M3 2017 Trip To Dublin

On Valentine’s Day M3 left on their long awaited study trip to Dublin. Up first was a visit to the Digital Department of Oracle. Here, we were inspired by Alan Lawless. He welcomed the group and passionately explained Oracle’s value proposition. Up next we had a networking session, a session about data-driven marketing and a session about the new landscape of selling. This first day was finished off with a tour of the Oracle office. In the evening, we had dinner with the entire group at The Market Bar, which was a great treat.

On Wednesday, bright and early, a visit to Microsoft was scheduled. We were welcomed and briefly presented ourselves in 1 minute with 1 object. Subsequently we got an interesting introduction into Microsoft. After this, we participated in an interactive quiz and got a Microsoft Device Demo. After a short break, Vlerick alumni and MACH candidates (Microsoft Academy of College Hires) shared their experience with us. It was really nice to see their enthusiasm for the company!

In the afternoon we moved on to Enterprise Ireland. After a short introduction about who EI is and what they do, we received some coaching on the case we prepared for the agency Rothco. Some fine-tuning was necessary but then it was time to pitch our idea. It was the first time we presented our ideas to an agency, which made it a very valuable experience. Wednesday evening was then time for a party as our class motto is #workhardplayhard.

On Thursday, we walked to the Google offices. We got a guided tour, followed by a session on the different Google tools. We also got to talk to young employees and their recruitment experience. After the obligatory group picture, we walked back to the B&B. In the evening, we went to a bar where we were introduced to the marketing management students of Trinity College.

The official program was finished on Friday. However, Vlerick gave us the option to fly back on Sunday. As such, we used this opportunity to go hiking in Howth, go sightseeing in Dublin and, of course, party more ;-).

Thanks for watching and reading!

Gabrielle
M3 2017

MFM 2017 trip to London

Tuesday, 21 February 2017, 23:10 | Category : Masters
Tags :

Greetings my fellow Vlerick compatriots!

I´d say hope you all started the year well and refreshed but let´s be serious.., with just two weeks of Christmas and a big welcome from a couple of exams the first week back, we hit the ground running this year. That was quickly over and then came the following week, the reason I am writing this article: the MFM trip to London exactly a month ago.

Some guys took advantage of the free weekend (a rare occurrence in MFM) and left earlier than the rest of us to enjoy London in its entirety. For most of us, it all started early Monday morning at Gare du Midi, with everyone in their best crisp suit, a mean pea coat and myself in my jeans because apparently I´m the only one who decided it was a good idea to change later in the day before our first visit. Finally, a couple hours later, there we were in London! To our delight, we had to walk from the station to the hostels in the cold rain (see how I used the Belgian sarcasm there?). We checked in, stored our bags and scattered around in groups to explore London for a bit before our first visit.

Day 1 (JP Morgan and Third Bridge)

The first visit was JP Morgan Asset Management. From the second we walked through those revolving doors, we knew we were due for an impressive visit. The tone was set immediately from the second we entered the daunting revolving doors. Everybody was properly dressed, looked sharp and wanted to make a good impression on the prestigious firm. We made our way up and were offered a variety of drinks and snacks in the conference room where the presentation would take place. Mr. Vermeulen, a Belgian working for the company for a long time now, started the presentation with an overview of JP Morgan Asset Management’s history and business.

Afterwards, a younger British asset manager took over and with his energetic and enthusiastic way of presenting, he immediately had the attention of the audience. He mainly talked about the Brexit. It was a word that he did not like very much, both for its meaning and the fact that the word had led to a series of words like Nexit or Deportugal. Since the British people had voted to leave the European Union, he had spent a lot of time analysing the consequences and impact of the Brexit on UK businesses. He also made some bald statements such as ‘Populism will never be elected again in the UK’ and gave us some tips on how to get an internship or a job at the company. Regarding career opportunities at JPM, they hire mostly from the top UK business schools. It also helps if you know someone from within the firm who can help you get an interview, but even then it is not easy. Afterwards in the Q&A, our questions ranged from the trump effect on bond noted to `the Queen and the empire´. Interesting isn´t the word.

