Antoine Rech is the administrative director of Sacred Heart University in Luxembourg
(Photo Mike Zenari)
Sacred Heart University administrative director Antoine Rech talks about how the school is keeping up with business trends for its Luxembourg-based campus' course offerings.
This spring, Antoine Rech took part in an organised visit to the Hannover Messe, one of the largest trade fairs in the world. It was a chance for him to visit a range of exhibitors (there were some 6,500 on site) to learn more about developments taking place in artificial intelligence, technology and a host of other topics.
It’s just one of the ways the Sacred Heart University (SHU) administrative director keeps abreast of trends that might impact the Luxembourg-based campus and its course offerings. Digitalisation, blockchain and private equity have been recent topics covered by the conferences organised through SHU--a clear indication that the university is keeping up with the times.
SHU is the only university in the Grand Duchy to be accredited through the US professional organisation AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). In addition to its full- and part-time MBA courses, it offers a range of programmes so business people can keep on top of their skills--from a lunchtime learning series to certifications in corporate finance, management in the digital age and private equity, to name a few.
There are over 40 nationalities represented, and Rech says that the students they’ve recruited have come from as far as India, China and the US. “Networking starts on day one,” Rech adds. “This is why we mix full-time and part-time students.”
According to Rech, those in the full-time MBA programme may already be living in Luxembourg but they also are individuals recruited from abroad, or the spouses of expats already based in Luxembourg. “We promote Luxembourg and sell it in a package of education, work experience through the internship,” Rech says. “We benefit from the good health of the country.”
Rech says that the part-time MBA students don’t need the internship programme offered in the full-time version because they are generally already working. These MBA candidates can be “lawyers, bankers, consultants, artists, physical therapists… it’s extremely diversified, which is an important aspect of an MBA.”
In the case of full-time students, they have an opportunity to work in a company “for 6-9 months, depending… it’s an opportunity for the company to test the character of the students, and for the students to put a foot in the job market”. He estimates around 90% of participants get a job before they graduate or just after.
Rech adds that he feels a certain obligation in ensuring the students are successfully able to integrate into the local job market. “If you can convince someone to come, take a loan, leave their home country, you have to be 100% transparent… they trust you. They come to Luxembourg, they have trust in [the country] and trust in the institution.”
One way in which the school tries to facilitate those moves is through its alumni network. There are well over 600 MBA alumni in Luxembourg, part of the total 35,000 alumni worldwide. Potential students have a chance in advance to get in touch with those who have already been through the programme and/or worked in Luxembourg. Rech calls it “a kind of quality check”.
For Rech, Luxembourg should be an easy sell. Having worked for 15 years at SHU, he formerly was living in his home country of France but made the decision to move to Luxembourg “to be integrated” which, he adds, is important, especially with kids (he has two of his own). Living here has meant that his children can learn several languages at school, plus he and his wife no longer have to spend so much time on the motorway. He now also has Luxembourg nationality.
Rech and his family live in Pfaffenthal, where Rech says the neighbourhood has transformed significantly over the years. “The families are changing, and we have neighbours working for Namsa, the European Parliament, the International School. It’s really a street of expats.”