Chinese New Year 2012: January 23

Smiling dragon Like in many Asian countries, the Lunar New Year in China will be on January 23, 2012 (in our Gregorian calendar). The Chinese New Year (aka the “Spring Festival” or 春节) is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. According to the Chinese calendar, this year is the year of the water dragon (龙). I thought it would have been interesting to know for the lucky ones who are going to China this year :)

There are usually many celebrations with many customs and traditions. I guess there will be also celebrations in Belgium but as it’s not very easy to find them (except maybe at your local Sino-Vietnamese restaurant), here are three activities found for you:

If you know any other celebrations, feel free to post them in comments below!

Photo credit: Smiling dragon in the Forbidden City, Huế, Vietnam (from my photos on Flickr, licence CC-by-sa)
Edited on Jan. 10 to add Maasmechelen Village celebrations. Edited on Jan. 20 to add the three celebrations from belvietnam.

Happy New Year 2012!

I wish you a very Happy New Year 2012. May you succeed in everything you start (and especially your MBA at Vlerick!).

Three MBA students signing for New Year 2012 (to get some money) - Original wallpaper by

If I look back on this year blogging about my PTMBA at Vlerick, there are nice things to see …

For instance, here are the top 5 posts (exception made of the home page and the about page):

  1. An Overview of the Euro Crisis (NYT), a small post linking to a visualization of the Euro crisis in the New York Times
  2. Vlerick MBA 2011 planet, a post about what are the other students blogging around ; I’m still wondering why so few students are blogging about their experience at Vlerick. When you look at other schools, many students are blogging every year. Although Vlerick has a blogging platform it is currently not used by any MBA students (only Masters students ; maybe it will change with the new website) (*). Gleana Albritton used to blog as a FT MBA student at Vlerick in the FT blog area (wow!). Are studies too time consuming in Vlerick? Or life in Leuven not interesting enough? Is it not “Belgian” to blog? Almost everyone is on Twitter ; maybe blogs are so passé?
  3. Don’t shoot the red monkey, a post about Jef Staes‘ guest lecture
  4. Applied microeconomics, a small joke about graphs in microeconomics
  5. 1st MBA exam: done!, a post about my 1st exam taken at Vlerick

Of course, older posts have a slight advantage. One day I should maybe compute the exact hits per day each post received. One day, maybe.

If one looks at search terms for this year leading to this blog this year, here is the top 5 search terms (exception made of “jep does vlerick” which is quite obvious):

  1. euro crisis
  2. vlerick admission test
  3. movie maker logo
  4. microeconomics
  5. vlerick mba

Here again, older keywoards may have a slight advantage. I am amazed at the number of people visiting the blog regarding the admission test ; maybe because there isn’t much other information about that on the web.

Btw, Vlerick is also wishing you a happy 2012 :)

See you next year!

(*) Previous year full time MBA students used to officially blog from here but it seems that it is not used this academic year (and it is not linked anymore from the official Vlerick blogging platform). To reiterate my disappointment (as previously mentioned), part-time MBA students seem to be considered as less important: there is no part-time blogging platform (I tried However, the number of PTMBA students are 2 – 3 times the number of FTMBA students, their fees are approximately the same and they stay longer. But I didn’t start this post to rant about that. Happy New Year to everyone! :)

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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