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.

International Business in Context – lesson 1: learn to speak like a New Yorker

Welcome to this first infosession for your MBA trip to New York!

Doing business with Americans is very easy but you must first understand them. In this first class, we’ll learn how New Yorkers speak, what they say and what they don’t. Enjoy!



International Study Trip: New York!

In my last post, I forgot to mention my preferences: 1. Mumbai, 2. Beijing and 3. New York. Since less than 15 students asked for India and less than 15 too for Russia (15 students = less than 10% of PT and modular MBA students!), there will be no trip to Mumbai nor St. Petersburg. Canceled. Dura lex sed lex. Anyway …

New York, here I come! :)

Traders in front of the New York Stock Exchange



Photo: Traders in front of the New York Stock Exchange by leonem on Flickr (CC-by-nc-nd)

Preferences for the International Study Trip: sent!

At Vlerick, an international study trip is organized for students following the modular MBA as well as the part-time MBA. Destinations are:

As you can see, the emphasis is put on BRICS countries, in addition to the first world economy (and with the notable exception of Brazil). There are however no chosen countries in South America, in Central/Northern Africa nor in Europe.

World map of International Study Trip (in green)

From what I saw so far, each destination has some kind of theme: some topics are covered in Mumbai, others are in Cape Town. And, of course, each destination has classes on specific business topics and issues relevant for the country. For instance: EU-China Trade and Investment (in China), Logic & Benefits of Outsoucing (in India), Stories from Wall Street (in the USA), Russian Banking System overview (in Russia) or South-Africa’s transition (these are only examples and may not be done or relevant anymore by the time you read this post ; we don’t know yet the programme for this year).

As places are limited (either 20 or 40 for each destination), they are given following the “first come, first served” principle. Students have to send an e-mail with their top 3 preferred destinations today starting at 1pm. Like previous years, I expect lots of people wanting to go to China but maybe less people than previous year wanting to go to India. Out of curiosity, I wonder what will be people choices this year.

Btw, did you send your preferred destinations?

Opening Seminar (I&O Psychology)

Each beginning of the year, all Apollo students gather together for a 2-days opening seminar. Since the group contains students from both years, the same seminar is given every 2 years to Apollo. On odd years (2011), it’s I&O Psychology and we are going to hotel Stiemerheide in Genk. On even years (2012), … well, we’ll see if we are still alive by that time.

Hotel StiemerheideThe hotel is quite luxurious. Rooms have enough space to be shared with a roommate (2 single beds, don’t worry) ; the only problem could be the semi-transparent door for the bathroom ;). I think the rooms are well soundproofed but I can’t really tell you since we were probably making much more noise at the Thursday party than other visitors in the hotel. Although surprising, the food was nice. I’m not a connoisseur but it seems the wine was not as good as expected. Some people tried the swimming pool, sometimes at unexpected times. Some of us also tried the sauna and the snooker. Pictures are here (access may be restricted to protect some students’privacy).

Oh yes, we were there to work, not only to enjoy the spot …

I&O has in fact nothing to do with the Input/Output from computers (as I initially thought) nor the tenth studio album by Peter Gabriel. I&O stands for Industrial and organizational psychology (given by Prof. Dr. Koen Dewettinck, previously mentioned in this blog). According to Wikipedia, it’s “the scientific study of employees, workplaces, and organizations”.

You don’t know your employees, your workplace and your organization if you don’t know yourself first. That’s why we spent a lot of time to dissect our MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) scores. Maybe a bit too much time. We also explored our personality in 4-quadrants and explored group dynamics through games. Of course, I won’t tell you which ones otherwise your pleasure will be spoiled (especially if it rains heavily during the outdoor game). In the end, it was very funny to watch ourselves on video.

In my opinion, the seminar lacked a little bit of stuff about “workplaces, and organizations”. But past experiences, future readings and probably other courses will be there to help. I was also wondering what is the estimated frequencies of the different MBTI types in a general population. Just to compare to the frequencies of our group.

And there, I was very astonished: there is hardly any statistics about that in the literature (well, I agree I only looked on the web). Then this made my suspicious: if the first version was published nearly 50 years ago (1962), why aren’t there many results available? Because the MBTI instrument is the property of a private publisher and studies on results are guarded secrets? Because some studies showed low validity and low reliability (see Wikipedia article, I didn’t have time to check the references)? Well, anyway, I only found one table about the estimated frequencies of the types in the United States population, at CAPT.

First you put the 16 different types of personalities in this test in a 4 by 4 square like the one below.

General MBTI grid Then you take the mean of each square mentioned in the CAPT results and you get this: more people on the left (on the S-sensing side) than on the right side and, there, more people on top and bottom (i.e. on ISxJ and ESxJ).

Estimated frequencies of the MBTI types in the United States population Now if we look at the results of our group, it’s a bit different … There is practically no xSFx people, except one ESFP. Most of the Apollo MBA students are on the right side (i.e. the N-intuition side). And there are two big group: one at the extreme bottom left (ESTJ) and one at the extreme bottom right (ENTJ).

Estimated frequencies of the MBTI types in an MBA group (Vlerick Apollo, Belgium) Is it “normal” or representative of MBA students? I don’t know: I don’t have any comparison point. One could say MBA students are more N-intuitive than the US population. And, instead of being split between I-introverts (top) and E-extroverts (bottom) like the US population, our class is split between S-sensing (left) and N-intuition (right). It would be nice to see if this show something (or not).

One last thing the opening seminar is usually devoted to is an introduction to the International Study Trip. Again this year, students can choose between Beijing (China), Mumbai (India), Cape Town (South Africa) and New York (USA). There were demands from students for a trip in Brazil and it’s apparently something under investigation at Vlerick (but it won’t be for this year for sure). The way students can choose is a first-come-first-served method: between two dates/times, students have to send their preferences and places will be filled up as e-mails are received by the programme manager. Then … Alea jacta est! We’ll see who is going where!

Where are all these students going?

Where are all these students going to?

P.S. At each opening seminar, Apollo students also elect the student rep for the 1st year students and the Chief Party Animal. Read the previous post for more on this.

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