How technology will not only change the way we do marketing, but the entire future

Today, the Master in Marketing Management class got the pleasure of attending a fascinating guest lecture about the role of artificial intelligence, the transformation of customer relationships and the future of marketing from Steven Van Belleghem – author of the book “Customers the day after tomorrow”.

According to the expert, developing an unique selling point has become obsolete, nowadays, companies should focus on improving every touchpoint with its customer such as service, experience and price.

Moreover, we got the opportunity to ask all of our future-oriented questions; “Are machines able to lie?”, “Is it smart to trust algorithms or should we only trust humans ?”. It became clear that our knowledge about artificial intelligence and its consequences is rather sm all. Therefore, it can be scary to think about how technology will play an even more important role in life. However, Steven Van Belleghem assured us that even though many non-technological companies are afraid of the future, there is still one thing we have to keep in mind: “Machines don’t have a human smile”, which means that they

will never be able to replicate the human emotions and that having a human workforce will remain extremely valuable for any company.

 

MFM London Study Trip 2019

On the 14th of January our entire MFM class traveled to London to visit a series of top tier companies in the financial field. Five intense days of fascinating talks, networking events, and worthwhile to mention, some time was preserved for us to explore the vibrant city in all its glory. A sincere thank you to all the companies for hosting us.

 

To kick off our 5-day International Study Trip to London, we were invited at the J.P Morgan Asset Management offices right next to the Thames. No better way to start a study trip like that in London, right? After the registration and check-in, we gathered in a prestigious restored conference room which used to be part of an elementary school in the beginning of the previous century. The two speakers, Vincent Juvyns and Tom Vermeulen who is a fellow Belgian and is working for J.P Morgan for a long time now, prepared a presentation consisting of two parts, i.e. a company presentation and an economic outlook for the coming year.

Unfortunately, Vincent Juvyns could not join us because of a conference he had to attend in Rome. Nevertheless, J.P. Morgan assured that we could listen to the interesting outlook for coming year given by Vincent by setting up a live video connection, it was as if we were in a real conference call! It was perfectly set up without any glitches, which happens a lot in other companies even when trying to set up a normal presentation. During the economic outlook, Vincent tackled a lot of very interesting subjects such as low-interest rates, the trade war between the US and China, Brexit, and the monetary policy of the different central banks. During each subject, he explained the current situation and what the firm expects to happen during the coming year.

To end the presentation, Tom gave more information about the history and the current operations of firm and how to apply for internships at the firm. Regarding the internships, he gave more information about what the firm values and where it looks at when going through the CV or during interviews.

 

 

After an interesting visit at JP Morgan we were welcomed in the Flanders House for a company presentation of both PwC and Fiduciam. Although, Fiduciam might be relatively unknown it is far from a boring company. The core strategy of Fiduciam is in fact to fill the lending gap between banks and SMEs. With their flexible, efficient and competitive approach in lending, they are growing incredibly fast. Where traditional banks most often are only willing to lend against fixed properties, Fiduciam also accepts receivables, properties and other types of real assets. Fiduciam itself is primarily funded by pension and other related funds.

Fiduciam is currently active in the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, and France. The main clients can be found in the real estate, financial services, manufacturing, agri-food, hospitality and healthcare sectors. Bridging, refurbishment, development, business, and trade loans are provided ranging from 250k and 25m (GBP).

Fiduciam was founded in 2014 by the Belgian Johan Groothaert and Henrik Takkenberg. In this short period, Fiduciam was able to provide loans for an amount of 210,846,014 GBP. This amount represents only a fraction of the ambitious growth goals in the upcoming years.

The main advantages of Fiduciam can be summarized as follows:

  • Transparent terms
  • Fast approval and execution
  • A trusted partner
  • Relationship instead of internet
  • A sustainable funding model
  • A highly efficient process

After this interesting presentation, we moved on to the presentation of PwC. At the end of the event, we had some time for Q&A during the networking reception in the Flanders House.

 Next to the exciting talk about Fiduciam at the Flanders House in London, we were privileged to attend a very interesting lecture from Strategy&, a management consulting firm part of the PwC network. The lecture was quite informative. First, Inge Cajot shared her personal career path with us, all the way from her graduation to today. What career chances she ever had and how she made her choices at those moments. They were not only interesting but also quite enlightening. Then she introduced the PwC consulting team they have now, e.g. their business areas, major clients, the colleagues and how they do business. A very funny aspect to this evening was that Johan Groothaert and Inge Cajot happened to be friends. They shared us some anecdotes which made it even more fun. It was quite interesting to see them exchanging ideas on the stage, which definitely gives us a bigger picture of the business field. At the latter part, she gave us a few examples about their collaboration between different branches, how they work together with their Chinese colleagues in Shenzhen to solve the local problems and their future expansion plans. In general, it was quite impressive.  In the end, the speech ends up with free chat and drinks. I believe everyone in our trip had a lot of fun and a great evening.