The end of the first day at London brought us to Third Bridge. This company, which is co-founded by Rodolphe de Hemptinne (Belgium, Ghent), focusses on delivering information and research to private equity firms, hedge funds and strategy consultants. Third Bridge is named after a secluded area in Botswana next to the Moanachira River, the only river in the world that does not discharge in an ocean or sea. With a car, this is the furthest place that can be reached alongside the river, and hence reflects the company’s vision to offer information to their clients which is often difficult to get access to.

During the company presentation, given by Rodolphe, we got an impression of a relatively young (10 years old) and exponentially growing business in the heart of London. Because of this rapid growth, they have an active hiring policy towards young graduates such as… Vlerick students! Rodolphe gave a very enthusiastic and interesting presentation about the job opportunities Third Bridge could offer us and where he thinks we fit in this picture.

Third Bridge was probably the only company in which we did not feel like wearing a suit was compulsory. This feeling was strengthened even more by the casual network event after the presentation where the employees of Third Bridge, surprisingly, offered us some Belgian Leffes in a (successful) attempt to win our hearts.

All in all, Third Bridge and Rodolphe made a very good impression and it set the tone for a great evening and week in London.

 

Day 2 (S&P and BLCC networking event)

The next day started early as we had to get to the offices of Standard & Poor’s in the heart of Canary Wharf for the presentations scheduled for 9. The first rush hour jam of the week was quite the experience being a group 46 people. Luckily they had breakfast treats waiting for us as some of us hadn´t had breakfast yet. Some employees presented the company and told us about the work done in the different line of business under S&P Global.

Many topics were discussed during the S&P Session, but a major time slot was given to the evaluation of the rating agencies involvement in the financial crisis, 9 years ago. As a result, rating agencies in general became subdue to tougher rules, and a more formal control system. These adjustments guarantee the future independency of the rating companies. Some time was also spent on the pro-cyclicality of ratings, similar to companies, although in general these ratings are considered more stable.

An interesting point was mentioned during the presentation; unlike competitors’ rating scales, S&P uses a (+) or (-) indication to display the relative standing within the major rating categories. Competitor’s such a Moody’s use more absolute rating scales and do also not provide a rating relative against the default rates on average.

As a final remark, we were introduced to the Bloomberg of sorts used by S&P: Capital IQ is S&P’s financial information service provider, also serving over 4000 clients worldwide. During the very brief overview of the service, it was noticeable how powerful such application can be when used for financial modelling, research, assessing company fundamentals etc. Very interesting indeed and so were the graduate programs presented to us but unfortunately open positions were only available for 2018. A short Q&A concluded the session, and the group took the tube back to Central London after a much appreciated coffee break.

We had a free afternoon so again we scattered in different groups to explore London, do some shopping, visit museums, etc. We regrouped later in the evening for the next event. It was a good evening with great food and interesting people (Vlerick alumni), who shared their London experiences with us. The event was different from the other events and company visits we did in many ways. It was a relaxed atmosphere, we had the opportunity to talk with people about their respective career paths in the intimidating financial centre of the world. Unlike in other events, we got know the alumni more personally. After many conversations later, we had a better picture of the life in London, positive and negative. They told us about the struggle to manage their personal and professional lives due to the long working hours, about the search for an apartment, but also about the excitement of living in such a vibrant city.

Some students had the pleasure of talking to Andrew Swan, the Assistant Head at Chatham House. This is an independent policy institute based in London focusing on international affairs. Chatham House carries out independent analysis of critical global, regional and country-specific challenges and opportunities. In 2016, Chatham House was named Think Tank of the Year at Prospect magazine’s annual think-tank awards, where it also won in the UK categories for International Affairs and Energy and Environment. Andrew previously worked at the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization and at the Parliament of the Isle of Man. Born in South Africa, Andrew further increased his international experience by following Vlerick’s MBA Programme from 2012 to 2013.

