More Blue Ocean?

As part of a normal MBA program, it seems you have to go through some obvious, basic steps. Hearing all the time about Apple is one of these ;-) Michael Porter and his models too. Blue Ocean Strategy is the last one we heard about (for 1st yeat PTMBA students at least).

So Blue Ocean strategy was introduced by Prof. Dr. Kurt Verweire in Strategic Management. Initially it’s a book written by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne of INSEAD. But of course, there are a lot of videos out there about it …

Do you want a short introduction or summary?

Or maybe you prefer the longer version?

Or you just want to see again glimpses of cases, with some patriotic music in the background?

If you missed the Cirque du Soleil case, here is an INSEAD interview with its CEO.

But finally you just want to see how this fits with Porter’s Five Forces? Youtube will always accompany your studies, even here:

Ok just because it’s late, for thos who like electro remixes, here is the “Blue Ocean Electro Rmx” from beatbros ;-)

China adventures 2012 – week 1

In this series on the International Study Trip please welcome Mark Willems as the second guest reporter from China. Mark made us the honour to write an extensive report of the whole (tourist) trip, including pictures … [for the sake of clarity and although I don’t like it, I will split this very long post, you’ll need to read it on the web]

Day 1 – Shanghai

I arrived early on Monday morning in Shanghai airport.

The Maglev (Magnetic Levitation) train brought me to the city center in 8 minutes at a maximum speed of 301 km/h. During the day the train reaches a maximum speed of 431 km/h.

Maglev picture by Frederik Mennes

Maglev picture by Frederik Mennes

Speed indicator picture by Mark Willems

Speed indicator picture by Mark Willems

After another short and “slow” metro ride I arrived at the Blue Mountain Youth Hostel where Frederik checked in the night before. He was barely awake when I knocked at the door but it was nice to see a familiar and non-Asian face. Apparently I already felt alienated in China and that after only a short train and metro ride ;-) In the subway I was at least a head taller than the others and I was the only one wearing a non-black and even a colorful sweatshirt. Can you imagine ;-)

Stijn, a friend of mine studying an MBA in Gent, was also staying in the same Hostel. We all gathered and took off to People’s Square in the city to meet up with our Leuven classmate Gilles. From there on, we first visited the Jade Buddha Temple.

Jade Buddha Temple picture by Mark Willems

Jade Buddha Temple picture by Mark Willems

Afterwards we travelled to the famous Bund where we got a first glimpse of the Pudong new area across the Huangpu River. The Bund is a waterfront area between the river and Zhongshan road.

Bund waterfront picture by Mark Willems

Bund waterfront picture by Mark Willems

Eager to see the Pudong new area from close by, we crossed the river by taking the sightseeing tunnel.

Bund Sightseeing Tunnel picture by Mark Willems

Bund Sightseeing Tunnel picture by Mark Willems

As you will see in the following link to a You Tube video, this tunnel is less spectacular as seen in many pictures (mine is pimped by playing with the shutter speed), but it was nice to have seen it though.

Once we arrived at the other side we grouped with two other classmates, Vanessa and our one and only Chief Party Animal, Fabian.

We climbed the large bottle opener shaped building, the Shanghai World Financial Center, housing the second highest observation deck worldwide at 474 meters.

Next to this tower an even higher beauty of 632 meters is being built, the Shanghai Tower, which will open for public in 2014.

Spyshot picture by Mark Willems

Spyshot picture by Mark Willems

Pudong new area skyline picture by Mark Willems

Pudong new area skyline picture by Mark Willems

For dinner, Frederik arranged us a nice table at Shook! where Kevin Cape, a British highly respected chef, presents an Asian and Western blended menu.

We tried some different nice dishes but it was mainly one of the desserts that caught our attention. Even for a culinary adventurist like me, the “Malaysian Ice Kacang” was very innovative. Or did you ever try a dessert that combines shaved ice, corn, sweet brown beans, peanuts and grass jelly?

Shook! dinner picture by an unknown Shook! waiter

Shook! dinner picture by an unknown Shook! waiter

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Some presentations and links on M&A

Yesterday we had our first class since the business trip (for 1st year students ; more on this later), right during the period of thesis defense (for 2nd year students). It was M&A (mergers and acquisitions).

As Marc Hofman (Managing Director of Terbeke) later explained, I believe M&A cannot be taught for the simple reason that most of yesterday talks weren’t quite structured imho (except Hofman’s) (or I was too tired to discover their hidden structures – that’s also a possibility). But that’s fine for me: it deals with ego, feelings, etc. in a word, it’s not an exact science.

However I strongly believe that it’s no point giving students handouts with only part of the presentation you deliver (as the third presenter did). First, for us (students but also actual / potential future customers in our professional life), it’s very annoying not to have the whole story to review (especially with discountinuing numbers at the bottom right). Then anyway your audience will figure out one way or another to get the full slideset. So here I would like to thank Pierre Francotte, professor at Solvay Business School (The Belgian rival school, booooo!), to have made public the complete third presentation on M&A.

Don’t get me wrong: I usually appreciate companies that make most of their research public. And here it’s also the case: McKinsey published a lot about M&A (free registration required). For instance “Taking a longer-term look at M&A value creation” will re-explain you a big part of yesterday third presentation. Just be consistent till the end :-)

Finally, here are the direct links to some material refered to in the last presentation:

Enjoy your week-end!

