Passing the torch by dfgh4bnmu


The house Magazine of Vlerick leuVen genT ManageMenT school
                                                               March 2007

the torch
A new Dean for Vlerick
 Special Issue: Passing the torch

                                          Dear friends of the School,

                                          For years it has been my pleasure to keep the torch burning. And I
                                          was fortunate enough to witness how the flame kept on growing. From
                                          a division within the university to an autonomous business school on
                                          three campuses. From a breeding ground for local talent to a major
                                          international player with currently more than 11,500 alumni spread
                                          across 100 countries.

Special Dossier                           It has been an honour to be the first dean of a business school that

Long-term vision
                                          brings together our country’s two major universities. I believe that in the
                                          past few years we have significantly contributed to entrepreneurship,
                                          professional management, ethical awareness and innovation, both
                                          in our academic research and in our programmes. From the next
                                          academic year we aim to fully focus on said research as there are still a
                                          number of questions in my area to which I would like to see an answer.

                                          That is why this summer I will hand over my passionately burning
                                          torch to none other than Anders Aspling. I am confident that Vlerick
                                          Leuven Gent Management School will be in good hands. We hope
                                          that, together with us, you will contribute to creating an even larger and
                                          stronger flame.

                                          Kind regards,

                                          Prof. Dr Roland Van Dierdonck
                                          Your Dean

 | Orator • Special Issue • March 007
  Chairman Louis Verbeke
“leaders with
 intelligence and integrity”

  NEWS                                                                                   ranks. It was very much on our mind
                                                                                         that our new Dean should fit well into
  Swedish professor, Dr Anders Aspling will be the new dean at Vlerick Leuven            our culture and would easily relate to
  Gent Management School. In the autumn he will follow in the footsteps of               all stakeholders, in Flanders, Belgium
  Roland Van Dierdonck, who has been the head of the School for nearly ten               and beyond.
  years. Professor Van Dierdonck is the dean who bundled the strengths of Ghent          To sum up, I would describe him as an
  University and K.U.Leuven into an independent business school with two                 internationalist and academic entrepre-
  campuses. He led Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School to three accredi-               neur with strong continental European
  tations and a top spot in European rankings, as well as to a third campus in           roots. Our due diligence produced a lot
  St. Petersburg and a growing international reputation. With Professor Van              of praise for Anders’ past achievements.
  Dierdonck the School embarked on the right course. As of the next academic             All agree that he combines a talent for
  year it is up to Anders Aspling to keep the wind in the sails.                         rallying people around a vision with
                                                                                         that of delivering the job and that he
                                                                                         excels at making the link between the
“When Roland told us that he would          that the School would benefit from           academic and business communities.
 not seek another mandate as dean           fresh insight, new academics and busi-       We are quite certain that Anders will
 of the school, because he wanted to        ness networks and confirmation of its        be the Dean of all our constituencies,
 renew his “vows” to management             ambition to attract the “best and the        Flemish as well as Belgian and interna-
 science, the Board selected a ‘Dean        brightest” irrespective of creed, cul-       tional, students as well as executives,
 Search Committee’. This group consist-     ture or origin. We believe that Anders       academics as well as business people.
 ed of 4 board members and 2 outsiders      Aspling embodies these qualities.            On behalf of the School, its General
 Philippe Haspeslagh from INSEAD and        This special edition of Orator will dwell    Council, Board, staff, alumni and all
 Astrid De Lathauwer from Belgacom.         on the School’s achievements and             other stakeholders I welcome Anders
 The committee reviewed many can-           challenges. All I need to do is express      and his wife Heléna and I call on you
 didates who were selected by the           our thanks to Roland and welcome             all to help him to make the School even
 search firm Russell Reynolds. Out of       Anders.                                      better.
 a final selection of three the committee   Roland served the School well… He            At this important juncture for the
 recommended our new dean, Anders           would not appreciate it if I expressed       School let me also remember our found-
 Aspling, who was unanimously “adop-        our gratitude in any other than an           ing father and mother André and Cecile
 ted” both by the Board and the General     understated manner. He has led the           Vlerick. I am certain that they would
 Council.                                   School with intelligence and integ-          have approved of Anders.
 I wish to thank my committee mem-          rity. Any leader with these virtues          It was Mahatma Gandhi who stated:
 bers and Russell Reynolds for their wis-   does not require the lesser ones.           “We have to become the change we want
 dom, diligence and a job well done. We     I also wish to thank Lucrèce, Roland’s       to see”. We have to be multicultural in
 left no stone unturned and more than       wife, for having put up with the high        order to fulfil our mission as a leading
 once we thought of Voltaire: “Doubt is     demands on Roland’s time and energy          European Business School.
 not a pleasant condition, but certainty    for many years, and for personally hav-      We look forward to your joining us in
 is absurd”.                                ing graced many events with her pres-        our thanks to Roland and our welcome
 The Board and the Committee chose          ence. Lucrèce served the School as did       to Anders.                             n
 to privilege the “proven leadership        Roland.
 and international stature” profile and     Anders will be the first to lead the        Prof. Dr Louis-Henri Verbeke
 to look outside the School. It was felt    School without coming from its own          Chairman

