“Internationalisation – for students, faculty and programme content”

Farewell to Professor Roland Van Dierdonck

On 31 December 2011 Professor Roland Van Dierdonck retired from Vlerick after 40 years with the School. During his long and distinguished career, he also taught at other schools and universities, including IMD, INSEAD and Rotterdam School of Management. A partner and professor of Vlerick and Ghent University, Roland Van Dierdonck was Dean of Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School from 1987 to 1990, and again from 1997 to 2007.

Over the years, with his broad experience in the fields of supply chain management, manufacturing strategy and service operations management, Professor Van Dierdonck became a mentor and point of reference for many of Vlerick’s researchers and young faculty members. In addition to all his other activities, he is currently Associate Director Quality Services of the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD). On the eve of his retirement from Vlerick, we asked Professor Van Dierdonck about his views on the future of business schools in Europe.

How do you see the European business school market evolving – what trends do you see?

Professor Van Dierdonck: “First of all, internationalisation. And this applies to students, faculty and programme content alike. European business schools have been pursuing this trend over the past 10 years or so, often by creating alliances, or even mergers, with other business schools around the globe. So I see more and more strategic alliances, with a view to internationalising, as a major trend for the future.

“A second trend is evident in the field of executive education. Many business schools focus on their undergraduate or Master’s programmes, and often treat executive education as a side issue. I think top business schools will move towards fully integrated executive education activities.

“Along with executive education, there is the growth in company-specific programmes. In the past, management education was viewed almost as a luxury – people did not see it as an important part of their career path. But today, companies regard it as a necessary component in management development. And to maximise the educational impact, organisations are opting for company-specific programmes that bring development to a particular tier of their management or to an entire department. The business school mind-set is therefore changing from a B2C (where an individual undertakes a specific programme) to a B2B model. And this means that companies must recognise that executive education is a major element of the school’s offering – that it’s strategically embedded within the school.”

Finally, Professor, what defines a successful business school?

“A school that has been able to develop a brand. And how do you do that? By identifying what makes you uniquely distinctive – why someone should choose Vlerick over all the other business schools. This is exactly what we’re busy formalising today.”

“Internationalisation – for students, faculty and programme content”

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