Top class theses produced at the SBS-EM!


The School has established a solid university standing with the production of around 400 theses each year. And the extremely high level of analytical and scientific skills demonstrated by its Master’s students have been recognised and rewarded!

As Dean Bruno van Pottelsberghe is keen to point out: « Each year, we encounter some excellent theses, often worthy of scientific articles. I should like to take this opportunity to  thank the lecturers who supervise theses. » Quality and quantity are the order of the day here… « All our Master’s students are required to produce a thesis – so we’re talking about something like 400 theses a year! » Among these there are many outstanding ones and some that are even prize-winning. « We have two internal prizes: the Eugène De Barsy Prize and the Étienne Sadi Kirschen Prize », Bruno van Pottelsberghe explains. Then there is a third, external prize, which this year has been awarded to an SBS-EM student: the Belgian Audiovisual Board Prize (CSA Prize). « This prize is a recognition of the excellence of our analytical capabilities by the external scientific world and industry », the Dean concludes.

Eugène de Barsy Prize

Created in 1986 by the Union of Commercial Engineers (UIC) – which later became Solvay Schools Alumni asbl – each year the Eugène de Barsy Prize rewards the SBS-EM student who has submitted the thesis that does most to promote creativity in the business and management field as part of their Master’s degree in Management Engineering. This prize for creativity is named in memory of Professor Eugène de Barsy, a former teacher and President of the School who was also President of the Banking Commission and the Belgian Credit Export Agency (Office National du Ducroire). The 2017 winner is Laurent Buyle. « My research looks at the sports industry and the usefulness of having an  equilibrium between the sporting prowess of the different teams in sports leagues. I focused in particular on basketball. To ensure high quality entertainment, sports clubs need to have solid competitors because, without this, there is no suspense. My research compares the different ways sport is organised in Europe and the United States (communist model). It highlights all the rebalancing tools (income redistribution, salary capping, etc) put in place by the major sports leagues in the USA and underlines the absence of these tools in European basketball. I then quantified the equilibrium level in European basketball leagues (Spain, Greece, Belgium), to compare it with the level of balance in the NBA. The results show that competitive equilibrium is greater in the NBA than in the European leagues. From this I concluded that the tools put in place in the NBA are such that they increase the level of sporting equilibrium. » How does he feel about being awarded this Prize? « It has boosted my self-confidence. It’s gratifying after working passionately for nearly two years on this thesis. I’ve even been approached by the coach and manager of the Basic Fit Brussels Club, a semifinalist in Belgium’s D1 Playoffs. »

Étienne Sadi Kirschen Prize

2017 marks the 19th anniversary of the Étienne Sadi Kirschen Prize awarded to Solvay Schools Alumni. It was created to celebrate the centenary of the study of Economic Sciences at the ULB. The prize was named in honour of Étienne Sadi Kirschen, a professor, Vice-President and then President of the School (1960-1964) who founded DULBEA (the ULB’s department of applied economics) in 1957. He is also recognised as the leader of the « national accountancy studies group » which set up Belgium’s first national accounting in 1953. The Prize recognises an applied economics and/or a policy-oriented thesis. It is to be seen as a springboard for a possible future career in research for the winner and also for the other nominated students. This year, Sarah Rosenberg has produced an outstanding and original piece of research. « A number of studies have shown that the burden of household chores is considerably greater for women who earn more than their husband. Is this an effect linked to gender norms or are there other explanations, such as the theory that women who earn more are perhaps more efficient in their household chores too? My analysis demonstrates that the first explanation appears to have greater validity. In fact I found a clear link between gender norms and the effect mentioned: when gender norms are strongly felt, the effect is greater. But we find the reverse effect when these norms are weak. » How does she feel after receiving the Prize? « My research was motivated by curiosity. Receiving this prize has encouraged me to pursue my research work. When you do research, you spend a lot of time alone and it sometimes feels as if you’ll never find the answers to your questions. It’s a real moral support to have been lucky enough to see my efforts recognised! »


The Belgian Audiovisual Board Prize (CSA) aims to recognise an unpublished 2nd cycle university thesis (or long-term university level education) within the Wallonia- Brussels Federation, defended at the end of the academic year preceding the award and which receives a mark of at least 15/20. This thesis must make an original contribution to the understanding and consideration of the legal, economic, sociological, political, cultural, technological or creative issues associated with the audiovisual industry. On 11 May 2017, the CSA jury awarded the prize to our student Nicolas Portnoy-Kischinevzky for his Management Engineering Advanced Management Master’s thesis: « Disruption in the audiovisual value chain: how can television continue to create and capture value? ». The jury commended his insights into the impact of a new economics – linked to online platforms – on TV channel business models. The thesis seeks to make sense of the
upheavals in the industry and to provide an answer for TV channels. It looks at four possible development scenarios: vertical integration of production, of distribution, the pure content aggregator model and digital.









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