Resuming operations

For someone who refused to accept the “no time” excuse in the past for not writing a blog, I have to admit I’ll have to use it now :-( Lots of things happened since last time I wrote about classes.

For instance we submitted our Statistics paper and got the results. These results are still composed of a grade from A to F (and as I wrote I will not post the grade distribution of the class) and an appreciation from the professor. If this appreciation was considered subjective in the previous years (independently of Statistics – this was valid for all courses), Vlerick tried to establish a grid where several criteria can be met or not in order to put some objectivity in the grade. It seems this grid disappeared – or at least it was not used for Statistics (as usual: it is not a complain, it’s just an observation).

Operation management classes ended with a bang materialised by 5 Pecha-Kucha group presentations. Some topics were more controversial than others. I also take as a key message that one absolutely has to test the presentation in a real setting before presenting. I personally also appreciated very much the very dynamic presentation of Roger Bloemen about the global supply chain strategy for Saflex at Solutia. IMHO this is the kind of presentation after which you tell yourself: “Damn! Maybe I should have done supply chain instead of ****** *********”.

remember to thank all the books you haven't read over the past three yearsSome other classes ended like EU business law (also with group presentation) or Communication Skills (maybe the most artistic “paper” we had to hand in – maybe the most confusing directions on what to do too, especially for people with scientific and engineering backgrounds).

And some other courses started. Like Innovation Management, EU integration, … An feeling that I have is that Vlerick has very young and dynamic professors. When they grow a bit older, they are less dynamic but very knowledgable and try to transmit their passion with more maturity. A third category of professors are older and teach us courses with less direct application (or do I have this feeling because I put Economics and EU professors in this category?).

We are now in December and there are still some nice milestones for the near future: an open-book exam for Operations, a video for Communication Skills. And then Christmas Party (for those who will attend) and holidays!

Photo credits: remember to thank all the books you haven’t read over the past three years by Natalia Osiatynska, under CC-by-nc-nd.

Restoring confidence, investing in growth

Or so was nearly the title of the EU presentation Pablo sent to me recently. The exact title is: “Restoring growth. Investing in our future.” (slides in English and in French).

The presentation was done by J.M. Barroso, President of the European Commission, to the European Council of 28-29 June 2012. GDP, the EC measure of growth, was more or less constant since 2011 so restoring that growth is seen as a “pressing priority”. Other indicators are not that good (to say the least): recovery is limited, unemployment reached high levels, performances were already weak before the crisis, there are large current account imbalances, etc. So the future EU budget must be a “growth budget”. Then you have a list of actions that the EU (co-)promoted, sponsored or simply saw as very positive in the EU.

The very nice thing with this type of presentation is that you see in action “things” you may have thought are very theoretical and far from daily practise. This time, we’ll take the Economics class. Remember Economics? It was one of the first classes we had during academic year 2011-2012, with professor Hans Gerooms (by the way Prof. Gerooms was/is also a long-standing financial adviser to Yves Leterme, now at OECD). OK, I see you don’t remember ;-) Anyway … So for example the link between exchange rate and competitiveness … The only country that, each year, had a relative gain in competitiveness is … Germany (what a surprise!). Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy are all on the other side of the bar (another surprise!). The only absence in this carefully selected chart is Greece … Is that a Freudian slip from the EC? ;-)

Another interesting slide is the one about the big differences between a European budget and a country budget. On top of the difference in total amount, the EU budget:

  • is multi-annual (7 years),
  • can never be in deficit or run up debts,
  • hasn’t any tax raising power,
  • has only very few own resources (payments come mostly from member states),
  • forecasts less than 5% for administration and 1% for pensions,
  • and has grown much slowly than national budgets (however I wonder if this last item shouldn’t be considered as a consequence of the tight rules before rather than a spec in itself).

Before letting you dive into the presentation, I would just highlight one last slide. French are considered to be chauvinistic – why can’t we be a little bit ouselves? On slide 18 the EC lists the top 20 organisations participating in the 2007-2013 EU FP7. By “top organisations” the EC means the ones that get the most fundings (in hundreds of millions of Euros). The more you get/spend money may be an indirect indicator of the more excellent and competitive you are (at least that is what is implied here – but for having seen the requirements for FP7 in a previous life, that might be the case). Well, I digress again … So, in these top organisations, the first Belgian organisation is the KULeuven: 11th (and 5th top university). Yes! :-)

Ways an Economist Says I Love You

I like applied microeconomics and graphs. Valentine’s Day was yesterday. Here is one of the 14 ways an economist says I love you :-)

An Economist's Valentine's Day

(from Elisabeth Fosslien’s portfolio)

Second set of results in!

The results for the Economics exam are in! Again I could have done better but I passed :)

We were also blessed to receive the grade distribution. This time, no A+. No C neither. The spread is shorter and the shape is more like an U than a bell. Anyway we did it, congratulations to everyone!

Economics results - Apollo 2011

These results arrived during the same day we had to give the 2 CMR (CSR) reports as well as attend nearly 8 hours of Financial Accounting. We also received a first set of information for the international study trip. And if you add new babies for some of us, you can understand we were not short of work last week! :)

2nd MBA exam: done!

Well I will not continue to write after each exam we take (unless there is something special). But it’s the second one: things are going fast but we are still here :)

This time it was economics. 5 questions: 4 exercises and one multiple choice-type question (-1 in case of a wrong answer). I personally think the questions were more oriented towards current news than on the sample exam, not bad. And there was something special: although it was an open book exam we were not authorized to have the answers to exercises in the book (*) nor the slides (this I don’t understand but I think they would not have helped much – did I miss something?). Now waiting for the results :)

Next step: CSR paper!

(*) this is understandable as one question was ditto one of the exercises :)

An Overview of the Euro Crisis (NYT)

As the 27 EU leaders are meeting in Brussels in anticipation of the great opening of the Vlerick campus in the European capital ;) the New York Times released a visual guide to the crisis. It won’t really help you solve questions during the Economics exam (well, maybe this could give you some figures to back your answers). But I wanted to share this just because I like the way this visualization is done :)

It’s All Connected: An Overview of the Euro Crisis

It’s All Connected: An Overview of the Euro Crisis (NYT 23/10/2011)

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

%d bloggers like this: