Running an intellectual marathon: PhD for Executives


Hans Vanoorbeek is Managing Partner of BV Capital Partners and Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Vlerick Business School. He was in search of a well-organized, flexible PhD program that would allow him to combine working, teaching and doing in-depth research. The PhD Program for Executives at Antwerp Management School offered exactly what he needed.


Hans Vanoorbeek - blog


What triggered you to register for a PhD program?

I was appealed by the intellectual challenge, and it also offered me time and space to deepen my theoretical knowledge of Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA). I have been teaching this topic at Vlerick Business School since 2013, and I have been involved in a similar INSEAD class since 2014.

I am sure my teaching will benefit from my newly gained insights.

So why did you choose AMS in the first place? Are you happy with the choice you made?

The AMS PhD program is quite unique, catering specifically to the needs of executives. It is well-organized and flexible, allowing you to combine a busy life and schedule with getting a PhD degree.

The program certainly lived up to my expectations. I really appreciated the teaching sessions. The faculty, e.g. Bart Cambré, were truly inspiring and helped me along my research journey.

On top of that, the program offers you the chance to broaden your network. I particularly enjoyed the company of the other PhD candidates. You get to meet very interesting profiles from various domains. I still keep in touch with some of my fellow-graduates.

Combining work, private and PhD life isn’t easy, how did you manage?

In spite of the flexibility of the program, you still have to put in considerable effort to make it all work. I spent quite some evenings and weekends working on my PhD. What really did the trick for me, was to have a dedicated workspace at home.

How do you look back upon your PhD journey?

I’m truly happy that I started and finished this journey. The intellectual reward you get is quite impressive. I did it, you know. It must be very similar to the feeling people get when they run a marathon for the first time. Except that in this case, it’s all about running an intellectual marathon.

Apart from the intellectual and personal reward, you also gain a valuable network. My company will benefit from that as well. And then, like I said, I’m sure my students too will benefit from my experience and newly gained insights.

So is it safe to say that you would recommend this PhD program?

Yes, I’d definitely recommend it. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you will find it a very rewarding journey.