Dean’s letter September 2012

Dear Vlerick Business School Family and Friends,

What a wonderful event our 2012 commencement and rebranding was! 350 new students and over 750 guests witnessed a spectacular computer animation bringing to life the new brand and colours of your School. Two comments from senior guests illustrate the feeling: “I was sceptical that this was needed or useful, but tonight really convinced me, it (the new brand) is energizing, refreshing and makes sense.”, “What I liked was that it is not just a renaming and logo exercise but a real identity exercise, based on the values of the organization and linked to the internal improvement efforts.”. And indeed: international, open, pragmatism and vitality, our four brand drivers are really us! Thank you Hilde and the whole rebranding team!

For those of you that missed the speech by Mr Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council and the interview with Pierre Alain De Smedt, Chairman of the VBO-FEB, you can watch their speeches online. Why rebranded, how we did it and how we plan to live the brand inside was the focus of my own address at the event, that you can watch here.

Immediately after the rebranding the Partners of Vlerick Business School had their annual ‘Conclave’. It was first of all an occasion to welcome three new Junior Partners: Xavier Baeten, Professor of Management Practice and head of our Centre for Strategic Rewards, Robert Boute, Associate Professor Operations and Supply Chain Management, and Wouter De Maeseneire, Associate Professor Corporate Finance. Three different but outstanding profiles, fully committed to the School, and a nice illustration that we are preparing a great next generation. It was also the first Conclave for Professor Filip Abraham, Vice Rector of KU Leuven, and a Board member of your School, who became a Vlerick Partner over the summer.

The main focus of the Conclave was on the coming academic year – no major changes envisaged – but a focus on the implementation of our ‘Stronger Together’ decisions which will help us live the brand inside. All Areas and Businesses presented their new organization, their staffing and the issues they are facing. This was followed by a discussion on how the Vlerick Partners will support the Businesses.

We also kicked of the review of our R&D strategy, based on the very positive evaluation of the use of our research funding by the Flemish government. A great job not only by our researchers, but also by Eva Cools and Filip Roodhooft who have been pulling our reporting together. As part of the R&D debate we also discussed an intensification of our doctoral activities, and defined the principles of what could become the ‘Vlerick Leuven Gent Doctoral Programme in Management’: a Gent or Leuven PhD, with a Vlerick add-on focus on relevance and preparation for a business school career.

In St Petersburg the efforts by our marketing team Serge Hayward and Anastasia Korshunova have resulted in a class of 38 Executive MBAs, our seating capacity. In addition we welcomed 19 Russian students in our various degree programmes in Belgium.

We also welcomed six new faculty members on campus who were immediately invited to participate in the Vlerick Accelerated Development Track, a one-week intensive teaching training led by Marc Buelens.

We have now kicked off a sustained campaign under the motto “Enjoy Change”. See http://enjoychange.vlerick.com for some of the first provocative statements that will characterize the campaign. We are waiting for your own creative contribution to spread the Vlerick Brand!

Philippe Haspeslagh

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