What a year!

Posted on December 30, 2014 by


Op-Economica, 30-12-2014 — Tôi nhận được thư của Trưởng khoa phụ trách SBS-EM, chúc mừng năm mới, nhưng bận chưa đọc. Hôm nay đọc lại thấy thư hay quá.

Thật là một năm bận rộn, rồi nhìn quanh thấy đồng nghiệp nghiên cứu ai cũng bận rộn. Lại có những thành tích đáng nể.

Ông Dean cũng không quên nhắc là với tư cách một Khoa của ULB, SBS-EM cần nhớ truyền thống khoa học của ULB, “tổ ấm” của ít nhất 4 giải thưởng Nobel.

What a year!

As yet another magnificent year draws to a close at Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, let us first wish you and your loved ones a peaceful, joyful and relaxing holiday period and a happy, bright and creative new year 2015. This is also a good time for the School to give you an outline of the many great things that we made happen this year, because you are part of the greater Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management community.

Grande Place Bruxelles 2014

Our own met great recognition

Reflecting on 2014 at Solvay Brussels School of Economics Management of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, we keep vivid memories of quite exceptional moments on this campus. The appointment of Mathias Dewatripont, then Dean of this School, to become Vice-Governor of the Belgian Central Bank stands out as a great moment of recognition for our Faculty’s research and education capabilities. Only a few short weeks later, we received the wonderful news of Professor Ariane Szafarz of Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management’s research units Centre Emile Bernheim and CERMi being awarded the 2014 European Microcredit Research Award for her work on microcredit in developed countries, done with Anastasia Cozarenco (Aix-Marseille School of Economics).

At Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, we know very well that these achievements come from long years of painstaking efforts towards continuous progress and improvement. As a Faculty of Université Libre de Bruxelles, the only Belgian university that is home to no less than four Nobel laureates in scientific research, we work in depth for long term impact.

We know that the seeds we sow today will bear fruit in the future, and admittedly, with two European Research Council (ERC) laureates we feel good about the future of research and education in Economics and Management in our institution and in our network of topnotch academic partners.

Prof. Patrick Legros (Google Scholar profile), of Solvay’s ECARES, was awarded an ERC grant for research on industrial organisation. Prof. Laurent Bouton (Google Scholar profile; personal site), Assistant Professor of Economics at Georgetown University and Associate Fellow at Solvay’s ECARES, is an ERC laureate for his ambitious research project on political economy and voting processes. They join two of our own professors who have already been awarded these prestigious European Grants, Estelle Cantillon (Google Scholar Profile) and Bram De Rock (Google Scholar Profile).

In fact, 2014 brought another piece of excellent news for women leaders in business as Dominique Leroy (see recent coverage in From Solvay), a Solvay Alumna, was appointed CEO of Belgacom, now Proximus, the leading Belgian telco operator. And we feel very fortunate to have her as the next Chairwoman of our International Advisory Board, taking over from Mr Alain Philipson, whom we thank wholeheartedly for his longstanding dedication and support to the School.

Progress in our BA & MA programs

Substantial efforts have continued to be invested in making our undergraduate and graduate programs stronger and always more relevant as we’ve pressed ahead with our ambitious program of credited internships, with more double degree opportunities for our students and with the development of the Quantitative Techniques for Economics and Management (Qtem) Master Network.

Credited internships give our students the opportunity to dive into the day-to-day reality of companies, apply what the learn at the School and hone their skills for the workplace. That is done within a flexible but rigorous academic framework that allows them to earn credits while gaining professional experience. For partner companies, this is a great opportunity to benefit from the energy and enthusiasm of future young professionals, and also a good way to achieve better performance in their efforts to recruit the right talent. As part of the School’s long standing tradition of combining academic rigour with the experience of practitioners, Solvay Brussels SEM’s Career Services have deployed Solvay Talents, a platform aimed at matching bringing together our students and partner companies to explore exciting career and internship opportunities.

Double degree academic exchange destinations have remained a priority for the School, with several agreements in progress to expand the program that is already giving our students top level European and American destinations as well as an outstanding Chinese destination.

Qtem has grown fast this year too and is poised to reach 30 academic institutions and over 100 corporate partners. We aim to give our very brightest students in quantitative disciplines applied to economics and management, the opportunity to further develop their knowledge and international exposure in leading partner institutions.

Post graduate and continuous education grows stronger

On the front of our post-graduate programs, 2014 saw yet another year of growth for our leading-edge Advanced Masters Programs, while we enjoy the fresh and vibrant presence of young researchers and teaching assistants working in the context of Chairs supported by our always so committed sponsors.

