Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management

Executive Master in International Association Management

Available dates

Jan 23—Jun 20, 2020
17 daysModules info
Brussels, Belgium
EUR 7950 ≈USD 8797
EUR 467 per day


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About the course

The programme is specifically designed for association professionals expected to take on wider responsibilities, grow within their respective organisation or to lead and ensure sustainable growth of their associations. Typical participants are senior leaders and executives of international associations and professional societies: CEOs, Managing Directors, Secretaries-General, Financial and Projects Managers, Marketing and Communications Officers, Head of Departments and Operations Managers.

Your benefits Individual

  • Leadership skills Enhance the leadership skills required to face management challenges within your respective profession/ task/position.
  • Strategic insights Gain a broad overview of the main fundamental strategic and functional areas in management.
  • Best practices Understand the best practices across the association sector.

Your benefits Collective

  • Governance skills Build managerial and hands-on capabilities as well as internal proficiency in association governance.
  • Collaboration Establish a platform for knowledge-sharing, showcasing experiences and cooperation.
  • An essential human lever Motivate personnel and help them reach higher levels of excellence to the benefit of the organisation.

7 modules addressing the Association Management challenges

Solvay’s Executive Master in International Association Management provides a targeted, pragmatic and action-oriented curriculum focusing on the specific challenges facing the association sector in today’s economy. It is spread in 7 modules, each dedicated to a specific aspect of the association management.


The most powerful form of leadership, regardless of one’s level and job title, is one in which a person takes the privilege in finding the best in others and puts it to good use. The realization that leadership is a causal relationship and not just a personal skill or talent will bring participants to embrace self-awareness and a whole range of personal, interpersonal and team skills that they can learn, develop and practice to become better leaders. This reality is especially relevant in roles where one is expected to exercise leadership in an organization without always having formal authority. Throughout the 3 day session, you will learn ways to actively take in new information and subtle distinctions around you. This enables you to learn faster and to become more effective communicating, building relationships and leading in increasingly diverse and complex environments.

The methods in this course will include a balanced mix of theoretical concepts, discussion of class experiences, group exercises and practical tools.


Day 1

Individual challenges I

  • Individual Differences
  • Motivation
  • Personal Resilience & Change

Individual challenges II

  • Self-awareness and Personal Effectiveness
  • Emotion
  • Perception and decision-making

Day 2

Group challenges

  • Group dynamics
  • Teams
  • Conflict
  • Interpersonal Awareness
  • Agents of Change

Society challenges

Global Workforce and Changing Demographics

Day 3

Leadership challenges I

  • Contemporary approaches to leadership
  • Leading without Authority
  • Which Change: adaptive vs. technical

Leadership challenges II

  • Leading Change: the good, the bad and the ugly
  • Leading through identity management strategies: learning to mobilise
  • Fit to lead: mindfulness and mindful leadership


The course is intended to develop your understanding of the fundamental concepts of finance and provide you with the tools to apply your knowledge in practical situations. The objective is to: • Master the basic concepts and tools of financial management. • Apply new knowledge in practical situations when faced with investment decisions. • Integrate financial management concepts into your decision-making process. • Learn how to go beyond accounting figures to show your unit’s real economic performance and potential • Improve the communication with financial managers within your association and learn how to ask the right questions. • Explore the International Associations Business Models.

Each topic is introduced with an interactive lecture which includes short questions and exercises enabling participants to reinforce immediately their understanding of the material. Participants then work together in small groups on a relevant case, before returning to the classroom for a plenary session in which the key learning outcomes of the topic are presented.

Mathias Schmit is professor of Finance at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, ULB. He teaches Finance, Banking, Risk Management, EU Financial Regulation and Case Studies in Microfinance. Mathias holds a PhD in finance and has published numerous scientific papers on the impact of Basel II on the financial industry. He is also the founder of SAGORA, a network of senior risk professionals merging extensive asset financing and banking experience.


