Word from the dean

Dear reader,

Philippe HaspeslaghFirst of all, I’d like to wish you all a happy Chinese New Year 2013. May it bring the end of the recession, structural change in our economy rather than just a tinkering in the margins, and the realisation that we need a stronger not a weaker Europe.

For Vlerick Business School, 2013 is the year in which a number of the investments we’ve made should come to fruition. The Brussels campus is now roofed over and work is nearing completion. Our new “Vlerick Leuven Gent” PhD programme has had its first intake. Our academic research funding contract with the Flemish Government has been renewed by Minister of Innovation Ingrid Lieten for another five years. Our Executive Education team has been reorganised to design and deliver truly customised programmes that support your strategy execution and bring a return on your investment. Our sector-based initiatives in financial services, energy, healthcare and life sciences and retailing are being put in place with new Vlerick Partners, new sector-based programmes and a highly relevant research agenda. As they once did with the Ghent campus, our alumni are now striving to help finance the construction of the new Brussels campus.

This issue of Vlerick reflect is devoted to our degree programmes. Educating young leaders to help them manage themselves, lead their organisations and contribute to the world has been at the heart of our mission ever since Professor Vlerick launched his postgraduate programme in General Management in 1959. What was then a small group of young graduates has today swelled to 850, comprising students in our Masters in General Management at Ghent and Leuven, Masters in Financial Management, Masters in Marketing Management, Executive MBAs at Ghent, Leuven, St Petersburg and Beijing, the specialised Executive MBA in Financial Services, the full-time MBA at Leuven and the BiMBA at Beijing. In September we’re also starting an evening Executive MBA in Brussels.

All of our Belgian degree programmes are being thoroughly revamped for the September intake, based on extensive benchmarking and client feedback. Three concepts stand out in this process: personal development, action-based learning, and choice.

From helping young Masters students with their personal learning goals through our My VDP tool (My Vlerick Development Portfolio) to providing placement advice for full-time MBA students and offering career coaching for Executive MBA participants, our programmes are as much about developing the individual as about developing the manager.

Action-based learning is a new concept to many schools; even Harvard Business School has made its new in-company field project the centrepiece of a recent curriculum reform. At Vlerick we were, like Molière’s Mr Jourdain, speaking prose without knowing it: all our degree students have been doing substantial company projects since the very beginning. Many companies see these projects as a great way to get a faculty-supervised consultancy service and to test some good potential recruits. For full-time MBA students, we added a second “Vlerick Giving Back” project two years ago, in which they offer consultancy to non-profit organisations all over the globe. Many experience this as the most eye-opening part of their programme. For our Masters students, we’re now adding a “Deep Dive Challenge”, which involves company managers bringing a real-life case into the classroom for the students to work on.

Vlerick programmes have traditionally focused on General Management. General Management can be quite sector-specific, though, and different students may have different needs when it comes to expanding their knowledge – which explains our decision to introduce choice. Henceforth, our Masters students will be able to build some depth and focus into their programme through a selection of “Boot Camps” offering various specialised topics. And all our full-time and part-time MBA students will be able to choose from a smorgasbord of courses during elective weeks at our new Brussels campus. Whilst continuing to pursue a generalist programme, students will thus be able to hone in on the topics and knowledge most relevant to themselves and their field of interest.

In this issue, you can read not only about our programmes, but also about the fascinating variety of careers and contributions of our alumni, and how their time at Vlerick enabled them to pursue their dream. For the alumni among you, it may give you a feel for how we’ve changed, and yet stayed the same since your time with us.

This is the last Vlerick reflect in paper format. Instead of publishing a quarterly magazine, we’ll now bring you information and articles on a more regular basis and in a more interactive manner using new technologies (webcasts, e-newsletters and social media).

Philippe Haspeslagh
Dean, Vlerick Business School

& Rankings

Equis Association of MBAs AACSB Financial Times