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  • Writer's pictureHugues Pirotte

The Reform of the Masters

The system of ECTS and the "Décret Paysage" have created a very flexible system for the students, still with some technical requirements here and there on the number of credits to be passed, etc... Adding to this, the positive evolution of students encouraged to continue their Master with us, having followed a previous Bachelor in another institution, and the "flexibility" converts itself unfortunately also into "complexity". And "flexibility" without the possibility to have a simple view on the programme, with few strings attached between the courses, has the risk of creating "opacity" to the students and difficulties to find solutions when we are under exceptional circumstances like now with the Covid19 where, for example, a series of students are stranded in Brussels and need to delay their international exchange.


Both masters propose the following framework:

  • 1st year: mandatory and elective courses

  • 2nd year: seminars, field projects, and the master thesis in a quadrimester, an internal experience (exchange or internship) in the other quadrimester.

The two Masters are similar but address two different concentrations in terms of managerial disciplines. The fact that they share a similar timeline bears several advantages:

  • The students of both programmes will be able to share and exchange more easily,

  • Students arriving at ULB with a bachelor obtained in a different institution will have a full year to discover and integrate the audience in the best conditions.

  • Students will be able to better take advantage of their international experience with a more mature background after a full year, together with all their peers, including in the other master.

  • After this Bloc1 of the Master (new name for the first "year"), students will have a strong common basis and they will be equally judged for the choice of international exchange, whichever if their origin, ULB or another institution.


Both programmes can today be easily compared on the basis of the weight put on the various competences such as finance, audit & control, entrepreneurship, strategy, governance, marketing, human & organisational management, leadership, and ethics. In the case of the Master of Business Engineering, for example, we are reinforcing what was foreseen when this degree was created in 1903 by Ernest Solvay: educate managers for the industry, managers who are strong in the disciplines of management but also on the comprehension of sciences and technology, in order to be an excellent link between the top management and the specialists, and probably to be a better CEO in the future as well for some. In that sense, a common course with Polytech was created ("Design methodology, article to follow) and subjects for the master thesis will be developed in combination with various Faculties under the Triaxe project.


Last but not least, the students in both masters will be allowed to choose between (a) an international exchange in the vast network of university partners that Solvay has, or (b) an internship with international exposure, i.e. abroad or for a project with international reach (e.g. a EU project in Brussels). In the case of the internship, the student will have to write a business case paper on this work, and not just an internship report, and pitch it in front of a jury. This provides us with some flexibility which is today, given the Covid19 context, particularly appreciable to find solutions for students who see their Erasmus or international exchange postponed or cancelled. But obviously, there were other types of flexibility which were thought of at the time we designed the reform.


We will continue telling you about each respective programme in dedicated articles for more details.

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Monday, April 22, 2024

The Solvay Times

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