Day 1

Balance sheet and income statement

  • Use and pitfalls of accountant and financial ratios
  • Distinction between profit and value creation

Cash needs and cash management

  • Cash flow statement
  • Financial diagnosis and planning

Day 2

Financial diagnosis and planning in international association reality

  • Sustainable growth
  • Panel discussion: Best practices

Day 3

VAT and associations


Key concepts in strategic analysis and management will be discussed in three key steps, from industry analysis to generic strategies, competitive advantage and strategic resources and competences. The objective is to: • Refresh/introduce key aspects, schools of thought and concepts of strategic management, • Challenge participants to think strategically and look at markets/clients/ sector/competitors and their organisation from a strategic perspective, • Illustrate what it means to manage strategically, on the basis of external case discussions, group work and own examples the participants bring to the table.

Most topics will be taught by means of interactive case studies, lectures/ discussions and group work on concrete examples and related to the professional context of the participant(s).

Paul Verdin is Professor and Chair in Strategy and Organisation at Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management and Professor of Strategy and International Management at K.U.Leuven (Belgium). He was previously at IESE Business School (Spain), and a “Distinguished Visiting Professor” at INSEAD (France), where he was on the faculty for over 15 years. He is currently also a Senior Fellow at the Mossavar Rahmani Center for Business and Government, Harvard Kennedy School (USA). He directs executive seminars and strategy workshops, and consults on strategy processes for a wide range of local and global companies, established multinationals and SMEs, across a variety of industries and services. He is a regular keynote speaker on top management conferences and serves as a non-executive board member of companies and non-profit institutions.


Day 1

Creating and Capturing Value

  • Strategy Revisited: introduction (lecture/discussion)
  • Strategic Imperative to create and capture value
  • Value Creation (group work & plenary discussion)
  • Creating Value: Value attributes and Value curves

Day 2

Strategy in 3 Steps

Step 1 - The environment, industry analysis and 5 forces revisited (lecture & discussion) Step 2 - Competitive advantage and Generic Strategies Step 3 - The resource-based view and core competences (lecture & discussion)


International associations have specific governance challenges: differently than corporations, the “shareholders” of the association, the members, are also its primary group of “customers”. This implies specific consequences on both the strategy and the governance of international associations. Efficient governance enables organizations to best meet their mission and strategic objectives.

The module aims at identifying these consequences, describing how they impact on the governance mechanisms of international associations. The concept of lobbying will also be addressed. The participants will learn, through both theoretical concepts and practical, to analyze the key governance processes of their organization (for instance budgeting and strategic planning) and will obtain tools to determine possible solutions to their challenges. Also, in a role play, the participants will understand how the board of an international association functions, in order to develop tools to identify inefficiencies and the appropriate corrections.

Alessandro Cortese is the Chief Executive Officer of ESTRO, the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology and of the ESTRO Cancer Foundation, and was, until June 2015, President of ESAE, the European Society of Association Executives. Previously, Alessandro was Director of the Association Management practice at MCI, based in Brussels. He has gained significant experience working with international associations, particularly heading up the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) office of the Project Management Institute (PMI). Before working in the association domain, Alessandro worked as a marketing and communications specialist for AT Kearney and for McCann-Erickson, based in Milan, Italy. He is regularly invited to give talks to industry events and congresses, focusing in particular on strategy and business development, meetings planning and governance for International.




  • Understanding what is governance: a systemic approach
  • Key moments and principles in governance


  • Lessons learned in strategic planning
  • Challenges and lessons learned in governing and international trade association


  • Understanding what Advocacy, Lobbying
  • and Campaigning are: a systemic approach


The objectives of the marketing modules are to make participants aware of the importance of marketing in today’s economy and to understand the contemporary approach and culture of “value-focused” marketing. Participants will learn key marketing concepts and basic tools. In addition, the module will address sector-specific stakeholder needs and advocacy. Through interactive teaching and class participants will be able to...

Understand major concepts underlying the notion of ‘value-focused’ marketing. Be aware of the content and methods of marketing strategies. Grasp complexities of customers’ behaviours. Make the link between customers’ behaviours and segmentation analyses. Know the main targeting, positioning & differentiation approaches. Structure a marketing information system. Boost advocacy on the basis of stakeholders’ management. Building on 25 years of experience, Jean-Pierre Aerts coaches multinationals in the formulation of customer-centric plans and supports their managers (training, coaching and/or consulting) to implement those plans, e.g. for Beiersdorf, Belgacom, Besix, Bouygues, bpost international, Brussels Airlines, Ethias, EVS, ING, Lafarge, RTL, Sodexo, Sunpower and Total. For this, he builds on a career at P&G (marketing and sales), RJR Nabisco (Marketing Director - EXCOM Benelux) and Coca-Cola (Marketing & Communication Manager). Jean-Pierre is Programme Director at the Solvay Business School since 2000 and also teaches at the Universities of Hanoï and Ho Chi Minh City. He specializes on the following themes: formulating a strategy and planning deployment, excellence in marketing and sales, customer centricity, leadership, people management and talent development.


Day 1

  • Value-Focused Marketing – 4 V’s Methodology
  • Building a Profitable Ecosystem (Business Model Canvas – 8 P’s)
  • Market Intelligence (External / Internal Environments)
  • Customer Centricity – Customer Insights – Needs’ Discovery

Day 2

  • Segmentation – Targeting
  • Customer Experience Management
  • Innovative Value Propositions
  • Positioning – USP

Day 3

  • Brand Equity – Branding
  • Brand Identity / Architecture
  • Communication – Media – Promotion

Day 4

  • Stakeholders’ Management
  • Advocacy
  • Review and Recap


The course provides a structured setting in which the participants can familiarise themselves with the most important ideas in project management. They will learn how to apply this concept in their own or future jobs and to carry out the project management techniques such as project scoping, estimating, scheduling and controlling.

The teaching will focus on

  • Developing your project management skills through greater theoretical understanding and practical application of the project management principles.
  • Explaining the essential skills required to be an excellent project manager.
  • Displaying the key elements that influence project management outcome.

The methods in this course will include a balanced mix of interactive lectures, group work, project management simulation and case studies.


Day 1

  • What is a project?
  • What is an event?
  • What is project and event management?
  • Why do projects succeed?
  • What can go wrong?
  • How to avoid project failure?


Day 2

  • Project Management Areas
  • Project closure
  • Project environment
  • Project portfolio environment
  • PPM Tools Landscape

Day 3

  • Case study

Who should attend

The programme is specifically designed for association professionals expected to take on wider responsibilities, grow within their respective organisation or to lead and ensure sustainable growth of their associations. Typical participants are senior leaders and executives of international associations and professional societies: CEOs, Managing Directors, Secretaries-General, Financial and Projects Managers, Marketing and Communications Officers, Head of Departments and Operations Managers.

Key admissions criteria

  • University degree or relevant professional experience
  • At least 3 years of professional experience from any sector

Trust the experts

Mathias Schmit

Mathias Schmit has a PhD in Finance from the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (Brussels), where he is a Professor of Finance and conducts research into banking and microfinance at the Centre Emile Bernheim (a Solvay Brussels School Research Centre). He is regularly invited at IN...


Susan West

Susan West, Managing Director - SJ West Leadership Consulting Susan West is Managing Director at SJ West Leadership Consulting, a Brussels-based coaching and development firm. She is an executive coach who brings a wealth of business experience and leadership insights to help individuals and tea...


Jean-Pierre Aerts

Jean-Pierre has over 20 years of experience in multi-cultural environments, as manager, consultant, facilitator and trainer. He works in Europe and Asia, in the areas of strategy formulation, team development, marketing and sales, for both product and service companies (Procter & Gamble, RJR...


Philippe Biltiau

After studying at Solvay Business School (ULB), Philippe trained for 7 years in major companies such as Unilever, JWT or RTL. With his experience, he launched in 1982 a series of communication agencies: Karamba, Promo Sapiens and Kadratur. He will sell them in 2000 to the Interpublic Group, whic...


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Executive Master in International Association Management

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