MIMS Global Immersion Trip – experiencing Asian business and culture

Tuesday, 15 May 2018, 12:03 | Category : Masters
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After 4 weeks, the Global Immersion trip of the Vlerick MIMS students came to an end and left an unprecedented and unforgettable impression upon us. More than this, it has been an enriching experience!

Before our departure to China, we had a couple of free days , thus some of us decided to leave Belgium a bit earlier to do an extra pitstop in Seoul. This allowed us to already get a taste of Asian habits and their culture. I found it an incredible city and we had a lot of fun; we hiked to the Namsam tower, walked through Gangnam District, shopped in Myeng-dong, ate Korean BBQ, and off course, sang Karaoke in the famous KTV bars.

Four days later, the official first week of the Global Immersion module started in Beijing, where the whole MIMS group finally came together. The capital of the People’s Republic of China is known for its ancient and beautiful sites such as the Forbidden City, the massive Tiananmen Square and the great wall. As part of the agenda, cultural visits were combined with interesting company visits at different Chinese companies and lectures at Peking University. They both offered us a better understanding of China’s incredible history, Confucianism, Business Practices in China, the Chinese market and customer behavior.

One aspect that totally took us by surprise, was seeing how ‘WeChat’ works in China, the local multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app. Comparable to Facebook, Instagram, Bancontact App and all other apps you have, but everything combined in ONE super app!

Afterwards, we visited Shanghai, where we were totally blown away by the famous and incredible ‘bund’, the riverside from where you can see the majestic skyline of Shanghai. In this location, the program was filled with interesting lectures at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and visits to AB InBev, CFL and Jas Worldwide amongst others. All those visits contributed to deepening our knowledge about the latest major events and trends in Asia and about cultural differences between the East and the West.

A must do experience in China is wandering around the famous fake-markets, where copy-cats of anything you might imagine (or not) can be found; from Gucci handbags to Rolex watches and Rayban sunglasses. Judging from my personal experience, I can already tell, even though you absolutely plan to not buy anything fake, after a couple of hours you will surely end up with some not-needed overpaid gadgets!

Next, was the incredible city of Hong-Kong, for me and many of us, the most beautiful and interesting city of Asia, as it is a huge city build on the hills near the South China sea. As it is a global financial hub, we got a deeper understanding about cryptocurrencies and trading platforms. Further highlights of the trip where the Victoria Peak and the hike on the Dragon’s back trail, with an unbelievable view on the city and surroundings. The hike ended up with an amazing afternoon at the beach, laying in the sun, playing volleyball and sipping some cold drinks.

As Asia is an enormous continent, differences between and within countries are huge, and this couldn’t be more clear after leaving China for Japan, first to Tokyo and afterwards to Kyoto.

Tokyo & Kyoto are two cities, incredibly different from each other. While Tokyo is a huge metropole, rumored to have the busiest crossing in the world and an incredible infrastructure, Kyoto is more of a calmer town, filled with rivers, peaceful temples and a lot of nature. One cannot go to Tokyo and miss the hectic morning at the fish market, or tasting delicious sushi freshly made in front of you! Before leaving Japan, karaoke is an experience everyone should try.

But wat made the trip the most amazing, was the people: the 32 other MIMS students, our awesome programme manager and our cool programme director!!

– Thomas Van der Linden

1-2-3 Phoenix!

Monday, 23 April 2018, 9:58 | Category : Business Game, IMEx
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During IMEx (Integrated Management Exam) a team can rise from the ashes like a Phoenix or crash and burn down to the ground. I’m pleased to let you know that my team rose up like a Phoenix.

Although my team did not win

We had a great time and I learned a lot during this experience! That is why I want to write about IMEx and my highs during this last week before the ICP’s. Also a final congratulations to the winning teams of IMEx 2018!!!

So let’s get started.

During IMEx we represent a high tech toy company that recently had a fire. We had 12 periods to recover from the fire by making decisions related to operation management, people management, marketing and others. These resulted in three different metrics that were shared at the end of each period; profit, people and planet. Our team, named TEKTO (a great creative brainstorm was behind this name btw), did quite well at the start. We scored highest on people and did quite well on our share price, our planet was terrible though but we recovered.

Tuesday, after period 5, it was time for our first intermediary meeting with the board of directors. Right before the meeting we discovered we would be first mover of a new product that would be launched. Because of that we were very excited and I must admit a bit too confident. We were sure our company would keep on going up as it did in the past but as you might have sensed by the tone of this text that wasn’t the case. After period 5 we encountered a major set back and our share price dropped by a lot!

