IMEx experience

Monday, the 10th of April. After a week in Berlin, visiting start-ups and enjoying each other’s company, it was time for a little competition. This competition, otherwise known as IMEx (short for Integrated Management Exercise) makes you turn around a toy manufacturer that was recently hit by a fire. It brings together everything you’ve learned in the past year ranging from Operations to HR to Financial management. It consists of 12 rounds spread over one week, each representing a quarter, where you have to score as high as possible on three different metrics: Profit, People and Planet. The team who scores the highest on all of them, goes home with the prize and gains infinite Vlerick glory. Interesting detail though is that each team was joined by a financial wizard from the Masters in Financial Management.

Quarter 1, and the first thing you have to do is incredibly important… Choosing what we would call our company. After an intense brainstorm session, we came to a name for our company: Bert Smit. (no you did not read that wrong).

Now, in all seriousness, our company was making a loss and burning cash so something needed to be done and fast. A timer was ticking away valuable seconds while you were trying to estimate the market demand, the production capacity and employees needed while not forgetting marketing and R&D. It was only after the 3rd quarter everybody (including us) was finally break-even.

4th quarter, and it was time for supplier negotiations. Do you go for the very cheap yet unsustainable and less qualitative supplier? Or for the more expensive yet high-quality and sustainable award-winning one? How much price reduction can you negotiate? You have to do this while still making the same decisions as in the previous round, with the addition that you now also have access to the US market. Everything was time-intensive but Bert Smit was finally turning a nice profit.

7th quarter, the one everybody dreaded: labour union negotiations. In this quarter, a person from another team comes to you and plays the role of labour union. You get 3 rounds to come to an agreement with every round meaning one month that production is halted because of a strike. Your company is making a profit, but is still feeble so you want to get this over with as soon as possible.

The last quarters, competition between Bert Smit, Skynet, Styx and the other companies was getting ever fierce. With the finish in sight everybody was investing, spending money on training and turning out dividends to score as high as possible on Profit, People and Planet. Not only that, marketing efforts were increased to gain the attention of the Board of Directors (aka the professors and their assistants).

After the final quarter everybody was eagerly awaiting the results. Bert Smit scored highest on Profit but lagged somewhat behind in the People and Planet department. No time to lose, because now you had to prepare a presentation for the Board of Directors, explaining them how you managed to turn around the company and what the plans were for the future. This presentation, together with your score on the 3 P’s would decide whether you were the winner of IMEx.

Drumrolls please… And the winner is… Styx! with Bert Smit unfortunately coming in close second. Congratulations to the winning team and Vlerick glory will be forever theirs.

IMEx was an amazingly interesting experience. It brought together everything you had seen so far and even though it was just “a game”, it really felt like you’re trying to run a company. Great thanks to the professors and their assistants for making this possible and highly recommend doing it again next year.

Thanks for reading!


MGM 2017

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