Nespresso-Vlerick Challenge 2020-2021: One Planet. What else? ☕

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to present a marketing campaign for senior and top management of Nestlé Nespresso in a contest together with my team mates Sara Blocquiaux and Nathan Holzken. It was an incredible experience, with many groups from all Vlerick Business School campuses presenting amazing ideas.

Nespresso-Vlerick Challenge 2020-2021

Furthermore, we are proud to announce that we have been awarded the first place in this contest with our ‘One Planet’ campaign, an incredible way to close off our Marketing Management course.

Lastly, we would like to thank Frank Goedertier (Marketing professor at Vlerick) , Joeri Van den Bergh (Co-Founder & Managing Partner InSites Consulting), Stephane Detaille (Marketing Director at Nespresso Belux), Oliver Perquy (Managing Director at Nestlé Nespresso SA Belgilux), Françoise Baumans (CRM Insights & Marketing Club Communication manager at Nespresso), and Michel Mersch (CEO at Nestlé Belgilux) for this unique opportunity and we look forward to the next challenge.

Nespresso-Vlerick Challenge 2020-2021

Many thanks for all the amazing campaigns we witnessed and congratulations to all participating and winning teams!

Maxime van den Besselaar (Masters in General Management, Leuven)

Nespresso-Vlerick Challenge 2020-2021

Happy holidays and an amazing 2021! ✨

Wednesday, 6 January 2021, 18:29 | Category : Masters
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Looking back on 2020 and looking forward to 2021 filled with new opportunities and possibilties! 💕

Goldstein Brewery Case: Putting our learnings into action (on-campus)

In the last week before the Christmas holidays, we (the MGM students) got served the Goldstein Brewery case. A case in which we had exactly 72 hours to tackle the problems the Goldstein Brewery is facing. 72 hours of hard work, little sleep and lots of bad humor. We were divided into groups of 4 and the end goal was to present a 100 days action plan to the board of directors, that consisted out of Vlerick professors Ann Vereecke and Robert Boute, supported by Koen Cobbaert (Director at PWC) and Koen Van der Taelen (Chief Supply Chain Officer at Duvel Moortgat).

As the title of this blog post reveals: We were again allowed to go to campus to tackle the Goldstein Brewery Case, this of course under strict safety measures. Nevertheless, it was wonderful to spend these 72 hours in the motivating atmosphere of the Vlerick Campus,  sensing the same levels of tension and business at the other teams.

The case started Monday morning with a plenary meeting in our beloved yellow room on Zoom. We received the general objectives of the case and some initial data that could help us to do a first ‘quick and dirty’ data-analysis. The goal of the first day was to identify the major issues at the Goldstein Brewery and to make an action-plan of how we would further quantify these issues. The main financial ratio that we would use to quantify our issues was the ROCE or Return on Capital Employed. The only thing that went on in the heads of an MGM student during those 72 hours was the ROCE. Some of us hung it on their walls, some wrote it on a whiteboard and some even had dreams about it.

The second day was all about using company data to uncover the issues and to quantify the impact on the ROCE. To help us with the data-analysis, we were supported by a tool that was designed by PWC, namely Equazion. At 9 am, when we got access to tool, the race against the clock began. The following 48 hours were filled with Excel sheets, bad jokes, burnouts, stressful moments and lots of Deliveroo (because of course, we did not had the time to prepare food ourselves).

On Thursday 3 am (5.5 hours before the deadline), the MGM-Ghent group chat was still on fire. Most of the groups were finetuning their presentations, while the deadline came closer and closer. By the time most groups finished and got to bed, there was not a lot of room left for sleep.  That morning, fueled by coffee and adrenaline, everybody delivered a great presentation. At noon the Goldstein Brewery case was closed by a plenary debrief. The jury members were impressed by the level of professionality of our presentations and the quality of the analyses! Four groups out of twenty-two were elected as winners, and will receive a nice prize from Duvel Moortgat.

We’re sure that this case was the icing on the cake of our first semester. We were challenged to perform under significant time pressure, while putting everything we have learnt so far into action. Right now, we all need to reload our minds and take a small break from Vlerick. Sadly enough, going on a little trip is not possible this year, but the lovely Belgium will certainly do for now!

 

We’re looking forward to more on-campus moments in 2021!

Wishing you a happy, healthy & satisfactory new year!

 

Bart & Delphine

Master students charity fundraiser: Small feet, BIG dreams

Monday, 7 December 2020, 15:14 | Category : Uncategorized
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Keep your feet warm and support children in need with a pair of Vlerick socks

Hereby it’s official: we have started an action to sell as many socks as possible for the good cause: Ckg Don Bosco

It would be great if you support this action by buying socks 🧦 and sharing the project with family, friends and colleagues.
It’s almost Christmas 🎄 & who knows, these socks might be a nice present 🎁.

For more information you can visit the website or simply scan the QR code 🌐

A Warm Thank you 🙏🏼

#charity #Christmas #presents

Special Thanks to Merchandise Essentials for creating these cool socks & Vlerick Business School for supporting this initiative ✨

#VlerickSpirit in COVID times

Tuesday, 1 December 2020, 17:52 | Category : Masters
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In October the second COVID wave hit us all… on-campus classes were no possibility anymore, we had to shift to online in a blink of an eye! Problematic you would say? Not for Vlerick students, current times ask you to be flexible and being able to adapt. The #VlerickSpirit plays an important role in our persistence to make this an incredible year and fully exploit the learning journey!

(Un)Lucky Friday 13th

Networking events with companies, (international) alumni are continuing in a virtual format. Thanks to the Vlerick network, many alumni and companies are eager to organize “Vlerick exclusive” events to enhance the networking capabilities. Whether your interest is in consulting, fast moving consumer goods, private equity, or any other industry, the possibilities to connect and share are endless. Fact: did you know that each programme has their own dedicated career advisor who is there to assist you in your job-hunting process?

 Work hard, play hard, right? Even at Vlerick we need to blow off steam from time to time, in the MIMS group we have an array of ambassadors who organize amazing events, such as:

  • Weekly workout sessions
  • (Un)Lucky Friday the 13th
  • Mash up event with last year’s MIMS class

Additionally, our international ambassadors have created language groups, where we in small groups, teach each other a new language! Eager to find out how a year at Vlerick looks like? Keep an eye on the blog and our social media (Instagram & Facebook)!

MDT Radio

Thursday, 12 November 2020, 7:57 | Category : Event, Masters, Masters in Marketing and Digital Transformation
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We’re not going to lie to you, it has been a challenging year so far. Given the current COVID measures and lockdown 2.0 it has been very difficult to stay connected to each other. However, we tried our best to keep in touch and organised some fun Zoom evenings. One concept that two fellow MDT-members, Henri Wuyts and Vincent Meyers, came up with is called MDT Radio. The concept consists of planned Zoom evenings that include fun and personalised quizzes, DJ sets, and talks about mental awareness. But who can better explain this concept than the creators themselves?

 

How would you describe the concept of MDT Radio?

H: I call the project MDT Radio because it represents the catch-up conversations on the one hand, and the dancing on the other hand. I felt the urge myself to connect more with my friends from school, so I facilitated that need. The responses of the class are so heartwarming and energising to plan future episodes. When I prepare an episode, I call my friend Vincent. If we have fun making the next episode, we already feel that a great night is around the corner.

V: MDT radio is a concept created at the beginning of the second lockdown. Now that we can no longer see each other on campus or in a cafe, Henri had the idea of starting his own radio show. The concept is actually very simple. We meet each other virtually via Zoom where we first check with everyone how they feel and how they are doing. Then, a fun activity is added. This can vary from a short game round to a quiz. Finally, there is a short DJ set by Henri Wuyts. It is heartwarming to see all the positive reactions from the group. Everyone has a need to keep seeing each other and not feeling alone. And if we can help the group in this, we are happy to do so.

 

What type of planning and organizing goes into these events?