Executive Education has just recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of the founding of Belgium’s pioneering case-based Executive Master in Management (formerly known as CEPAC). When we set-up the program back in the seventies, we pioneered case-based business education for executives in Belgium, by combining real-life situations and academic rigour. To this day, we have kept true to that commitment for the combination of high-quality university grade teaching and wisdom of practitioners to deliver knowledge for impact.

This year, we also built a partnership full of promise with renowned Paris-based Ecole Nationale des Ponts around our MBA program, now called Solvay Ponts MBA. This program actually brings together top-notch international faculty and high-profile practitioners from two traditional forces in higher education, with a strong tradition for bringing together management, innovation, technology and engineering within consistent, rigorous and demanding academic programs.

Last, but not least, this year we enjoy yet another cycle of the pioneering program of Philosophy and Management, which gives management practitioners the right context to examine burning issues of economics and management under the light of philosophy. That too is something we are deeply committed to doing as we feel there is an imperative for today’s economists and managers to find meaning and consider ethical matters in their day-to-day reality.

Long term vision is in the School’s DNA

So in very many ways 2014 gave us so many reasons to rejoice and place great hopes in the future. This has been the School’s 111th year as a demanding institution of higher education and research in economics and management. What was to become Solvay Brussels School was founded under the stewardship and vision of Ernest Solvay, the famous Belgian industrialist, philanthropist and great supporter of science, research and technology. From the outset his vision was all about bridging the gap between science and engineering, on the one hand, and management and economics on the other.

The entire academic and non-academics staff remain strongly committed to the highest standards of teaching in higher education, pioneering research in economics and management and our long tradition of free enquiry.

All that with a fierce determination to deliver knowledge for impact on the challenges of modern economics and management.

We are thrilled with the support we’re receiving by reputed institutions and prominent alumni, who share our vision and our values and wish to contribute by giving back. The most recent donations of about 3 million Euros each, from Fondation Inbev Baillet-Latour and from our alumnus Stéphane Kurgan of successful gaming venture King.com (profile on LinkedIn), the first to fund the new Chair in Error Management and its breakthrough approach to a topic all too often neglected in the economy, and the second to support a new Chair of Business History.

The ranking we’re (really) interested in

We are pretty confident that the excellent work that’s been done consistently for over a decade will eventually translate in terms of “popular” rankings for higher education, as is the case on the front of research, where the School is dominant in terms of top research centres and top researchers. And of course, the most important kind of ranking we can have is to see our alumni be entrusted with mission critical executive roles in companies spanning virtually all industries in all countries across the continent and beyond.

A vibrant alumni community

In 2014 we’ve also witnessed with great pride the many successful endeavours of our alumni across so many industries, from audit, to consulting, to FMCG, to marketing agencies, to banking, to performing arts with our very own Alex Vizorek.

The 3rd Congress of the Solvay Schools and their Alumni was very successfully organised by the Solvay Schools Alumni association, led by prominent members of the alumni community. We are very grateful to all of them for managing to bring together top level personalities to discuss the burning issue of sovereign debt: Mr Luc COENE (Governor of the National Bank of Belgium), Mr Herman DAEMS (Chairman of the Board of BNP Paribas Fortis), Mr Alain MINC (former advisor to the French President, essayist and Chairman of AM Conseil), Prof. Robert SHILLER (Sterling Professor of Economics, Yale University, and Professor of Finance and fellow at the International Center for Finance, Yale School of Management).

Last, but certainly not least, the School has made a decision to deploy Solvay Connect, a social platform aimed at bringing together the alumni community worldwide. The platform connects to popular social networks and provides an online environment dedicated to our alumni. It is free of charge of course and we like to think of it as a service of interest to the alumni community. The platform is designed to better nurture the network, to stay in touch, to find good people through its jobs board and to share the good vibes. Feel free to join Solvay Connect by connecting with your LinkedIn or Facebook account, or by creating an account on the platform if you prefer not to use social networking accounts.

To paraphrase Frank Sinatra, it’s been a very good year, but we were not seventeen: we were rather 111 and beaming with energy.

We are looking forward to meeting you, welcoming you, sharing and discussing with you, having fun doing interesting stuff in economics and management and generally pursuing great goals together in 2015. May the new year bring you and your loved ones good health, happiness and success in your projects.

Bruno* * *

Prof. Dr. Bruno van Pottelsberghe


Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management.