MDT Radio

Thursday, 12 November 2020, 7:57 | Category : Event, Masters, Masters in Marketing and Digital Transformation
Tags : , , ,

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.

Geen alternatieve tekst opgegeven voor deze afbeelding

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.

Geen alternatieve tekst opgegeven voor deze afbeelding

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

Geen alternatieve tekst opgegeven voor deze afbeelding

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
Geen alternatieve tekst opgegeven voor deze afbeelding

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
Tags :

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
Tags :

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.

Lockdown update: How I managed both work & postgrad studies from home in Belgium

This is the story of Namit Arora, a Masters in Marketing and Digital Transformation student at Vlerick Business School, in Belgium, who is studying and completing an in-company project from home. 

My passion for marketing, motivation to build a future in the heart of Europe, and aspiration to study in one of the best European Universities convinced me to pack my bags and embark upon the journey from New Delhi to Vlerick Business School in Belgium in 2019.

In the second week of March 2020, after seven months of rigorous classes, real-life projects, and priceless memories, we were working in groups towards our final project for L’Oréal when the news about the Coronavirus in Europe became the headline everywhere. Within the next two days, Vlerick responded quickly to the changing scenario and shifted the remaining classes online, including the final presentations and the competition. With the situation changing rapidly, I was constantly supported by my Belgian friends as they kept me updated about latest government decisions and rules. In addition to that, the International office of Vlerick Business School promptly provided the students with all the necessary information such as current lockdown rules and the weblinks to follow news updates.

My time during this lockdown has been unique. Sharing the apartment with another Indian from the same university has been instrumental in not just killing boredom but also accepting numerous lockdown challenges, like the Dalgona Coffee challenge. The lockdown followed an intense period of seven months of classes where I was spending more or less 16 hours every day at the University, followed by three weeks of travelling in Ireland and France. Thus, the first two weeks of the lockdown gave me the much needed time for rejuvenation and relaxation.

Later, in the second week, our In-Company-Project started for UCB Pharmaceuticals – the company for which I am working virtually right now. Working during the day has kept me busy, and on my toes, even during the lockdown. The two hours of travelling time that I saved due to virtual internship have been invested in developing new skills that will be in demand after COVID-19. The only professional issue I have faced has been managing my long hair during formal meetings!

Completing a work project, studying for a Masters degree and responding to the Dalgona Coffee Challenge that took the internet by storm – how Namit Arora kept himself busy during lockdown in Belgium.

Gradually, things are starting to become better, and the Belgian government has started to lift the lockdown in phases, which has made it possible for me to see my friends, keeping in mind the social distancing norms. It is imperative to mention that we were constantly in touch with Vlerick via its digital platform and were even offered the possibility of talking to a psychologist in case we were feeling low due to the lockdown.

Today, I am allowed to go out, shop, and even take a small trip in Belgium whereas India is still in lockdown. Thinking of it now, I believe it was a rational decision to stay in Belgium, rather than packing my bags and leaving in panic. I believe it was my ability to keep multiple things on the table and take a calculated decision that helped me weather the storm thus far.

For other students planning to make a future abroad, I would suggest taking a holistic view, keeping all the variables in mind, and then making a decision. There is no one advice that fits all, so avoid listening to negative recession news and rather critically evaluate which industries will thrive after the crisis and plan things accordingly. There is no bad time to learn and grow.

Sourcehttps://blog.braingainmag.com/the-lockdown-diaries-how-i-managed-to-juggle-a-work-project-and-mba-from-home/ 
Author: Namit Arora, current Masters in Marketing & Digital Transformation student at Vlerick Business School

7 Highlights From Dublin’s Tech Scenario

After a week of visits in the leading tech companies in Dublin’s Silicon Docks, here are some of my personal highlights.

The idea of Dublin becoming the Silicon Valley of Europe seems to be on its tracks. Hosting the European headquarters of all the main tech companies in the world, Dublin looks like an interesting scenario for talents looking for growth.

Last week, along my Vlerick Business School colleagues, I had the opportunity to visit some of these companies and talk with some of these talents. Here are some of the highlights I could learn from them:

1. Storytelling

As part of our first company visit, Oracle, we had the opportunity to learn more about their products and services through a storytelling/role playing demonstration. Not only it was one of the most different approaches I’ve seen to explaining what a company does, it was a way to make it one of the most memorable presentations from the whole week. A powerful tool to make your presentations stand out.

