HEC Business Game: Day One

Main hall of the Business Game

7:00 am: The alarm went off. I thought to myself, what great decision to shower last night instead of postponing it to this morning. Now, I don’t have to struggle blow drying my hair. “Self-five!”

7:15 am: After a good one minute (or five minutes, I don’t really remember) stretch, I quickly brushed my teeth, put on some business clothes on, throw some make up on my face and got out of my room. I head towards the main hall to get some breakfast before the business game starts.

7:30 am: Once I get to the main HEC hall, I see many people wondering around. One side of my brain tells me, “this is a great opportunity to network”, but the other side really wants to get breakfast in peace. After two seconds of internal debate, I get to one of the tables where they are serving delicious French croissants, ate two and felt ready to socialize with the crowd.

7:45 am: A Spanish aerospace engineer student sits next to me, we start to talk about how we manage to both end up in the Netherlands and how his internship in Airbus is going wonders in Germany. He tells me how many of his friends and himself do not find a career in aerospace as interesting as consulting after his master’s degree.

8:00 am: The HEC business games starts with a special keynote from the head of digital EMEA, Bain & Company from Laurent Baculard, taking about how digital transformation are changing companies, and the role of consulting firms to readjust the different building blocks a company to fit the digital swift of the market.

These are some videos from Laurent online of the digital transformation subject:

http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/laurent-pierre-baculard-role-of-ceo-in-digital-transformation-video.aspx

http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/laurent-pierre-baculard-planning-for-a-digital-transformation-video.aspx

8:45 am: Introduction of the strategy game they want us to solve: basically “InsuranceCo.” wants to know how they can be digital leaders in their market, and how digitalization will benefit their customers and in turn the company itself through lowering costs, increasing revenues or improved capabilities.

9:00 am: now the real work starts, and from here on we work extremely hard to put a cohesive plan together in a group of six people. Ideas are flying around for the next hour. The second hour, the ideas are organized and put together in the white board. The third hour, the most intensive hour, where we put everyone’s mind on putting together the research and slides. Real work.

12:00 pm: finally time to have some two sandwiches for lunch and get fresh air outside the main hall. It really felt like because we were all 160+ people in the main hall breathing, there were not sufficient oxygen for all of us. Now is when the real headache starts to really kick in, and not even fresh air can do much about it. We spent a good hour of relaxing and getting to know better our teammates.

01:00 pm: the second challenge starts. The sustainable electric specialist in energy management and automation, Schneider presents its company and the case they have prepared for us. Basically they have the technology set up, thought through, however they are struggling coming up with the adequate KPIs to assess the performance of their business model.

01:30 pm: this is the worse point of the day, just after lunch, and having a sunny day outside, the sun is shining and the warm is coming into the room, thus people are really getting tired after this presentation.

03:00 pm: presentation finishes and we start working on the challenge. The state of mind is still not there, people are still not back from their lunch break mentally, the brainstorming session goes slower than the morning session.

04:00 pm: we agree on certain grounds and slowly move on to work on the slides. However there is still some doubts and goal of the business challenge.

06:00 pm: we submit the second challenge and start preparing for the Bain & Co pitches.

07:15 pm: we pitch to Bain & Co. our ideas

07:30 pm: finally time for a long break just before dinner.

08:00 pm: getting the first draft of my thank you note written done for all those who contributed to the Educational fund through the Erasmus Charity Run. Pizza arrives and I network a bit with participants from other teams.

08:30 pm: Get to meet many HEC students that are also participating in the business games. They are very nice and friendly people. Truly lived a quite international life which helps me connect with them. Realize we do have some friends in common and talk about the general thoughts of the business game and specificities of the challenges.

11:00 pm: time to go back to my room and getting really to sleep after a nice evening of meeting the geeks of the business world.

12:30 am: Time to go really get ready for bed and thinking of the cases ahead. Exciting!