                                                                                                         Special Issue • March 007 • Orator | 3
 Special Issue: Passing the torch

               roland Van Dierdonck
                  hands over the torch!
                    He was the first preordained dean for Vlerick      On 12 February 1947, Roland Van Dierdonck was
                                                                      born in Vinkt as the sixth in a family of eight children.
                  Leuven Gent Management School when it took          His father was a baker. He was the first one in his fam-
                                                                      ily to attend university. That he would become a civil
                  on its current form in 1998. With schools such      engineer is not that obvious. He attended the Latin-
                    as Harvard, Insead, IMD and the Rotterdam         Greek section of the St. Hendriks college in Deinze
                                                                      and primarily had social interests. “At one point I was
                               Business School on his Curriculum      a member of three different youth organisations at
                                        Vitae he could rely on vast   the same time,” the dean laughs. Initially he wanted
                                                                      to study psychology. But the 18-year old let himself
                                   international experience in top    be convinced by this maths and science teacher and
                                       business schools. And with     opted for engineering at the last moment, which set
                                                                      the tone. In 1971 he earned his degree in civil engi-
                                     numerous publications about      neering from Ghent University. “Some things seem to
                                                                      happen by accident, but later often seem to have an
                            services, supply chain and technology     underlying reason,” states Prof. Van Dierdonck about
                           management to his credit, he was also      these first choices, which were decisive for the rest
                                                                      of his career, as he very nearly started a job at Ebes
                                         able to submit a brilliant   (Electrabel’s predecessor). “But they only wanted me
                                            academic track record.    after I had completed my military service.”
                                            The time has come for     one year of Vlerick
                                                   him to leave his   By this time Professor André Vlerick was no
                                                                      unknown quantity. During his student years Prof.
                                              position of dean (but   Van Dierdonck had been hanging onto his every word
                                                  not of academic).   in the auditoria at Ghent University. “A very charis-
                                                                      matic man. It appeared interesting to me to follow
                                                   But not without    additional training at his institute. If only for the fact
                                                                      that I felt my engineering degree was too technical. I
                                                   telling us where   was also interested in the more social aspect of life,”
                                                     he came from     explains Prof. Van Dierdonck. He easily passed the
                                                                      PUB’s entrance exam (the predecessor of the current
                                                        and how he    Masters in General Management).
                                                     grew together    But Prof. Müller had other plans for the enthusias-
                                                                      tic student. Prof. Van Dierdonck completed his engi-
                                                           with the   neering education with a thesis on the use of math-
                                                            School.   ematical techniques allowing to simulate biological
                                                                      phenomena. At the time, Prof. Müller was working
                                                                      on a project with this type of mathematical mod-
                                                                      els and he could use some help. This is how Roland
                                                                      Van Dierdonck joined him, not as a student but as
                                                                      an assistant. As it turned out, he did not have to
                                                                      complete his military service at all. “If I had known,
                                                                      I would have undoubtedly started at Ebes. But fortu-