On the fifth day of New York, Vlerick gave to me …

In this series on the International Study Trip I’m reporting from New York …

Fill in the blanks in the lyrics:

On the fifth day of New York, Vlerick gave to me
Five  …
Four …
Three …
Two …
And a bunch of cool new friends.

Well, it’s been five days we’ve been in New York and, as for fellows in China, there was so much to do and see that there was hardly time to write on this blog after the first two days.

In the last three days, we finally had some flavor of what it takes to do business in the USA! Bill Catucci, John Tognino and Ed Stroz, all three are or were CEO and play(ed) a role in the US economy. They gave very interesting talks about their careers, what and how they did, always putting emphasis on leadership, acknowledgment of mistakes and ethics. It was also very nice to see that all three were also alumni from Fordham University and were returning there to give classes (I’m sure it would be possible to give the same type of program in Vlerick, given the Alumni network the School has, ymmv). We also had classes on finances and marketing (but I merely saw these more as complement of classes already given in Vlerick). Finally we also visited the New York Times building for a Vlerick Alumni event at the Flanders Investment and Trade office and we were received by John Melloy at CNBC just before its TV show Fast Money.

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But only half of a study trip is about classes and company visits (imho). It’s also about meeting new friends from other MBA programs (PTMBAs in Ghent, modular MBAs, PTMBAs in St Petersburg) as well as MBA students from Fordham University. It’s also about visiting New York, its surroundings and the startup scene. It’s about meeting New Yorkers and Vlerick Alumni.

So overall, I’m quite happy with this study trip. There is always room for improvements; we communicated them so you’ll definitely will need to go to New York in 2013 in order to have a great trip! ;-)

All photos are mine and were taken during this trip; you can freely use them.

A jazzy second day in New York

In this series on the International Study Trip I’m reporting from New York …

For the second day of the business trip to New York, we followed a class at Bloomberg by Prof. Dr. Werner (Fordham University) and enjoyed a jazz/leadership workshop in the afternoon. Eli Yamin Blues Band is perhaps not yet very well known in Belgium (but I have the impression that this will change with the help of some students). Lots of other things can be said and listened to but I’ll just put some pictures: next time, come to New York, it’s worth it! :-)

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All photos are mine and were taken during this trip; you can freely use them.

First news from New York

In this series on the International Study Trip I will report from New York …

On the first day in New York, we started slowly (most of us just arrived the day before). We just followed The Force and did a tour of the city. St. Patrick’s Cathedral, St. Paul’ Chapel, Ground Zero, Wall Street, 5th Avenue, Broadway, Central Park, … There was a lot to see and to hear about in just a few hours. Let’s say now we know some (additional) places to visit for the next days. The morning ended with a lunch at the Trump Grill.

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During the afternoon we took part in the US economy and did some (window) shopping. Tomorrow the real thing starts at 7.30AM :-)

For the crispy news … what happened in New York stays in New York ;-)
All photos are mine and were taken during this trip; you can freely use them.

A star is born! (study trip to China – day 2)

In this series on the International Study Trip please welcome Fabian again as guest reporter from China …

After the first big party, everybody was a little (or a lot) down on Tuesday! We had classes only in the morning, we had a lecture about the history of China and another one about Confucianism (Tony Liu). Then, during the afternoon, we visited the Forbidden City and the Hutong District. It was definitely the worst day of the week to do an outside activity because it was freezing cold! But we survived! We had a lot of great moments like when we were in the Forbidden City, the Chinese people wanted pictures from us but mostly from the blond people and also from the tall guys as you can see on the picture … They took hundreds of pictures of us! Our group rocks in China ! Vlerick is already in the photo books of many Chinese people!

First news from Beijing

In this series on the International Study Trip please welcome Fabian as the first guest reporter from China …

First of all… We all made it to China! Some of us came earlier and met in other cities before Beijing! Shanghai was for example one of these meeting places!

Then here we are ! Beijing!

We have to say something about General Becky! She is in charge of the organization of the Chinese trip. During the introduction session she told us that if the schedule says 9:00a.m , it doesn’t mean 9:01a.m , we start at 9:00! The first session was an introduction of the Chinese culture presented by the Dean of the Chinese MBA program, Mr. Bruce Stening (not Bruce Willis like Kattina thought).

After this session, we all (Leuven students) went to a fake market for shopping! We could finally put into practice what David Venter told us! We developed our bargaining skills and we negotiated great deals! Then it was followed by a great Vietnamese restaurant! Finally we ended up in a Russian bar/disco! OMG I don’t remember the end!

Sorry Becky, we were all late on Monday morning!

Fabian Frola from Beijing !

Bustling Beijing

Photo credit: Bustling Beijing by Trey Ratcliff on Flickr (CC-by-nc-sa)

International Study Trips: 1, 2, 3, Go!

During the coming two weeks, first year students will experience their international study trip. Some of us will be in China, some in South Africa and others in the USA. The preparation session was specific for each country; the experience will also be different.

I’ve asked some students to become reporters for a few days and send me their feelings and comments. And, again, if you also want to share your study trip experience, just send me an e-mail and I’ll publish it! Thanks in advance!

200301 departures

Ready? Let’s go!

Photo credit: 200301 departures by Bentley Smith on Flickr (CC-by-nc-nd)

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