Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School is now Vlerick Business School. It started the 2012 academic year with a new name and a new look to match. Dean Philippe Haspeslagh explains how it forms an integral part of the school’s development strategy to meet today’s challenges.
First, what are these challenges and how does a school deal with them? In fact, the challenges faced by business schools mirror those faced by the business world. Five consecutive years of crisis have made companies, business schools and individuals think about what it is they do and why. In the current economic climate any investment has to pay off.
As far as executive education is concerned, we can see companies demanding greater integration of learning with the development and implementation of their business strategy.
They are looking for partners in strategy execution and leadership development. Coaching, mentoring and action learning therefore become increasingly important. Why work only on fictitious business cases when you could learn just as much, if not more, examining real-life issues such as a change project or setting up a new venture?
I believe our entrepreneurial boot camps are great examples of how people learn while tackling real strategic problems. Incidentally, in-company projects have been part of our programmes for more than 40 years now.
As the needs of the business have changed, so too have those of the individual.
The traditional hierarchical career path is being replaced by one of serial specialisation. People are increasingly realising they must ensure they are employable throughout their career and are taking their personal development into their own hands. This means new requirements for open programmes, such as financing schemes and timing of the courses.
And as for degree students I believe that in today’s global market, with rankings readily available on the internet, reputation is a key factor. Most degree students make a once-in-a-lifetime decision. Their choice depends on the programme features, how international the faculty and fellow students are, traineeship and employment opportunities, expected graduate starting salary and companies recruiting at the school.
Other challenges result from advances in technology. E-learning has come of age. For business schools like ours, the key to success is the smart integration of technology. We increasingly opt for blended learning programmes, combining e-learning and classroom teaching or action learning.
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