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Alfred Zerres was recently appointed as the new programme director of the EP short programmes offered at Amsterdam Business School. What are his plans for these programmes and for establishing contacts in the corporate sector?

This is a new position within Executive Programmes. Why is it important to have a Programme Director for the short programmes?

Executive education in the form of open masterclasses and other short programmes offers our researchers and lecturers a great chance for knowledge valorisation. They also provide access to high quality post-graduate education and lifelong learning for our corporate partners in Amsterdam and the Netherlands. Our executive education team did a good job in the past few years, but our short programmes portfolio is still relatively small. My appointment, along with an expansion of the executive education team, shows we’re serious about our ambitions. We're going to significantly grow our portfolio of short programmes, basing this growth on the vast expertise of our ABS colleagues, while also meeting corporate sector needs.

You are also an Associate Professor of Marketing and Business Psychology. Will this help you in your new role?

I sure hope so. Successfully growing our executive education portfolio requires a substantial analysis of the market and the management of corporate relationships. We know a thing or two about that in marketing.  What’s more, my specialisation is negotiations. That’s something that will certainly  help in navigating some of the upcoming challenges.

What will be the main things you’ll be working on the coming months? Are there any big changes you want to make?

Well, I am still working on getting a complete overview over the status quo. But 3 weeks ago, I didn’t know that I would be in this role today, so it’s fair to say that big changes would be premature at this moment. And the existing team did a fantastic job in getting to where we are today. So, I don’t see that any urgent changes are required. We will use the summer to develop and refine our strategy to meet our ambitious goals. Sustainable growth doesn’t happen overnight, but we will also not waste any time.

What was your job before becoming an Associate Professor at ABS? Did you work/teach/do research elsewhere?

I joined ABS as Assistant Professor in 2013, so I’ve been around for a while. Before that, I was a postdoc in the work and organisational psychology group across the way, at FMG. I received my PhD from the University of Münster in Germany and during my PhD I also worked as a consultant, mainly assigned to the German railway, Deutsche Bahn. I always kept one foot in the corporate sector and I still do consultancy work and give trainings in negotiations to selected multinational corporations worldwide. I believe this experience has been a great asset to  my teaching at ABS and it will also help me in my new role.

What part of your new role are you most looking forward to?

The challenge I am tasked with and working on it together with the great team at Executive Education. Learning more about the vast expertise of my colleagues at ABS and forging this expertise into successful, high-quality masterclasses that appeal to our executive students. And finally, I’m looking forward to working with our corporate partners to identify their educational needs.