In-company project: a Real Life Lab

Friday, 8 July 2011, 12:09 | Category : Uncategorized
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Vlerick calls it an In-company project, we felt it as the first impact we made on the market. I and my mate Kate have chosen between the many options to go for an in-company project at a Swedish company that is developing a new product to release in the construction market. We worked in Belgium most of the time, but also had trips to the UK, France, Sweden and Luxembourg so that we could interview customers from that company. The experience of interviewing businessmen from different nationalities was very enriching, and it was even challenging to interview in France and Luxembourg where the businessmen did not speak English and we needed a translator between us during all the interviews.

During the project we had weekly meetings with our promoter at Vlerick school; and in the initial meetings we were fine tuned to look for the right theoretical frameworks to achieve the expected goals of the project. This took us 2 weeks out of the 8 weeks of the project, all the other 6 weeks were intense learning about the company, traveling, interviewing customers, compiling the recorded interviews, drawing conclusions country by country and finally writing reports. It was only during the last week that we had the chance to go thought all the information and write the 60 pages report with additional 145 pages in the appendix, including all the schemes, graphs and compiled interviews.

It was a lot of work! But it was also very grateful to see the results of it in the end. We gave to the company a perspective for the new product that their engineers could never have thought of, especially onto how their customers actually perceive them and expect them to supply, either on product or on service level and what are the best ways to respond to those needs.

For a last week of work, we prepared a presentation that we had 30 minutes to present to a board which consisted of our Vlerick Promoter, the company promoter and also an external reader. The three made a final decision of our grade in this project – which represents 20% of our entire grades for the whole academic year at Vlerick.

Finally, the company asked us to make one final presentation to one of the members of the company’s executive board. This meeting was in their office here in Belgium and lasted 3 hours, with many questions and relevant discussions that allowed the company to absorb better the information from our report into their strategy.

We had many learning points during this project, especially considering the importance of collaboration in a team, and the need for continuous participation and collaboration of people who are indirectly involved in the projects, such as the customers and the sales reps that accompanied us during the interviews in the 5 countries we worked during these 2 months. But mostly, it allowed us to understand our role and responsibility as Vlerick MGM students, and now Alumni, to advise and make the most of companies we are working for in the future.



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