Another inspiring year at Vlerick has begun!

Friday, 2 September 2016, 6:59 | Category : Masters
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The 2016-2017 academic year has kicked off with 263 Masters students coming from 33 different countries from all around the globe. This year also marked the launch of two new masters’ degree programmes: a Masters in Innovation & Entrepreneurship in the Leuven campus and a Masters in International Management & Strategy in Brussels. Both programmes, which respond to a trend towards greater specialisation, immediately got off to a strong start with 29 and 35 students, respectively, from 14 different countries.

The students are fully immersed in the programme already, which for the first time are offering new electives, boot camps and international study trips including destinations such as Berlin, China, Silicon Valley, London and Dublin.

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

Looking forward to this academic year together!

Vlerick Masters

 

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Ni Hao

Ni hao. That was basically the only Chinese I knew before visiting the Red Dragon. Most of us only know the People’s Republic from items in the news, articles in news papers and magazines, all kind of literature we bumped into during our studies at Vlerick or prior at university or work or even just from watching the olympics back in 2008. But what does it mean to do business in China, to trade with Chinese partners, be a professional in this more than ever connected world? Frankly, we didn’t know what it really ment.

Our boot camp on International Management and Emerging Markets had the ambition to immerse us in one of the world’s fastest growing economies and enhance our curriculum with a real-life experience in China. Taking us to three totally different cities in over 10 days gave us three totally different perspectives on China.

Beijing was the place of take-off for us, with a first deep dive into doing business in China, Confucianism and economic policies from the People’s Republic trough different lectures at Beijing University. Company visits included technology driven ABB, CreditEase and Chinese owned LeTv.

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A few days later, the night train took us to our next stop: Shanghai. Besides visits to Lear, digital marketing agency Createc and Belgian owned Chinafloors, we had the unique opportunity to attend an evening organised by the Belgian Chamber of Commerce where Tim Condon, Managing Director at Asia ING Financial Markets, gave us his views on the development of the Chinese economy.

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Our last stop was Hong Kong, the Pearl of the Orient. Part of China but not really Chinese, we discovered the city’s unique relationship to the mainland and had the opportunity to visit Hong Kong Univeristy, one of the best universities in Asia.

Through a mix of lectures, company visits, challenges and cultural explorations we discovered how business is done in emerging markets. But China showed us much more. It enabled us to unravel a little more of what the world has to offer for us. And that’s what we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.

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Bram Jaques

Masters in General Management (MGM)

 

The Graduation Challenge is Here!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016, 9:09 | Category : Masters
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With our amazing year at Vlerick coming to a close, we have a final Graduation Challenge where each class has the chance to showcase what they’ve been up to this past year in their respective programs.

Watch the videos here, and vote by clicking “like” under your favorite video on YouTube!

Thanks and don’t forget to vote!

Ali Colwell
Master in Marketing Management (M3)

FinTech Bootcamp embarks to London

During the Fintech bootcamp, our group got the chance to spend a few days in London. Bootcamps are a period of three weeks during which students focus on a subject of their choice. The FinTech bootcamp was the first of its kind ever held at Vlerick, aiming to study the impact of digital disruptors like PayPal and TransferWise on traditional banking models.

Spending three days in London gave us a sneak peak of the local scene coined the center of FinTech.

Our program started in Canary Wharf, at the heart of the banking world. Our group observed the surroundings from the prestigious ‘Level 39’, a FinTech incubator nestled at the eponym level of a skyscraper. The view was breath taking.

The rest of our British adventure brought us to other financial hotspots like ‘Startupbootcamp’, another incubator where selected start ups get 3 months of coaching to boost their growth. We met with 3 entrepreneurs in residence who shared their stories, namely Mondo. Mondo is a 100% digital bank. Jason Bates, co-founder explained the vision of the company to become the ‘Google of banking’. Cool stuff!

Later in the day we received a warm welcome at WorldRemit. WorldRemit started in 2010 to facilitate remittances, that is sending money to one’s family abroad, a habit popular within families spread all over the world. WorldRemit offers this service online with competitive fees. Today the company has grown into a 250+ employees business. I really liked the three women involved in finance, communications and HR who presented the purpose of their jobs.

An evening conference at Imperial College addressing the clash between usual financial processes and innovative ones like the Bitcoin for instance closed our day.

Before heading back to Belgium we paid by a visit to a FabLab where 3D printing equipment is made available for anybody with a project. We got to handle drones, a mini satellite, phone chips and other tech gadgets.

Overall, this trip gave us a foretaste of what the coming years have to offer. Innovative services are on their way and we can literally not wait to see the tech prophecy realizing itself in the future.

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International student experience (USA/Slovakia)

The last interview was conducted on an Indian student, but the experience is obviously very different depending on the country. This time, the interviewee is Born in Slovakia, grew up in Germany and studied in the USA. Quite the world citizen !