 

What matters to Bank of America Merrill Lynch is “hunger” when it comes to human capital. At a first glance, this might seem unusual, or maybe even frightening, but, that’s the secret of their 105 years’ existence. In order to survive you need a strong, persistent and dedicated member in the “house” – an allegory used to refer to Merrill Lynch.

Besides, if you are determined and talented, nothing else matters. The characteristics like gender, educational background, nationality – do not matter when a candidate is passionate. The company does not limit you – so do not do it either!

The best way to make a company choice is through understanding its corporate culture. During the presentation, Merrill Lynch simulated a live interview with its diverse employees that gave MFM students priceless experience – to listen to the stories and the real-life cases.

Merrill Lynch is the company that smoothly catches up with the fast-developing Economy. The company has already prepared itself for the Brexit, unlike Europe itself. A significant reorganization and a human capital flow to Paris – is the solution to deal with the uncertainties and heavily regulated political changes.

The hummingbird presentation was held in the impressive building of Blackrock. It was Barend Van Den Brande who entertained us for an hour long. Hummingbird is a venture capital fund located in London and Antwerp. The fund is involved in companies like Deliveroo, Showpad, Taxibeat, MarkaVIP etc. Hummingbird Ventures vision is to ‘builds the tech companies of tomorrow by empowering exceptional entrepreneurs with swift access to essential advice, radical candor, funding & organizational design expertise’. Barend Van Den Brande is the founder of Hummingbird Ventures and started the fund in 2010. Barend himself has already 15+ years of venture capital experience.

 

During the presentation, Barend let us participate in a quiz he gave to potential investors in Hummingbird to see if they have a similar vision and the nose a little bit in the same direction. In between the questions, Barend told us a lot of anecdotes which gave the presentation an extra dimension and the opportunity to have a sneak peek into the life of a venture capitalist.

 

After our lunch break, we made our way to the London headquarters of Blackrock in the financial heart of the city. We gathered in the impressive lobby in front of, how could it be otherwise, a big wall covered with black rocks. After a one-hour deep dive in the world of venture capital and private equity by Hummingbird, the presentation of Blackrock took off. We were welcomed by an enthusiastic lady explaining were Blackrock, as the world biggest asset management firm with more than $6 trillion assets under management, stands for. She carefully explained how their business is composed and which direction they are heading. She made clear that asset management is heavily changing in the current environment of AI and technological disruption, making companies like Google one of their biggest competitors on the job market of quantitative profiles. In the second part of Blackrock’s presentation, Tom, a Belgian asset manager working in London took the floor. He explained to us what he does daily in the European fixed income department of Blackrock, which he calls himself a beast of an organization. Although the presentation was quite technical compared to the presentations at previous companies, we were able to learn which factors drive the prices of bonds and how Blackrock tries to outperform the market. After the interesting early afternoon at Blackrock, we had still some time left in the afternoon to do some sightseeing in the city before we needed to head back to the hostel to catch some sleep for the next intensive day.

 

ESCP Business school gave us a unique opportunity to take part in a trading room simulation. Starting with a portfolio of 10 million euros, we could trade our way to success. Some of us succeeded, some of us not. Anyhow, this was an enriching experience. Furthermore, at ESCP we attended a very interesting presentation given by Danny Goh, founder of Nexus FrontierTech, about artificial intelligence.

 

 

After having an interesting visit to ESCP business school, we rushed directly to PIMCO. PIMCO is an investment management firm primarily investing in fixed income securities. After coming to the company office, we had some coffee and tea as usual before starting the session with PIMCO. Company representatives talked about the PIMCO in general, about the different portfolios they manage and how they differentiate themselves from other investment funds that engage in similar activities. In general, they offer diversified structured fixed income products customized to customer needs and risk tolerance. Furthermore, they talked about new investment trends in the fixed income markets after recent developments and uncertainties about Brexit, volatility in equity markets and other recent economic trends that might affect their business and economy in general in the near future. They explained that they actively exploring to expand in emerging markets as it might be difficult to sustain reasonable returns in current investments of developed market government and corporate bonds. Next, two analysts that recently got hired shared their experiences and answered our questions. They told us all the right reasons to start our careers at PIMCO.

