Are there more law and MBA graduates than ever now?

At least that what the GOOD team maintains in a nearly very good infography. Well, at first sight, everything is very nice and well presented …

Trends in Higher Education infography

But then you ask yourself: how is popularity measured? It’s nice to see that all fields became more popular in 10 years. But what does popularity means? The number of registrations? The number of diplomas awarded? Fortunately we know data is coming from the National center for education statistics so popularity can’t mean the number of appearances of students in NCSI or Fringe ;)

So, whatever it means, following this infography, all fields of study saw an increase in popularity in the previous 10 years (see figure below). The most popular degrees in the USA are still in business-related fields, followed by health and education fields. But if you look at by how much these fields became more popular, health-related fields are growing popular faster (+65%) followed by visual and performing arts (+52%) and business is only third (+46%). Let’s also notice that engineering is getting the smallest increase in number of students (+13% only).

Increase in popularity of degree by field of study

Finally when you look at business-related degrees only (see figure below), the popularity of Masters increased the most (if you exclude Ph.D.s: it’s easier to score +77% when you start from 1,201 students than when you start from 240,947 (+77% would mean 426,476 students after 10 years!)).

Increase in business-related degrees

Conclusion? We are doomed! It’s a Red Ocean! More and more people are doing an M.B.A.! This diploma will soon lose value and prestige!

Will I be able to sleep tonight? Definitely! I have other more important things to worry about (like starting to do some exercises in microeconomics, macroeconomics and financial accounting). Have a good night!

Any other thoughts or conclusion? Feel free to comment below …

Open Day ’11 & 1st Apollo BBQ

Today two events took place in / around Vlerick. First the Open Day (in Vlerick Leuven). Second the Apollo barbecue.

At the Open Day, we, students, were able to bring our loved ones (wives, husbands, girl-/boy-friends, kids, parents, whoever) on the campus to show them where we will spend at least 2 afternoons/evenings per week during the following 2 years. Prof. Dr. Koen Dewettinck showed us the whole building, from top to bottom. I discovered that the Vlerick building hosts some researchers at the top floor. We enjoyed the sun and the grass on the roof. And in our most often used classroom (in the basement), we saw all the little boys happily running together everywhere (even if they don’t all speak the same language).  Here are a few hazy pictures:

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We were also able to briefly see some students from the modular MBA students (Carl, I saw you but had no time to talk before your class resumed). Btw it seems to me we also have now students from the full-time MBA in Leuven. On Friday I recognized some faces in the classroom and their newsboard now includes a map of where they sit.

Later in the afternoon (and later during the night for those who don’t have kids to put to bed), students representatives organized the first Apollo barbecue. It took place at De Kluis, in Sint-Joris Weert (a 20 minutes drive from Vlerick). It’s a scout camp area so there is a large patch of land where one could put a tent, 2 barbecues, approximately 5 tables with benches. And there was still enough place to park some cars (not everybody listened to Mike when he told us where to park the cars) and play games both for kids and grown-ups. Mummification was great, thanks (no pictures, sorry). And of course first-year students beat second-year students at the pull rope fight! Later during the evening, there will be a bonfire, an improvised dancefloor (I guess) and some people will be able to camp for the night.

In a nutshell it was a very interesting day. Thanks, student reps! On Sunday, we’ll try to work (if procrastination doesn’t hit one more time).

Edit on Sep 25, 2011: official photos for the Open Day 2011 and the Apollo BBQ 2011 are out!

A new campus in 2013: Brussels!

If you follow the news, you probably know that Vlerick will open a new campus in Brussels in 2013. TV Brussels aired a report about it. For those who don’t know, the new location (map) will be next to Place Rogier and Rue Neuve (Nieuwstraat), not fare from the North Station.

Part-time -vs- Full-time MBA, PC -vs- Mac

Maybe I shouldn’t post this here but there is an awful lot of videos on YouTube about part-time MBAs (as well as official Vlerick videos and Vlerick alumni videos). Unfortunately for us, the two videos that came on top of my search for part-time MBA videos are spoofs of the funny set of ads “comparing” Mac to PC …


(If you don’t get the reference, watch this set of ads)

This allows me to jump on the next topic of investigation I was eager to discover: what is the most common computer platform used by PT MBAs at Vlerick? Well, I cannot say for sure since I didn’t had a chance to look at the computers used in the other PT classes or in the FT class. But in Apollo, there are 100% of MS-Windows laptops and there are most of the time given by the workplace: there are ugly, text-only, black-on-white stickers with all the characteristics of/on some computers. OK, one of our students reps has a sleek, black, sticker-free laptop (Dell if I remember correctly). And it’s still a MS-Windows PC.

