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  • September16th

    I am officially a Master of Science in Business Economics.



    My entire degree is:

    Master of Science in Business Economics; Managerial Economics & Strategy (M), International Business (m).


    Upon graduation, we were asked to be ambassadors for KUL – spread the word of this hidden gem. I feel the best way to do this is for me to be included on a list of notable alumni one day (this is the plan…), but until then here’s some shameless promotion for my Alma Mater, KULeuven:


    I am truly beyond proud to be a graduate of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, a university founded in 1425 (making it the oldest existing Catholic university in the world and the oldest university in the Low Countries) – for perspective, fellow Americans, 1425 is 15 years before the first printing press was invented and the Incan empire still ruled the Americas; it is 26 years before Christopher Columbus was even born; it’s more than 3.5 centuries before the drafting of our Declaration of Independence. Basically, it’s a long time ago.

    KULeuven boasts over 36,000 students, 12% of them international representing 120+ countries, and 4,500 students in either research-based masters or one of 150+ PhD programs.  It consistently ranks in the top 10 of Europe in terms of research output*. In fact, KULeuven is the ONLY non-US university to rank in the world-wide top 10 in terms of royalty income. KUL spent over €225 million on research in 2005 alone. Our research has lead to an impressive 70 spin-offs in the last 20 years that employ over 6,000 people – and this is not even including the “solid state and miniaturisation lab” (IMEC) which employs almost 2,000 people, including over 500 engineers and physics PhDs from all around the world. IMEC alone realized revenue of over €285 million in 2010. “~90% of KUL’s 300 R&D patent families are actively valorized and marketed at the moment…the average for European universities is currently 33%.*

    KUL has been a European center for academia for almost 6 centuries. It was ranked 68th in the world and top 25 in Europe by QS World University Rankings* – higher than many well-known US institutions such as Purdue University (85), Penn State (94), Dartmouth (99), UC Davis (101), Emory University (114), Rice University (117), Vanderbilt (131), and Michigan State (164)*.

    KUL and the City of Leuven’s history runs very deep into Europe’s past. In fact, two of the most significant library burnings/losses in history happened to KUL – in 1914, German troops set fire to University Hall and destroyed more than 300,000 books; In 1940, German troops once again burned the relatively newly constructed Central Library (at Ladeuzeplein), destroying all but 15,000 of its more than 900,000 volumes.

    KUL has also produced many notable alumni:

    Recent & easily identifiable/recognizable by title: 

    Leon Bekaert (1958-) – Belgian businessman with an estimated fortune of  €761 million, making him one of the wealthiest people in Belgium.

    Paul Bulcke (1954-) – Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nestlé

    Herman Van Rompuy (1947-) – President of the European Council


    Adriaan Floriszoon Boeyens – Pope Adrian VI (the last non-italian pope until Pope John Paul II)

    Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) – “Prince of the Humanists”

    Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564) – “Father of Modern Anatomy;” Author of “De Humani Corporis Fabrica

    Gerardus Mercator (1512-1594) – His name may sound familiar to you…maps, maybe?

    Patrick Francis Healy (1830-1910) – 29th President of Georgetown University, known for it’s expansion after the american Civil War. Recognized as the first American with African ancestry to earn a PhD (and he did so at KUL!).

    Monsignor George Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître (1894-1966) – conceived the “hypothesis of the primeval atom,” now commonly referred to as “The Big Bang Theory.”

    Baron Charles-Jean Étienne Gustave Nicolas de la Vallée Poussin (1866-1962) – Belgian Mathematician; proved the Prime Number Theorem.

    Refael Ángel del Socorro Calderón Guardia (1900-1970) – President of Costa Rica (1940-1944); remembered for being the 1st Central American president to primarily focus attention on deteriorating social conditions and poverty. He founded systems such as the universal health care, high education levels, and the social security that Costa Rica is now well-known for.

    Otto von Habsburg (Archduke Otto of Austria) (1912-2011) – The last crown prince of Austria-Hungary.

    Christian de Duve (1917-) – Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine winner for describing the structure of oganelles in biological cells.

    Géza Vermes (1924-) – Translator of the Dead Sea Scrolls (into English)

    Bernard Lietaer (1942-) – Well-known monetary economist and author; 1992’s “world’s top currency trader” by BusinessWeek; researched and sold the rights to his “floating exchange” methods to currency exchange.


    There are many many more, and Google will be your friend in finding them. I just tried to list a few here that I figured most of my readers will have either 1) heard of or 2) heard of their work.


    I loved Katholeike Universiteit Leuven, every aspect of it…even the 12-hour days in the library week after week…the seemingly endless all-essay exams and research/group projects and my thesis…it was 100% worth it. Not only that, Leuven is one of the most amazing cities I’ve ever visited, much less gotten the chance to live for over a year. I will miss them both very much.


    The last year held a lot for me. I’ve made some of my closest friends here, and I love them all dearly (y’all know who you are!).  Belgium has seen my highest highs; it’s seen my lowest lows. But through it all, this has easily been one of the best experience of my life. I grew not only as a student and academic, but as a person. 16 months ago, I entered belgium without a single friend here and zero expectations; 16 months ago, I could have never foreseen my amazing present.

    It will take a lot to top this past year, but I plan on doing my best to make every year from here on out as memorable as this past one!


    – Ross, a proud alumnus