Enjoy Florian’s (MGM Leuven) interview.

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Could you give a quick summary of your cursus?

For my Bachelor I studied at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.

I have obtained a “B.S. in Business Administration with a Minor in Finance & Economics” with magna cum laude honors.

Additionally to my studies I competed on the university’s Men’s Golf Team, which was the main reason why I went to study in America in first place.

 

For how long have you been in Belgium? And in Leuven?

Officially, I have been living in Belgium since the age of seven, which is about 17 years. However being from a Slovak family and living in the German region near the German border I never really got to experience the true Belgian culture. During my 17 years as a Belgian, I attended school in Germany for ten years and then spent 6 years abroad to finish up my High-School and undergraduate studies in USA. As you can see I am not the typical Belgian!

I have been back in Belgium since May 2014 and I quite enjoy it. Leuven which was totally new to me is a great city that is not too small nor too large for my taste. Everything is within 15-20minute walking distance and having a bicycle really cuts down on traveling time. Owning, and more importantly keeping, a bike in Leuven isn’t such an easy feat as people especially after 2 in the morning love to borrow bikes without necessarily returning them J

 

Do you feel like the education system is different from where you studied?

I have studied Business Administration before joining Vlerick, so the content is similar to what I have experienced before. In my mind Vlerick just puts a bigger emphasis on the managerial insights and shows us ways in which we can interpret certain issues.

The big difference I see at Vlerick, compared to my prior university, is the pace of the content being thrown at you. The student at Vlerick really has to be organized and have solid time management skills. At first it can seem overwhelming to keep track of all projects and deadlines, but after a while one simply adapts and gets used to it.

 

What advice would you give to a foreign student coming to Vlerick?

I would advice to come to Leuven about a week or two before the studies start. Once the year kicks off, the student gets busy really fast. In order to reduce stress levels a bit the student should take time to get to know the city before school starts so that he knows his way around.

 

Prepare à follow the business news to get a feeling of what is going on in the world

Stay positive à even though you might get overwhelmed in the beginning it will get easier as you move forward! No need to panic J

Drinks à there is more beers to try than you can think of, so you better start tasting them as soon as possible to find your favorite Belgian brew!

Food à Have Belgian fries with mayonnaise, followed up by a tasty waffle for dessert!

 

 

Thanks Florian ! 

International student experience (India)

Being a foreign student can be sometimes quite daunting. Discovering a new culture, languages and way of life, as well as tackling all the administrative tasks (particularly in Belgium) may scare away prospective students. We thought that sharing the experience of an Indian student arriving in Leuven (not even Brussels!) could help others to take their leap of faith.

Here under you can find a short interview of Vivek, an Indian MGM Leuven student.

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 09.57.55For how long have you been in Belgium? And in Leuven?

I arrived in Belgium on 21st august 2015 and came to Leuven the same day.

 How do you cope with the cultural differences for the moment?

I have changed schools six times for various reasons. Although it was not a change of culture but still it meant a great lot for me at that time. And because of such experiences in the past I am now used to changes. What I do to cope up with the cultural differences here in Belgium is that I try to copy whatever I see and act as if that is what I have been doing all my life. And sometime when I mistakenly do something do hurt someone then I try to be as direct as possible and explain the situation to that person to avoid any kind of miscommunication.

What strikes you the most in Belgium compared to India?

Living a happy life is more important for the people of Belgium than money. People enjoy their lives. Had you been rich in India, you would either be showing of your money in whatever way possible or trying to increase your wealth assuming that it might bring you happiness someday but here in Belgium, as long as people get their beer and can party, they are happy. And it is because of this reason that I might want to live here in Belgium and pay taxes for its population.

Do you feel like the education system is different from where you studied?

From what I have heard, other students used to study the same way in the universities as I used to in India, bunking classes and going out quite often. So there is not much of a difference there.
The scoring system might be a bit different but the level of difficulty that I would have to face in a business school of similar calibre in India is, according to me, the same.

What advice would you give to an Indian student coming to Vlerick?

I came here just after completing engineering and didn’t work. This is adding to my problems in getting a job here in Belgium. I would advise him/her to consider working for a while before coming here.

Also I would suggest him/her to start learning either of the languages (Dutch /French) before coming here so that it can be easier for that person to mix up with the locals, who are a big majority in the college, and also it would help a lot in of job related matters.

 

Thank you, hope you’ll keep enjoying your stay here !

Brussels Job Fair

On February 3rd, a job fair was organized at the Vlerick Brussels campus. We had the opportunity to meet up with almost 40 different companies from various sectors such as retail, chemical industry, consultancy, audit, etc.  Each firms had 2 or 3 spoke persons and would give away many tips, advices, flyers and even goodies.

