Tias business school


What is now named the TIAS School for Business and Society started out in 1982 as Diogenes. Its initiator was Professor Harry Peeters (1921-2012), who initially had quite a different aim in view: a fund for unemployed academics to do scientific research, serving to finance PhD students who, retaining their unemployment benefits, would be saved from being unemployed. They were a kind of work-experience projects, and the then Education Minister, Deetman was prepared to spend 250,000 guilders on them. This then led to the idea that the University might be able to capitalize on the idea of interactions with practice. So its name was somewhat upgraded to Tilburg Institute for Academic Studies in 1984, and the idea of post-academic training was elaborated. Its frontrunners surely had internationalization on their minds when, just two years later, they changed its name to Tilburg Institute for Advanced Studies, Harry Peeters still servings as its Dean, but management education now being its central theme.

Management education

Out of seven projected study programs, Deetman accepted but two: Banking and Finance and Managerial Information Science. Both of these then received starter funding, and they still exist, albeit with slightly different names. Though much had been made of corporate relations, initial student numbers tended to be disappointing. The revenue model proved to be more of an investment program, and a more business-like footing was called for. So when the Belgian engineer and organization expert Philippe Naert took over its management in 1996, growth and profitability became its mantra. From this mantra’s point of view, Naert’s appointment was remarkable because, though he had managed to improve both science and revenue levels in his four years as Dean of the Nijenrode Business School, his management style was put down as being “somewhat grainy, with little eye for the cost-related side of things” by Neelie Kroes, chair of the Board.

Debates and developments

In 1996, Naert also became Dean of the Faculty of Economics, the intended main purveyor of professors to TIAS. What seemed like a match made in heaven was soon beginning to show cracks, however, and debates on fees, quality and the employment of outside professors were not long in coming. TIAS soon opted for greater independence and made a name for itself in 1999, when it launched an executive MBA with the US Purdue University with dual certificates. It also entered into partnerships with institutions in Germany, Hungary and China. Full-blown independence became a fact in 2001 when TIAS became a private company, with the University being the sole shareholder. In 2004, the Eindhoven University of Technology acquired 20% of the shares, and its Management programs were taken over by TIAS. A merger with the Flemish Vlerick Business School backfired in 2006, preventing the birth of a business school that would have ranked in Europe’s top, with Vlerick ranking 15th and TIAS 23rd in the Financial Times rankings.

High ratings

In 2017, Kees Koedijk (former Dean of the Faculty of Economics) was TIAS Dean and Director, and the full-time TIAS Business Administration program was declared by The Economist to be the best Management Master’s program in the Netherlands. On this journal’s global ranking, TIAS was in 24th place. Its own participants gave TIAS a score of 8.7 in 2017, with high ratings for content, teachers, challenging teaching, quality control and internationalization. With full-time programs, in-company programs and short-term programs (one being dedicated to female talents), its curriculum is wide-ranging. A new location was opened in Utrecht.