4 | Orator • Special Issue • March 007
nately fate had something else in store      research. But in management you also
for me.”                                     have to take into account a social con-
                                             text that is much more complex. And at
To the united states                         Harvard I was able to cross that bridge.
In his first year he developed the busi-     For the first time I became aware of the
ness game that to this day is taught at      limitations of mathematical research.
the School in a renewed format under         In addition, across the pond, I also
the name Imex. And instead of attend-        learned what strategy is and how you
ing PUB, he was able to coordinate the       implement a concept. Insight, which to
programme for two years.                     this day, continues to govern my think-
His first job made him particularly          ing to a large degree. In addition I was
hopeful, as the School was known to          brainwashed by the famous Harvard
send assistants to the United States         case method.” In three years and three
spurred on by André Vlerick. A short         months he completed his PhD in plan-
time beforehand this had been a mere         ning systems. He impressed with both
adventurous boat trip appealing to eve-      his speed and his substance.
ryone’s imagination, including Roland
Van Dierdonck’s.                                                                          Ties with the alumni have become increasingly
                                                                                          important for the growth of the School. Eight foreign
When he earned a three-year CIM grant            “Some things seem to                     chapters were set up and a number of reunions
for his own research, he did not feel like
waiting the usual period before leaving           happen by accident,                     organised. The School now has more than 15,000
                                                                                          alumni spread across 100 countries.
for the US. He applied to Harvard, MIT            but later often seem
and Carnegie Mellon and was accepted
to all three. André Vlerick would have
                                                 to have an underlying                    adventure came to an end. At Ghent
preferred to see him leave for one of                    reason”                          University the Interfaculty Centre for
the last two, since they tend to be more                                                  Management was created, in which
engineer-oriented. But Roland Van                                                         PUB and JMP became official train-
Dierdonck did not take this wish into                                                     ing. Professor Vlerick was seeking two
account and opted for management             Technology Management at iMD                 lecturers. Roland took advantage of the
heaven, i.e., Harvard.                       The market liked Prof. Van Dierdonck’s       opportunity and, together with Dirk
Together with his wife and their two         expertise. He was able to choose             Deschoolmeester, the family returned
small sons still in nappies, he left for     between a position at Insead                 to Belgium in 1980.
Cambridge in order to work very hard         (Fontainebleau, France) or at IMD
for three years. A PhD at Harvard            (Lausanne, Switzerland). He chose to         guest lecturer and ciM grants
takes four years, but Roland’s grant         go to IMD, where he joined one of his        At the time the Interfaculty Centre for
was one year short and it was in any         Harvard mentors. The new step imme-          Management still operated under the
case not easy to make ends meet.             diately resulted in an about-turn, as        wings of the engineering, economics,
The Van Dierdonck family lived par-          he now taught in English and what is         law and psychology departments. For
tially off food stamps. In Cambridge         more, according to the case study meth-      less academic and shorter programmes
food stamps are given to families with       od. Professor Van Dierdonck developed        that did not fit into the university frame-
bilingual children. The campaign is pri-     what was probably the first course on        work, a second institution was created,
marily aimed at the Spanish-speaking         technology management on the conti-          the so-called Professor Vlerick Institute
minority. But a large number of poor,        nent for the MBA programme. When             for Management. It was only in 1987
foreign PhD students are also eligible       they decided to have students carry out      that the School and the Institute were
and show each other the way to the           a project in a company, he was one of        merged under the name The Vlerick
food stamp counter.                          the pioneers supporting this system. “I      School for Management, of which
                                             knew exactly how something like that         Roland became the first president. In
learning what strategy is                    had to be set up. We had launched this       the meantime he was also approached
“From that time I mainly remember            at Vlerick back in the early 60s. And this   by Insead to be a guest lecturer. Later
 that I was bent over my research near-      surprised people at IMD who believed         the Rotterdam School of Management
 ly day and night. Nonetheless it was a      they were quite innovative with the          at Erasmus University and the ENPC
 very exciting period, which allowed me      launch of these projects, but apparent-      in Paris would also request his exper-
 to become familiar with a completely        ly a small school in Belgium was ahead       tise. In addition he became scientific
 different way of thinking and working.      of them,” according to Professor Van         adviser at the Interuniversity College
 Many engineers swear by mathematical        Dierdonck. After two years his Swiss         for Doctoral Studies in Management,

