Living Diversity

By Reita Hutagalung, Global MBA student 2013-2013, Indonesia

Having a class at ESSEC where, with 21 people, you meet 14 different nationalities is awesome. At Infosys, however, we found diversity in an even bigger scale.  Infosys has more than 100 interns of many different nationalities, although many study in the main countries where Infosys has a strong presence. We found out that a batch of new interns comes almost every two weeks, making our network of friends from all over the world even bigger. This is something that we, the Indian Team, really enjoy!

On the first weekend, we went on an excursion to Angsana Resort. It was a nicely laid out resort with greenery and sport facilities. We started by having a very nice breakfast in the garden, where my first exposure to tanning started. After that, we started our activities: cricket training, rope in the air challenges, and paint ball. Everyone dispersed according to their interests and, as for me, I wanted to learn how to hit a cricket ball.  We started taking turns training to hit the ball thrown by a machine. At first tried to hold the stick like a baseball bat, but that didn’t work at all. Then I was advised to hit it from the bottom upwards. Ah, then I started to be able to hit them! The rope challenges were also fun, and they brought back memories of Saint Cyr. Although they were not positioned high in the air, on one of the main hurdles was to pull yourself up while maintaining balance. Thanks to Leo, who was not so much of a supporter, I got stuck there for quite some time because of losing concentration. Paintball was not really my cup of tea because it’s painful, so after that we just played some more cricket.

The outing’s theme was getting to know more people during the activities. The day was quite relaxed and after lunch we were free to use the resort’s sport facilities. We tried tennis, squash, ping pong, the swimming pool, and even the trampoline. After exhausting ourselves with those activities, the day came to an end with watching a cultural event: Indian Dance. The dancers performed the dances that tell stories of Khrisna, Rama, and Shinta. Beautifully and elegantly performed, they closed each dance with an explanation of several steps and movements of the dance. The taste of Indian culture that the dance gave us was great and made us wanted to explore more. Diversity is to be cherished; and diversity is to be respected. It’s what makes life interesting and beautiful!

See photos and video from Bangalore: Little Fun Facts of Bangalore

An immersion at the TOP!

By Matthias de Larminat, Global MBA student 2012-2013, France

From La Paz, the world’s highest capital, Bolivia

What a great way to finish the hard, exiting and demanding race of the Global MBA. Starting in Europe, with 2 stops in Asia and Africa, it is time to continue this global trip in Latin America: Welcome in the country of Legends: The land of Inca; Tribes of Aymara, Quechua, Guarani; the place where myths located the Atlantis; the country of Che Guevara; the country of llamas…

Upon arrival, the plane lands in the middle of mountains close to 4000m; exiting the airport it is very strange, you feel exhausted, short of breath, like finishing a marathon; you immediately understand how geography can impact the local life and economy.

It took us more than two days to get used to this environment. This necessitates accepting local medicine based on coca leaf; the coca tea eases the unavoidable headaches due to the altitude.

We are received by a family who created a very successful food and beverage company: DeliZia. The father of the family, Mr. Felipe, started the company 25 years ago. After studying engineering at Berkeley, he decided to come back to Bolivia and create a small business selling water ice to kids. He made the ices himself and sold them in front of schools. Within 25 years, Mr. Felipe turned this small enterprise into a vibrant and very successful business leader in ice in Bolivia, while diversifying into many other products such as dairy (milk, butter, yogurt), fruit juice, or even turkey.

Their business requires them to supply great amount of milk. This requires them to ensure a network of dedicated producers. To this end, they have initiated a very successful inclusive business model aimed at helping farmers to buy more cows. To achieve this goal, DeliZia has created a strategic alliance with microfinance institutions and farmers. The farmer takes a loan from the micro finance institution to buy a cow, DeliZia commits to buy the milk produced, DeliZia pays the milk to the bank directly. As a result, there is less risk and fewer collection costs for the bank, thus the rates are lower for the farmers, while DeliZia ensures farmers’ fidelity and a higher supply: A WIN-WIN situation.

Our mission is to identify what could be the next step to improving productivity, while having the largest possible social impact: a great challenge totally in line with our social business course. We have already identified potential tracks derived from lessons learned from the consulting project we conducted for Veolia Grameen in Bangladesh. At the same time, we are keeping in touch with our classmates currently on IIP in India; some of them are working on micro finance, so it’s a great opportunity to share our ideas and IIP experience.  This worldwide network is really amazing; it helps us to identify the best practices worldwide among our GMBA classmates, a great way to quickly share information!

In addition, after its rapid expansion, the company has reached a phase of maturity and has to rationalize its organization while setting its expansion strategy. A real and exciting case, after so many Harvard case studies in class!

This IIP is not only about work, there is also a great cultural pillar. We are really embedded within the family. We are invited daily to dinner, we enjoy many social activities such as Latino music, bicycling the road of the death (more than 60 km and 3000m vertical), visiting Lake Titicaca at the border with Peru… More than tourist activities, it is about getting close to their real culture, their mindset. We regularly meet the family (the mother, the father and the son) to discuss their family issues regarding the future of the business: an insight into how they do business, how they live, and what drives their lives.

It is a great lesson to see how family, friendship and life are key drivers of this society: DEliZia, the Taste of Bolivia!


Digitas Company Visit

By Reita Hutagalung, Global MBA student 2012-2013, Indonesia

As part of our Career Activities, we visit companies in order to get to know more about the company’s business and opportunities.  On June 26, we visited a company called Digitas.  Digitas is an integrated advertising agency and a member of the Publicis Group. The company currently has over 3,000 employees in 28 offices in 18 countries and also owns The Third Act: (a brand content platform) and Prodigious Worldwide (a global digital productions company). The visit opened with a networking breakfast at Digitas’ office and we had the chance to speak to the leaders from different units.

