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Developing Professional Skills by Dick Suter

In an ever changing world, the understanding of fresh techniques and new disciplines is vital - as is the ability to harness such information to your chosen profession. Happily, Belgium has some excellent places of learning. We look at some of them.

The Solvay Business School (SBS), part of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), was founded 95 years ago and is well established as the foremost French-speaking business school in Belgium. But, as with other business schools associated with Belgian universities described here, some SBS courses are held in English. "These courses are for one year and very intensive," says Sam Vanleer, the Careers Development Director, adding that "65% of the participants are from all over Europe," with the remainder coming from the other continents. There is the post-graduate Master of Business Administration (MBA) and, more recently, the Master of European Business (MEB) which, states SBS President André Farber, "integrates sophisticated applications of management techniques to the European environment." Both courses demand full time participation, so are not compatible with outside employment.

Within the MBA programme, there are 10 core courses and 10 electives. A specialty in European Management is offered, which addresses changing social structures and new challenges, among which are the Internal Market, the European Monetary System, EU External Commercial Policy and European Competition Policy. Solvay Business School, MBA Programme - Tel: 02 650 4183/Fax: 02 650 4199.

In 1980, the Brussels faculty of Boston University, the third-largest independent university in the USA, joined with Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) to offer the Master of Science in Management (MSM). The MSM course - pioneered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, Duke, Northwestern and in Europe by the French Grandes Ecoles - is described by Boston University as one "designed to educate general managers who can integrate diverse concepts in policy analysis and strategy development into the complex arena of international business." It also offers a Master of Science in Administrative Studies (MS), which focuses on organisational policy, innovation and technology in multi-national business. As the courses can be taken over a two to four year period, weekends and evenings, they can be dovetailed with full-time employment.

A special topic course dealing with the implications of EMU and the Euro will be held from Monday, February 23 to Saturday, February 28. For further details, contact Boston University Brussels on Tel: 02 640 7474/Fax: 02 640 6515.

Founded in Antwerp by Dr Xavier Nieberding in 1973, the European University has since expanded to 15 campuses (including one in Brussels), in eight countries. Four-year undergraduate (Bachelor) and one-year (full-time) to three-year (part-time) graduate (Master) programmes are available in a wide range of subjects. These include BBA and MBA programmes, BSc and MSc in Information Systems, BA and MA in advertising, public relations and communications, BS and MS international hospitality and tourism management and, at the Antwerp only, an MSc both in Tax Administration and in transportation/logistics. Contact the European University - Antwerp: Tel: 03 218 5431/Fax: 03 218 5868 and Brussels: Tel: 02 648 6781/Fax: 02 648 5968

The United Business Institutes school, associated with Mercer and Golden Gate Universities, offers four-year BBA and one- or two-year MBA courses in marketing, finance, international business management and business communication. Internships in companies are arranged for undergraduates. For more details, contact UBI on Tel: 02 548 0480/Fax: 02 548 0489

For those whose jobs entail considerable travel but who wish to follow a course, distance learning with The Open University can be a good solution. Students study part-time at home or wherever their business takes them. Multi-media programmes - including on-line on the internet, CD-ROM, computer conferencing and TV - complement monthly course seminars and regular contact with a personal tutor. Programmes offered include BA/BSc and MBA courses. 70% of students, whose average age is 37, are in full-time employment. Contact Richard Tuffs, Open University on Tel: 02 644 3372/Fax 02 644 3368 for further details.

Vesalius College is the international undergraduate English language college of the VUB, offering a 4-year liberal arts and sciences programme, created in co-ordination with Boston University. The courses include Business Economics, Business and Human Resources Management, Computer Science, Communications Studies, International Management, Business and Technology. The college, which uses interactive teaching methods, features a student/professor ratio of 6:1 and arranges internships with international companies. Vesalius College on Tel: 02 629 3626/Fax: 02 629 3637

If you're interested in studying for an MBA, make a note in your diary to be at the MBA Fair, organised by the MBA Center, which is taking place from 2.0pm until 5.0pm on Saturday, February 7 at the Hotel Bristol Stéphanie, 91-93 avenue Louise, 1050 Brussels. For more information, call on freephone 0800 73 535, Fax: 33 1 4556 1571 or check the MBA Center website on http://www.mba-center.com or e-mail .......

The College of Europe, located in Bruges/Brugge, offers a postgraduate course related to the development of European integration. It is focused on Economics, Human Resources Development, Law and Political & Administrative Sciences and includes a programme in European General and Interdisciplinary Studies, leading to Master of European Studies degree. The course runs from mid-September to the end of June. President of the college's Administrative Council is former President of the European Commission, Jacques Delors. College of Europe - Tel:050 449911/Fax: 050 449900

The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) is the oldest university in the Benelux and holds courses both in Dutch and English. Programmes include Law, Business Administration, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Medicine. For further details, contact KUL on Tel: 016 324010/Fax: 016 324014

Sharing the same high academic reputation as KUL, The Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) teaches a number of disciplines, mainly in French, but English is relevant for some of the courses. Contact UCL on Tel: 010 472111/Fax: 010 472531 for more details.

At the Brussels based Institut Catholique des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (ICHEC) you can take a Master's degree in Intercultural Managment Education, which is held in English. Business courses are also held in French. Tel: 02 739 3711/Fax 02 739 3803 for details.

The Institute for Training in Intercultural Management (ITIM) holds seminars every two months in Genval, south of Brussels.The Hofstede cultural model is used in case studies, exercises and role playing to solve international business problems relating to communication, teamwork, motivation, planning, negotiations, international meetings and implementation of corporate HR policies. Contact Barbara Sumner on Tel/Fax 02 687 2755 or on 101525.1430@ email.... for further details of these 2-day seminars.

The University of Ghent programmes include MSc courses in Aquaculture, Environmental Santitation, Textile Technology. Tel: 09 264 7000 for further information.

©Dick Suter - 1998

Original article appearing in "Internationals in Belgium" Dick Suter was an editor of the magazine and contributor and Ginny Suter was a regular contributor in the late 1990's and 2000's - The magazine had a circulation of 10,000 Please note that this article was first published many years ago and telephone and fax numbers are likely to be out of date and email addresses have been removed.

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