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Antwerp Management School in the landscape of Business Schools

hugo der kinderen
In Business Schools, we mainly can distinct between two main categories: the "post graduate" and the "post experience" oriented ones. Most of the school with international fame, belong to the post "graduate type"". Their focus is on students who just finished their university studies, and who are looking for a stronger launch in their business careers, by picking up an extra diploma. Even if these Business Schools organize a "post experience" program, their internal culture of mainly focusing on text books and advanced theories will be found in the content of the program and in the skills and attitudes of the professors.

Business Schools working in the "post experience" area; have a different style. Their professors tend to have more real business experience and their focus is more on the real actual needs of businesses. Their focus is more practical, and integration between the several disciplines is a major concern.

In my perception and personal experience, the IPO Business School, now Antwerp Management School, is unique in its focus on "post experience" and in the tradition to translate this focus in a customer focus and quality attitude. The selection of professors (practitioners or practical academics; specialists in their profession), the consequent evaluation system (low scores lead to replacement) and the innovation being based on specialists from practice in co-operation with the "practical" academics, are the main elements of this working style. This tradition has been build up during more than 40 years, and was founded on the vision of two Jesuits: A. Taymans and P. Virenque. Their spirit of creating the best, without any compromise or personal advantage, was fundamental.

Although international contacts were seen as useful to pick up all the new evolutions and trends, the main focus was always on hiring the best professors, not the biggest names. A second consequence is the way the promotion of the Business School was done. The standing rule was that "Quality will promote itself". This was, and still is, very true in the rather small world of the Flemish Business. Everyone knows the quality of the Jesuit tradition. Even today in secondary schools, the Jesuit schools do not have to make promotion. They work on the tradition of high quality and human values.

Finding a good Business School is not different from finding quality in any product. If you focus on the amount of publicity, you will probably find the biggest "shouter". Finding quality needs a focus on quality, and like is very often proven, the two seldom go together.

It is my personal opinion that in the world of Business Schools, the Antwerp Management School can be compared to the small wine cellar in France, producing superior quality of wine, and being not the most famous. He wants to avoid the big business approach to avoid deterioration of the product. His love is the quality of the wine. Wouldn't we all like to find a wine producer like that?

Hugo Der Kinderen
Executive Professor AMS
Former Director