Today, I went back to Vlerick …

I maybe should have posted more about the life as a Vlerick alumni :-) Anyway, after … ooops! already 2 years, I went back to Vlerick, in its Leuven campus, in breakout room 006, with a suit (no tie) and for an interview. But this time I had the great honor to be a jury member for the MGM.

Vlerick Admissions test binder

I will not write about how to succeed in this type of test (I blogged about it before and other websites might do it better than myself). However it was interesting to see adaptations from Vlerick and the motivation of some students.

For Vlerick, a lot changed since I did my admission test in Vlerick. There is a new logo and branding, a new campus in Brussels, they reorganised the MBA program, ranking improved a bit, etc. But it was very nice to see and meet again familiar faces like Mathieu Luypaert and Marion Debruyne, to sit on chairs that prevents you from sleeping in breakout rooms – like before, to taste the (improved) food of the cafeteria, …

And, last but not least, independently of their success in this assessment, I was also impressed by the motivation of the students, the diversity of their backgrounds, their eagerness to join Vlerick. Well, for some of the students at least ;-) But if you feel the need to start/improve your business knowledge in Belgium, I would encourage you to consider joining Vlerick – and show your enthusiasm from the first to the last minute of the interview!

Some more news

It was a quiet and rainy month on May, here in Leuven. However several news are worth to be mentioned …

First the FT Executive Education rankings were out. Vlerick Business School is now #43 (up from #45 a year ago) in the customised report (the only Belgian school ranked if we except the CCL that just has a campus here). It is #41 (same as last year) in the open report (before Solay BS: #60). And everyone is happy! :-)

Then most of us defended their project – and from what I heard it was quite a successful year. Congrats for those who passed and good luck for those who will present soon!

And now Apollo students are busy with the IMEX business game. I already wrote about it earlier (here, here and here). This year we have four teams:

  1. Sky Whirlies, also on Facebook and on YouTube (and another video here)
  2. What’s up, also on Facebook
  3. ROB-O-Toy on Facebook and on Twitter
  4. TenSai Toys, aslo on Facebook and on Twitter

Visit their web/Facebook/Twitter pages and support them! More on the game in a coming post … ;-)

And last but not least, congratulations to Fabian Frola and Mark Willems for their participation in the 20km of Brussels. Both ran faster than Prince Philippe (respectively 1h35, 1h39 and 1h55).

Btw here is my certificate for 2013 ;-)

This is the end (1 of x)

It is with some emotion that I announce you The End. Not yet the end of the MBA. But today was the last class of the last course (Decision Sciences for Business). So I want to take the opportunity to put some light on a commodity object that was the most used object during these two years: the red Douwe-Egberts cup for coffee or tea! They were able to keep us awake for some of the boring classes and kept us involved in the most interesting classes too ;-)


Note the chocolate Easter eggs filling it: thanks Neuhaus and thanks Vesna for providing such excellent chocolate! :-p

One case – one exam (IT)

130419-alcanOn Thursday we took our penultimate exam, Value-Added Entreprise IT. Surprisingly there was only one question: “Solve the case” ;-) No, seriously there were 4 sub-questions to help us suggest a solution for the case. But the surprise was (IMHO – YMMV) that there was only one (big) case to solve: Alcan, taking on the challenge of IT management in a global business context. It’s a classical HBR case (there is also an Alcan case about environment issues for those who remember CSR/EHS). For those interested here is a presentation by Cihad Acar and some solutions from the Fox School of Business.

Since I unfortunately couldn’t attend many classes I was happy to see that readings could bring some ideas to answer the case and that I shouldn’t be too far from The Truth ;-) One thing that I was wondering is what is (or was) the general business strategy of Alcan at that time. In his class Prof. Viaene stressed that the (Corporate) Strategic Context should drive the IT/IS Strategy. I missed the global strategic context in the (part of the) case we received for the exam. I could see that some of the business division didn’t necessarily made sense (except if you need a conglomerate or a highly vertically integrated company): packaging for instance. Splitting the company would see efforts focused on core values (and the IT Strategy would follow and would have been easier to implement).

Now when you read the Wikipedia page of Alcan, you realise Rio Tinto acquired Alcan Inc. in 2007 (one year after the case) in a US$38 billion deal. But soon after it decided to sell its Engineered Products and Packaging business groups (something that was ultimately done 2 years ago, in 2011). This lead me to another question: we learned best practises for IT governance when dealing with the result of an acquisition (or a very anarchic organisation) – what about best practises for IT governance when dealing with a split? If Robert Ouellette succeeded in implementing an ERP system in the Engineerd Products division before 2011, how would the new IT organisation cope with this existing, heavyweight ERP after being sold to Apollo (sic) Global Management for instance? A quick thought tells me that they could keep the benefits of an integrated communication system offered by the ERP in place (without the sunk costs of implementation), being then a small piece in a bigger puzzle and needing to communicate with 3rd parties now outside their company.

Btw if you look at the management of Rio Tinto Alcan, the CFO is still responsible for IS&T, the person responsible for IT still holds a VP position but it’s not Robert Ouellette anymore (although he really exists but works now elsewhere) ;-)

Photo credit: Stan O’Neill (holding paddle) and Elmer Burley (guiding ingot into furnace), two firemen in the Remelt department, feed ingots to the re-melting furnace at the Aluminum Company of Canada by Library and Archives Canada (licence CC-by)

Welcome to Daniel and Miguel in the Vlerick blogosphere!

