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A Final Message from the Dean

Dirk Daenen
Dean UBI – Brussels

On top of his leadership and administrative responsibilities, Dean Dirk Daenen is also a professor at UBI – Brussels, an affiliate of Middlesex University London. Additionally, he lectures at universities around the world, including Vietnam National University and China’s Tongji University.

Dean Daenen has given seminars at both the European Parliament and the European Commission, and trains people in public speak at a range of companies. Although he loves UBI, the Dean’s true passion is TEDx! He hosted his first TEDx talk seven years ago and is now an ambassador for the platform as curator and organizer for TEDxCADBrussels, TEDxWiltz, and TEDxLuxembourgCity.

Because he is well-known and highly respected by students and professors alike, Dean Dirk Daenen’s last day at UBI was understandably an emotional affair. Although there was an outpouring of praise and gratitude for Dean Daenen, words could not convey the significance of the success and positive change he has brought to the institution over the past 16 years of his service. Here, we would like to share a farewell interview with the Dean.

How did you get your start with UBI?I did my MBA at UBI! As an IT consultant, my employer sponsored the opportunity. At the time, there were approximately 120 MBA students of which many have become long term friends. Truly great times!

As a dean and a professor you are used to teaching others, but what are some valuable lessons the students have taught you? Good question! They taught me the real value of diversity; not just multi-cultural but a diversity of skills, knowledge, emotion. Everybody, every single student had qualities I admire. I learned to embrace that and really enjoyed being around such an incredibly enriching environment.

You have been through many graduations and have seen a considerable number of students walk proudly out of UBI’s doors. Could you name some students that have made an impact on you and why?They all have. I watched entrepreneurial successes (fashion, health food, tech), political and judicial success (a soon to be President, current minister and a judge in Belgian’s highest court), family success (students marrying each other) the list is endless.

What are the next steps for you?I have followed my passion and am now organising TEDx events in Belgium and Luxembourg. I am also doing a lot more corporate training in communication skills. When I finish a doctorate, I may even get back to academia.

What is your “trick” to keep students engaged?Get them to turn their phones off!

UBI has been a part of your life for many years now. What is a message you want to leave with everyone at UBI? Yes, I have worked at UBI for 16 years. Everyone that has met me will tell you the same thing; my key message is: “In communication, it is all about Perception” if someone sees me and yells over: “hey… you’re that perception guy, right?” then my job is done!

You should be proud of what you have accomplished at UBI over the past 16 years. Without you, UBI would not be what it is today. Our academic programmes are well-developed and relevant, and they arm students with the tools to make a difference in the workplace. Our alumni have taken the knowledge and experience they gained through you at UBI and they are changing the world. 

As your final chapter at UBI comes to a close, we want to say thank you. Thank you for the leadership you have shown through the years. Thank you for your time, energy and resources that you willingly shared with students, as well as faculty. You truly embody the spirit of United Business Institutes. 

We wish you the very best in all of your future endeavours. 

The Staff and Students of United Business Institutes

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