it enhances the knowledge and expertise of our faculty, improving our educational programmes as a result.”

Technology company

Vinciane again: “The challenges we’re facing are quite fundamental, not only on the regulatory front. We need to open up to a whole new world of technology, which is different from the financial world we’re used to. For example, a couple of years ago everyone was convinced plastic payment cards were here to stay, but today mobile payments are really starting to take off.” And she continues: “We’re no longer a financial company, we’re a technology company.”

Philippe picks up on this point: “We try to make incumbent companies, like MasterCard, more aware of the possible impact and consequences of their changing ecosystem. It’s one thing to reflect on how your business model has to change; bringing about those changes and adjusting to them is a different process altogether, especially in successful companies. When you’re successful it’s all the more difficult to change proactively. That’s what I find so great about this Chair: it’s a proactive step to look beyond today’s horizon.”

Talent pool

Vinciane nods in agreement and adds: “To support our transformation, we want to attract different profiles – especially young people from all sorts of backgrounds. Vlerick has a great pool of talented students with the most diverse range of skills, so I’m convinced this partnership will also help us to connect with and recruit new candidates.”

MasterCard (NYSE: MA) is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.