                                                                                                           Special Issue • March 007 • Orator | 5
 Special Issue: Passing the torch

                                                             ty at the time. No easy task. Especially   other business schools. The American
                                                             since the School wanted to remain an       AACSB, the British AMBA as well as
                                                             academic institution.                      the European EQUIS quality label
                                                                                                        were acquired. This immediately land-
                                                             ghent and leuven merge                     ed Vlerick Leuven Gent Management
                                                             At K.U.Leuven a similar movement           School in a select group of some 20
                                                             was underway. The people behind the        schools worldwide that meet these
                                                             international MBA programme were           standards.
                                                             on the lookout for their own identi-       In addition the School was also included
                                                             ty and more decision-making powers.        in the Financial Times and Economist
                                                             Spurred on by then Education Minister,     rankings, where it is classed among the
From left to right: Dean Roland Van Dierdonck, Prime         Luc Vandenbossche the idea was sug-        European top 10.
Minister of Belgium Guy Verhofstadt and the late Cécile      gested to join forces. And in 1998 it      The list of partnerships is long.
Sap, wife of the founder André Vlerick. Talking about        became official, Vlerick Leuven Gent       With the University of Sankt Gallen
the great ambitions of the school.                           Management School became the               (Switzerland) the School has set up
                                                             autonomous business school of Ghent        a separate MBA programme special-
                                                             University and K.U.Leuven. The spon-       ised in financial services. And close
               better known as CIM, where he provid-         soring universities remain involved but    ties were forged with HEC Montreal
               ed guidance to numerous young doc-            the foundation to grow as a school was     (Canada), Stellenbosch (South Africa)
               toral students. And lastly, he was also       laid. Professor Roland Van Dierdonck       and Aston University (UK). In addition
               entrusted with the responsibility for the     became its first dean.                     Professor Van Dierdonck could always
               interuniversity research programme for                                                   fall back on his personal contacts from
               innovation and entrepreneurship.              globalisation                              the academic world and from his time
                                                             Its ambitions were great. In 1987 the      at Harvard, IMD and Chapel Hill.
               To chapel hill                                first memorandum was drawn up on
               In 1990 it was time to revitalise body        globalisation. But it became serious as    one school, three campuses
               and mind. Professor Van Dierdonck left        of 1995. In the auditoria English was      In 2003 they moved again in Ghent,
               for the University of North Carolina at       used more and more. Foreign employ-        from the UCO tower to the distinc-
               Chapel Hill. “It was a relief to be able to   ees, researchers, professors and stu-      tive and completely renovated Groot
               do a full year of research. These months      dents were attracted in order to con-      Seminarie at the Reep, with a fantas-
               not only resulted in a book, but also         tribute to its international charac-       tic campus covering more than 12,000
               aroused interest in me for hospital           ter. Ties with alumni were rekindled.      square metres with gardens, a chapel
               management.” In North Carolina he             Eight foreign chapters were set up and     for events, a library, fully equipped
               also acquired the knowledge for the           a number of reunions organised. In the     reading rooms, debate rooms, a res-
               sponsored research centres, which he          meantime the School has more than          taurant and a lounge, as well as offices
               would later open. In 1991 the first com-      11,500 alumni spread across 100 coun-      for 130 researchers.
               panies were brought on board at Vlerick       tries. “It is very important for them to   Then it was the turn of the Leuven cam-
               to invest in research. Today there are        stay involved in the development and       pus in Vlamingenstraat. The intention
               more than 20 research centres at the          dynamics within the School,” states        was to expand the School’s facilities in the
               School.                                       dean Van Dierdonck.                        two historical cities that were further-
                                                                                                        more close to the sponsoring university
               seeking a separate identity                   accreditations, rankings and               in order to optimise cross-pollination.
               He came back with his batteries               partnerships                               By January 2007 the renovation was
               recharged, and he would need them,                                                       complete. In the meantime the School
               since the School required increased                                                      did not turn a blind eye to opportu-
               autonomy. In the 90s a gradual move-                                                     nities and challenges outside the bor-
               ment took place towards increased                                                        ders. After a number of years of getting
               focus on post-graduate and post-experi-                                                  acquainted the ISM in St. Petersburg
               ence market needs. In 1992 the School                                                    (Russia) was taken over by Vlerick
               moved from the university buildings                                                      Leuven Gent Management School.
               to its own UCO tower. Four years later                                                   On the third campus, both a full-time
               Professor Van Dierdonck found himself                                                    and part-time MBA programme is
               again at the head of the then School for      In order to command respect abroad         offered in English to an international
               Management. For accounting purposes,          three approaches are used: accredita-      public.                                    n
               there was a need for a separate identi-       tions, rankings and partnerships with