We also had the chance to talk to Christy Oi Ling Chan, a former Vlerick student. She did the Masters in Financial Management last year and works at Bloomberg for the moment. As many students of our class dream about working in London next year, it was very interesting to speak with her. She could gave us tips about finding and getting the dream job we are all looking for.

 

Day 3 (ESCP trading session and Cardano)

The next morning, we went to visit the ESCP Business School, a top-ranked European Business School (just like Vlerick!). Here, we split into two groups. One group started out in ESCP´s trading room. We had a trading simulation session organized by professor Othman Cole. At first, a lot of losses were generated as nobody really knew what was going on. However, a few rounds later, we quickly picked it up and used more and more advanced techniques to beat the market. Overall, this experience really showed us how markets and traders work during the day.

After the trading session, we switched with the other group and we had a session on FinTech organized by an ESCP guest lecturer. Machine Learning, Neural Networks, Blockchain and emotional pattern recognition were all subjects that were touched upon. Useful insights and definitions into the growing world of FinTech were shared with the group as to make us ready for the rapidly changing financial industry. All-in all, this session was of great value to the London Study Trip programme. I really think everybody learned a lot. After a much needed lunch break, we made our way to the next company.

 

The next visit was at Cardano, a financial services company which specialises in Fiduciary management, Investment advisory and Risk management. Cardano helps clients become more resilient by helping them manage their pension/insurance portfolios. The CEO and staff of Cardano gave us a warm welcome and a great overview of how the financial market has moved over the past few years and how this move had an impact on corporations, especially their pension portfolios. The CEO stressed that the insurance and pension business are major players in financial market.

Cardano provided us a case study “Hostile takeover and the DB poison pill”, through which we had an insightful understanding of different types of pension schemes for example Defined Benefit (DB) and Defined Contribution (DC); and how these schemes affect the balance sheet of the company. The case was very challenging but also very interesting. Our Vlerick presenters, Balliauw Elise and Pieter Decavel, have done a fantastic job in tackling various difficult problems in the case and managing to provide Cardano valuable suggestions for the client. Cardano was impressed with the quality of the presentation. After the presentation, we had a chance to network with Cardano’s staffs, Miss Nicole Xu and Miss Sarah Louise Powell. They were very helpful in explaining the different business activities of Cardano and opportunities available for young graduates like us. They were also very open about their experience at Cardano as well as the life-style in London in general.

Overall, the visit to Cardano was a great experience for us. It enhanced our knowledge of the pension and insurance industry, the very important sectors in the financial market. We believe that the energy and enthusiasm of Vlerick students have also left a good first impression to Cardano.

 

Day 4 (Lloyds and Blackrock)

Thursday was split with one group visiting Lloyds in the morning and the other in the afternoon. This was an interesting visit as we, and I´m sure you as well, associate Lloyds as a bank but on our visit we discovered the immense and unique role that Lloyds has in the insurance sector. While Lloyds is not an insurer, it serves as a market for insurance companies and hosts a significant number of brokers that are responsible for insurance companies from all corners of the world. After the presentation we concluded the day with a tour of the building and heard many good stories of its´ history.

In the evening we visited one of the most distinguished companies in the financial sector with over USD $5 trillion under management, Blackrock. We felt privileged just waiting in the lobby before they were ready for us. Once in, we had a presentation on current events (Brexit, US elections, low interest rate environment) and how they affected the portfolios of the asset manager that was presenting. To be honest, his explanations of his investment techniques and the different terminologies used left most of us dazzled. Good thing we had the Investments course the following weekend to try to digest what he heard at Blackrock. After that a few students got to talk to the asset managers in person while the rest made their way back to the hostel for some rest.

 

Day 5 (Bloomberg and Moody´s)

The last day in London came quicker than expected but it was a good one. We visited Bloomberg in the morning and were led by an MFM alumni whom we got the chance to meet just a few days before at the BLCC networking event. From the outside, it looked plain but when we got in we couldn´t stop gazing at how amazing their offices were. Imagine, at the centre of the building, through all floors, they had an aquarium filled with all sort of fish, baby sharks and I even spotted an octopus. But that´s not why we were there. We were brought to one of their computer rooms where Christy Oi Ling Chan and two of her other colleagues gave us a presentation about the company and talk a bit about their journey to Bloomberg. Before we left, we made sure to take advantage the free food and snacks in their colourful cafeteria.