The fairs are amazing opportunities to create connections and exchange with professionals. This edition was particularly rich in the diversity of companies present. We even had a cocktail at the end to conclude on a more informal (and delicious) note!

Here under you can find the impressions of one of the MGM Leuven student on the job fair.

Picture1What is your Background ?
My Background is Law. I’m specialized in European Law

Which companies did you talk to?

Microsoft, Bluecrux, Vente Exclusive, Avertim and Barry Callebaut.

What are your main take aways from the fair?

The panel of Companies was sufficient and diversified which allowed to give an overview of possibilities.

It was both an opportunity to apply for vacancies and to better get to know new companies. I’m glad we had the opportunity to have face to face talks, as it gives a sense of reality to the companies we hear so much about.

The European Silicon Valley: M3’s International Study Trip to Dublin!

As a student in marketing management, there are endless possibilities for what type of position you can end up with: sales, consulting, branding, product management, corporate communications, business development, the list goes on and on. But what if you could work in these types of positions for some of the biggest tech companies in the world? And who would have guessed that Dublin is the place to make it happen?

That’s exactly what the M3 class discovered was possible during our International Study Trip to Dublin last week. We not only got to explore a beautiful city (and, of course, enjoy a pint or two), but we also visited some of the world’s most innovative companies.

Day 1

Right after landing in Dublin, the M3 class was taken to Enterprise Ireland, the government organization responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets. We were given the task to pitch our ideas to two different marketing agencies to solve real challenges that they are currently working on with their clients. Once the pitches were done, we had a free evening to explore some traditional Irish pubs and check out Dublin nightlife!

Day 2

Our first visit of the day was to Oracle, where we talked about social selling in a B2B context. The presentations were interesting and insightful, and we were even given a delicious spread of fruits and pastries during our break. At the end, we had a “speed dating” session with some Oracle employees who talked about their experiences with the company and some of the potential employment opportunities in sales.

Probably the highlight of the trip, however, was the company visit to Google’s EMEA headquarters. Not only did we see amazing presentations on branding and some of the projects Google is currently working on, but we also got to tour the incredible offices. We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the office, but here’s a look at the gorgeous view from one of the higher floors of the office:

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Amazing, right?

Day 3

On our last day of company visits, we went to a presentation at Microsoft. We had some fun brainstorming exercises and, much like at Oracle, we had “speed dating” sessions with different people on different subjects regarding life at Microsoft and life in Dublin.

Here’s an M3 group photo in front of the Microsoft offices (it looks like some of us weren’t quite ready):

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In the afternoon, we had a brief session at LinkedIn about how to make our profiles stand out during our job search and we got to check out their cool office space. After some interesting presentations about LinkedIn’s future plans, we headed over to the last company visit of the trip: AdRoll.

AdRoll is a retargeting and performance marketing platform, and they had a fantastic set of presentations and discussions prepared for M3. Afterwards, we were treated to pizza and beer in the office and had the chance to network with some of the AdRoll team. Even better, they invited us out to a pub nearby and we continued the evening with them and discussed life in Dublin and what it’s like to work at the company.

Overall, the trip was eye-opening and we made so many memories as a class! On top of that, it looks like many members of M3 are thinking about potentially starting careers in Dublin, something I think none of us had really considered before. Now that classes for M3 have concluded, it’s on to the L’Oreal Brandstorm, Bootcamps and In-Company Projects. It feels like the program is winding down, but we certainly have so much more to look forward to!

 

Until Next Time,

Ali Colwell, M3 student

MFM London Study Trip

Friday, 12 February 2016, 15:24 | Category : Masters
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Having a career in London is probably a shared dream of many young finance professionals. Not only is London the biggest financial centre of the world where all the top banks are located, it is also one of the biggest cities on earth. And it was during the Vlerick London Trip that those ungraspable dreams of mine started to look as realistic opportunities.

After our check in and a memorable lunch at an English pub we were headed to visit the first company, Parker Fitzgerald, a company that was founded as a response to the global finLondon,city,exploringancial crisis of 2008. The overall topic was focused on the prominence of Risk Management in today’s economical environment ending with an overview of the career opportunities within the company.

During the reception we made full use of our networking skills and exchanged coordinates with the firm’s top management. Same evening, only few of my colleagues were in need of a good night rest and went to the hotel, while the rest of us got a bit more familiar with the city.

The second day was even more promising as the first company on our schedule was the famous Goldman Sachs. So of course, there was excitement on Tuesday morning – everyone was up and ready to go. As we made our way on foot to the office from Farringdon station on the bright sunny yet windy day, everyone was bubbling with excitement. Dirk L. impressed all of us with his simple yet powerful presentation on the investment banking division of Goldman Sachs. He ran us through the organization and structure of the IBD and emphasized on how this bank was different from the other investment banks. He encouraged us young and aspiring finance professionals to apply to IBD and get the opportunity to experience the thrills and challenges of the field.