 | Orator • Special Issue • March 007
Who is
Prof. Dr anders aspling?
         In line with the School’s international strategy and                              of Economics. His doctoral thesis on
                                                                                           Swedish labour legislation was ranked
  ambitions, the Committee was seeking an inspiring leader                                 among the best at the Stockholm School
           with a vision, who had to be able to operate in an                              of Economics in the 1980s. This was the
                                                                                           reason why he was offered a position as
  international context, with a strong academic background                                 professor at the University of Western
        and experience in managing a business school. Prof.                                Australia one year later, which he turned
                                                                                           down in order to become the Human
   Dr Anders Aspling embodies all these characteristics. The                               Resources Manager at SIAB, a compa-
  whole School is excited and proud to welcome him aboard.                                 ny with some 10,000 employees and a
                                                                                           turnover of over 1 billion euros.
The new dean of Vlerick Leuven Gent
Management School is a truly global         A true citizen of the world,                   Five years later, he became the President
citizen, with both academic and cor-                                                       of IFL. He doubled the size of the insti-
porate leadership experience. He was
                                             with both academic and                        tution during his seven years there,
President of IFL (Swedish Institute            corporate leadership                        expanding it to 50 faculty members,
of Management) for seven years and                  experience                             60 employees and a turnover of more
Senior Vice President of SIAB (one of                                                      than 15 million euros. In 1996, he was
Sweden’s largest and most internation-                                                     also invited to join the Board of the
al construction and real estate corpora-                                                   EFMD where he is currently serving
tions) for five years. He is a member of   Anders and his wife are multilingual            his second six-year mandate.
the board of the European Foundation       Swedes with wide interests in sports,
for Management Development (EFMD)          culture and civil society. As generations       Currently, he is a Senior Associate of
since 1996. As the head of the Global      of Volvo managers have established,             the MIL institute, another Swedish
Responsibility Initiative for EFMD he      Swedes and Flemings mix well. The               business school. He develops and runs
launched a partnership with the UN         Asplings also know Belgium well. They           executive education programs there. He
Global Compact, up till now bringing       even used to take their spring breaks in        also is a partner of the Foresight Group,
some 40 leading companies and busi-        Bruges. That will be closer now. They           a Swedish international consultant net-
ness schools/learning institutions from    also like to spend time in South Africa.        work focused on entrepreneurship. His
all over the world together – working on                                                   major occupation for the last few years
how to develop a next generation of glo-   Anders Aspling is the son of Sven Aspling       has been the creation and development
bally responsible leaders.                 a former famous Swedish polical leader          of the Globally Responsible Leadership
                                           who played the role of ombudsman in             Initiative - a collaboration between
                                           the transfer of Nordic refugees during          EFMD and the UN Global Compact to
                                              World War II. His father was also min-       ensure that the next generation of busi-
                                               ister of welfare, social security, health   ness leaders will act in a globally respon-
                                               and labor during the period when the        sible way.
                                               Swedish welfare state was built. He
Professor                                     inherited a strong humanistic and            The Asplings are moving to Gent. They
Anders Aspling                               social fiber from his parents. In his         wish to buy property in the historic heart
will join                                   youth, he played on both the national          of the city or somewhere else not too far
the School on a                             soccer and ice hockey teams and spent          away from the School’s Gent Campus.
full-time basis
during the                                 one year of high school in the US, before       Anders will join us on a full time basis
summer.                                    studying Business Administration at             during the summer.                      n
                                                              the Stockholm School
                                                                                           N   De Nederlandstalige versie van dit artikel vindt
                                                                                               u op

                                                                                                                Special Issue • March 007 • Orator | 7
             We don’t teach you anything,
          we develop what’s already inside you
n Leading Business School in management               n 150 staff members
  education                                           n 65 expert faculty
n 50 years of management experience
                                                      n About 6,500 executives and managers studying at
n Top 10 in Europe, top 40 worldwide                    the School every year
n Internationally accredited (EQUIS, AMBA
  and AACSB)                                          n 400 MBA and Master Students in Belgium
n Excellent mix of academic knowledge and             n 60 MBA students in St.Petersburg
  business expertise                                  n More than 80 % of full-time MBA-students
n Permanent stimulation of entrepreneurship             are international
  and innovation
                                                      n 87 company-specific programmes in 2006
n Particular expertise in 3 research domains: doing
                                                      n Contracts with over 100 companies to provide
  business in Europe, technological venturing and
                                                        management development programmes
  corporate social responsibility
                                                      n Alliances with more than 40 business schools
n Several partnership concepts towards companies
  and organisations: Research for Business
  Partnerships, Campus Partnerships, Chairs,          n Broad alumni network: 11,500 graduates in over
  Corporate Sponsorships                                100 countries in the world
n Associated with two renowned Belgian

                             1 school, 3 campuses

     Ghent Campus                         Leuven Campus                     St. Petersburg Campus
           Reep 1                         Vlamingenstraat 83                  Birgevaya Liniya 16
        B-9000 Gent                          B-3000 Leuven                   199034 St. Petersburg
   Tel: + 32 9 210 97 11                 Tel: + 32 9 210 98 99               Tel: + 7 812 331 7544
   Fax: + 32 9 210 97 00                 Fax: + 32 9 210 97 00               Fax: + 7 812 331 7544                                                  

To top