The first speaker talked about their innovative ways of creating solutions or advertisements while trying to understand their clients’ underlying needs. In creating their innovative advertisements, Digitas is open to experimenting with new technologies. One of the examples given that day was very interesting from both a technological perspective, its creativity in reaching the public, and how it effectively grabbed the attention of both men and women. Another example they gave was also very creative: using smartphone applications and GPS to make a race marketing activity.

The second speaker was from a different unit and spoke more on servicing clients. It was very interesting that the organization of Digitas is flexible and designed to meet clients’ needs. Being a global company, it leverages its worldwide location strength and is thus able to service a global client; however, local offices also have their own markets. The second speaker also had an interesting profile in terms of being active in the social media world due to the demands of the work. As social media is now trending as means of marketing, someone who wants to be involved in digital marketing has to be savvy and up to date in social media. When opening accounts in trending social media, it is important to understand how each social media platform works and thus be able to measure its effectiveness and make strategies. This was very interesting as it struck me how different marketing is now compared to, let’s say, 7 years ago. The development of technology has changed the habits of the population more than ever before – especially the younger population – at a fast pace.

The visit then was closed with a tour of their office spaces. Their layout was unique and their d├ęcor was cool! I have always loved to see advertising agency offices; “boring and strict” is just not the aura of the place. Thank you Digitas, for the warm welcome and interesting presentations!

Moving Out

By Reita Hutagalung, Global MBA student 2012-2013, Indonesia

Ok… so this is just to tell a little story about my experience of moving out from the student residence to an apartment in Paris, right before the IIP. Many factors counted in my last minute decision to move out. For those who plan to move to Paris after some time in Cergy, my advice is to plan a loonnngg way ahead! In my case, well, I had only more or less a week before going, so my nerves were tested to the max.

My starting point was easy: I just needed a room and not an apartment so it’d be easier on the administration. After getting some advice from my friends who had moved out before, I registered on this website called “” where you could advertise your room needs: budget, preferences, etc. Next step was more research as I didn’t know which area to live in. Well after reading several blogs and asked for advice, I preferred the arrondissements that are not too way out. I guess this is  apersonal view and many people could have different opinions; but for me I like to feel secure (I guess I’m easily scared hahaha..). Then, the real thing began. So on the website, depending on the plan we registered (basic or premium), we could show interest in other people’s advertisements. As I had so little time, I just applied for the premium account to be able to contact the people advertising their rooms either through email or phone directly. I started to browse the advertisements, looked at the profiles of the other person living in the apartment (don’t want to end up with some creepy people, right? Hehe) and checked the location on Google and metro maps. Not only is the number of metro stations you have to change and its distance to the apartment important on the day of moving out when you have to drag your big luggage all the way through the long underground tunnels and up the stairs of Paris Metro, but also I believe it’s important for those days where you need to make a run to the classes. ;P

After several rejections and getting more and more desperate, one day I just got this email from a person who didn’t even put up her profile picture or any picture of her apartment. “Ok, this is a bit suspicious” I thought; but at least not as suspicious as this one guy who kept emailing his advertisement on and on again although I’ve sent him the “not interested” flash message. So after letting Chen know where I was going to check out the apartment, I decided to visit it. Well wasn’t I very surprised! The lady was so nice, the place is decent, the area looked nice and clean, and I just liked it. I wouldn’t feel satisfied if I haven’t done any comparison so I also looked out other places, but finally I made my decision to accept the lady’s place. My next big task was to pack all my stuff, divide some that I’d take to my IIP project and other to be stored at some other place. I thank God that the lady is so nice she even let me put some stuff even though I’d start my contract when I get back from IIP. But unfortunately even with what I thought was “not-so-much-stuff”, there were still many things that need some space! Thanks to my friends, my packing mess turned out ok just-in-time and I could finally sleep with relief on the plane going to my IIP place.

Cape Town and the IIP

By Priyesh Salunke, class representative 2012-2013, India

I was quite thrilled when I first knew that I was going to Cape Town for my IIP. I have been to Cape Town before. It was during the 1 week study tour that took place in May and it was very good. We got a lot of industry exposure and the trip was a success.

2 months later, I am back. The IIP at Cape Town is a 4 week long project and is in association with the university of Stellenbosch business school. The IIP in Cape Town consists of 3 projects. The first one is based on developing scenarios for the consumer mobility trend in South Africa retail by 2020. This is by far the biggest project out of the 3. The second one is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) based case study to be written for the Fairhills project. This project is a part of the Fair-trade organisation. And the last one is a marketing plan for the University of Stellenbosch targeted towards the marketing of their MBA program towards the MBA aspirants from India.

The typical weekday consists of interviews with personnel from all 3 projects and then, lots of research and brainstorming at the university. We work from the university itself and it has been hectic over the last 3 weeks. My team consists of students from India, China and Russia. It is no surprise that we are often called the “Emerging countries” group. Coming from a developing economy is quite helpful as we are able to use our different viewpoints and situations from our respective countries and adapt it to the setting in South Africa.

The weekends are spent seeing the sights of Cape Town which we had not seen in May. Driving in Cape Town has been a liberating experience and we were able to find cheap Indian food in Cape Town.  We visited Chapman’s peak which is a 593 m high sea drive which stretches for about 9 km. The coastline and the beach are beautiful sights that one should see in their lifetime. We also had a chance to visit Long Street which is known for its culture of street food and bars. In the afternoons, one can just sit and relax at a Waterfront coffee shop.

I have really enjoyed working in South Africa, even though the weather has been a little unpredictable. With only one week left at this beautiful place called Cape Town, we are planning to finish our work and also, enjoy the tranquility that this place has to offer.