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 ;-)

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PTMBA students in the press – 2012 version

After Danny on YouTube last year, this year it is Mark on Vimeo – as an investor for the Battle of Talents 2011. Enjoy (it starts at 3:16)!

It is really stupid the 2012 version of Battle of Talents is only in Dutch. This is a big FAIL! But this is another topic …

Fireworks for the end of year: JAMIS Toys wins the iMEX game in Leuven!

It is probably the same every year. But for us it’s new so let us enjoy … After the FreshConnection game, Apollo also has a winner for the iMEX game in Leuven: JAMIS toys! After a smear campaign regarding its employees’ civil rights they still manage to succeed. Congrats to Astrid, Mike, Jules, Ivan and Sébastien!

Congrats to the “Apollo” Fresh Connection team!

Congratulations to Peter, Sam, Tom and Bart for being the winning team of the Fresh Connection game, all categories included!

A 1st-year-student’s look at the IMEx game

Since a few weeks, some strange beasts are invading the Leuven campus. Oh not as strange as a few years ago when people used to see this:


But it is strange enough to see simple A4 papers with names of toys companies like iToyz, Jamis Toys, etc. As well as a team of strange animals with green T-shirts in the wild. If we stay in the comfort of our home, just simply sitting in the sofa with a tablet in our hands (an iPad for iJules!), we could even spot a few e-mails sent to the Apollo mailing-list and browse the wonderful website of Jamis Toys ;-) (at least they have one).

They all said to belong to the IMEx game. Even other students in the full-time MBA as well as other part-time students in Ghent played or are playing this game. It is supposed to be the culmination of the MBA, the nirvana that transforms everything you learned in silos during 1 or 2 years in a giant soup of knowledge, a bit like a ligand in a metal complex. So, as first years students, we are a bit intrigued, we try to take advantage from the last moments we will be with 2nd students to grab some information about this “thing”.

Ok but what is the IMEx game? First, it’s an acronym for Integration Management Exercise. Well, it’s immediately less sexy … But it tells what it is: it is about developing and implementing a strategic plan, in group of 5 to 7 students representing a company, each of the participants having a role to play (the documentation states the following roles: CEO, HR manager, Finance Manager, Purchasing manager, Productions Manager, and Marketing Manager). The goal is obviously to beat other teams in terms of market share/share price but also employees happiness and environmental consciousness. The underlying goal is to apply what participants learned in the last 2 years: HR, marketing, finances, strategy, negotiations, etc. I guess this is also the place to put a bit of your personality since some “unplanned events” happened in this Apollo session: a fire in the factory, strikes (ok, both not so sexy again) and claims of child abuse (as in “child labour”) or environmental issues (and probably others, kept behind closed doors – and closed curtains – of break our rooms in Leuven).

So, yes, it’s a business game. And Vlerick has a web-based system as a technical backbone for it. From an external point of view, it seems to be a bit like a turn-based, role-playing game – only a bit more serious with tables and charts instead of real-time, gorgeous 3D characters ;-)

Of course there are business games in other business schools: FORAD, Industrad, Stratpharm (among other games) at INSEAD for instance. But since there is an association of business game producers (ABSEL, also using WordPress :-)), I wonder if there is also a kind of classification of business games. Which one is better overall or in specific domain(s)? Which one is the most user-friendly? Which one is the closest to reality? Can we make them compete one against each other (like in chess)? And is there any of them (including Vlerick IMEx) that can beat Capitalism (*), apparently the best business game out there?

So, ready for IMEx, next year?

(*) Capitalism is apparently so complex that one said “it should come with a free MBA in every box” :-)

No guts no glory

Following the opening of this blog to guest contributions from distinguished members of the Apollo Team (see International Study Trip), please welcome Bart van der Heijden as guest reported from The Fresh Connection game …

During the MBA, students have the time to fill their already tight schedule with all sorts of extra curriculum activities. One of these activities started in January with an email from Nina explaining a business simulation game called the fresh connection. Based on the information in the email we could read that we needed to form teams of about 4 students, who each fill in a different role: the role of the VP Sales, VP SCM, VP Operations and the VP Purchasing. Each team is responsible for the supply chain management of the fictitious fruit juices producer The Fresh Connection. The challenge is to optimize the supply chain of The Fresh Connection. In 6 weekly rounds, each team takes decisions.

During a first Friday drink, four students decided to team up and subscribe … The roles were divided as follows, with the help of a few straws:

  • VP SCM – Peter
  • VP Operations – Sam
  • VP Purchasing – Tom
  • VP Sales – Bart

Full of enthusiasm and good ideas, we started the first round. Our strategy was to change only a few parameters to see the effect, but, given the number of buttons we could use, off course in the end we changed everything. The result of the first round clearly hit us hard, an ROI of -30.92 %. We were convinced that we had to improve this result and started developing some models and calculations to optimize the supply chain. ROI of Team Apollo in the Fresh Connection 2012Luckily, this worked out well, the result of the second round was -2.14 %. For some reason, we became greedy and convinced that we could do much better. Again a lot of parameters were changed with the side note that 75% of the team was in China and 25% in Africa (so you can imagine the level of coordination between the different functions). The result, an ROI of -58,64 %. Finally, in round four, we were back with our feet on the ground and decided that from now on, our ROI should be positive. Even the payment of the subscription fee to Bart was depending on the result: the team would only repay their share once a positive ROI was reached. As have been taught in HR courses, great incentives will lead to great results. We removed a few products from our assortment, focused on fressiepressie, squeezed some suppliers and customers into better contracts and based our whole supply chain on the forecasted demand: the result was an astonishing ROI of 8.73 %. For round five we decided not to change too much, but continue on the basis we have set this far. This turned out to be a great success, round 5 ROI 16.18 %!

With this magnificent score, Team Apollo is today ranked first out of 15 amongst all international business schools with only one round left. The expectations are sky-high, our VP operations is convinced we can reach an ROI of 28% as a result of the sixth round. This Friday we will make the final decisions for our fruit company and on Monday (28/5/2012) around noon, we update you with the result.

Ranking of Apollo Team in The Fresh Connection game 2012

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