Is there something you would like to insure but it is so special that there are not policies for your need? Then Lloyd’s is the right place to look for it. During the third day of the London Trip, MFM students visited the modern Lloyd’s building in order to get a better insight of the biggest insurance market in the world. That’s right! Not the biggest insurance company, but the biggest market. And why? Because Lloyd’s is a market where members join together in a “group” (syndicates) in order to insure or reinsure a certain type of “special” risk. From this group, there is a “leader” (underwriter) who is the subject matter expert of the risk to insure, and she or he will be on charge to write the proper policy for the risk and also to charge the proper premium for it.

But, how “special” these risks could be? Well, underwriters at Lloyd’s have written insurance policies for Neil Armstrong’s life insurance for the Apollo 11 mission, Lady Gaga’s voice, Cristiano Ronaldo Legs, Gene Simmons’ tongue, etc. These policies are tailor-made depending on the case. And, what happens if one of these risks materializes? Simple! As the Game of Thrones’ Lannister family, “Lloyd’s always pays its debts”, so once you have an insurance policy from a Lloyd’s underwriter, you can feel safe that you will be covered.

During the tour around the building, which was built in 1986 and designed by Richard Rogers, the students could see the paintings of Terrence Cuneo, which portrait different events that occurred in previous Lloyd’s buildings, such as a Queen visit and a painting of a normal day at Lloyd’s, where you can spot a small mouse painted next to a trash can (lol!). They also could enjoy the incredible city view from the glass elevator that it’s outside the building. But the cherry of the pie was the opportunity to visit the ground floor, where you can see the traditional Lloyd’s bell and all the activities that underwriters do every day in their working time. It was definitely one of MFM’s favorite visits during the trip.

In the evening of our busiest day, we arrived at William Blair. It’s an American investment bank located in the Broadgate Tower with an impressive view of London. During a standing and rather informal presentation, one of the partners informed us about the company and their activities. Quite remarkable: William Blair is still a partnership and is not considering an IPO. They also use the concept of a global P&L for incentivizing global collaboration. 95% of their transactions are sell-side. And their business works! The bank is a true success and employees are dedicated to stay there, a lot of the partners actually started as an analyst.

After presenting their business, two analysts explained the internship programme. Of all companies we’ve visited, the internship opportunity at William Blair was presented in a very concrete way. During three intense months, interns get exposed to the business and some also get an offer at the end of the track. But prepare yourself! Interns have an average schedule starting at 9am until 2am. So who’s in for this challenge?

We would like to thank William Blair for this nice presentation accompanied by exquisite canapés and some nice drinks.

 After a free morning, we arrived at Cardano. Cardano is a company specialized in risk management, investment management, research, actuarial, investment advisory and fiduciary management. After being warmly welcomed, the CEO took his time to elaborate on the history of the company, the current trends in the industry and the community help the company is engaged in. Furthermore, three Vlerick students had to prepare a case study upfront which they had to present during the company visit. The very challenging case was about a hostile takeover: the presenters were challenged during the presentation through critical questions asked by an employee. They did a very good job! Later on, the philosophy of Cardano was highlighted: it’s all about knowledge and diversity! It’s important to be aware of the biases people have about the world as well as of the importance of group thinking. Lastly, life at Cardano was well explained by two people from the HR department. They explained the internship and job opportunities at Cardona in a concrete way. Overall, this company visit was well organized. It was very clear that the company had put a lot of effort into it. Thank you for having us Cardano!

The Bloomberg building is unique in its form, style and atmosphere, visiting it is a true experience. Upon entering the building, we were emerged a beautiful open space composed of wood. Every detail of this building is one of a kind, and so is their reception area. Next-up we took a completely see-through elevator that is pushed up instead of pulled up. We arrived in the heart of the building, a gathering area for all employees with the most astounding view over London and with a very extensive pantry. In the spirit of connecting and respecting nature Bloomberg has a wall build with 4000 living plants on it. This is to bring nature into the office. For the rest of our tour we used the famous staircase, which crosses the entire building. After a visit to the Bloomberg news studio and a thorough explanation of the complete building we ended our tour on the 8th floor. There we could ask Christy Ling Chan, a former MFM student currently working at Bloomberg, questions regarding life at Bloomberg. It was a truly amazing visit!

Our final visit was to the office of ING. We started off with an informal round of presenting ourselves. Then we got a presentation regarding the structure of ING and the activities of ING in London, which was very interesting. We got to know about all the opportunities of starting our career in London, in investment banking and more specifically within ING. Then, we continued with a business case where we had to calculate the enterprise value of a company, starting from the market capitalization. We were divided in different groups and worked on the case. We ended the visit by having a look in the trading rooms of ING. Two of the employees of ING were so kind to give us a tour and explained all the details of what they were doing as traders as well as researchers. This was very exciting to see! It was certainly a good end to our trip to London!

Spotted: the Master in Marketing Management class at AXA Belgium!

Thursday, 14 February 2019, 19:40 | Category : Company Visit, Masters, Masters in Marketing Management
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What was the M3 class doing at the biggest insurance company in the world on Monday? Well, we were wondering how we, as marketers, can help the insurance industry!

In the past month, we took a deep dive into the complex Big Data world: how can we implement analytics and machine learning techniques in marketing decisions and strategic planning? As research has proven that data-driven businesses show significantly better financial and market performance relative to competitors, the course of Big Data Driven Marketing is an essential part of our curriculum.

After getting familiar with some theory, the best practice of our understanding happened at the amazing AXA office in Brussels (the office building is indeed very impressive!). First of all, we were able to listen to some great data scientists who are part of the innovation team. They told us more about emerging market trends and how AXA is dealing with those trends, making use of data-driven solutions. We quickly realized that the insurance company goes beyond its horizons as AXA not only provides service, but it actually becomes a partner for life. Moreover, we were impressed by how many useful tools can be created by making use of some analytics. At the end of the morning, we got a lot of new insights that helped us to brainstorm in the afternoon.

During the lunch provided by AXA, we were able to network with some current trainees and Vlerick alumni. In this way, we could also learn more about what it is like to work for the biggest insurance company in the world. Afterwards, it was time to get to work. We got a short briefing on the challenge we got from AXA: deliver a visualized pitch about a data-driven innovation that AXA could implement within a few years. It was also necessary to think about concrete methodology and sources of data collection.

As the M3 class is used to working under pressure and delivering excellent results in a short time, we only got 1,5 hours to come up with a creative, data-driven idea. And although this seemed very short, every team was able to come up with an out-of-the-box innovation. The jury evaluated all teams very carefully, and “Eurovision”-wise, the jury as well as the other teams could vote for the best pitching team. Finally, Gunter Uytterhoeven, CMO of AXA, announced the winning team that got some reusable water bottles as a prize. And of course, what is a fun day without celebrating? The day ended with a reception where we could drink some champagne, eat snacks and talk with the AXA employees.

Another Vlerick day to remember!

Lufthansa Strategy Trip

Tuesday, 12 February 2019, 16:14 | Category : Company Visit, Master in International Management and Strategy
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Before taking a well deserved Winter Break the MIMS students combined their passions for strategy and travel with a trip to Lufthansa headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. Several weeks before, the program was split into four groups and each was given their own unique challenge to tackle relating to corporate responsibility. As a company, Lufthansa has vowed to take Corporate responsibility as one of their main pillars of focus and the tasks given reflected that greatly. Ranging from challenges focused on the industry as a whole to Lufthansa’s specific role within the world of sustainability. After a great deal of research the groups collaborated their findings, overall recommendations, and creative ideas into dynamic presentations for Lufthansa’s strategy/CR department. Over the course of two days these presentations were given and accompanied by feedback and discussion with Lufthansa’s staff. Like many opportunities in the program, Vlerick students were excited to apply their knowledge outside the academic walls of their institution to help a real company. In addition to presenting their work, students also had the opportunity to hear more about Lufthansa as a company with presentations from their strategy department. As a special treat, students were even given a tour of the behind the scenes meeting grounds for the pilots that make Lufthansa’s success possible. Here they were guided by a pilot himself who showed the students where pilots meet before flights, brief the crew, and just how much they take into account to ensure a safe and pleasant flight for passengers. Thank you again to Lufthansa for an unforgettable learning experience!

Winter season kicked off with lots of interesting trips and events!

Thursday, 20 December 2018, 11:01 | Category : Alumni Event, Company Visit, Event, Masters in Financial Management, Vlerick Experience
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Amsterdam trip

On an early Monday (6 a.m. sharp), we traveled from Brussels to AMSTERDAM to visit financial institutions. More precisely, we had the privilege to visit ABN AMRO, Kempen and APG. At ABN AMRO we did a business case about M&A in the beer industry. Here is a picture of the winning team, good job guys!

