Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, located in the cosmopolitan heart of Belgium and Europe, has been an international school from its very inception. Our international reach and recognition are tightly linked with our international network of stakeholders, whose members we consider to be true partners in co-creation. Our outstanding and internationally accredited research and education programmes are made possible by, and intended for, these partners.
As a School and University, we are committed to creating societal value and to contribute to global prosperity. Prosperity for all: solidarity, equity, and freedom in an open, global and, diverse society.
International stakeholders refer to our students, alumni, administrative staff, and professors who are from outside Belgium. Our objective is to increase the internationalisation rate of these stakeholders, which is already relatively high when compared to global standards. More than 20% of our students are from abroad, but this ratio is much higher for the MBAs, PhD programmes, and the Master in Microfinance, where at least 60% of students come from abroad. In addition, 35% of the faculty and 50% of our administrative staff are from abroad.
Having international and multicultural stakeholders is a necessary condition for an institution that aims to reach international quality standards.
Internationalisation is at the core of our school’s vision and mission. From Brussels you can travel in under 2 hours to Paris, Amsterdam and Cologne and in a little over two hours you can be in London. The internationalisation strategy of the school is based on three pillars: international stakeholders, global reach of our students and international visibility. Through compulsory exchange programmes with 140 partners all over the world, three double degrees and credited internships we secure the global reach of our students.
Since 1990 our students have the opportunity to go abroad as part of a developped international exchange programme. Each year, between 300-350 students go abroad and over 150 students come to Brussels. Exchange agreements have been signed with more than 140 universities and business schools in 40 countries. The exchange programme allows students to develop their capacity to adapt to new environments, to learn about different academic systems and study specific subjects, to develop their language skills and to broaden their horizons and learn about new cultures and lifestyles.
The Solvay Brussels Schools of Economics and Management has ambitions and hopes to crown its efforts to be a leading school by obtaining the three major international accreditations – also named the Triple Crown: AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB. We are well under way: we are already AMBA and EQUIS accredited and in process to obtain the AACSB accreditation.
Why is this so important? Because leading schools are accredited, meaning that their peers recognize the international high quality of the research and educational programs of the school. Accreditations have nothing to do with inspections, administration or bureaucracy. Accreditations do not lead to identical schools all doing the same. On the contrary: accreditations provide a school with a quality standard framework that enables the school to present its uniqueness: its vision, mission and ambitions. And, of course, accreditations focus on the achievement of the school’s promises. An accredited school is a school that delivers. It is as simple as that.
The US-based global organization AACSB accredits and supports school based on a collegiate continuous improvement agenda focusing on innovation, engagement and impact. The AACSB community is an open community of peers that invites co-creation and learning among its members.
EQUIS is the European-based accreditation of the EFMD, an increasingly global organization focusing on management development. Both EQUIS and AACSB accreditations are institutional accreditations, meaning that the School is accredited. The AMBA accreditation is a program accreditation and focuses on the quality and impact of MBA (Master of Business Administration) programs.
In essence, all three accreditation organizations coordinate projects and activities that foster an active dialogue and exchange among schools and between schools and the professional world. All three generate new ideas for continuous enhancement and disseminate knowledge throughout their networks. They all maintain a series of learning, networking and executive management development activities on all continents.
These accreditations are increasingly important in a global world, just as rankings are: they communicate high quality, they assure delivery of a promise and guarantee that a school is well connected with society.
Most importantly, accreditations are no instruments for marketing or branding. They are not just labels one can show on websites. The processes, governance structures, faculty deployment and use of strategic resources a school needs to put in place to achieve accreditations, just make the school a better school. And that is what it is all about : accreditations show that the school has clear ambitions and aspirations and that the school not only has the will or determination to deliver high quality, but actually succeeds in delivering that quality as defined by the school itself but recognized by its international peers.
Accreditations open doors for international exchange or collaboration. It opens doors for students, professors and staff. Just as our School, SBS-EM, opens doors to the international world of business, management and economics.