But when I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, “let it be. Just kidding, Karel De Gucht wasn’t there to motivate us and we did not “let it be”. In our time of trouble our team came together and we looked at how we could recover. It was not until period 7 but we did recover! I will now fast forward to period 12 because we created a model that suited our company and caused a growth in the end of 221,98% compared to period 1 which resulted in TEKTO having the highest share price in the end. I will not elaborate too much on our methods because the point of IMEx is that you discover how to do this on your own.

I can however share that I learned a lot and I really pushed my boundaries. Near the end of IMEx we got an email about a final guerrilla marketing campaign for which each team would get 30 seconds at the final plenary session. The winner of this campaign would receive eternal fame and 1 additional point for creativity (but I wanted to compete just to challenge myself and I had expectations that this would be considered for the final IMEx winners… the point was that you wanted to move forward with your fictitious company and great marketing of a new product shows that).

So what was our final marketing campaign? Well our first products involved virtual reality gaming with product Z (called Gen Z) being a virtual reality headset where you wouldn’t need any additional gear and you will be fully submerged into a new world. Therefore our new product had to be even more amazing and I had the idea to create a contact lens and an earpiece with which you could basically play any game anywhere you want. With Pokémon Go you still needed your phone, with our new product this wasn’t the case anymore! (The advantage of IMEx is that you can dream without having to create it)

So for TEKTO we wanted to walk with dinosaurs so this 30 second movie was our teaser (I did take clips from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and another VR T-rex game. You cannot create a marketing campaign during IMEx without using things from the internet);

And because people do love a prototype I created a hologram! You can find plenty of videos on youtube on how to create a hologram. I just decided to make it big enough so it could fit on my laptop screen (the largest screen I had available, just imagine how big you could go with this). Now, on a movie it does not have the same effect as in real life but here you can see why TEKTO won the guerrilla marketing campaign;

Hooray for eternal fame

To end this article I want to thank my team! We had a great collaboration and having a good vibe in your team is really important during IMEx. We were all very pleased with our end result and although we did not win IMEx, in my opinion we are a winning team.

1-2-3 Phoenix!!!!

See you again!

Sales competition

Monday, 19 February 2018, 18:59 | Category : Masters
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It has been one month that we know the results of the sales competition. Therefore, it is the perfect moment to look back to this exciting day!

The concept is very easy. Well prepared students take their turn to sell a product to a potential customer. This year the product was Showpad, a sales enablement platform to make content easy to find, share and measure.

The competition was divided into two parts. A conversation with the Global marketing director and one with the VP of Sales. In the first talk, the students had to convince the prospect of the value of Showpad and arrange a second meeting. In the second one, closing the deal was the objective.

The seven finalists

At the end of the day, Alisha Peterle (1st place) and me (2nd, Arnaud Vandenbossche) were chosen out of the seven finalists to represent Vlerick at the European Sales competition in Paris! We are both very excited about this opportunity and will do our best!

Snow day

Monday, 11 December 2017, 19:30 | Category : Masters, Vlerick Experience
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As you might have noticed, it snowed today!

At our Ghent campus we have quite a big garden as well as a pretty large courtyard. That with the additional factor of having just finished an exam meant there was no other option than to go play in the snow! 

At Vlerick we have a diverse class with many different nationalities amongst us.

Some of our classmates have never even seen snow before (except for the other time it snowed but we had a career fair that day so no playing in the snow for us Vlerick peeps back then).

But guess what, today some of us made their very first snowman!

At Vlerick you don’t only learn about business relevant things. You also learn some other crucial aspects that are needed in life such as how to build a snowman. Teaching each other things and creating memories together.

Great right!

So, do you want to build a snowman?

Hope you had as much fun as us today!

Bye bye

Amsterdam study trip

Thursday, 7 December 2017, 8:48 | Category : Company Visit, International trip, Masters, Masters in Financial Management
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Last month, our fresh (or at least some of them still are) batch of MFM students went to Amsterdam, the city of canals, bikes, parties and, well… finance! The well-filled agenda of this day consisted of 3 company visits, of which the first one definitely the most appealing to most: ABN Amro. A handful of employees of its corporate finance department gave the students a warm and direct Holland-like welcome and introduced them to the company and its ample career opportunities, after which they were put in teams and did what they do best: case solving! Using spreadsheet models, groups of 5 students prepared for negotiations in a real-life M&A simulation, during which ABN Amro’s associates and trainees gave them helpful insights and guided them through successful negotiations. Eventually, one team won the M&A game. The prize: two bottles of champagne. Cheers!

