As the information website of business management, Poets & Quants presents the rising stars at business schools from around the world every year. Last April, Poets & Quants presents its 2016 list of The 40 Under 40 Most Outstanding MBA Professors. Among the professors, one professor’s research has changed the design of retirement savings for tens of millions both here and abroad, how another is using neuromarketing techniques to gain insights consumer behavior, and one more who is spearheading efforts to analyze the design of energy and climate change policy in China. He is Prof. Robert Boute from Vlerick Business School.
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Prof. Robert Boute
Associate Professor, he teaches Operations Management and Supply Chain Management, experts in Logistics Management Operations & Supply Chain Management, Operations strategy and Inventory Management in Vlerick Business School and BiMBA at Peking University.
Robert Boute looks at operations management from the perspective of structuring (designing), managing and improving organisational processes for manufacturing as well as for service organisations. So he focuses on the interactions between operations and other functional areas, in particular marketing and finance. In his research Robert focuses on managing volatility in (global) supply chains.
Before joining Vlerick Business School and University, Robert Boute was a visiting professor at Kellogg School of Management where he conducted research and taught the school’s part-time MBA students. Along with his teaching load, Professor Boute is the Academic Director of the International MBA at Vlerick. In each of these institutions he has been ranked among the top teachers.
Inside the classroom, Boute uses simulation exercises and solves real life supply chain problems, allowing Vlerick MBAs to gain first-hand experience of the challenges found within supply chain management. While doing so, students say Boute treats each of them as “chief executive student,” always engaging and eager for their feedback.
On the research side, Professor Boute looks at operations management from the perspective of designing, managing and improving organisational processes for manufacturing and for service organisations. In particular, he hones in on interactions between operations and other functional areas such as marketing and finance while also looking at managing volatility in supply chains. In 2014, he won the Vlerick Best Researcher Award from over 150 faculty members.
At current institution since: 2006 (Vlerick Business School) and 2012 (KU Leuven)
Education: PhD in Business Economics, KU Leuven (2006)
Courses you currently teach: Operations Management, Supply Chain Management, Production & Logistics Management
Professor you most admire: My academic mentors who became good friends: Marc Lambrecht and Jan Van Mieghem. Excellent teachers, committed researchers, but foremost modest and warm persons. I feel privileged working with them.
“I knew I wanted to be a b-school professor when…during my undergrad program I attended Zeger Degraeve’s Decision Sciences course. He travelled each Monday morning to Belgium and taught us the same way he did his MBA students at London Business School – something I hadn’t witnessed before. He made use of case-based teaching (like the “Red Brand Canners” Case) and showed us that you could solve relevant problems using mathematics. And he did that in an engaging manner and with a lot of student interaction. He influenced me greatly in the way I teach today.”
“If I weren’t a b-school professor…I’d want to be the mayor of my University City (sounds intriguing to me, although admittedly I am not a fan of politics…)
Most memorable moment in the classroom or in general as a professor: I enjoy most when participants have an Eureka or Aha!-effect, when suddenly they notice that theoretical derivations lead to practical insights that they can (and are even eager to) implement in their own organization. When I feel that moment happening in class, it makes my day!
What professional achievement are you most proud of? When my students and/or colleagues tell me they enjoy working with me.
What do you enjoy most about being a business school professor? The feeling that you are developing the leaders of tomorrow: they will make it happen, but it feels great that I can contribute (to some extent) to that.
What do you enjoy least about being a business school professor? Grading is a undoubtedly the most painful part of the job. At the same time it is a necessarily evil: students deserve good (and tough) exams, but also correct grading and useful feedback so they can learn from it. Too bad it all takes so much time.
Fun fact about yourself: I look younger than my students.
Favorite book: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Favorite movie: Il Postino
Favorite type of music: Belpop
Favorite vacation spot: The mountains and/or the ocean
What are your hobbies? Cycling races in the French Alps, as well as Belgium’s Tour of Flanders.
“If I had my way, the business school of the future would be…Incubators where students and researchers are sponsored by companies to create and develop new knowledge that is needed to address the (current and future) societal problems that intersect with their business.
“Practice and theory blend together in his teachings. He not only allows students to experience the challenges of supply chain management through real life cases and immersive games, but he further stimulates out of the box reflection through inspiring guest lecturers, behind-the-scenes company visits, discussions on trends or simply by applying complex frameworks to managing his toddlers at home.”
“Robert is so much more than just a passionate professor. He is a lifelong mentor who is approachable for guidance during as well as beyond the MBA trajectory.”
“Buckets of positive energy, good attention for everyone in class, very clear repetition of where we are at the beginning of every class and a very good and consequent wrap-up at the end. Good balance between seriousness and play.”
About the Vlerick Business School
Vlerick Business School is the oldest business and management school in Europe. Founded in 1953 by the renowned academic, entrepreneur and politician, Professor André Vlerick. Vlerick Business School has been leading innovation in business for well over half a century. As the management school of Belgium’s two largest universities – Ghent University and KU Leuven – the School has built a solid, worldwide reputation as a leading, independent institution with a strong international focus and close ties to both the academic and corporate worlds.
BiMBA MBA at Peking University started its strategic cooperation with Vlerick Business School in 2008 and provides the best international MBA education in China.