Competition winner: Outstanding Case Teacher
|The winning entry|
The winning entry
‘Wouter is a top case teacher. He consistently achieves very high student satisfaction for different types of audiences, including Master, MBA and executive students,’ says Sophie Manigart, Full Professor of Corporate Finance at Ghent University and GIMV Chair of Private Equity & Partner at Vlerick Business School.
‘He is equally effective in teaching the basics of corporate finance or financial statement analysis to novices in the field as in teaching advanced concepts such as real options to finance specialists. This means that he is well loved by all his students and often consulted informally by alumni.’
‘Wouter is a brilliant teacher with excellent pedagogical skills. He knows how to motivate students and make them go the extra mile,’ says Mathieu Luypaert, Associate Professor of Corporate Finance at Vlerick.
‘He is a great coach for new teachers at our school. Wouter was also my personal coach when I started at Vlerick Business School. He was very much involved, guided me with passion through my first months and gave me the perfect introduction to the world of case teaching!’
‘Finding out about my win was absolutely thrilling news,’ says Wouter. I had never dared to even dream about this and I am very appreciative and humbled.
‘This competition highlights the relevance and importance of the case method and puts it in the spotlight. As far as I am concerned, there is generally speaking not enough attention paid to this in academia, even within business schools.’
Engaged and appreciated
‘To me, case teaching is a participant-centred method that allows for a deeper understanding – this is what I often hear when I meet alumni.
‘It all starts with raising triggering and challenging questions on relevant business topics – in a captivating setting – that initiate reflection and nurture the discussion. Then, by presenting conflicting views, providing new lines of thought, summarising statements, and making concluding remarks, one creates a learning process in which students feel very much engaged and appreciated for their class contributions.’
‘‘I have written about a dozen cases (often co-authored, sometimes with students) about a widespread range of finance topics and household names.
‘I believe that our role resides in knowledge creation and dissemination – Vlerick’s credo by the way is turning knowledge into action and action into knowledge. My cases are not only well received by internal colleagues, but also used in a number of other highly respected institutions. It gives me much pleasure to see that my work gets shared among many students.’
‘I honestly believe that the first thing a faculty member should do is to inspire students and involve the whole class, giving them the confidence and courage they need to apply relevant tools, techniques and insights (without relying on financial whizzkids).
‘As such, we can provide a transformational experience that will motivate students to go the extra mile. Our job is to be very selective in picking the right materials and topics, and provide great, inspirational examples and cases, and consequently insights and learnings that stick.’
Passion, humour and chocolate
‘I feel it is important to create an enjoyable atmosphere so everyone feels comfortable. I use lots of cartoons, pictures, funny stories, videos and films such as Barbarians at the Gate and The Wolf of Wall Street.
‘Passion and humour are absolutely critical for successful teaching – as well as Belgian chocolates. The chocolates (champagne also works by the way) are used to incentivize people – I often split up the class in teams, and make them compete. Competition typically gets the best out of students, and just adding a small prize raises the stakes, the efforts and commitment, and hence the learning experience.’
Meet our winner, Wouter De Maeseneire…
Wouter De Maeseneire is Associate Professor of Corporate Finance, Director of Master Programmes, and Programme Director of the CFA-accredited Master in Financial Management at Vlerick Business School.
He gained his PhD from Erasmus University Rotterdam and is an energetic and passionate professor whose lectures feature many real-life examples that help students explore the exciting world of corporate finance.
Wouter, who is an expert in company valuation, often uses his own cases in class and also teaches topics such as financial statement analysis, financial planning, working capital management, capital budgeting and mergers and acquisitions.
Wouter was nominated for this accolade by one of his students, Anton Steidl, who said: ‘I would like to nominate Professor De Maeseneire as my favourite case teacher because of his excellent and unique case-based teaching approach. In addition, he has an extraordinary ability to inspire us students not to take news and reported facts for granted but to encourage us to make our own critical assessments.
‘I particularly value that Professor De Maeseneire uses self-developed and tailor-made cases in his courses. By going the extra mile and preparing cases which are perfectly aligned with the course contents, Professor De Maeseneire significantly enhances the quality of business school education.’
Wouter has taught extensively abroad in Russia, Thailand, China, Sweden, Ecuador, Germany, United Kingdom, Denmark and Switzerland, and also works on customised programmes for corporations such as AGC, Rabobank, Alpro, Pfizer, McCain, Bekaert, Siemens, Accenture, ABInbev, Toyota, Honda, and Sun Microsystems.
Wouter’s work has been presented at several international conferences and has appeared in a number of academic journals such as Research Policy, Journal of Business, and Finance and Accounting. He has also published a book that explores real options.
|What the judges said...|
While the judges agreed that all four finalists were excellent and inspiring case teachers, Wouter was judged to stand out as an exceptionally gifted and committed practitioner.
‘Finance is one of the areas in management where there is still some confusion among colleagues about how to effectively employ the case method,’ said one judge. ‘The approach adopted by Wouter will likely inspire colleagues teaching finance and other quants-focused subjects.’
The judges also noted his award-winning cases and his work in mentoring colleagues, plus previous accolades including twice receiving the best teacher award at Vlerick.
Another judge commented: ‘To effectively use cases written by others is commendable, but even more so if the candidate contributes to student learning by engaging in time and energy-consuming case research and the art of case writing.
‘Finance is a challenging discipline for case teaching. Comments from Wouter’s students reflect a highly student-centric teaching style helping his class to master the complex issues in his cases without leaving anybody behind – again a big challenge for finance professors using cases.’