In the afternoon, the group visited Optiver, which is a trading room. Forget Wolf of Wall Street-like scenario’s where men in suits shout and curse over telephones and figuratively throw around $ 100 bills. This trading room is nothing like you’ve ever seen (or thought of as) before. Some 100 mathematicians and engineers, having 24/7 access to a ping pong table, a restaurant with a personal chef, a bar and two PlayStation 4’s, wander around a campus-like office in sport shoes, jogging pants and hoodies. For once, our suited-up students felt awkwardly overdressed. After an exciting trading game, an exclusive and brief visit to the trading room and some testimonials from the traders and researchers themselves, our students were rewarded for their attention with nothing less than pizza and beers.

Gilles

Inside the Ghent campus

Tuesday, 21 November 2017, 22:56 | Category : Masters
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The first thing you notice when you visit the Ghent campus is that the building -which is quite old- has been put in a modern jacket. That being said, some of the original structures are still present today. If you have a slight interest in architecture and/or history this is something that will catch your eye. You might even wonder what happened in these corridors all those years ago.

If you have ever visited the campus you will notice that the façade hasn’t changed much over the years. When looking at the photo you can tell that apart from a Vlerick banner and a new door it remained pretty much the same. What went on inside did nevertheless change plenty.

Did you know that the seminary was already active in the sixteenth century? However, it was not till 1905 that they decided to build a new seminar located at ‘de reep‘.

Source: vlerick_alumni instagram

Architects A. Lemeire, A.R. Janssens, O. Bernaert and S. Mortier worked on the project together. Using gothic revival architecture -also known as neogotiek- was evident to them since it had always been associated with the spiritual and religious life during the Middle Ages. So it made sense to use this style to capture that same feeling. The seminar had room for 200 (religious) individuals and had a total surface of 10.448 mwhich was distributed across three floors.

The building was eventually finished in 1914, unfortunately for the seminary this was marked by World War I. The German military occupation named the building the ‘Hohenzollern’ barrack, Ghent residents mockingly decided to name it the ‘hay attic’. In 1918  the Belgian army moved into the building and baptised it as the ‘Albrechtskazerne’.

It was not until 1925 that the seminar could live up to its original purpose. A deal was signed and the priests could finally move into the ‘groot seminarie’ on the first of January in 1926.

Fast forward to the 21st century, 2002 marked the end of the seminary. Sending sons to become priests had become old fashioned and over the years the building became too big for its residents. A new purpose for the building was needed and renovations started in June 2002 by architectural firm Buro II. Minimal changes were made to keep the gothic revival architecture intact but Buro II added some modern and current twists. Ultimately creating the building we see today.

Source: Flickr

If you now enter the campus and walk through the corridors you can still see some parts of the ‘grand seminarie’. Among other things there are the typical arches on the first floor. On the second floor you can see some relics from when the building served as the ‘albrechtskazerne’. The chapel still exists but the only praying that is going on there happens when a difficult exam takes place. A little fun fact about the chapel; it turns out that during those good old days a priest would leave an organ somewhere inside the walls of the chapel. (Unfortunately?) This organ has not yet been found. There is however a pipe organ present which can still be used today.

Want to see all of this in real life? Then come and visit the Ghent campus on our open days and experience the history together with some classes!

Hope to see you there!

Bye bye bye,

Charlien

Cultural Diversity Event

Wednesday, 25 October 2017, 14:40 | Category : Event, International Event, Masters
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On Wednesday 18 October 2017, the masters and FTMBA students brought together their cultures at the Brussels campus: Greece, China, France, Congo, Spain, Finland, Brazil or Korea are only some of the countries represented that day.

It was an evening full of tasty drinks and food, in which Vlerick students, staff and faculty had the chance to celebrate the enriching cultures and the diversity of our School.

To many more editions!

 

 

 

 

 

Vlerick masters

Vlerick masters 2017-2018 kicked-off!

Wednesday, 20 September 2017, 12:57 | Category : Masters
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September is fully back, and for Vlerick Business School, September means the beginning of a new Academic Year.

The 2017-2018 academic year has kicked off with students coming from 34  different countries from all around the globe. They are already immersed in the programmes and attended the first events, including Meet the Corporates and the Opening of the Academic Year with the inspiring keynote speech of Showpad’s CEO ( Louis Jonckheere, Alumnus of the School).

