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The Antwerp Management School (AMS)

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Since 2005 all MBA and Executive MBA programmes (Moscow Executive MBA is included) are accredited by AACSB.

Paul Matthysens

The Dean of the Management School of the Univeristy of Antwerp

Belgium is the centre of European integration. Brussels is truly considered the capital of united Europe. The head organizations of the European Union and NATO are situated there as well as offices of first-rated international corporations. Being a small country with a population of only 10 million people and a territory barely exceeding the Moscow region, Belgium is known worldwide for its highly developed industrial production and unique quality of products. 70% of Belgium's GDP goes for export. Belgium companies are acknowledged leaders in various industries: Alcatel in telecommunications, Picanola and Bekaert in machine-building for textile production and metal-working, Santens and Van De Velde in textile and lingerie. The northern part of Belgium - Flanders is, perhaps, the most developing European region and the centre of international trade. Antwerp is the second city in the world after Huston in petroleum processing. It is also known as the world centre of diamond trade.

For ages Flanders as a whole and particularly Antwerp were oriented towards international business. Antwerp is one of the biggest European ports. Paris, London, Frankfurt and Amsterdam are situated within only 300 km from Antwerp. The citizens of Antwerp speak 4 languages: Dutch, English, French and German.

Business education has centuries-old traditions in Belgium.

As far back as the XVI century the Jesuit school of commerce known far beyond Flanders was situated in Antwerp. In 1852 there was founded the Antwerp University of Saint Ignatius (Universitaire Faculteiten Sint-Ignatius te Antwerpen). High quality of education, strict discipline and following ethic norms were always (and still remain) the distinguishing features of the University.

In our century professional trainings for managers were held on the base of UFSIA. And in 1960 one of the first European Executive MBA programmes was created, which after a while had a reputation of a programme for Belgium business elite. Since then over a thousand people graduated this programme. Most part of the graduates occupy key positions in first-rate European companies.

Basing this programme in 1965 IPO UFSIA business school (Instituut voor Postuniversitair Onderwijs - Institute of Post Graduate Studies) was created, which designed more than 120 courses for professionals. Since 1965 more than 50 thousand managers from hundreds of companies representing various industries studied in IPO UFSIA.

IPO UFSIA owes its unique style to two rectors (A. Taymans and P. Virenque) . The essence of this style is aspiration for perfection with no compromise and personal interest, highest quality of teaching, taking into account the interests and needs of clients - managers, who participate in programmes of business education.

As a consequence of such style total indifference to ratings and advertising came. The main principle of IPO UFSIA on the market of business education was "Quality promotes itself". For a small world of Flemish business this is right. Jesuit traditions are known and respected there. However, internationalization (of business education particularly) could not go pass even the Jesuits. In the last years serious integration processes in the field of education were initiated in the Flemish part of Belgium. Three universities - UFSIA, RUCA and UIA - united and formed the Antwerp University, the largest in Belgium. Today more than 20 thousand students study in its 7 colleges.

The key moment in above mentioned integration was the merger of two business schools of UFSIA and RUCA and the formation of the Antwerp Management School (Antwerpen Management School - AMS). Both universities had rich experience of business education and close connections with business communities in Belgium, Netherlands and other regions of Europe.

Today Antwerp Management School is the largest business school in Flanders. It aims to become the international centre of business education, one of the most important in Western Europe. Material and intellectual potential of AMS and "Jesuit" thoroughness leave no doubt that the mission of internalization taken by the heads of the school will be successfully accomplished.

At the presentation of Antwerp Management School in Moscow in Marriot Hotel the Belgium Ambassador Andre Mernier said: "I am truly satisfied that the best Belgium business school was represented on the growing Russian market by a serious Executive MBA programme, which helps forming a new generation of qualified Russian managers".

Today the Moscow Executive MBA programme, conducted together with IBS-Moscow for more than 6 years, is a priority international programme of Antwerp Management School. It is one of the best known programmes on the Moscow market of business education, which provides a prestigious European Diploma. It is based on the same principles as the Executive MBA of Antwerp Management School in Antwerp. Since the initiation of the programme in 1998 more than 350 participants were granted a Executive MBA Degree of Antwerp Management School. About 70 russian managers are participating in the programme today.

The programme is bilingual, quality control is fully exercised by the Belgium side. All tests, examinations and the final master's project are in English. The programme lasts 3 semesters, classes are held in the evening and that's convenient for working managers.

An important part of the Executive MBA is an intensive one-week residential programme at Antwerp Management School which allows the participants to soak up the atmosphere of European business in the very heart of Europe.

During this residential programme the participants work 12 hours a day communicating with managers of European companies, well-known consultants and Antwerp Management School professors. An important part of the programme is the preliminary presentation of the Master's Project. The presentation itself and handing the Antwerp Management School Diplomas takes place in Moscow under the patronage of the Belgium Embassy in Russia.