Word from the Dean – Vlerick Reflect (November issue)

‘The winners will be those who have not only the right product innovation, but also the most effective market positioning and sales machine’

The theme of this latest issue of Vlerick reflect is Marketing & Sales. Over the past year companies have been doing their utmost to reduce their balance sheets, cut costs and find ways to increase efficiency. As they get ready for resumption of normal demand, the winners will surely be those who have not only the right product innovation, but also the most effective market positioning and sales machine.

As in any sector, the marketing channels of business schools are evolving rapidly. Depending on your age, profession or location, you may be listening to this editorial as a podcast, clicking the pages on the website, or holding a glossy magazine in your hand. More and more, our marketing is happening online and in the social media. Yet individuals care less and less about what we ourselves say about our programmes. Instead they seek the opinions of our current and past students out there in the blogosphere and in social networks. As a School, we can try to create the conditions for the outside world to find out about us, and to join our knowledge platforms. Yet at the end of the day participants have to rate our programmes highly and we must have something to say. We need high-quality content.

The changing marketing landscape is not only a challenge for the School’s management; fortunately it is also one of the strengths of our faculty. The tone of the marketing dossier in this Vlerick reflect is set by a round-table discussion in which seven of our marketing people comment on the challenges facing marketing professionals today. Other contributions discuss our research on the relationship between retailers and suppliers, and on planning and evaluation of e-business initiatives. Those who want to find out more are invited to join our new Vlerick Brand Community, or check out our Executive Master Class in B2B Marketing & Sales.

As always, this issue of Vlerick reflect also brings you up to date on other aspects of the School. I would like to draw your attention to three in particular. The first is the development of our Chinese partnership. You can read about our new intake of 57 full-time MBAs and 118 part-time MBAs, a new book about “China 2.0” co-authored by Bruce Stening, our Vlerick International Dean at BiMBA, and the exchange visit of our MBA-FSI students to BiMBA.

Business schools are in a supply-driven business: our programmes and our content can only be as good as the talent of our faculty. Hence the importance of faculty recruitment, the second aspect worth highlighting. This issue contains the profiles of seven new faculty members who were recruited this autumn.

And finally, we comment on the latest Economist ranking, which places the Vlerick International MBA at number 10 in the world, and number 4 in Europe. Whereas the emphasis in the Financial Times ranking (where Vlerick ranks 75th and 20th respectively) is on salary increases, the Economist ranking stresses the experience of students in the programme. Let’s just conclude that we are getting somewhere up there….

We hope that your markets are steadying and gradually returning to normal. Those of you who have continued to develop your management talent will be well poised to take advantage.

We look forward to hearing your comments on our Vlerick blogs (Dean’s blog, blog on entrepreneurship and various student blogs), or to seeing you on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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