In the afternoon we had the chance to visit another prestigious credit rating agency, Moody´s. We were given an extensive presentation about the company, its´ different departments and opportunities they have for future graduates. After the presentation, it was time for some networking. Not too long after we got some coffee, and headed back to the hostel. We quickly got our luggage from the hostel and made our way to the train station as we were scheduled to leave soon. Although very thankful for the inspiring week we had, you could see it in everyone´s face they were exhausted.

We boarded the train and just when you thought everyone would immediately start napping, a few people decided to give the bar a visit for a drink. Guess some people didn´t want the bar to feel lonely.

All in all, we had a great week in London and were exceptionally pleased with the companies that were scheduled for the trip. Definitely one of the biggest highlights of studying MFM at Vlerick, an experience you couldn´t get elsewhere.

Till next time, cheers..

Shark Tank Challenge — Can you handle it?

Wednesday, 1 February 2017, 6:27 | Category : Masters
Tags :

January is over, exams are over! However, at Vlerick Business School, we as students are often assessed in other ways than just another standard, boring exam. Vlerick professors are quite often challenged to examinate their students in innovative, inspiring ways. One of the most inventive assessments we’ve had so far was the AB Inbev Shark Tank Challenge – which was as much a life-or-death competition as it sounds!

In a first stage, all MGM, MIMS and MIE students were informed on their particular challenge, which entailed one of the following: Connections for millennials – Insights – Nablab, or the No Alcoholic Beverages Lab. Having been assigned a team of 3 students in total, the challenge would entail 3 consecutive rounds. In the finals, there would be 3 winning teams per campus and per challenge, that would result in 3 final winners in the end. Coincidentally – or not 😉 – the winners of the three challenges were equally divided among the three campuses. So, Brussels, Ghent, as well as Leuven can proudly present a winner of the great 2017 ABI Shark Tank Challenge.

As a MIMS student in Brussels myself, I am here of course to boast about the performance and innovative thinking of my Brussels’ team. (Sorry, not sorry.) Dagmar, Delphine, and Cedric won with their challenging innovation called the Draughtmaster as part of the Insights challenge. They had to successfully come up with an innovation that would unlock consumer data in creative ways. The Draughtmaster, which is as much as your personal tap that – in line with the “internet of things” – is smartly updating you on how well you can tap a beer, whether it’s preserved at the right temperature and the right pressure. In the end, it can even promote you so much as to help you win the international ABI Draughtmaster cup!

Curious readers will clearly see that this idea aligns with the current market trends of home service, home delivery, home cinema watching, etc. But a home draughtmaster is still something many households are lacking today. One can always get a perfect beer in a bar, but what to do if you have some friends over and you want to serve them the perfect beer yourself? Well, a solution is perhaps finally coming your way. Cheers to that!

Goldstein Challenge and Winter Reunion

Thursday, 5 January 2017, 19:24 | Category : Business Game, Event, International Event, Masters, Masters in General Management, Vlerick Experience
Tags :

One of the great things about Vlerick is that you get to experience what a real life business case would look like. The Goldstein Challenge is where you get the first chance to really apply everything you learned until that moment. You are brought in as a consultant and together with your team you get to save the Goldstein Brewery from the brink of collapse in just four days’ time. Four whole days of ups and certainly a lot of downs, including a lot of frustrations and sleepless nights. However, in the end – when you finally get that awesome breakthrough that will crack the case – it was worth it.

The first day started off easy enough as the consultants from PWC explained the finer details of the case. The company’s Return on Capital Employed or ROCE had gone down from about 10% to 2,9%. As we found out over the duration of the challenge, there are many different pronunciations for ROCE (and not always very flattering ones). The next step was to figure out ourselves what (part of) the data was saying, to find the real issues and how we would solve these. Unfortunately, we would only get full access to the additional data and the data tool the next day.

The second day, things were getting spicier. We got a presentation on how to use the PWC data tool and some more information about the complete dataset. One catch though, the full data and its corresponding data tool would only be available from 9.30 till 23.45. While this might seem like plenty of time, believe me when I say there was a lot of data to go through and the pressure was on. Friendships and relationships were tested, but no blood was shed (only the occasional tear). Luckily, there were the Deliveroo guys who kept us going with some necessary Balls&Glory power food.

Over halfway, and the third day, everybody felt ready to take on the next part of the challenge: solving the problems that your team found the day before. In addition, you had to write out these solutions in a fully-fledged management report with your recommendations and make a presentation that would have to be presented before a panel of Vlerick professors and consultants of PWC. Not much sleep was gotten by anyone that night, but there was this glorious feeling when handing in that report you worked on so hard at 3.30 AM.

The next morning was filled with coffee and zombie-looking students. Nevertheless, we delivered a successful presentation in front of a jury, consisting of PWC representatives and Vlerick professors. A drink to celebrate the great survival of the Goldstein challenge was in order. And so we did.

goldstein

goldstein2

In the afternoon, no classes were scheduled and students were graving for some sleep to be representable for the annual Vlerick Winter Reunion later that night. Key-note speaker Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, delivered an attention-grabbing speech on Digital Economy and Connectivity. After the speech, we were invited to the reception to network with Vlerick alumni. The open bar allowed us to blow of some steam from the intense quest we had been through that week.

winterreunion

We were rewarded with a well-deserved Christmas break to reload our batteries. However, at Vlerick there is no such thing as a long vacation. Deadlines and exams are scheduled right after the break, probably to make sure we are able to keep on with the pace of our program. But I guess this is part of the wonderful MGM-journey filled with challenges, time-pressure but also friendship and memorable experiences.

xmasparty xmaspartymgmghent

Thomas Longeval & Lise Coenen
MGM Ghent

CSR visit at LIDL Belgium

Wednesday, 4 January 2017, 22:53 | Category : Masters
Tags : , , , , ,

Hi there,

My peers in the MGM/MIE Leuven group and I recently visited LIDL’s distribution centre in Sint-Niklaas. With this visit, we had the opportunity to discuss some corporate sustainability and responsibility (CSR) issues that LIDL Belgium faces. In our lectures, the charismatic Prof Xavier conveyed to us that CSR is not about philanthropy, but rather policies that are embedded in day-to-day decisions and operations of a business. As such, this company visit afforded us a chance to assess the real life implications of strategic corporate sustainability initiatives.

For the non-European readers, LIDL is a German discounter supermarket chain with over 10 000 stores in 28 countries. The company is the second biggest retailer in the world and has revenues over €64.4 bn. On the day of our visit, we had a presentation from the head of sustainability in Belgium and Luxembourg, Phillippe Weiler, who enthusiastically chatted to us about the benefits of good CSR consciousness in a big multi-national whilst we were nibbling on some tasty snacks. What I gathered from the presentation is that CSR initiatives result in cost reduction, brand enhancement, customer satisfaction and ultimately create value for shareholders. Philippe was also proud to point out that LIDL’s seafood offering is the most sustainable among the Belgian retailers, a fact that my fellow MIE blogger Cassandra did not believe. After some googling of her own, she is now convinced – I hope so at least.

At the end of the presentation, we were tasked to tackle two real life CSR challenges: 1) How can LIDL be a better neighbour to the community and 2) How can Lidl better integrate its sustainability actions at the store level.

We were divided in competing mini-groups of 6 to 8 students and, in true Vlerick fashion, were given only 30 lidl1minutes to present our out-of-the box ideas. The jury was composed of LIDL management panel and also some of the students – they were clearly happier as theirs was an easier job. The winning groups were elected based on the feasibility and presentation of the recommendations. A tough job for the jury as Philippe and the rest of LIDL management were really impressed and noted down most of our suggestions. Some of us are keen to see if any of the ideas are implemented.

With the case out of the way and some more snacking, we then had a 30-minute tour of the impressive distributionlidl2 centre and got to learn more about the intricate logistics involved in the distribution processes but also got to appreciate the level of responsibility that every employee at LIDL bears. This specific Sint-Niklaas centre serves to
over 80 retail stores in Flanders, recycles 93% of its waste and has a deep freezer which we strolled into and ran back out with chattering teeth – I kid you not, it was Antarctica in there.

The day was long, but at the end we left the site very satisfied. We had seen how a big corporation brings sustainability into practice and were grateful for the opportunity to have applied some of the theoretical concepts we had learnt back in class.

Until next time,

Jo

MFM Trip to Amsterdam

Wednesday, 7 December 2016, 13:37 | Category : Masters
Tags :

Greetings fellow students, prospective students, alumni and really all the great people reading this. This is my first (and definitely not last) blog for the year 2016-17 so bear with me. I want to share our experience with you guys.

The Master’s in Financial Management program offers many opportunities for students to meet finance professionals and executives from a great deal of companies. One week we are in Bovendonk taking on a case for Pfizer, the next we are roaming the streets of Brussels to the headquarters of Bpost for a presentation from the CFO. I know we’re cool.

amsterdam-1Last week’s adventure took place in Amsterdam! It started at 5 A.M (5:30 for some of us that live closer to campus) and we met outside the bus at 6 A.M ready to depart at 6:30. Surprisingly too me, most of the guys were energetic and ready to take on the day. Everyone seemed to have gotten to bed early the night before, which for me (and I’m sure for most MFM’ers) is midnight. After about an hour of excitement and chit chat the inevitable happened. Suddenly, the bus was quiet. La sommeille nous on attraper! If you listened attentively, you could actually hear people calculating WACC in their sleep J

After approximately two and a half to three hours we arrived in Amsterdam. It was exciting for me especially because it was my first time there. Our first visit was at ABN Amro. ABN Amro is the leading investment bank in the Benelux area and one of the biggest players in M&A and corporate advisory in Europe. We got into the dauntingly beautiful office building and waited for the bankers that would host us for the morning activities. We settled into one of the meeting rooms, got some coffee and cookies (ok, a lot of cookies) and it was straight to business. The Managing director of the Netherlands region gave us a presentation before we split up into groups to commence with the M&A business game. After that it was lunch time. We were treated to some sandwiches at the fancy Oliver’s restaurant where we joined by some more bankers and Vlerick MFM alumni. Networking of course!

Lunch was short-lived as we were a little bit behind schedule. Our next visit was to Optiver, a trading company that uses its own financing to perform its’ main business of ‘market making’. I’d explain more but the nerd in me would bore you so just check Investopedia. We did not know what to expect at Optiver but after our visit, I can speak for of us that Optiver made an impression on us. They presented the company and what they do to us. Of course one of the presenters was MFM alumni. Not long after, we took a grueling numerical test; 80 questions in 8 minutes! After the test we split into groups to play a market making game where we estimated the size of Ghent in km2 and the amount of beer consumed by the average customer in a year. Fun but challenging it was.

Lastly we played a trading game online. This gave us a snippet into the life of a trader. Taking calls (missing calls) from banks, buying, selling, quoting, making spreads, it was all a flash but we learnt a lot. As if they hadn’t gotten our attention already, they decided to treat us to an arsenal of delicious pizzas. Work Hard, Eat Hard?

Unfortunately the day came to an end and it was time to go. Would’ve loved to stay but our Capital Budgeting & Valuation amsterdam-trip-2
professor wouldn’t be very happy the next morning. We got our coats, got into the bus and hit the road. Very typical of us, we quickly started to use what we learnt during the day and incorporated it into our jokes. “Minutes it takes to get to get back to Brussels, first bid, 180 – 200.”

 

“SELL!!”

(Terrible finance jokes, it’s one way to live, don’t judge)

Overall it was an incredible day and hope future MFM’ers get to enjoy it as much as we did.

Till next,

Boris

ToiLetMeKnow, or how Hackathons can create opportunities

Tuesday, 29 November 2016, 11:55 | Category : Masters
Tags :

hackathon

The great thing about Vlerick is that it encourages you to participate in business games, case studies, and hackathons. Hacka-what, I hear you saying? A hackathon, in the traditional sense, is a rat-race, sprint-like competition in which software developers along with subject-matter-experts work on a disruptive project during a limited amount of time ranging from a day to a week. The teams are challenged to design new software or web-applications that tackle topics relevant for society and that could be readily developed into a start-up idea. Amazone and CIBG (Centrum voor Informatica voor het Brussels Gewest) premiered with the first gender hackathon ever in Brussels, Belgium, and a small group of five Vlerick students participated in “veni, vidi, vici”-style.

Because that is another great thing about Vlerick: by challenging your co-students into participating in such intriguing business games, you get to know each other from an entirely new perspective. In fact, my team and I quite accidentally decided to participate. It began as all typical love stories do: one student in class asked her neighbor whether he would like to participate, who in his turn asked his neighbor etc. By the end of class, a small group of five students were subscribed for the first “Brussels Goes Gender Smart” Hackathon ever.

The Hackathon itself was in no way related to Vlerick, yet we immediately and almost unconsciously felt we could apply all the taught frameworks and business development methods from the past three months at Vlerick. Starting with a speedy and outside-of-the-box brainstorm session, followed up by research and more down-to-earth product development, we soon and very smoothly divided the tasks among the five of us. In no less than eight hours did we develop a start-up application that would solve the gender inequality problem of peeing in Brussels. We thought it unfair that Manneke Pis and his male equivalents can always, anywhere and at any time, pee in public, whereas Jeanneke Pis is not granted that freedom. ToiLetMeKnow was our solution to this gender inequality problem, and just as much thought the jury as we won the second price.

hackathon_photo

By means of this blog, my team and I wish to thank Vlerick for the taught knowledge, given opportunity, and new classmate friends who helped us win the second price at this hackathon. Our price? A bootcamp at the Microsoft Organization Foundation to develop our idea into an actual start-up. We’ll ToiLetYouKnow on further notice.

 

Cheers,

Elien & Delia

 

 

Failing Forward, an inspirational conference about success and… failure!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016, 9:14 | Category : Masters
Tags :

On Wednesday November 16, 2016, Master of Innovation and Entrepreneurship students got the great opportunity to participate in the Failing Forward conference, an inspirational conference where European entrepreneurs share their honest testimonial about the ups and especially the downs of starting an own business.

picture1

The Flemish Agency Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Agentschap Innoveren en Ondernemen) and startups.be organized once again their annual conference “Failing Forward” on November 16, 2016 in Brussels. The aim of this conference is to change the hard-rooted mentality in Flanders and to celebrate failure (as well as success).

Those of us who want to start a business, will have heard this already all too often – “why?”. Why aren’t you taking that well paid job instead of starting your business? Why can’t you be happy with your current situation? Why do you want to put everything at risk? It is exactly that mentality that is holding Flanders back and that Failing Forward wants to change. Indeed, starting a business never happens without risk, falling is part of the process and it’s by getting back on our feet that we learn. It’s with this message that Failing Forward will raise awareness about the topic in the coming four years, because failing is not contagious, success is.

Jef Colruyt (Colruyt Group), Lut Wyers (COCOMO and identify.me), Gemma Galdon Clavell (Eticas), Gert Bergen (advisor innovation and economic policy), Bart de Pauw (actor and screenwriter), Gerald Goldstein (Peak), Thomas Joos (innovator), Jannie Haek (National Lottery), and Michèle Sioen (VBO-FEB) all have one thing in common, well more than one thing actually. Firstly, they are all entrepreneurs – some have inherited a family business, some were appointed to the job, and others just started a whole new business from scratch. But their other point in common is maybe less obvious. They have not always been successful – somewhere in their careers, they have failed, but it didn’t hold them back from succeeding in the end. During the whole day, they broke the taboo about failing and shared with the audience their testimony. For most of them, it was the first time they talk about it in public, which made it even more authentic and powerful.

