The academic careers of both Yassine Boudghene and Christian de Haaij owe something to Prof. Éric De Keuleneer, himself a Commercial Engineering graduate (SBS-EM 1974) and, since 2001, CEO at Credibe (formerly the Belgian state-owned bank “Office Central de Crédit Hypothécaire”). In 2009, Professor De Keuleneer gave Yassine Boudghene (who had been assisting him since 2003) the opportunity to lecture in Investment Banking and, in 2013, persuaded Christian de Haaij to take over the course.
For Christian de Haaij, there was no hesitation: “it seemed only right that I should pass on to students some of the things I had learned during my career”. And Yassine Boudghene was quick to seize the opportunity too, explaining that “I’ve always enjoyed teaching, sharing my experience and rarely turn down an offer I find attractive”.
Yassine Boudghene and Christian de Haaij both foster a practical approach to the teaching of investment banking, aiming to give their students a solid, practical understanding of the wide range of transactions typically carried out by investment banks. For Christian de Haaij this means offering students “a very pragmatic approach to investment banking and one that brings together the concepts they’ve discovered over their many courses in accounting, asset management, insurance, corporate finance, insurance, etc.”
“I firmly believe in
where you learn
Christian de Haaij
An adaptive curriculum
Yassine Boudghene explains that, over the years, he and Éric De Keuleneer have incorporated new tools “such as ‘best practice spreadsheets’ used in the industry for the different types of transactions”. These tools act as a bridge between academic study and the actual skills and knowledge that will be needed once students land a job in finance or banking.
All three lecturers have also adaptively addressed students’ requests to maximise their learning experience, as Yassine Boudghene explains: “At the beginning, this course had a much broader scope, covering both commercial and investment banking. It was essentially based on case studies. (…) The scope was (then) narrowed to investment banking activities, focusing on topics such as M&A, equity and debt capital markets. Then, as many students expressed a preference for having lectures on the basics before looking at case studies, the course structure was rebalanced to provide around 50% theory and 50% practice (through case studies)”.
As far as the case studies are concerned, Yassine Boudghene explains that for each of the topics “we tend to focus on aspects such as transaction structure rationale (taking into account a company’s objectives and constraints, the market context, etc.), the execution process, pricing considerations, the definition and roles of the different stakeholders, etc.” As a result of these adjustments, students taking the Investment Banking course can expect to acquire “strong basic analytical skills and an ability to frame the issue”, ultimately “getting a real sense of what a finance job is before starting their career”, Christian de Haaij points out.
“As a business
school, we have
an important role
to play and must
raise our students’
Adjusting to the current culture
Both lecturers are also careful to revise the curriculum to reflect the changes they observe taking place in the banking and finance sectors. So, for Christian de Haaij, the “increased importance of compliance in all aspects of banking and investment banking” is a major trend he feels must be reflected in his Investment Banking course. While Yassine Boudghene believes that “rather than mechanical compliance with regulations, a change in culture should take place. This is in the interest of investment banks themselves and some have already implemented initiatives to foster this change”. He goes further in fact, asserting that “conflicts of interest and, in general, the role of compliance and ethics in investment banking have always been studied on our courses, even before the financial crisis, thanks to Éric De Keuleneer, who was a trailblazer in this field. It’s important that we maintain this tradition and enrich it with recent examples”.