Evenings Sessions: truly inspiring and exclusive learning opportunities for EMBA participants

Our International EMBA journey is not just about courses, assignments, and exams. We also give our participants real-life experiences, for instance through a series of evening sessions with inspiring leaders. These are exclusive meetings with important stakeholders on the Belgian and European scene which aim to build knowledge and networks beyond the classroom door.

For the most recent cohort, the first evening session featured Rudy Aernoudt, Chief Economist at the EU Commission and now one of our professors, and Michel de Kemmeter, founder of the Club of Brussels. Together with our EMBA participants, they discussed the vision of Europe, the underlying potential of the past year, and the role of entrepreneurship.

“This is not an era of change, it’s a change of era. It’s a completely different paradigm we are shifting to and we need to create it,” Rudy Aernoudt stated, with Michel de Kemmeter adding: I’m not calling this past year a crisis. This is the wake-up call. We have an opportunity to build a world we are proud of. In 10 years, our children will ask us: what did you do to make the world better? Did you do something to regenerate humanity? Did you do something purposeful?”

The second session was with Prof. Dr. Bruno Colmant, CEO of Degroof Petercam, who welcomed the class behind the scenes at his office for a closed-door chat. Topics ranged from the metamorphosis of economic and political systems and tension between the public and private sectors, to banks’ role in the current European context. During the lively discussion, with Louvain School of Management Dean Per Agrell also present, participants considered the changing interdependence between risk and trust in the banking sphere, the impact of the sanitary crisis on the financial system, and the role of digital currencies.

For its third session, the cohort visited Faustino Rabasot, CEO at Decathlon Belgium. Mr Rabasot shared his ideas about the new leadership and managing a company in a new way. On people empowerment he said: “If you give an employee a big suit, they will blossom, if a small one, the person will shrink”. Mr Rabasot talked about his belief in taking responsibility at Decathlon Belgium. He shared his views on salary, taking risks, and making mistakes: “We will deal with the issue when it happens, rather than think long before, because it might not even happen if you don’t try. There’s a duty to make mistakes, not a right to mistakes.” He said that in a company there is only one rule: you cannot be alone. You always have a collective that helps you grow and learn new skills, holds you accountable, and supports you emotionally.

The last meeting of 2021 was with Karolien Haese, Founder and Chief Wealth Officer at Building Healthcare For Tomorrow. 

“A good manager is not necessarily a good leader. Yet, to be a good leader it is essential to master managerial skills,” she said. During the evening she challenged the notion of leadership and together with the EMBA participants discussed the importance of changes and challenges for achieving more sustainable business models while the global economy is undergoing its 4th industrial revolution. Participants learned how the concepts of social responsibility and value-based patterns shift from shareholder to stakeholder participation and from client-centralized models to client-engaged models. Moreover, EMBA students got a better understanding of how differently these concepts are implemented in family businesses, multinationals, big investment funds and public companies.

During this last interactive session, we had the pleasure to welcome international participants from Aalto University, WUT and the EMBA Vilnius track.

For these exclusive, behind-the-scenes opportunities we thank the facilitator, Frederik Leloup, who is on the faculty and the Strategic Board of BMI Executive Institute.