During the afternoon, three parallel sessions were also organized: power meetings, workshops, and a LIFE panel discussion. The first session was especially interesting for MIE students. Power meetings were 1-to-1 meetings with expert mentors and entrepreneurs in the field of Sales & Marketing, Funding, Growth, and Business Modeling and the perfect occasion to pitch and get feedback for our new venture proposal. The workshops organized by the organizing partners, discussed the topics of strategic value management (EY) and common pitfalls in big company transformation (ING). Finally, the LIFE panel discussion showed us results from a European study about the startup mentality and the main problems during different stages of growth.

 picture2

If you liked what you read and you believe starting a business is not without risk and it’s OK to take them, if you also want to change this mentality in Flanders and want to help spread the word, then sign this manifesto: http://metfalenenopstaan.be/manifest/.

Until next time,

Cassandra

 

More information:

http://metfalenenopstaan.be/
http://failingforward.eu/

Career Day I

Wednesday, 16 November 2016, 13:09 | Category : Career Event, Event, Masters
Tags : , ,

Career Day I, 9th of November, Vlerick Business School Brussels – The Vlerick master students got the opportunity to experience 4 big companies, potentially future employers, in a more interactive way. Read more about our meeting with AB Inbev, Hilti, Nestlé, Reckitt Benckiser and Unilin below.

First on the agenda for both of us (Kaat and Gabrielle) was Nestlé. The HR Manager kicked the presentation off with an introduction about the company. Next Pieter-Jan and Simon, two Vlerick alumni, took the stage. They shared their experience at the company, being enrolled in the Young Graduate Program. Apparently, if you’re lucky to work at the pet food department you’re allowed to bring your dog to work sometimes! In general, the guys spoke about Nestlé with great passion and enthusiasm. After listening carefully to their presentations, everyone in the room was invited to participate in a little Kahoot-quiz about Nestlé. The winner would receive a bag full of Nestlé products so it was all hands on deck.*

img_8592

After a short coffee break it was time for the second presentation. Gabrielle attended a session of Unilin, who decided to take a different approach and gave the students a case to work on. Starting of with a short introduction about the company, they then talked a little bit more about one of the challenges they were currently facing. In groups of 4 to 8 people we got 20 minutes time discuss the case and come up with a conclusion. Three groups had to present their conclusions in front of the group. It was really interesting to work together with the other master students and get more insight in how B2B markets work!

Kaat’s second session was that of AB Inbev. Like Unilin, AB Inbev asked to think about a real case, namely the launch of Cubanisto in the Belgian market. After the story behind this new beer was told, we had 15 minutes to come up with a creative, fresh approach to introduce the beer in the nightlife scene. This exercise gave us a short impression of what it would be to work for a brewing company as AB Inbev; It made us reflect on the on trade and off trade market and what’s it like to create an experience around a product. For this case we worked in groups of 5 from different Vlerick master classes. It was an interesting experience to work with some of my fellow students with their own perspectives and see it come together into a rough first Cubanisto-campaign.

image

Afterwards, it was time for the network reception. Here we had the opportunity to talk to the companies of whom we could not attend the presentations. Also, we could have a personal conversation with the people we already met during the presentation.

Thanks for reading and until next time,

Kaat Lavaerts
Gabrielle Burghouwt
M3 Students

*Gabrielle got lucky and now has a year supply of Nescafe and hot chocolate.

 

Vlerick International experience: food, drinks and much more!

Thursday, 13 October 2016, 11:51 | Category : International Event
Tags :

On Tuesday 11 October, the Vlerick Masters hosted this year’s first intercultural event, where 13 countries/regions represented their cultures by means of local dishes, drinks, traditional clothing, poems, etc.

At the Brussels campus, students from Masters in General Management, Masters in International Management and Strategy, Masters in Marketing, Masters in Financial Management and Masters in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, together with faculty staff enjoyed a colorfoul and tasting evening which promises not to be the last one!

intert-event

In the following months, students will have the opportunity to get to know the cultures of their colleges and to experience the international sphere of Vlerick!

Vlerick Masters