After grabbing lunch on the way we arrived at the astonishing (and I’m not exaggerating) building of Lloyd’s, not the bank but the insurance market. After enjoying a presentation about the working of an insurance market we had a tour through the building, visiting the trading floors and got familiar with the history of Lloyd’s. Fun fact: did you know that the Titanic was insured at Lloyd’s?

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Now that the official part was over we were ready to go to the Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce where a walking dinner was organized together with the London based Vlerick Alumni. The night proved to be an excellent networking opportunity and the dinner, provided by a catering company, was appreciated by many of the students. Through this event we got the opportunity to interact with professionals in a more informal way and ask the questions we still had about the companies they work or have worked for.

IMG_2336Our third day promised to be busy as we had three top tier company visits on our agenda. First one on the list was Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the investment banking division of Bank of America. Our two hosts were both Belgian, both in impeccable tailor-made suits and both had an astonishingly sharp haircut. Cedric I. guided us through the bank’s internal structure and presented a typical deal from his practice group. The young trader, unsurprisingly, talked about derivatives. The value of our visit, however, lay in the short tea with cookies reception afterwards. Some of us got tips and tricks about how to make it in London while others questioned the bankers about their day-to-day lives. Overall, our visit proved a rare and valuable opportunity to get some insights from practitioners, and to have some tips-and-tricks on how to walk in their shoes one day. Black, polished, shiny shoes that is. Probably Church’s.

Here is a little piece of advise from my colleague on how one should do sightseeing:

“It is hard to find good views of Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London, as it stands among tall buildings. For an exclusive view in a relaxing atmosphere, try the Tate Modern’s rooftop bar on the Thames’ south bank. Come around 5.30pm (the bar closes at 6.30pm, but most visitors leave at 5pm already), order a double gin & tonic and be in awe of the grandeur of the ingeniously lit dome of the cathedral.

Next stop: JP Morgan Asset Management. This was a visit to remember. We were welcomed by two representatives and enjoyed a great presentation about their quarterly market insights. Since our group consisted out of passionate and up to date investors, we by accident changed the topic halfway through the presentation. But fortunately for us the representatives took their time to share their opinions and answer all our questions concerning each of the major market movements. We ended the third day with a short visit to the office of Société Générale where a Belgian employee shared his story on how he became an investment banker and his colleague gave us insights about the career opportunities within the company and some tips and tricks on the recruitment process.

Very sad but inevitable we started our last day in London. This day promised to be very interactive as we had a trading game planned in a Business School. ESCP, which is among the top business schools in Europe, is located in the Borough of Barnet, the second most populated district in London. The building that currently houses the school dates back to the Victorian era. On our arrival, a large assortment of snacks was waiting for us, courtesy of our hosts. The session began with an introduction to trading delivered by Robert L. Hayward, former financial advisor at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. However, the best part of our visit began when we accessed the trading room. The trading simulation, led by Assistant Professor Othman Cole, gave us a real feeling of what traders experience at work on a daily basis.

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After checking out of the hotel we were on our way home. These four days opened my eyes and showed me that starting my career in London is not that unrealistic and scary as is seemed before. And although I am sad to leave this city behind, I feel confident that it won’t be for long.

London, we’ll see each other soon!

 

Industrat Offers B2B Marketing Simulation for M3

The Christmas holidays came and went, but the Masters in Marketing Management (M3) students had one more big challenge before their winter break: the Industrat business game simulation.

1Over the course of four days, the marketing students rolled up their sleeves and put their B2B decision-making skills to the test. The game simulated eight years of operation in a business-to-business company, and gave students insights into the countless different factors that are considered when making real-life business strategies.

“It was a fun business game to give us a glimpse into how B2B decisions are made,” said M3 student Jason Serck. “Sometimes it’s better to learn these concepts outside of the classroom through cases and simulations, rather than through lectures.”

On day one, students were nervous about what to expect. From reading a large manual before beginning to understand the various rules and concepts of the Industrat world, there was quite a bit of preparation and high-level analysis involved in the process.3

However, once students made their way through the first few simulations, it was apparent that not only were they learning more and more about B2B decision-making, but they were also having some fun with it, too.

The four-day simulation was tiring, certainly, but it was a great last push before students had the chance to enjoy winter break. The two weeks leading up to break were exhausting, but still fun and insightful–the typical Vlerick combination. Industrat proved to be a challenge of course, but it was a challenge that students welcomed and tackled head-on.

 

 

Words: Ali Colwell, Master in Marketing Management (M3) 2016