For business school students, the country’s offerings are even better. Brussels, the capital, is home to the headquarters of major organizations such as the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)— and Belgium is an international business and governmental hub.
BusinessBecause spoke to two master’s grads from Vlerick Business School about why they chose to study in Belgium.
1. You’ll gain international networking opportunities when you study in Belgium
Moving abroad to study your master’s degree will remove you from your comfort zone and introduce you to people from across the world.
This is what happened to Bhuveneswari BS (pictured), a Master in Marketing and Digital Transformation alum from Vlerick Business School. Moving from India, Bhuveneswari wanted to broaden her horizons.
In the Master in Marketing and Digital Transformation program, students take part in Deep Dive Challenge as part of their courses to solve business cases for real-life companies and work closely together in projects and presentations.
“Not only did I meet so many new people, but I developed the soft skills to communicate and understand how our cultural differences could align,” she says.
During these projects, Bhuveneswari connected with peers from 16 different nationalities.
Vlerick also hosts career fairs and networking events with recruiters and invite industry professionals and alumni as guest speakers to these events.
2. Studying in Belgium means experiencing a diverse cultural scene
Whether you’re exploring the museums and shopping districts of Brussels, the modern food haven of Antwerp, or travelling to the picturesque town of Bruges, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in Belgium’s vibrant social and cultural scene when studying your master’s degree in the country.
“There was so much to do, especially in Ghent where my campus was, as it’s a student city—I really felt I had a life outside of studying,” Bhuveneswari says.
She adds that her master’s cohort would regularly organize themed events such as German or Indian nights to celebrate each other’s cultures.
Students on Vlerick’s master’s programs also get to know Belgium well while studying, as classes take part over the business school's three campuses in Brussels, Ghent, and Leuven.
Plus, with three official languages—Dutch, French, and German—Belgium is one of the most multilingual countries in Europe.
3. You’ll gain access to the European business landscape when you study in Belgium
Considered by many the capital of mainland Europe, Belgium is a well-connected country at the heart of European innovation, technology, and home to some of the world’s largest companies.
Studying your master’s degree at Vlerick Business School can bring the chance to travel within Europe and build your business school network across the region.
For Master in Financial Management alum, Fernando Tonelli (pictured), moving from Venezuela in South America to study in Belgium was a way to tap into the greater opportunities in Europe’s finance sector.
During the program, students go on international trips to London and Amsterdam to meet people in the wider alumni network and visit top finance companies such as Bloomberg and JP Morgan.
“It was a great opportunity to see inside big financial firms, understanding how they operate and what they expect from their employees,” Fernando says.
Fernando now works as an associate in sales and equity for global banking firm ING in Brussels.
4. You’ll experience a good work-life balance in Belgium
Based on average working hours, pay, and quality of life, Belgium is one of the best countries in Europe for work-life balance, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
This is one of the reasons why Bhuveneswari made the move from India to Belgium long-term and decided to stay to kickstart her career after her master’s.
“I wanted a country whose working culture and values suited me—no matter what career you’re in, you can earn a livable wage and have a good life. This fit so well with my own values and lifestyle that I decided Belgium would be the right starting point for my career after my master's” she says.
Interestingly, by taking a role in Belgium as Bhuveneswari has, you can expect extra pay days at periods in the year that tend to be more expensive, such as summer holidays and Christmas, since salaries are distributed across 13.92 months.
5. If you study in Belgium, you’ll benefit from great career prospects
Belgium’s location means it has developed a diverse economy with opportunities for grads across industries. In Flanders, for example, you’ll find an innovative high-tech industry whereas finance is largely located in the capital city of Brussels.
Students from across Vlerick master’s programs have gone on to work for top companies such as Bain, Microsoft, L’Oréal, and Google.
The careers team at Vlerick Business School also supports students with interview preparation and by looking over employee contracts.
“As an international student who didn’t know much about the Belgian job market, the careers team were invaluable in helping me find companies that aligned with my values,” Bhuveneswari says.
After graduating, Bhuveneswari landed an exciting role as a junior marketing consultant at The House of Marketing in Belgium. She was introduced to the company during one of the frequent careers and recruitment events held by the careers team at Vlerick.
Bhuveneswari and Fernando say that making the leap to study in Belgium for their master’s secured their international careers and gave them experiences, skills, and a network that will last a lifetime.