Vlerick IT infrastructure is also MS-Windows, kiosk PCs all around the campus run Windows 7. The networked content is managed by MS-Sharepoint and the webmail login goes through and make hundreds redirections in the Microsoft cloud infrastructure.

So: no Mac, no Linux. But …

But, if you look at what people have in their pockets, you’ll see a totally different ecosystem. There are at least 2 iPads, lots of Blackberries, many iPhones and many Android (and oh yes, only one Windows phone). This sample (as well as the computer sample) is largely biased by the fact that these devices are for professional use (by that I mean: given by the day job). But there is still a trend: MS-Windows on the desktop/laptop and Android/iOS in the pockets.

What also surprised me is that no one is actually taking notes directly on their laptop. I agree the two current topics (economics and financial accounting) are accompanied by good textbooks and aren’t really suitable for electronic note-taking. I wonder if this will be the same in other topics.

Applied microeconomics

This evening, at the end of the microeconomics class, Prof. Dr. Hans Geeroms left us this model to analyze. Strange, isn’t it?

Puzzling microeconomics model

Dare to say no

In my company, we are in a campaign implementing new ways of working. One of the theme is “Dare to say no“. Today at work I learned I should dare to say no more often to meeting requests. I think I will have to apply this with pet projects at home too, unfortunately.

Twenty four hours per day is a strong time constraint. But I would still like to squeeze family, work, study, websites for relatives, books waiting to be read, some pet projects and some strong pressure to maintain this blog ;) Although I studied this behavior has some consequences on health the only thing I can do is to reduce the numbers of sleep hours (or make choices). I pushed sleep deprivation to the limits (see chart below). I’ll have to make choices now. Where do I start?

Hours slept per night, these last 6 nights

Hours slept per night, these last 6 nights

Vlerick MBA 2011 planet

So far, I found only two other people blogging their experience of the Vlerick MBA. Strange enough (actually I don’t know why I write it’s strange), both of them are women and both of them are from the USA. Interestingly our three blogs cover most of what Vlerick offers as MBA … (and the geek inside me is pointing to the fact we all three rely on the WordPress platform).

Melissa LangemanMelissa Langeman is a full time student following her Vlerick MBA in Ghent. In Melissa’s MBA blog, you’ll find serious and interesting stuff on the MBA as well as some interaction with alumni and Vlerick. Maybe more interestingly ;) you’ll find a detailed analysis of many Belgian beers on Melissa’s personal blog. She’s also on Twitter (and many more social web services I guess).

Sarah BittorfSarah Bittorf is a part time student following her Vlerick MBA in Ghent too. In Sarah’s blog, you’ll find a lot of posts related to food, yummy yummy! But of course, you’ll also find posts related to the MBA. Sarah was lucky enough to be accompanied by her husband on the first day :) And she also pointed at some interesting facts after her that day. It will be interesting to follow what she thinks about classes we will have next year (or 2nd year students in Apollo had last year). Sarah is also tweeting (and most probably on other social networks too).

And yours truly is from the part time Vlerick MBA in Leuven (I’m also on Twitter and other social networks, to complete the “comparison”). I unfortunately didn’t find anyone blogging for the modular MBA this year.

I added both blogs in the blogroll below, along some blogs from past years. Do you know any other student blogging about her/his Vlerick MBA this year?

D+2, I survived :)

One of the things I wondered about was the state in which I would be after staying a (long) evening and 6.5hours the next day just attending classes. I know, one spends about 8 hours a day in the office (sometimes / often more). And we used to spend a lot more time in classrooms at the university. But we usually left university since a long time (last class was 2003 for me). And we cope with all sorts of distractions at work. Keeping the focus for 6.5h on new subjects was something interesting to discover (if possible). The result? It’s possible. Tiring but possible. And tiredness will probably (hopefully!) go away with practise.