In the coming months, readers will be able to enjoy first-hand experiences from our students by reading this blog so, stay tuned!

Looking forward to a promising year!

Vlerick Masters

JUGGLING ACADEMICS & BUSINESS (2/2)

Wednesday, 24 May 2017, 8:12 | Category : Masters
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Growth hacking is a hot and trendy topic, but we have noticed that not a lot of people are familiar with it – including us. Which is why we created vlogs explaining what growth hacking is, how we are implementing some of its tactics on our consultancy project and how to balance this new phenomenon with traditional academic concepts and methods.

Be aware that this is a series of vlogs. In order to get the whole overview we strongly recommend you to subscribe on our channel (Duval Union Consulting) to stay up-to-date. Enjoy!

Vlog 1: Intro to our Growth Hacking Journey

Now that you’re introduced to growth hacking we’re able to take it a step further. The following vlog will teach you how to come up with the best unique value proposition (UVP) and unique selling proposition (USP) and how to digitally pitch your UVP.

During the upcoming vlogs we will show you how to split test and we’ll take you through the different steps of setting up a go-to-market strategy. Enjoy!

Vlog 2: Growth Hacking, How To Get Started!

Last weeks was all about setting you op to start your growth hacking efforts. However, now we will deep-dive in one particular growth hack called ‘A/B-testing’, or as some like to call it ‘SPLIT-TESTING’. This is mainly done with one goal in mind – improving landing page conversion. In this vlog we’ll take you through our process, how we applied split testing and what the results were. We also discuss a variety of tools to do it yourself and show you how to set up your own A/B test via one of these online tools!

Vlog 3: A/B Split Testing for Improving Landing Page Conversion

Nicolas, Britt and Eline

JUGGLING ACADEMICS & BUSINESS (1/2)

Monday, 22 May 2017, 7:15 | Category : Masters
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Going on an In-Company Project is always an adventure. For us it was no different. I, Nicolas Willemyns (in the middle), together with my teammates Britt Reniers (on the left) and Eline De Meyer (on the right) didn’t take this learning opportunity for granted. Since it’s the cherry on your Vlerick year (or pie if you wish) it is of utmost importance to choose wisely. With this super team consisting of a variety of different backgrounds, ranging from bio-engineering to applied economics, we were fully equipped to take on this specific challenge.

LAST DECEMBER

During your Vlerick year you become extremely skilled in networking. A skill that we used extensively throughout the year and which has definitely paid of during one particular event… the Vlerick Winter Reunion. Last December Minister Alexander De Croo, Prof. Stijn Viane, Mr. Frederik Delaplace and Mr. Jo Caudron discussed subjects such as the digital economy during this reunion.

We got immediately inspired by the vision of Jo Caudron (CEO of Duval Union Consulting). After his keynote and debate, the reception started. Our time to shine we – thought! Between some glasses of champagne we approached Mr. Caudron and after 10 minutes discussing anything related to digital we asked him the inevitable question: ‘do you currently have any project that we could tackle during our consultancy project?’ There we went, hanging between an awkward ‘NO’ and a redeeming ‘YES’. Luckily for us the answer was yes!

TODAY

What we are working on today at Duval Union Consulting is really exciting for us as marketers. We are developing a go-to-market plan in order to successfully launch a SaaS platform. This platform should allow companies to make smarter business decisions. Of course a lot about our project is still confidential, but for what I can say now is, please visit the website we made for our project via the following link: www.trendbase.io.

Furthermore, in order to come up with the most effective launching strategy we’ve been given the assignment to find the right balance between new marketing trends, such as growth hacking, and traditional academic methods. This is not an evident thing to do. It requires constant reflection on our daily activities, intermediate presentations and continuous learning. The latter brings us to another adventure. Duval Union Consulting bought us tickets to participate in a renowned event called Hack Belgium.

This event allowed us to immerse ourselves into extremely educative concepts and methods. We followed workshops on lean digital product development, business canvas modelling and learned how to draw like an artist. The fun didn’t stop there. We also raced with drones and fought side by side during VR games. In short, a head start for our consultancy project.

What should you take away from this post?

  1. Be bold enough to take the lead
  2. Be open and try to see opportunities in everything
  3. Be aware, success between academics & business lies in the middle

Interested in getting to know even more about growth hacking, our in-company project, launching a SaaS platform or simply wanting to more about us? Then we suggest you to subscribe to our vlogs!

Nicolas, Britt and Eline