I often ranted about the (relative) absence of Vlerick MBA students in blogs, twitter, etc. This year it seems the school did a special effort to recruit bloggers and/or that more MBA students are aware they can blog. The result is that, on top of Robert (FTMBA), Daniel (FTMBA) and Miguel (EMBA) joined the official Vlerick blog platform as well. A warm welcome to them – they  started with a bang: 3 posts already in February 2013!


Vlerick Global MBA now 84th in the FT rankings …

Well, preceding episodes in the serie are here and here. The FT Global MBA ranking 2013 is here (Vlerick specifically here). You can forge your own opinion by yourself.


I’m right! is now launched!

After some intense work and a group session, our Communication Skills assignment is finally launched! You saw the trailer previously, now you can discover the whole story here:


It is about (mis-)communication, the employee-boss relationship, frustration, unsaid things and lower performances. I had a lot of fun doing it with Sammy, Peter, Bart and Stijn. Thanks, guys!

Btw, Merry Christmas! :-)

The Saflex case

What I call the “Saflex case” is in fact the presentation Roger Bloemen did for us during the last course of Operations Management. I already mentioned that it was very good. I wanted to know more about the case that can be summarized as: “how to use operations to save and put back to profitability a company under chapter 11“.

You can find some sweet videos of the 80’s on Youtube:

(No animal were hurt during the shooting of this movie)

More interesting is the infomercial video made by Metascreen in which heads of Saflex were interviewed (Roger Bloemen did not appear). The emphasis on Saflex people is also there, in the end …

But when you dig further it is not that easy to find something about the Saflex case, even if you choose other names for this case. Because, if I’m right, there is no Saflex case per se. “Just” some academic papers on a MIT professor Yossi Sheffi’s website. You will find these papers by looking for Roberto Perez-Franco in Sheffi’s page about publications (ok, direct links here and here – they might break if Sheffi is changing his webpage). These paper deal with the evaluation of the supply chain strategy of companies. Already if companies had a supply chain strategy, it would be nice (and not the one you think of just in the middle of a crisis – the one you design and nurture for some time when times are good, forecasting maybe when times will be bad).

In fact Sheffi’s other publications are well worth reading (and could have been the source of inspiration for a group presentation if discovered earlier – a hint for next year students? ;-)).

Vlerick programs now 14th in the FT European rankings – should I worry?

Yooohoo! After the (very) bad performance of the EMBA this year, a rebranding exercise and a new website, the whole schoool is back at the 14th position in the FT rankings for 2012! The Academic Dean can of course be very proud of his cursus. As usual let’s have a look at the numbers …

14So, Vlerick Business School is at the 14th position, a stable position on a 3 years average (up from 16th last year however). There are of course big names before Vlerick: HEC Paris (2nd), London Business School (3rd), INSEAD (4th), IMD (7th), etc. But there are also big names after Vlerick: Cranfield (16th), Imperial College (18th), ESSEC (19th), London School of Economics (27th), etc.

Compared to other Belgian business school, Vlerick is better placed (than for the EMBA rankings e.g.):

  • Antwerp Management School is climbing from an average 52nd to the 40th rank;
  • Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management goes down from a 42nd to the 46th rank;
  • IAG-Louvain School of Management goes down from a 52nd to the 59th rank.

So if I take again my table from the previous “ranking” post (best of each row in bold):

Ranking Vlerick B.S. Antwerp M.S. Solvay B.S.E.M. IAG-L.S.M.
FT European Business School Rankings 2012 14 (=) 40 (↑ av. 52) 46 (↓ av. 42) 52 (↓ av. 59)
FT EMBA Ranking 2012 90 (↓ from 77) 50 (entry)
FT Global MBA Ranking 2012 70 (↓ from 71)
The Economist Full time MBA ranking 66
Aspen Institute Beyond Grey Pinstripes Vlerick

The methodology used by the FT is well explained. There you will learn that this ranking assesses the performances of 4 MBA programs in each school. And it looks at the breadth but also quality of these programmes. So indirectly it represents the aggregate of lots of parameters (see here for the list on Vlerick). But is seems to put some emphasis on the salaries (at program entry and after) as well as the number of female, international and PhD faculty.

So – back to the title – should I worry? ;-)

Well, just go to the previous post about rankings and read the conclusion ; I haven’t changed since. But congrats anyway to the Vlerick team for this good performance!

Photo credit: 14 by xiaming, on Flickr (licence CC-by-nc-sa)

Help! Ghita Greef hijacked the new Vlerick website! ;-)

Tonight I was looking for the e-mail address of Prof. Robert Boute (Operations Management). To my surprise, his profile was in fact Ghita Greef’s profile. I then checked Prof. Ann Vereecke‘s profile (also Operations Management): idem, hijacked by Ghita Greef! I then tried Prof. Kurt Verweire‘s profile (Strategy): idem! Prof. Marion Debruyne (Innovation)? Idem … I did not try many other professors but I saw that Ghita Greef was the contact point for many other topics on the new website. Fortunately Ghita Greef’s own profile works! :-) LBi, what have you done?

P.S. I guess that they are busy fixing the issue so if you click on the various names above in a few hours, it will give you the real profile and not Ghita Greef’s.

P.P.S Sorry, Mrs Greef, I have nothing against you, of course!

Last P.S. Prof. Robert Boute’s e-mail address is Robert (dot) Boute (at) vlerick (dot) com.

Edit on the next day: it seems to be fixed now (or is it because I test it from inside the school network?)

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