On the first evening, we had an introduction by the programme director (who will also teach Industrial and Organisational Psychology and Human Ressources Management) and the programme manager (YMMV depending on your part-time). An analysis of the students background was also done and gave more precise results than given here and other stuff I couldn’t find like age, nationality (still 80% of Belgians) and educational background (mostly engineering). Finally, one of the students reps also did a nice presentation of all the activities done for us.  By the way, our batch is called Apollo and we are in 2011 ; Apollo 11 was the spaceflight which landed the first humans on Earth’s Moon. Let’s see if this augurs well ;)

On the second day, we had a good time with the Finance Accounting and Simulation Tool (FAST). I agree: the title seems dry but the way the tool/game was well thought, concepts were well-presented (although with maybe too many abbreviations imho) and illustrated with examples from recent general business news. Prof. Luypaert, well done!

Back to school

Reaching the impossibleToday we are going back to school! My mom didn’t take a leave to accompany me to Leuven but I think I’ll be able to cope with that ;-) If I’m not tired after a day of meetings and classes I’ll write my impression here.

One more time, I was impressed with the Vlerick logistics: my issue regarding access to the students website was solved in 4 hours even at 9pm! And when you access this site, you see that we are 47 registered students in the Apollo 2012 class with a huge majority of men (81%). From discussions with alumni, it seems that this is a bit more students than the usual 30 cited (but it was more a recollection than an exact figure).

Thanks to the various API social networks developed, it’s very easy to look at the background of most students. Please be aware that the following analysis can’t 100% accurate since people are still putting what they want on social networks. In some cases, the names are also too common (like “Jean Dupont” or “John Smith”) to be able to get correct results without sorting them manually. These numbers are not at all official. If you are looking for official figures, please read the MBA student profiles for part-time or full-time programs on the Vlerick website. Also note you won’t get any confidential information here: I share here the result of my curiosity. Again, if you want official numbers or trends, go ask Vlerick.

Only 2 people don’t have a LinkedIn profile (5 students have too many names associated with their names). Most students who listed a location on LinkedIn either live or work in the Brussels area (62% ; LinkedIn doesn’t impose which type of location to enter). Other main areas are Antwerp (21%), Liège (8%) and just “Belgium” (8% too). It isn’t strange there is no one from Ghent, the 2nd most-populated city in Belgium, since Vlerick is also organizing the same part-time MBA in Ghent. However I was expecting some students from Namur or even Leuven itself. But people living or working there maybe considered other masters in management organized by other universities/schools. Note that there isn’t any student from outside Belgium because I assumed they (we) need to live or work in Belgium in order to attend evening classes in Leuven.

When you look at company sectors (see chart below), most students seem to come from IT (26%), followed by pharmaceutical or health-related companies (16%; this will be interesting for me). Then come transport/infrastructure (11%) and telecom (8%). This is very different than official numbers for full-time MBA and slightly different than numbers for part-time MBA. But I can’t tell if this is due to some evolution or if I just split company sectors differently (on top of the fact I’m relying on LinkedIn data and only on students of Apollo 2012).

Vlerick PT-MBA Apollo 2012 company sectors

In order to test the six degrees of separation idea, I checked to how many students I was connected and by how many degrees. Although I don’t know any of them, I was surprised to be a 2nd degree contact of 7 students and a 3rd degree contact of 14 of them. When you dig into these relationships, you see it’s mostly through recruiters / headhunters than actual or previous work relations.

If you go on Facebook, you’ll see that nearly 80% of the students of this class have a Facebook profile. And one can see that most people care about their privacy since only 2 profiles are public. All other profiles are either somehow limited or completely private (one can only see the profile picture and the name).

Google Plus still seems to be quite young since only 4 people have a profile on this platform (and usually there isn’t much information except a profile picture, a name and a gender). Only two people with a Google Plus profile actually work in IT.

This quick-and-dirty analysis confirms that it is more and more difficult to avoid “being known” on the web. When running my simple queries, I was astonished at the simplicity of collecting personal data but also by the amount of information people are voluntarily putting on the web! Without using specialized services, what other questions would be interesting to ask to social networks?

Photo credits: Reach the impossible by myself on Flickr (CC-by-sa)

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