Meet the new Programme Director of BA Global Business & Entrepreneurship
As of the 2022-2023 academic year, Prof. Sven Van Kerckhoven will be the new Programme Director of the BA in Global Business and Entrepreneurship programme, following in the footsteps of Prof. Frank Billingsley, who after many years of wonderful service to our School returns to the United States. Time to find out a bit more about Prof. Van Kerckhoven and his thoughts about the present and future of this Bachelor programme, to which he is hardly a stranger:
Q: Could you tell us a bit more about your background and about what you are bringing to this BA in Global Business and Entrepreneurship programme as its new Programme Director?
I studied business economics, and received my PhD in Applied Economics. Complementary to my academic background, I also ran my own business for a while, which was eventually acquired by a bigger player in the industry when I started working at Vesalius College, or the Brussels School of Governance as its alliance is now called. After joining the School in 2016, I developed and taught a wide variety of courses in the Global Business and Entrepreneurship programme. As its Programme Director, I also oversaw the development of this programme, and I am excited to step back into this role after a two year hiatus. This break has allowed me to take a step back and reflect more in-depth about its curriculum, in tandem with Dr. Frank Billingsley who ran the programme for the last two years and is now moving back to the US.
Q: In your other role at the Brussels School of Governance, being its Vice-Dean for Education, you are undoubtedly particularly well positioned to assess your School’s programmes. What do you consider to be the main or even unique assets of this BA in Global Business and Entrepreneurship?
In all objectivity, I can state that there does not exist a similar programme anywhere in Europe. The unique blend of academic and practical components is second to none, and ensures that our graduates are extremely attractive on the job market. Moreover, the programme allows for some cross-fertilisation thanks to the wide range of electives, which allows students to take courses from the law or communications major, for example. The underlying logic is that we feel that any well-rounded entrepreneur or management expert needs to be able to engage with a wide variety of fields.
Q: In what way does the programme offer students the practical experience that can help young entrepreneurs who are looking to set up their own business?
Key to this is the Capstone, a course I redesigned several years ago. In this particular course, students work in teams to create their own business, culminating in a formal presentation of their business plan in front of a jury of experts. We are extremely proud to have witnessed some students continue with their project and turn it into a real business. At the same time, several other courses also bring the practical components to the forefront, depending on the topic of the course. For example, we have a course that delves into the deep of the brewing industry. Our students also benefit from some very experienced professionals teaching in the programme which complements the academic background of some of the other instructors.
Q: What kind of programmes or activities have you seen your graduates from this programme move on to in recent years?
Our programme allows for a wide variety of activities upon graduating (or even before that time, as we have already seen). Most of our students in this Bachelor end up pursuing a Master degree at a leading university afterwards. However, we have also seen some great success stories of students joining the workforce immediately upon graduating. It's always wonderful and exciting to follow those students who have dared to jump into the entrepreneurial field upon graduating. One of our recent graduates for example entered the transport and mobility business and grew his company into one of the leading players in Belgium and abroad.
Q: Finally, looking towards the future, could you tell us what are the main trends that you see in the area of global business and are there any plans to possibly reshape this Bachelor in the near future to prepare its graduates for any changes in the market?
One of the major challenges in the field relates to the sustainability of any enterprise. Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) goals are becoming increasingly important, and rightly so. Our programme already focuses on these challenges, as well as the digital components of business, but we would like to bring this more to the forefront, in order to continue to educate the leaders of tomorrow!