Archive for May, 2009

Interview in Vacature Magazine about ROI of MBA

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

This week’s issue of Vacature Magazine (Belgium’s most widely circulated HR magazine) features an interview (in Dutch) with two fellow managers and myself about the question: does an MBA repay itself?

Interview in Vacature Magazine May 30 2009 on ROI of MBA

The obvious answer is: it depends. The most important payback factors are timing, personal drive & involvement, and immediate on-the-job applicability. My activities today are largely based on the business plan I wrote as my final MBA project at Vlerick Leuven Ghent Management School. So the decision back in 2002 to pursue an MBA has certainly steered my life in its current direction. But that’s true for any decision, of course. Time is unidirectional, without backtracking, so what-if questions are largely irrelevant.

This being said, the philosophical answer is: if you feel you need an MBA, find a program that suits you, get qualified, and then go for it. Don’t let the future happen, make it happen.

Or, as William of Orange said: One need not hope in order to undertake; nor succeed in order to persevere.

Bronze INCA Award for voice application offering realtime Belgian train times

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Last Tuesday at the iMinds conference in Ghent my speech application prototype with realtime Belgian train times got a Bronze INCA Award. Here’s what the jury had to say:

A practical application shows the clear potential for new applications by voice via any phone using public data and open APIs (that are unfortunately not available yet).

About 25% of my code and time was indeed spent on the development of an (obviously) invisible screen-scraping Web service layer on top of www.railtime.be. Judgeing from the feedback I got before, during and after iMinds, there would have been 5 or 10 times as many public transport related INCA submissions, if only Infrabel, De Lijn, MIVB etcetera had done the effort of opening up their internal web services to the development community.

Bronze INCA Award for Realtime Belgian train times application at iMinds 2009 in Ghent

So, in case the folks at IBBT and the newly to-be-elected politicians are looking for a low-cost initiative with an immediate impact on innovation and value creation in the local ICT sector: have the Belgian and Flemish government agencies and companies open up their data. Make this your top priority for this year. No, this month. No, this week!