APG welcomed us with an interesting presentation that gave us an insight in the world of pension funds. We ended the day by visiting Kempen, where we got a presentation at their very own bar on the rooftop. We also had the opportunity to get a sneak peek in the trading room, where we encountered the Chinese wall. On the one side there were the researchers and on the other side the traders. What an exciting experience! As a finishing touch, we had some Heineken beers and typical Dutch nibbles (like ‘Bitterballen’) together with Kempen employees.

Career Fair

The 8th of December, we had a career fair at the Brussels campus. We could choose two companies to do interactive workshops with. Examples are a business case with Uber, a virtual reality experience with Colruyt and presentations of Philip Morris, Deloitte, Hilti, Telenet,…

Wine Club

Two of our colleagues of MGM together with one of our own MFM students, Justin Vossaert, founded the very first Vlerick wine club. The first activity was a wine degustation with the head sommelier of ‘The Jane’ Gianluca Di Taranto, who was awarded the best sommelier of the year. It was a great evening that united MGM, MFM and MBA students.

 

IRC deadline

Monday the 17th of December was a big moment in our MFM experience as we submitted one of the biggest projects of the year. We had to write an equity research report about Melexis in teams of six people. Blood, sweat, and tears led to great results. The last report was handed in at 5 a.m., just a few hours before the deadline!

Winter reunion

Last night, the biggest alumni event of the year took place at Brussels Expo near the Atomium. The night started off with inspiring speeches by our Dean Marion De Bruyne, the CEO of Here: Edzard Overbeek, professor Robert Boute and professor Ann Vereecke. Afterwards, we had some drinks and fancy food. What a wonderful evening!

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!!

 

Cheers,

Elisabeth & Elodie

 

 

Ab InBev Operations Management Visit

This past week I had the pleasure along with classmates from all three campuses to visit the Ab InBev Brewing facilities in Leuven for our Operations Management class. Despite what some may think, we were not just there for the beer. Our assignment was to use concepts from class to evaluate and observe the operational processes Ab InBev uses to produce and package its’ beer. We then used this information to create an in class presentation and had the opportunity to learn about the places our other classmates visited as well. Throughout the 2 hour brewery tour we were able to apply knowledge learned in class in a real life context. The tour included a walk through of the brewing and bottling facilities. While in these areas we were able to see all the work that goes into making the best beers in the world. In the brewing facilities, we were privileged enough to get an inside look into the craft behind every step of the brewing process and learn about the quality ingredients used to make their beer so delicious. We also learned about the company KPIs (Key performance Indicator) and how they motivate their employees to reach these set performance goals. In the bottling facilities, we learned the precise science behind making sure every bottle filled is just as good as the rest. Personally, seeing how much the company concentrates on both efficiency and sustainability was inspiring from an operational perspective. One of the most impressive things we learned was that 99.9% of materials used are completely recycled and Ab InBev is still continuing to work to find creative ways to eliminate waste. Those that know me know how important I believe sustainability is and it is clear that Ab InBev has that mindset as well! From an efficiency perspective, the operational lead emphasized that Ab InBev is always focused on sustainable solutions that will not only solve present issues but prevent future ones. To conclude the tour we were then lucky enough to put our taste buds to the test with a complimentary Stella Artois while learning about career opportunities at Ab InBev. All in all it was a very informative and fun day for my fellow Vlerick Masters students and I.
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MFM for the win at KPMG M&A competition!

Monday, 12 November 2018, 12:20 | Category : Career Event, Event, Masters in Financial Management, Vlerick Experience
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On the the 8th of November, KPMG organized an M&A case in which several of the Vlerick students participated. According to the students it has been a very interesting afternoon, which ended in a presentation of the results. The goal of the competition was to evaluate an M&A bid, based on different aspects such as financial and strategic feasibility. Of course Vlerick was represented in the winning team thanks to one of the MFM students: Joel Vandenbroek. According to him it was a “great learning experience where you had the chance to see certain subjects from different perspectives”.

Two months after the start of the academic year, many MFM students are looking at the job market and the possibilities available. As companies are organizing events and competitions for potential employees, there are a lot of opportunities for us.

There are many more exciting things coming up in the following weeks. We will certainly keep you posted!

Picture of the winning team at the KPMG M&A competition.

Cheers!

Elodie & Elisabeth

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!