How is it already March? We started 2017 fresh and revived after a 3-week break over the Christmas holiday. Next thing you know, it’s March and we are all split up into different boot camps (based on the specialty we want to follow) and the number of classes we have left is getting into the single digits! But before we go further down that road…. Let’s take it back to January and February and revisit the fun we’ve had so far.
January started with a big party – the Vlerick New Year Reception. January also started with us hosting a group of students from a Chinese partner MBA programme – a group of 25 students on a visiting trip from China’s top ranked programme – the Beijing International MBA programme at Peking University. The group spent two weeks on our campus during which we were fully integrated in all courses and worked on different case studies together. We all benefited from the different points of views and the enriching experience. For sure some friendship will last beyond the school year. One of the more memorable moments of their visit was the opportunity to visit KatoenNatie together and learn about their operations and their warehouse facilities in Antwerp harbor.
Another great experience was having Bart Cauberghe, a managing partner from GIMV, give a presentation on campus about Punch Powertrain – a project they were able to turn from a low-performer to a highly attractive company worth 1 billion euros in 7 years – “Not by financial ‘tricks’, but by operational improvements.” It was a very inspiring look into an industry not familiar to many of us, but one that proved very intriguing. Once the BiMBA students returned to China, a fun weekend trip was planned to Lisbon, Portugal. Most of our classmates headed off for a long weekend of sightseeing and having some fun away from campus and classwork, led by our very own Portuguese tour guide and classmate, Ines!
February proved to be an even bigger whirlwind that January. With weekend electives starting as well as multiple company visits on and off campus. That, along with a full course load and many assignments due made the 28 days feel even shorter! Of course, we made time for a little fun by getting a group of soccer enthusiasts together to watch Anderlecht beat Zenith 2-0. Go Belgium!
One fun elective this year was the opportunity to travel to Dublin, Ireland and take a 4-day elective course on Big Data & Digital Strategy at Trinity College. Like all other electives, this one was a mix of our cohorts and of our colleagues from the Executive MBAs (Belgium and St. Petersburg included). We had some interactive visits at IBM getting an overview of their Watson software, as well as visiting the new campus at Oracle, which specializes in big data solutions and analytics.
Finally, we are now halfway through boot camps in March and all busy working on our Business Plans for Entrepreneurship, which will be due at the end of the programme. Some of us have very innovative and clever ideas and are waiting to get them challenged during our trip to Silicon Valley.