2. “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”

As said by the consultant and writer Peter Drucker, Culture expresses goals through values and benefits. Part of Microsoft’s mindset, Culture was clearly one of the most mentioned terms from all of the visited companies and seems to be what makes the difference in the end. If the culture is a good fit for you, go for it! Otherwise, you may avoid it!

3. Customer Centrism and Effective Questioning

Impact is a buzzword for a reason. Having your customer in the center, care about what they are doing and aiming to have an impact on their lives seems to be another common goal of all the visited companies. In order to achieve that, one of the followed strategies is effective questioning. Are you sure you’re using the right questions? Are you sure your customer understands what you’re asking? Are you sure you’re focusing on the solution and not on the problem?

4. Test New Things and Play

Innovation comes with a risk, if you don’t try it, you don’t evolve. All the visited companies seemed to have the mindset of trying and learning from its accomplishments and failures. Daring to play, making mistakes and testing new things is what makes those companies what they are.

5. Multicultural and Diverse

Dublin is a multicultural city and this is reflected on every company’s offices. The minimum amount of nationalities of the visited offices was 70, which in my opinion, is already a significant number. As well written by Frans Johansson, the Medici Effect is what occurs in the intersection of multiple fields, disciplines and cultures, combining existing concepts and creating innovative ideas. Dublin and all those companies benefits from that.

6. “Move Fast and Be Bold”

Quoting one of Facebook’s core values, it is important to do, test and learn the most you can in the shortest amount of time possible. That’s not a reason not to be bold, but bending the rules and “hacking” systems is what drives innovation and transforms companies.

7. Most of all, Be Passionate

Passion was the key element that all the employees had for their companies and positions. As one of Microsoft’s values states, “come as you are and do what you love”.

Having the opportunity to visit companies such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft is an one of a kind experience. I’m sure there’s much more to come and learn, as Dublin increasingly becomes the innovation hub of Europe.

What other lessons can we learn from the tech world?

#Dublin #Tech #Innovation #SiliconDocks

Written by José Vitor Corrêa

Luckily for us our students also captured their Dublin trip experience. Watch the videos they’ve made and discover their insights into this amazing city and its companies!

DUBLIN TRIP: Vlerick is on the case at Microsoft’s Dublin Campus

Wednesday, 4 March 2020, 17:52 | Category : Company Visit, Dublin Trip, Masters, Masters in Marketing and Digital Transformation
Tags : ,

Microsoft VisitOn the last day of our Dublin trip we had the chance to visit Microsoft at their Dublin campus located in Leopardstown, half an hour south of Dublin. This €134m state of the art building inaugurated in 2018 offers over 34,000 square metres and is the home to over 2,000 employees. The Dublin division has more than 100 different nationalities which is representative of Microsoft’s pledge for diversity. All sectors can be found within the campus; engineers, operations or digital sales and human resources making this location central to the company’s European activities.

Microsoft VisitWe were welcome to the company and introduced to Microsoft’s mission established by their CEO Satya Nadella in 2014; empowering every individual and organisation on the planet to achieve more. This mission is not limited to their clients; the DreamSpace is a space on the campus where Microsoft welcomes schools and allows them to interact with various new technologies. This endeavour is an example of Microsoft empowering and interesting the younger generations in technology. We were then toured around the lavish building, a marvel combining design and technology. The notable “digital waterfall” at the centre of the building, is an example of this. Spanning over four floors, it integrates seamlessly in its environment and provides a pleasant sight from all offices and restaurants.

Microsoft VisitFollowing the office tour, we were introduced to an energizing business case that revolved around the use of Microsoft technology to digitally transform coffee chains. 5 teams scribbled down their ideas by taking inspiration from the knowledge gained in last 6 months. For instance, One of the teams reflected back on the teachings of Mr. Frank Goedertier during the Managing Customer Experience & Technology Trends course and pitched the idea of using the services of Microsoft Teams and Azure to let customer choose his favourite Barista and even give him the possibility to create his own mixture using cloud service of Azure. Two relevant Microsoft employees gave constructive feedback on the ideas and were impressed by the quality and diversity of the ideas that were pitched in just one minute.

This visit enabled each Vlerick student to experience and understand better the three key elements that drive such a big company.
1. A passion to evolve
2. A passion for people
3. A passion for employees

The visit also gave us a valuable insight into how such an important company upholds certain values through digital technology, which lies at the heart of our master degree. At the end of our visit, smile on our faces, glitter in our eyes, each Vlerick student was mesmerized by the experience and look forwards towards the window of opportunities at Microsoft.

DUBLIN TRIP: A sneak peek into Google’s world

Google VisitSince Google opened its European Headquarters in Dublin in 2003, the number of employees has grown from five to over eight-thousand. It now hosts 70 nationalities and 75 languages spoken, serving over 100 markets. Nevertheless, one of the first things you notice when entering a building is the familiarity between the employees. Team-spirit, accompanied by kind smiles, mark the relationship between on their work floor. Do growing companies need to construct physical bridges between offices, or is there more to Google’s close-knit communities within their mass-employment?

  1. Google VisitBlend formal and informal learning
    Graduates get acquainted with frameworks to discover the needs of Google customers. As Vlerick students, we reviewed frameworks similar to those we saw in our Digital Advertising classes. We were also introduced to Google’s Consultation Sales 7 steps that Account Strategists follow when addressing the needs of their customers. Apart from this, teams are formed by a mix between “nooglers” (new hires) and more seasoned employees. As Master students in Vlerick, we can truly confirm that many skills can be learned by doing group works.
  2. Come as you go
    Google takes a leap of confidence by allowing its employees to have flexible working hours and giving people full autonomy in how they handle their work and their way towards achieving their goals. But, more importantly, Google provides employees with tools to relax and express themselves. In-company gyms are not ground-breaking, but have you ever seen an indoor pool or fully equipped music room? Google sets the bar high for companies, allowing its employees to perform to the best of their abilities.
  3. Look for character, not for skills
    In the broad, dynamic and fast-paced competitive landscape in which Google operates, enthusiasm, pro-activity and customer-centricity are the most valued skills. People from all walks of life come together at Google’s offices to work towards a mutual goal which trumps departments or nationalities.

Google VisitWe can certainly say that Google is a company that allows its people to live, learn and leap, providing them with all the tools, opportunities and freedom to perform at work and enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done at the end of the day, with small gatherings and events across the week.

As Master in Marketing & Digital Transformation students, we were thrilled to see how the big tech companies that shape the digital marketing industry work. No doubt that this trip has changed the way we perceive the advertising industry, and filled us with confidence to make the next big leap into the job market.

DUBLIN TRIP: MDT Masters students explore the Facebook EMEA headquarters

Facebook company visit Did you know that 80% of Instagram users follow a brand? Neither did we, until we learned all about the importance of Facebook and Instagram for businesses around the world. Especially for medium sized companies, Facebook can really boost the growth of their business. With this in mind, it is no surprise that their mission statement is to: “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”
The three lessons we learned from Facebook are the following.

Innovation is key to keep up with the fast-changing technology driven environment.
The number of active users on Facebook and Instagram is still increasing exponentially over time. Currently there are 2.49 billion Facebook and 1 billion Instagram users worldwide every month. Based on this, we can gage the importance of social media marketing in connecting with your customers. In order to keep growing, Facebook needs to continue innovating their products and services to stay relevant.

Facebook company visitAlways keep in mind the creative considerations in making the best out of your Instagram campaign.

There are 4 main guidelines to follow when promoting your brand on Instagram.

  1. Have a clear message and focus that you want to convey to your customer.
  2. Make your brand visible within the first 3 seconds to ensure brand recognition.
  3. Hero your product by putting it in the front and centre of stories and posts.
  4. Play more and engage with your customers via interactive content.

They base themselves around their 5 values, which gives important insight on Facebook’s culture and work ethic.
The 5 values that lie at the heart of the company are building social value, move fast, be bold, be open, and focus on the impact. These values were very much reflected on the success stories of current employees. Besides this we also received valuable information on what they’re looking for in an ideal applicant and how this all fits with living in Dublin.

Overall, this interactive and energetic company visit is very applicable to the content of our courses, especially digital advertising and the digital marketing campaign. We will apply our learnings moving forward in our future careers.

Facebook company visit

Take a look at the video of our Facebook company visit: