Interview with Didier de Callataˇ, President of the Louvain School of Management Group
After studying civil engineering and obtaining a second degree in management, Didier de Callataˇ founded Callataˇ & Wouters, a company active in the computer engineering field. He manages a team of 500 consultants active in 15 countries. "We have a great deal of experience in the banking IT sector which is an extremely demanding field. I have been required to pay particular attention to the definition of company strategy, to management control, and to human resources management."
What are the strong points of the Louvain School of Management Group?
Our primary strength is our professors and researchers. They have an enormous amount of talent and skills and provide tremendous research potential. Our second strongest point is the school's international reach, an area in which we are clearly ahead of our Belgian colleagues. In fact, it's all related: quality research leads to quality education and to a multiplicity of international exchanges and partnerships with companies. High-level education must be based on advanced research. And we definitely excel in research.
Are you effective at the international level?
Both our practical work and our goals are based on an international outlook. And we don't just talk about it! We provide our professors, researchers, and students with opportunities for exchanges with partners at over 130 universities across five continents. We are the only Belgian school to belong to the CEMS network (through our Louvain-la-Neuve partner). The CEMS brings together the best European management schools and enables us to maintain close and permanent relationships with partners that include HEC-Paris, the London School of Economics, ESADE in Barcelona, and Bocconi University in Milan...
We have nuggets, gold bars even, and we aren't letting people know!
What is special about university education?
The goal of universities is to provide structure for the intellectual abilities of young people, and to teach them to be curious and methodical in their work. This helps them bring together two very different but complementary skills: synthetic and analytic thinking. Another key goal is to develop decision-making skills.
The human dimension of companies is key. For reasons of both ethics and effectiveness!
What are the values of the Louvain School of Management Group?
Our values have always been part of the DNA of the five universities that founded the Louvain School of Management. They are ethical and humanist values. We have deep respect for every party involved in making a company. Some people believe that good management consists solely in maximizing profits regardless of customers, employees, suppliers, and others. This isn't our view of the world. And it isn't just a matter of ethics. It's also a matter of effectiveness. The dangers of an obsessive focus on short-term results which ignores other values are made crystal clear in today's news.
Can humanism and business live together?
As a management school, we believe that the human dimension of the company is of utmost importance. Both for ethical reasons and for reasons of effectiveness. For an executive to successfully manage, motivate, supervise, and evaluate their employees, sustainable success in a company requires an atmosphere of confidence in which everyone wants to outdo themselves. There is nothing worse for a company than de-motivated employees and employees who mistrust their managers: this chases talent away. As the head of a company I spend 3/4 of my time managing the human dimension of my business. This goes beyond the company's personnel. It also means customers without whom there would be no economic performance at all. As you can tell, our ethical approach to the human dimension of the company is not just evangelism. It is an approach that believes that the best solutions are those that are "win-win" solutions for all of the parties involved. Everyone should win.
You talk a great deal about companies...
Yes, and I would like to point out that we are interested in all types of "companies" from Euronext to Oxfam and l'Orťal, to name just a few of our partners. We have partnerships with over a hundred companies in all fields of activity. There is one point on which it is impossible to insist too much: the special relationship between universities and the business world. Our mission is to train future company leaders. The more companies help us to achieve this through partnerships, research contracts, and knowledge exchanges, the greater the benefit to them from better trained managers!