Department of Business

The Department of Business (BUSI) is responsible for both teaching and research activities in the fields of Management, Marketing, Finance and Accounting. As such, the research of the department is organized by four subgroups:

  • Management and Strategy (MAST)
  • Marketing and Consumer Behavior (MARK)
  • Finance and Insurance (FINS)
  • Accounting and Auditing (ACCO)

The Department of Business manages the courses in these domains offered in the curricula on Applied Economics, Business Engineer, Management (sciences) and Business & Technology. Within this website you will find more information on the four research subgroups. Also visit our Solvay Management Research Seminar.



There are currently no vacancies at the department. Unsolicited applications: if you are interested in obtaining a PhD in Applied Economics in a domain related to our department Business, you may send your CV to faces@vub.ac.be. Based on your CV, we may contact you concerning possible future PhD scholarships.



Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels (Visiting address: Pleinlaan 5 - next to the Beobank - third and fourth floor), at 5 minutes walking distance from the Etterbeek train station, and 10 minutes from the metro stations Petillon or Delta.

MAST: Management and Strategy

The MAST Cluster conducts research and advisory work in three domains:

  • Stakeholder management, with a special focus on complex investment evaluations. Unique research and advisory expertise has been developed in the optimal design of public private partnerships (PPSs), triple bottom-line (TBL) measurement tools for projects with high external effects, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies.
  • Sustainable mobility and infrastructure management, focused on assessing large-scale projects such as port terminals, intermodal transport hubs, brownfield rejuvenation investments for mixed usage, and greenfield development sites. The Cluster builds upon more than 25 years of leading research and thought leadership in this area.
  • International strategic management, with a focus on the governance and expansion strategies of large multinational enterprises and their subsidiaries.  The Cluster has achieved world-class status in this field with numerous publications in leading scholarly journals.

The vision of MAST is to be an internationally recognized, research and advisory services cluster in the above knowledge areas, the essence of which can be syntesized as "strategic management for sustainable business development".







ACCO: Accounting and Auditing

The subgroup Accounting and Auditing (ACCO), mainly conducts research on issues of (i) financial reporting and (ii) audit quality. Using state-of-the-art methods, a wide range of topics are addressed. Research findings are regularly published in scientific journals and other outlets as well as presented at (international) conferences or made available in working paper series.

The subgroup has already undertaken several research projects concentrating on financial reporting in an international context. More specifically, past and current projects with regard to financial reporting relate to:

  • The comparability of the consolidated financial statements of European listed companies (after the introduction of the IAS/IFRS). A component of this research specifically focuses on the users of financial statements and their information needs;
  • The impact of environmental factors on the adoption of IFRSs in the Arab world;
  • The demand for micro-entity financial reporting;
  • Determinants and consequences of voluntary financial disclosure by SMEs and micro-entities.  

Regulators have been highly concerned about audit quality and throughout the world initiatives have been taken to regulate the audit profession and to improve public confidence in companies' financial reporting. Past and current research projects with regard to audit quality within the subgroup entail:

  • Referral as a determining factor for changing auditors in the Belgian auditing market: an empirical study;
  • The Gendered Production of Audit Quality;
  • Opinion-shopping: Illusion or reality?;
  • An Analysis of the Relative Performance of Auditors' going concern Opinions and Statistical Failure Prediction Models for Listed Companies in Jordan;
  • The effect of audit fee on audit quality;
  • The effect of non-audit services on audit quality;
  • Professionalism verus commercialism: the impact of compensation schemes and organization structures; 
  • Narrowing the expectation gap.





MARK: Marketing and Consumer Behavior

Within the Marketing cluster of our department, research is carried out in the field of consumer behaviour. We focus on retail marketing and shopping behavior (off- as well as online). Issues related to shopper typologies, channel choice (e.g. adoption of online, multichannel, social and virtual world shopping), shopping motivations (a.o. compulsive buying), customer emotions and experiences, satisfaction and loyalty are studied. In current research projects we analyze - among others – the impact of store atmospherics (for example colours, lighting, and odours), (technological) innovations at the point-of-sale and brand personality and differentiation across different retail formats. The research team also studies the usage of new media (e.g., Facebook, Second Life,…) and the effectiveness of marketing communication (e.g., the determinants of brand confusion, the impact of social media and in-store apps).

Besides qualitative research methods (focus groups and Kelly grid, etc.), the researchers mainly use quantitative survey methods and factor-experimental research designs. Therefore, multivariate techniques (correlations, t-tests, analyses of variance, factor analyses, cluster analyses, regressions, and structural equation modeling) are used in SPSS, AMOS and Smart PLS.






FINS: Finance and Insurance

The research unit of Finance and Insurance (FINS), headed by Steven Vanduffel, is conducting research in the areas of corporate finance, financial engineering, econometrics and insurance mathematics. Kris Boudt, Lieven De Moor and Steven Vanduffel are the full-time professors associated with FINS. 

The current research of Kris Boudt involves the development of econometric methods to estimate, forecast and optimize financial risk acknowledging the non-linear and non-normal features of the dynamic distribution of financial returns and integrate new data types (high-frequency data, text analysis, sustainability scores, macro-financial state variables). 

Historically, the research focus of Lieven De Moor has been on empirical asset pricing and international and macro finance, but recently it has further expanded to portfolio management, socially responsible investing, financial literacy, educational policy, and SME finance. 

Steven Vanduffel's recent research focuses on the analysis of model risk, the optimal design of derivatives, the modeling of stochastic dependence and risk management.  Over the last years the group has significantly expanded and increased its research output on all levels. The research unit regularly welcomes international visitors and has excellent research partnerships with the financial industry.

Over the last years the group has significantly expanded and shows an increasing stream of strong research output appearing in top journals such as Journal of Banking and Finance, Review of Finance, Journal of Mathematical Economics and Journal of Risk and Insurance. We regularly welcome international visitors and have excellent research partnerships with the financial industry.