From Bali to Belize, from Santiago de Chile to Shanghai

It’s the beginning of May, and in Vlerick terms that means just one thing: the start of our ICP projects. In case you never heard of this monster, it’s Vlerick slang for our “In-Company Consultancy Project” and is really just a fancy word for a two-month intensive internship. You might wonder, though, what exactly are we master students asked to do during these two full months?

Work hard, or travel hard?

Content-wise it all depends on your own topic and the business you end up in, but for everyone the overall lay-out is the same: in two months you gain more insight in the company you work for and the problem or project you are assigned to, so as to provide innovative insights about potential solutions to a current opportunity. The great thing about an ICP is that you can work in really interesting and even off-the-beaten-track locations, networks, and fields of industry.

As a MIMS student, I am just one of the students who has been sent across the globe. My fellow colleagues can momentarily be found in the city of Brooklynn, the jungle of Belize or Lima, the hotpot of Santiago de Chile, the megacity of Shanghai (24 million inhabitants!), the relaxing mountains of Switzerland, Bangkok, Vietnam, Swaziland, Tanzania, Budapest, Bali and more. It is a life-changing experience, especially if you’re able to spend the two full months at your dream destination.

I myself can only speak of my own experience, which is as diverse as the night sky of Shanghai (which ranges from yellowish, to purple, to orange, back to smog, and some hints of lilac; yet everything but black). It’s a city that must grow on you, or rather: the Chinese have to grow on you. However, after a week of deep culture shock, I really start to enjoy the rapid changes and heated lifestyle of this Chinese megacity.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor shanghai china

Administration can be a burden, and getting a visa is just a straight PITA, yet it’s nonetheless fascinating to see how fast new ideas can set off or how crazy a city can grow just because millions of millions of people set the radars going every day again. It’s buzzing, it’s never asleep, and once you realize the only way to go about is to let go with the flow. And, you know, it’s a motivating business stream to swim into.

What adds to this exciting experience is, of course, our project we’re working on. As a start-up, Createc Digital Ltd., is at the digital heart of Chinese online marketing and business development. Our project called Shake To Win is about a bright new platform on WeChat (which is the Facebook + Instagram + Twitter + PayPal + WhatsApp of China = it’s everything!) for Chinese tourists who wish to discover “secret spots” – be that local bars, experiences, fashion and design fairs, food halls, … — in Europe while traveling there. Could I ever have imagined working in Shanghai while connecting with Paris, London, and Rome? No. Do I like it? Hell yes!

Above all, it’s fun to realize that you can actually really start exploiting all the knowledge you learned in the past year. The theoretical frameworks we saw, we now apply; and the insights we attained, we can now induce. Working together with friends, above all, is the greatest fun. And why not in a city that goes beyond any imagination, and that pulls you abruptly out of your comfort zone?




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