News from the Ocean

On the 16th of March all students, alumni, professors, and faculty joined our Annual event, the Vlerick Gala Ball 2019. The Artcube in Ghent sank into a deep sea of music, food and dancing, and all guests were fully immersed in this year’s “Tales of the Ocean” edition.

The Ball started with an amazing reception and after the greetings and networking were finished, all guest could enjoy a delicious dinner from the Catering Joost De Paepe. The party after brought a lot of surprises: famous DJs, balloons that were falling from the ceiling, flying soap bubbles and hanging jellyfish.

The party is already over but we would love to share with you some great news: thanks to all of you we will donate around € 2700 to Sea Sheperd! Congratulations!

Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Their mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.

We would especially like to thank all the sponsors and The Vlerick Ball committee that made the Ball happen:  Julie Van de Voorde, Benoît Masschelein, Hendrik Alliet, Lavinia Soubry, Renée Godyn, Charlotte Lismont, Bob Verbruggen, Gilles Bodart, Pauline Van Hove, Amélie Vandenberghe, Suzanne Ogiers, Anne-Sophie Vermeire, Evelyne De Keukeleire, Manou Nys, Yulia Zhuk, Florence Delcoigne and of course our incredible alumnus Ruben D’Hooghe.

The Ocean is proud of you and thanks you for your support!

DUBLIN TRIP: A visit to Google

Wednesday, 10 April 2019, 12:27 | Category : Masters
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Since Dublin is the European Walhalla for Tech companies, it is no wonder that Google has an office there too! The Google-campus is a smaller version of the sunny Californian Googleplex, with different buildings around the Irish Capital. We had the opportunity to visit these buildings from the inside and to have a look at how the Google-world is functioning. We were guided by former Vlerick students, who were nice to explain their day to day job at Google and give us some insights about the company and the technologies that they are developing right now.

What really struck us during the guided tour, were the multiple accommodations provided for the employees: innovative, nicely conceived offices, different restaurants where the employees can eat a tasty meal for free, gaming areas, wellness areas and even a swimming pool. This reflects the fact that Google, but also the other tech companies we visited, apply an innovative, well thought-through, open working culture with a focus on the well-being of the employees. This ensures the daily motivation of the employees who therefore will be able to guarantee the further growth of Google.

Besides providing us a tour, the formal Vlerick students accommodated an interesting presentation about technology and the role that Google plays within it. A really intriguing part was about the increasing importance of technology and how it will change and shape the future. We will get rid of “dumb devices” and replace them by smarter ones. For a device to be smart it has to be able to process a lot of data in a short time span and it has to be able to connect to your phone, smartwatch and internet. These new “smart devices” will change the way we will be living, and we are very excited to be a part of these changes.

One of the things we saw at Google was their significant growth with regard to Artificial Intelligence. The main goal of Google’s advancements is to apply AI to products and to develop tools in order to ensure that everyone can access the benefits of AI. As Google’s mission is to organize and make all information accessible for everyone, AI is helping them to do this in a more efficient way. Some concrete examples we saw at Google were the improvement of Google Translate and the Google Assistant.

We really liked that this visit to Google was part of our Masters programme in Marketing Management. The first months of our Marketing programme we saw theory, practiced the gained knowledge in cases and now we saw how alumni were working and dealing with the real stuff. Seeing them and hearing their testimonials makes us hunger to implement our knowledge as well in our job next year. Some people of the class got really interested by the working culture at Google and job descriptions to try their chance to become a future employee there.

DUBLIN TRIP: Master in marketing management students LIKE Facebook

Tuesday, 9 April 2019, 13:04 | Category : International trip, Masters in Marketing Management
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On the third day of our study trip to Dublin we visited Facebook, LIKE! Nowadays, everyone knows the company and uses one of their apps at least once a day but we were curious how life is at the other side of the platform. We got a warm welcome from Dries Smet, a Vlerick alumnus of 2018. He now holds the position of Account Manager Belgium Luxembourg in Facebook. He showed us around the colourful office which gave us the impression that Facebook has a very open culture with a lot of diversity.

After a small introduction, we got into the core of Facebook as a marketing platform where people can not only share ideas, but also promote them. Dries Smet highlighted the four drivers that make an idea great: curation, community, conversation and commerce. Facebook plays a crucial role in each of these drivers and that makes it such a strong company. Modern generations know Facebook mostly for sharing pictures and events, but it is of great importance for businesses, big and small, to reach and activate a wider audience. Did you know that there are around 10 billion C2B messages each day? The visit gave us the great insight in the future for businesses at Facebook. Our previous classes of digital marketing skills during the year showed us already a heads up on the SEO and SEM of Google, but during the visit at Facebook, we understood the value of social media for businesses.

Next up was the talent scout Niamh Cusack. She gave us some great tips and tricks if we ever wanted to work for Facebook. They look for people with innovative mindsets who fit into a company that promotes diversity. Employees need to be open, bold and ambitious. If employees have these values, then Facebook will most certainly like them. To finish our visit, Hashim Syed, who is account manager for the UK and Ireland, talked about his path at Facebook and he shared with us how an average week looks like for him. So we saw his ping pong tournaments during working hours combined with some meetings with colleagues about new clients. (This is how everyone’s schedule should look like, if you ask us 😉 ) “San-Francisco is like Disneyland” was Hashims quote of the day. Apparently Facebook flies you there in the first 4 weeks you work with them. They showed us what it looks like and we must admit, it looks a pretty amazing HQ!

3 lessons we learned from our company visit with the masters in marketing management at Facebook are:

  • the crucial part of having a good connection with your client
  • the future of digital marketing for businesses
  • last but not least, life is too short to not have fun at work.

All M3 students want to give their thumbs up for the memorable experience at Facebook and want to thank them for all the snacks and drinks they provided us with!

DUBLIN TRIP: Inspiring guest speakers at CAI

Monday, 8 April 2019, 14:03 | Category : Company Visit, International trip, Masters in Marketing Management
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During the afternoon of our second day in Dublin we were welcomed by the Chartered Accountants Ireland to attend presentations of three key note speakers. We got the opportunity to get  insights in the achievements of SalesForce and Microsoft. Next to that, we learned more about SEO migration through the knowledge sharing moment of Eamonn O’Raghallaigh, adjunct lecturer at Trinity Business School. The day ended in a very fun way during the networking reception with – yay! – some free drinks.

At the start of the session, alumni Yannick Convens and Debbie de Bruijn tried to enthuse us to kick start a career in sales. By sharing their own experiences from the past, we learned that you cannot be a great salesperson as of day one. Instead, you learn so much on the job itself by failing sometimes but succeeding the next time.Of course, the master programme that we are currently attending helps us to succeed even faster!

The next speaker was Eamonn O’Raghallaigh, a true Irishman, recognizable by his typical Irish name. He introduced us in the very interesting subject of SEO migration in web development. He made us realize that the impact of changing your website is far greater than just altering certain page names or titles. When you don’t keep track of what URLs you’re changing, your business could lose its place in the Google search, resulting in catastrophic losses for your company. Adjust those URLs is the message here!

The third and last speaker of the afternoon was Annelies Bulkens, Inside Sales Manager at Microsoft. She gave us an insight on how to build a digital sales organisation, as well as how Microsoft takes on this challenge specifically. Maintaining a personal relationship while scaling up the business was one of the challenges, but Annelies stressed the importance of keeping this personal touch. We also got the opportunity to ask her a number of questions which she answered in a very constructive and educational manner.

The afternoon ended very nicely with an informal drink in a typical Irish pub called “The Lombard”, where we had the chance to enhance our networking skills. Several employees from Google, Microsoft and other very interesting companies such as LinkedIn were present. They were very willing to answer all our burning questions about working at those companies, moving to Dublin and enjoying life. The fact that the drinks were paid by Vlerick made this an extra amusing end of our second day in Dublin. Cheers!

P&G CEO Challenge: European Final

Sunday, 7 April 2019, 10:20 | Category : Masters
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This week our students (Iuliia Zhuk M3 and Mario Vanderlinden MIE) will represent Belgium in the European final of the CEO challenge from Procter and Gamble.
P&G CEO Challenge is an International Multi-Level Case Study Competition that gathers top students around the world. The European final takes place in Istanbul, Turkey.
The winning team will advance to the Global Final in Dubai and will have the opportunity to join the P&G Signal Conference 2019 and meet P&G CEO, David Taylor.
Let’s wish them a lot of luck!

DUBLIN TRIP: How to use Inbound Marketing as a new way of advertising.

On the second of our Dublin trip, our M3 class had the honour to visit the Hubspot office in Dublin. Hubspot is a leading inbound marketing, sales and services CRM company. They are helping millions of customers to grow better. They were originally designed to help small and medium-sized businesses compete in the marketplace, and they found that outbound techniques, which were more interruptive (billboards, cold-calling), were not working so much. Therefore, they decided to focus on inbound and how to attract customers to your website through the power of SEO, social media, and inbound marketing. So far, they have helped over 52.000 customers in over 90 countries globally.

The first takeaway is that there are four inbound marketing areas. Firstly, permission-based marketeers ask you for your contact details in order to contact you concerning their services. Secondly, content creation is about displaying relevant content to your customers in order to solve their questions/needs. Thirdly, lifecycle marketing is about identifying someone based on what you know about them and then sending out targeted content. Finally, you need to be wherever your leads are, which is called multi-channel presence.

The second take-away consists of the attract-engage-delight methodology on which Hubspot’s inbound marketing is built. The attraction phase is used to push content that is valuable to customer X and allows X to be found (video, ads or social media). In the engagement phase, the focus is on getting the prospect’s email address, from which we can receive a call-to-action. Once Hubspot gets the contact information, they can start nurturing to eventually turn a lead into a customer. Eventually, the goal is to delight the customer because they are the asset that keeps your business running. Therefore, we need to keep providing customers with valuable content and tailor this content to the customer’s specific needs. In this way, customers will become more loyal and willing to promote your brand.

The last take-away covers the fundamentals that you need in order to succeed in inbound marketing. Firstly, it is important to always use a buyer persona based on data because this will help you to stay aligned. Secondly, you should take into account the buyer’s journey consisting of awareness, consideration and decision. Lastly, it is key to create remarkable content which is perfectly tailored towards the customer’s preferences and goals.

At Hubspot, we’ve learned how to use inbound marketing as a new way of advertising. During this visit, we did not only learn more about the teamspirit and the company atmosphere, but we were taught that there are four inbound marketing areas: permission-based marketeers that ask for your contact details, content creation, lifecycle marketing and multi-channel presence. Additionally, we got introduced to the attract-engage-delight methodology. Last but not least, we learned how to succeed in inbound marketing with the use of personas.

DUBLIN TRIP: From being like Rolls Royce to competing with Hertz. How Oracle is adapting to the shifts in the IT market.

On the first day of our International Business Trip to Dublin with the Masters in Marketing Management, we had an exclusive visit to Oracle. With a 50% margin, 130 000 people working globally and a turnover of around 40 billion dollars in 2018, you could say that the 42-year-old IT company Oracle is doing just fine. However, they are facing some major challenges in the IT market. Big shifts around cloud computing are disrupting the landscape. What used to be ‘selling expensive software to wealthy companies’ has changed to increase the rental business to obtain a bigger market. Senior Director Alan Lawless explains how Oracle will always try to stay the number 1.

When you get the chance to attend a lecture of Senior Director Alan Lawless, you will immediately realize your presentation skills can still improve. The man knows how to engage with his audience and has a unique style of presenting. In a sort of stand-up comedy way, he explains how Oracle is trying to be as efficient and lean as possible. It starts with the different customer conversations they are having, the importance of being faster and customized. “Cloud computing has changed h ow we consume technology”, so back-end options are different too. It all illustrates the changing need of customers.

Oracle needed to get rid of the high-end and expensive image and embrace selling in a new way by focusing more on rental. For example, offering new products to new customers. A transformation ‘Oracle Digital’ is trying out. “There are a lot of players out there, but often they are a one-trick pony”, Lawless points out. “However, Oracle maintains its values: we still strive to be the premium, number one company.” Oracle just learned to be smart and addressed the mid-market. It’s all about scaling, letting a million people use their products for less money. “Everyone knows it’s good, but now you can afford it and still have the best.”

In our master’s in marketing management, some classes like service marketing from professor Adam Rapp for example, pointed out the impact of technology on providing services. Alan Lawless explained this further: “Oracle sells integrative programs for all parts of a company because if you use different programs for everything, that is where the fraud comes in.” This company visit showed us a real-life example of how technology impacts providing services. They showed us how to learn from experiences in the past to build a flexible, attractive and up-to-date offer in the future.

Lawless summarizes Oracle as the one company that makes it all work. A reliable vendor offering the whole package: from IT to sales and marketing, customers service, operations, HR and Finance.

What we learned from this exciting company visit is the following:

  • Firstly, be a lean organization. Customers’ needs will always change over time.
  • Secondly, know what your strengths and weaknesses are. Utilize your strong points to outperform the weak ones.
  • Finally, we learned to look at the bigger picture. Connecting the dots within an organization based on the same system leads to an effective, efficient and flexible process that is ready to take on the future.

L’Oréal Brandstorm competition kick-off

20th of March we had the L’Oréal Brandstorm competition kick-off in Brussels.

It’s a huge competition with 34.000 students from 65 countries participating!

First, Bibiane Logie (Marketing Director Vichy & CeraVé) presented the history of L’Oréal, how their products have evolved, what their vision is, how they come up with new products and some info on the market. Next, Magali Jadoul (Talent Acquisition Manager at L’Oréal) went into further detail about the competition and what’s expected. After this, Georgi Van Droogenbroeck (M3 alumnus from last year), who won the Vlerick final last academic year with his team members Zoë Buyckx and Laura Meuleman, shared his experience with the competition, even presented his pitch from last year, and gave the current competing students lots of advice on how to succeed like really thinking outside of the box! At the end, our prof. Barbara Briers sat down with the students for a first coaching session to really get started.

This year 2 teams are ready to innovate:
-Team M3: Kaat De Sutter, Iuliia Zhuk, Leonie Deschuymer
-Team MGMG: Sylvie Roosen, Lara van Opdorp, Natasja Cox

Our Vlerick campus final will be on April 26th, the Belgian national final on May 8th, and winners can go to the worldwide final in Paris on May 23rd.

Good luck!!!

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!