H: I attach a lot of importance to the fact that all participants are heard and have had an interactive moment in the show. I prepare a bowl with all names and then randomly ask a friend of class to tell us something about their day, how they are dealing with the lockdown or (most importantly) who they want to share a drink with. Then there is also a gamification included to get the dopamine levelled again. Last episode, Emilia and Aurélien took over the mic and organised an awesome quiz.

V: The preparations for these shows usually take a few hours. It is mainly about coming up with a theme and concept and then giving it a creative interpretation. The best part is working around a theme. As the last episode was in the theme of Halloween. This is the most fun because then you can easily create a storyline through the show. For us it is important that the episodes do not last too long. Due to the fact that we have been sitting behind our computer screen all day, it is important not to make our episodes too long. It is mainly meant to enjoy a virtual evening with each other. In the end you get a lot of positive reactions and you see that everyone is happy then it has been really rewarding the preparation.

 

What is your favorite part of MDT Radio?

H: I feel the class needs a dancing from time to time. I enjoyed playing some music for class so much and see them sing along with guilty pleasure music. I hope MDT Radio will have a physical episode really soon. But until then we go live from our studio.

V: My favorite part of MDT radio is dancing to today’s latest music. It’s great to dance together with the group and see how everyone shows their best moves behind the camera. It’s great to belong in such a group where everyone cares about each other and everyone is trying to make the best of it. It is a fantastic group with which we hope it will soon be possible to organize the MDT radio sessions offline. Then I can assure you one thing: “The roof will go off”.

 

Thank you for your time guys! We applaud you for making these next months a bit less challenging.

Below you can find some atmospheric images from previous MDT Radio sessions.

Time for Recap Monday

Recap Monday is a format where you read about inspiring events from the past week! I can assure you, it was incredibly busy: this time you can read the summary of no less than 6 events.

E1: E’ship talk with Bram Vandeperre (founder of Scooty):

Bram told us to diversify, to communicate about ‘going all-in’ to peers & co-founders and said that CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is crucial, because the customer is always right.

Following quotes describe how Bram experienced founding Scooty:

“Being an entrepreneur is an emotional and financial rollercoaster with no personal life, where everyone is your boss, especially the end-customer. The opportunity costs are not to be neglected if you have your own business”.

“When you finally have investors and employees who are supposed to make your life easier, it turns out that they are in fact making it even more difficult”.

“But sacrifice will pay off (not speaking financially) in the long term, so it is worth it”!
Thank you, Bram, for sharing your experience, and being honest about the not-so-easy-life of an entrepreneur.

E2: Startup Club

Andries Bruggeman & Thomas Jacob, Vlerick Alumni and founders of Hector shared their story in the first edition of the Startup Club.

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Hector is an innovative & sustainable advertising startup that puts your brand directly in the costumers’ hand!

With your brand on Hector’s biodegradable cups, you create brand awareness, sensibilization, employer branding, and a phygital link (QR-code on cups) to connect your offline marketing campaign with an online touchpoint!

The time to consume one coffee is on average 13 minutes, so your brand is incredibly long visible, the reach is targeted, and the brand recall lays high! These are huge and unique advantages in comparison with traditional advertisement. Billboards have a 10 – 20 seconds exposure time, while the reach is non-targeted, it costs a fortune, and the brand recall is rather small.

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Andries compared the life from an entrepreneur with that from an employee. As entrepreneur, you need to handle a lot of insecure circumstances, to sacrifice life freedom in order to have work freedom, to deal with a wide range of responsibilities and a hectic schedule.

Therefore, you best have a complementary team!

“No one can whistle a symphony alone”.

The Startup Club is an initiative from Vlerick MIE student Leon. Thank you for organizing such a cool event, and I am looking forward to the weekly stories from different entrepreneurs.

E3: Greenhill Capital, open student investment fund Leuven

A livestream with Stephan Desplancke, Head of Wealth & Retail, BlackRock

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We learned more about portfolio management, which strategies and techniques there are & what the expectations are about the American elections.

Covid-19 caused a reshaping from the investment landscape and will change the society, economy and financial markets for years to come.

“Strategic allocation decisions should be reassessed to make portfolios resilient to this new landscape”

E4: Masters Open Day

Alexander and I were signed in as the Vlerick Brand Ambassadors of the MIE program. We answered a lot of questions from the prospective students, and we wish everyone the best with the admission test!

If there are questions, do not hesitate to send us a message. We are happy to help you out.

#LiveLearnLeap #VlerickMasters @VlerickBusinessSchool

E5: Elegnano

Geen alternatieve tekst opgegeven voor deze afbeeldingKatrien Herdewyn was a guest speaker for the Vlerick Business School students and talked about her experiences as a founder from Elegnano.

Her company stands for ELEGance and NANOtechnology. High Tech in High Heels!

Before you can put a brand successful in the market, you have to conquer a bumpy road! It all starts with purchasing raw materials and designing a prototype. Katrien assured us that you need a huge number of different parts and factories in order to create a markable product. When you have the final prototypes, you start selling B2B in order to know how much you have to produce. After that, the distribution & B2C sales can start, if Covid-19 does not blow everything up of course…

Therefore, it is crucial that you as entrepreneur are prepared:

  1. Diversification in revenue streams
  2. Remote working
  3. Diversification industries
  4. Online store
  5. No seasonal sale

While finalizing the prototype from the first season, you must start with designing and purchasing raw materials for the next season! I can imagine that you need a crazy amount of planning skills to work this through!

A lot depends on inner motivation:

“The question isn’t who’s going to let me, it’s who’s going to stop me”

Thank you Katrien for your inspirational words and motivation! Good luck in the future!

E6: EBBC, Launching the Leuven Chapter

Colleague students JulieRuben and Wim launched the Entrepreneurial Business Book Club (EBBC) in Leuven.

The purpose is that high potentials read the same book. Every last Thursday of the month, there is an (online) event to discuss and debate the content and gain different new insights. The participants try to activate their self-educated knowledge, learn from different perspectives, and share their own insights.

First, we listened to the Zero to One (Peter Thiel, founder Paypal) book pitch.

Key takeaway: Make something new!

Problem: A copy of a previous technology or business does not work and adds nothing. The reason why many start-ups fail, is because it is just more of the same (= Horizontal Innovation)!

Solution: Bet on a contrarian truth!

“What important truth do very few people agree with you on?”

The answer shows a hidden truth to escape competition 

“All failed companies are the same: they failed to escape competition”

Start by being a dominant in a niche (small) market

“Whoever is first to dominate the most important segment of a market with viral potential will be the last mover in the whole market”

Strive to be a monopoly, there are 4 possibilities to become the best in something:

  1. Branding: Apple
  2. Economy of scale: Amazon
  3. Network effect: Facebook and Instagram
  4. Technology: Google
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In the second part, we went in depth through discussing several statements in online breakout rooms. The event closed with a free stage, here presented the founders from Hector their business.

I am already looking forward to the next EBBC Leuven event. We will discuss ‘The Book of Real-World Negotiations’ written by Joshua N. Weiss. If you don’t want to miss the next event, make sure you follow the EBBC page 😉

Thank you for reading my first blogpost, I hope you have found this useful – and do let me know if you have any tips. I have shared what I have picked up – I am sure there is more to learn!

Thijs Devos (current Masters student in Innovation & Entrepreneurship )

Deep Dive Challenge

Sunday, 1 November 2020, 10:07 | Category : Business Game, Masters in General Management
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A couple of weeks ago, all  masters students had the opportunity to take part in the Deep Dive Challenge. This year’s challenge was presented by Smartphoto.

First, we listened to the CEO Stef De Corte, who gave us an insight in the company and the challenges we were going to tackle in small groups. In just two days we had to come up with a solution, which we had to present at the end. All groups came up with great, diverse ideas. To provide a holistic view on the solution, our programme directors installed several feedback sessions. Those were very useful to optimize the solutions and look at them from different angles.

Lara BarrezeeleAt the end of the two days we presented our solution to several Smartphoto boardmembers and Vlerick professors. I never would have thought that the feeling of victory and pride of finishing this case succesfully, would be so big. I believe we learned a lot during this challenge and I am already looking forward to the next challenge.

Written by Lara Barrezeele (current Masters in General Management Student, Leuven)

My first week at Vlerick Business School

Friday, 2 October 2020, 13:37 | Category : Masters in General Management
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The first of September, our Vlerick adventure started officially with the virtual kick-off, where we got to know the program directors and the other students.

Almost directly after the kick-off, it was time for our first class: presentation skills taught by Prof. Goedertier. To be honest, beforehand I was afraid of the impact online learning would have on this particular course. However, Prof. Goedertier made sure that we learned a lot. Sometimes the whole group was shouting answers to the screen, other times we were discussing our elevator pitch in break out rooms or discussing speeches from Steve Jobs. The class was organized so well remotely, that I don’t believe we missed any learning opportunities.

The third of September, an exciting day was planned for us: our first time on campus, a photoshoot and our presentations. After getting to know the campus and also the other students in real life and giving our best smiles to the camera, it was time to deliver our presentations. You could feel the energy rising in the room as everyone was as well excited as nervous to present. The first presenters started and immediate I was intrigued, the level of all the presentations was extremely high: both the subjects and the presentation styles. The subjects were very diverse: from a trip to Mars, to building your own business, to Balthasar Boma and Mustaches. You have to believe me, you couldn’t have left the room without feeling inspired.

Lara BarrezeeleFriday, we had the introduction to financial accounting, taught by Prof. Stouthuysen. In just one session we were able to make the balance sheet, income statement,…

It proved me that we definitely are going to learn a lot, I am excited for everything that has yet to come!

Written by Lara Barrezeele (current Masters in General Management Student, Leuven)

Vlerick Students helping to shape the future of Commercial First Aid in Sub-Saharan Africa

Since 2015, Rode Kruis-Vlaanderen (Red Cross Flanders) has collaborated with Vlerick Business School to support its international capacity building programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa. Every year, a small group of Vlerick students is dispatched to one of the partner countries of Rode Kruis-Vlaanderen to work on a wide variety of different projects.

Despite the ongoing CoVID-19 crisis, this year was no exception. While the Vlerick team worked remotely, they were tasked with developing an evidence-based and contextualised Business Game to train the employees of various Commercial First Aid (CoFA) departments associated with the various African Red Cross Societies with whom Rode Kruis-Vlaanderen has a partnership. Our students happily explain how their In-Company Project came to life and how they brought it to a successful end…

The Beginning of our Journey

Leen, Victoire and OlivierBefore we start describing the challenge we had to tackle for Rode Kruis-Vlaanderen and the solution we came up with, we would like to briefly introduce ourselves. We are Victoire, Olivier and Leen. A team of three students finalising our Masters in International Management & Strategy at Vlerick Business School. Together, we were fortunate enough to be selected by Rode Kruis-Vlaanderen to work on their challenge for the duration of our In-Company project.

Our story begins several months ago on the Vlerick campus with a presentation from Arjan Keijser, not only a Vlerick alumnus himself, but also our future Red Cross supervisor. During this short presentation, all students from our programme were introduced to the amazing work done by Rode Kruis-Vlaanderen abroad and the philosophy of evidence-based practice that underpins all of it.

After a highly selective recruitment process, we were able to kick off our project mid-April. Under the guidance of Arjan Keijser, Project Manager First Aid Blended Learning, our task was to develop an interactive Business Game that Rode Kruis-Vlaanderen can use to teach the employees of local CoFA departments the basics of running successful commercial organizations.

 

The importance of Commercial First Aid

You might wonder why Rode Kruis-Vlaanderen is offering support for the development of commercial operations to its Red Cross partners in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is a valid question to raise, as the various Red Cross Societies are primarily humanitarian actors tasked with providing essential services to the populations they serve.

This mission however, does not preclude the Red Cross from engaging in commercial activities. Indeed, in Flanders the Red Cross is a well-known provider of Commercial First Aid trainings to companies. Commercial activities like this allow the various Red Cross Societies around the world to leverage their expertise and achieve a degree of financial sustainability that would otherwise elude them.

Rode Kruis-Vlaanderen therefore supports other National Societies in setting up such revenue-generating activities. By supporting our African partners like this, they are able to create a sustainable form of financing which strengthens their resilience and makes them less dependent on government subsidies, donations, and Western funding to finance their much needed humanitarian work.

The Commercial First Aid Business Game

Running such a CoFA department is not an easy task however and requires the right mixture of soft and hard skills. No one is born with these skills, they have to be acquired through hard work. That is exactly where our project comes: develop a Business Game with a focus on Commercial First Aid.

For the Commercial First Aid Business Game to succeed, Rode Kruis-Vlaanderen also defined seven specific requirements for us to take into account during the development process:

  1. Relevant to our target audience and goal.
  2. Based on the latest scientific insights in the fields of education, communication sciences and economics.
  3. Highly interactive, hands-on and varied.
  4. Gender-neutral and appropriately contextualised to the Sub-Sahara African countries in which Rode Kruis-Vlaanderen is active.
  5. Inexpensive and low-tech, so that it could even be played without internet and/or regular access to electricity.
  6. Highly modular and scalable, as it must be possible for the facilitators to adapt the game to the specific needs of participants, environment and timeframe.
  7. Able to allow for clear measurement of the progress and working points of participants.

These seven principles had to be translated into (at the very least) a clear manual for instructors, a booklet with key take-aways for participants and slide decks and other supporting materials to use while teaching the various modules. With these objectives firmly established, we hit the ground running. We started by conducting research into the organisational context in which the game would take place. Up next was a deep dive into the academic literature around gamification, business games, social enterprises, and education in Africa, to meet the BRC-FL’s high standards for using only evidence-based tools. To supplement this literature review, we conducted interviews with experts in the aforementioned topics, and with representatives of National Societies from Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

With these objectives firmly established, we hit the ground running. We started by conducting research into the organisational context in which the game would take place.

From these interviews, it soon became clear that we needed to create modules on Human Resources, Strategy, Marketing, Accounting, Sales, and Negotiation. After identifying key learning objectives for each module, we transformed these learnings into a variety of game formats ranging from simulations to role-plays and case studies. The next step was writing the overall storyline of the Business Game, which formed the connective tissue between the various modules. This storyline had to be as realistic as possible to maximise the participants’ engagement and motivation. We eventually came up with a simulation in which the participants build a new CoFA department from scratch and have to grow their business. By the end of the week, the participants would be able to see which team ran their newly developed CoFA department in the best way.

Slide material

Once the modules were ready, we validated these through extensive user-testing. Playing the various modules with representatives of the African National Societies we had interviewed allowed us to tailor the content and style of the CoFA Business Game even more to the needs of their end-users. To enable future incremental improvements to our Business Game, we also developed a system of surveys to measure the learning outcomes and identify areas of improvement.

 

The End of our Journey

For the past two months, we have been hard at work developing our materials. In the end, we delivered over 265 pages of instructor guidelines and participant booklets, a methodological report of 88 pages, nine different slide decks (247 slides in total), four surveys and twelve types of extra tools and templates that the participants can take home with them to implement and optimize their business procedures. Collaborating with Rode Kruis-Vlaanderen has been an insightful experience for us and the ideal steppingstone to finalise our education in International Management & Strategy.

We were particularly impressed by the commitment of Rode Kruis-Vlaanderen to leverage their expertise to aid the Sub-Saharan African National Societies and we also greatly appreciated the dedication shown by the Red Cross staff to the success and wellbeing of our team. Next to this, we highly appreciated working on a concrete project that will go on to have tangible impact for many years to come. It was immensely satisfying to see how our work was received with a lot of enthusiasm by the representatives of the various African National Societies we interviewed.