Thank you, partners!

I have a confession to make: I never really believed in the MBTI profiling as a whole. Some parts of it can be very useful in order to understand some traits of personality (and act upon them). But definitely not the whole. IMHO. YMMV. But! (because there is alwaus a “but”) But I must admit that very organised people and very process-oriented people are great assets in a team. And I want to thank the very organised people I had the opportunity to work with recently for their relentless efforts to make our group papers a success. We all have strong and weak points. One of the strength very organised people bring is that they force the group to start to work early on the project, to have a clearly defined plan (even for a few pages or slides) and to stick to it. More “creative” people may find this annoying – but it works! So thanks for bringing this in the team!

A second category of people I want to thank are spouses/boyfriends/girlfriends. They first accepted we start this part-time MBA and they kept their anger quiet when they realised what meant “being absent 2 evenings a week (including Friday evening = no outings anymore) (and maybe more)”. They support us in case of doubts. For some they even support us financially (maybe not directly but 35k€ for an MBA is 35k€ you cannot spend on clothes, travels, outings, dinners, hi-tech gadgets, etc.). But they will anyway greet us with a smile when we come back after a whole evening (and part of the night) in class. And they also realise that if we started this MBA, it’s not to play the housewife/househusband after – with a fake smile they hint you they understood it will continue later. It may seems we are too preoccupied to notice but we are very well aware of all the sacrifices you are also doing and we thank you for your support and attention!

121201-businesswoman-5PM

Advertisements

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.

And here comes the new Vlerick website!

After some time and the release of the new visual identity, here comes the new Vlerick website! The address did not change: https://www.vlerick.com/ but the content does. Here is an example of what it currently displays (with Prof. Van den Broeck from Beyonders as first guest star (well another guest star is Sharon Dhadialla from FTMBA2012 in the top banner :-))). Note that all links to the Vlerick website in my previous posts are now broken but I will not fix them: when you call a page that does not exist, you’ll find a nice error page with a search bar and the plan of the website.

As you can see the page is quite looOOOOoong. But everything is there: a menu to the main areas (Programme, Research, Community, etc.), some big news, the latest news, part of the agenda, some shortcuts to videos, the logos of all accreditations (btw it is clever to put them along “rankings”: people could easily mix between them). The bottom contains the classic items about the program, popular searches, etc. Three immediate remarks:

  • First it is impossible to quickly get the full agenda. Section “Upcoming events” just contains the three next ones. For your information, the full agenda is here.
  • Then the classic links to social websites are there. I was waiting for them :-) Each bottom of page also contains some links to share on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. The only drawback is that there is no hint when the mouse hover over these small icons. “f” or the Twitter bird are quite obvious (for someone who use these services). However what does the kind of white nunchaku on green background mean? (answer: even more sharing possibilities, with text legends this time).
  • Finally the website does not adapt gracefully to mobile devices. It’s just the same version, zoomed out. In a nutshell: no mobile version. Note however that http://m.vlerick.com/ does in fact respond (a 403 error but might still be the sign of something being prepared).

The previous motto (“we don’t teach – we develop what’s already inside you”) disappeared. Instead we have a “Brand Drivers” page (which is very different than “Mission and Values” that the URL suggest as Prof. Verweire of Strategy told us). There we learn that the new drivers of the school are: International (first! FT ranking officers, please notice this!), Vital, Open and Pragmatic (you draw your own conclusion when you compare with the previous values: synthesis, sense of entrepreneurship, integrity and autonomy, respect for diversity and customer orientation).

Social presence of Vlerick employeeThe content of pages is approximately what you expect to read from a school website. One nice thing however is that most pages have some kind of “owner”: a person responsible or at least who you can contact in order to get more information about the content of the page. There is a picture of the person. But what is even more interesting is that all means of communication are presented, if available. For instance Prof. Herman Van den Broek has links to his research page, his blog (well, in this case: the HR blog) and his twitter account (the last tweets are even displayed). Those who have a (corporate) Skype account will also have this link (like our dear Nina – user ID ninawalravens_vlerick – on the Executive MBA programme page). Idem for LinkedIn (more common than any other social presence, btw).

The library page is still there. The default page from http://www.vlerick.com/library is in Dutch (which seems logical – until you come from a page written in English, it might be surprising). On that page you will also switch back to the old, green favicon (the green V being the logo of the webpage) ; another page lost in transition? ;-) Of course the list of e-resources (like EBSCO) is still there. It struck me that 5 out of 9 links to Business and Management Literature are to Open Access resources. It might be interesting to hear more about how the school see this Open Access movement fit into their business and businesses in general.

I was also eager to see the official presentation of the new Executive MBA on the website. Here it is. Again a long vertical content :-) to present the “Matrix”. I don’t know if they will keep the Apollo name but the Leuven campus will only see week-end PTMBA. On the other hand Brussels will now welcome students on Monday + Tuesday. Will the content change? It’s difficult to say: labels of courses changed but how to know the content? In the old website we had a short description of each course (which was helpful to understand what were the topics that will be seen when preparing admission tests – ymmv). For instance I guess “Using & Interpreting Data” is the new “Fundamentals of Business Statistics”, “Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability” the new “Corporate Responsibility and Business Ethics” or “Understanding the Economic Context” the new “Economics”.

When it went out, I really liked the Vlerick Knowledge website. It is still there (although I couldn’t find it via the new website ; I had to type the correct URL: http://knowledge.vlerick.com/). It didn’t changed, neither its format nor its content since August 2012 in fact …

And last but not least: does the new website – with all these social web features – made blogging more popular at Vlerick? Unfortunately I don’t think so. You still have the outdated Dean’s blog (ok, there is an official letter announcing the new brand in 2012 but I don’t consider 1 post in 2 years exactly as “up-to-date”). You still have the active Masters’ blog and the SEC blog for instance. But I couldn’t find the general page redirecting to all blogs. But of course you should not dictate how staff should use web 2.0!

Some “before-after” for the end? Just click on the following images to enlarge (before is on the left, after = now is on the right)

Congratulations to Apollo 2010-2012!

GraduationVlerickGhent2012-9998

They look so sweet! :-)
Photo credits: GraduationVlerickGhent2012-9998 by Vlerick on Flickr (All rights reserved – but hey!)

One year of blogging here!

Birthday CakeYep, it’s been a little bit over one year since I started this blog (officially it was on June 8th). I started because, before joining the program, I was frustrated I could not find any glimpse of what the life of an MBA student at Vlerick is. The only blogger who approached this goal was Gleana Albritton in the prestigious FT.com blogs, a few years ago. That’s why, since I like to blog, I decided to write about my experience too.

And here we are, one year later … First, thanks a lot to you, reader, for your support and comments (also offline)! And also thanks a lot to my friends of Apollo, this blog owes a lot to you!

Then, don’t be fooled by this blog: it’s only one experience and I think there are as many experience as students. My biggest regret is not having participated too much in social events. But parties and drinks are definitely the reason why the Apollo group was so great (and I hope will continue to be, next year, thanks to our party animal a.o.). Also I didn’t write about everything that happened. First because it would really have been time consuming. Second because you have to join to share the experience ; the entrance ticket is only about 30k€ and your company may be willing to help ;-)

In a year this blog finally reached more than 100 posts that were seen a bit more than 10,000 times, with an average between 30 and 60 views per day since April. The top three searches that landed on this blog are: “wacc formula”, “euro crisis” and “vlerick admission test”. There are 5 queries containing “Vlerick” in the top 10 searches. So, coming back to my initial motivation, I’m happy. And the school can be relieved: its rebranding is a well-kept secret because nobody searched for “Vlerick (re)branding” this year! ;-)

Following my obsession of presenting results of all courses, people asked me if I am running after good grades. The answer is invariably: no, I don’t care about numbers/scores but I do care about good results. Of course I prefer to receive an A or A+ but I especially value the feedback (that the school can improve) and that people show me how I can improve. For me, that’s also part of the result. But I don’t know if I will continue to show grades, next year (and if I do, in which format).

So, thanks a lot, again. Enjoy your holidays! And see you next year (at the latest!).

Photo credit: Birthday Cake by Omer Wazir (CC-by-sa), on Flickr

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!

Fifth set of results in!

It’s been a long time since we didn’t receive any results. It doesn’t mean we were idling: we had the exam in Management Accounting and Control just after the new year and we had to give back two papers on Human Resources Management late in January. The results we received today are for Management Accounting and Control (the course already appeared in this blog, about TCO). As usual, here is the graphical representation of the results distribution:

Result distribution of Apollo 2012 in Management Accounting and Control

The shape looks somehow like a bell this time (except for its tail on the left). The A+ is back, congratulations! Unfortunately, some Fs appeared too :-( Anyway, congratulations to everyone!

Third set of results in!

The results for the Industrial and Organisational Psychology paper are in!

Results of I&O Psychology - Apollo 2011

And we were again blessed to receive the grade distribution :) The A+ is back and the curve is much more like a Gaussian function than the previous results. Is that because it’s a paper (the first this year) or because the topic was more personal than the previous exam or it has nothing to do?

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! :)

And results are in!

The results for the Financial Accounting exam are finally in! I could have done better but I passed :)

We were also blessed to receive the nice grade distribution … Congratulations to the one and only outstanding A+ student! And also all the others, of course! We did it!

Apollo 2011 Financial Accounting grade distribution

%d bloggers like this: