Steps You Can Take to Boost Your Career Prospects During Your BBA Degree

business administration degree

Students at Business School Lausanne (BSL) have numerous ways to enhance their career prospects while studying. The Careers Office connects students to opportunities such as company visits, voluntary projects, internship/graduate programs, networking events, workshops, mentoring programs and more to enable them to reach their career aspirations. Whether you want to launch a start-up, take over the family business, or join a large international corporation, BSL and its community can help you excel.

Students enrolled in a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program at BSL start their career journey the moment they begin studying.  The academic course is designed to prepare students to succeed in the fast-changing business world and students develop practical and professional skills, while learning from real-life examples, business simulations and challenges. In parallel, the Careers Office offers students valuable tools to create their professional brand with a powerful application package, strategically including their top skills and competencies in CVs and LinkedIn profiles.

Read on to find out how you can boost your career prospects while studying.

Step into the industry with an Internship

Students enrolled in the three-year BBA degree have the opportunity to complete an optional internship as part of their studies.

An internship is an excellent way to gain valuable experience in the business world before graduating. Not only this improves your professional profile and gives you greater understanding of business in practice, it also helps you discover how to shape your future career path.

At BSL, students have access to personalized employability sessions at the Careers Office, in preparation for their internship search, applications and interviews, maximizing their chances to secure an internship by building a strong professional brand for themselves. Students have access to internship opportunities through the BSL Career Center where Alumni and partner companies can advertise internship positions with current students so that they can kickstart their career while studying.

business degree switzerland

Completing internships while studying can help you excel after graduation

Build an International Network While Studying for a Business Degree in Switzerland

Students at BSL are part of an international community with peers from all four corners of the world. In fact, 80% of students enrolled in the Business Administration degree program are international. This means that students will be able to build an international network, which could help them succeed in a globalized business world.

As well as networking with peers, students also have the opportunity to network with Alumni and professionals from companies in Switzerland and around the world. The BSL Alumni community is represented in well-known global corporations and organizations, including KPMG, United Nations, Microsoft, AirBnB, Warner Bros, Credit Suisse, Deloitte and more!

Attend Student and Networking Events

There are a number of different events that students can attend while studying, such as panel discussions, networking events, company presentations. The Student Council also organizes student-led Business Innovation weeks which bring together industry representatives and BSL community, also allowing the students organizers to work on their leadership development. All in all, these are a great opportunity to meet other professionals and improve your understanding of business as well as your Swiss and global network.

As well as this, BSL and the Student Council organize regular company visits. Students will be able to see the location of Swiss companies and learn from industry leaders. If you prefer to stay on campus, guest speakers are often invited to deliver inspiring talks about their specific industries to students in class. These will give students the opportunity to connect with successful industry experts from all kinds of businesses.

bba degree

By building up an extensive network, students can set themselves up for career success

Find a Mentor

Another good way to enhance your career prospects while studying for a BBA degree is to find a mentor. BSL runs an Alumni Mentoring program that connects young aspiring professionals at the very start of their careers with seasoned and inspiring business mentors. Mentoring is important for students as it happens in a grade-free and safe space; mentors also give students valuable advice to help find professional fulfillment and reach their potential.

Do you want to learn more about a business degree in Switzerland?

Contact BSL today!

Business Innovation Week Inspires Students and Alumni in Uncertain Times

Business Innovation Week (BSW) at Business School Lausanne (BSL) brings together inspirational speakers, students and alumni. The four-day-long event includes panel discussions, workshops, networking, and more. The outbreak of the coronavirus earlier this year meant that the student organizers behind this term’s BIW event had to quickly rethink their strategy. 

The recent BIW event took place online from May 5th – 8th and focused on entrepreneurship in uncertain times. We spoke with Elias Raffoul, president of the student council and also a master’s student at BSL, who led the organization of the recent BIW event. He told us a bit about this year’s ‘virtual event’ and how the team managed some of the challenges presented by COVID-19. 

Logistics: Moving Business Innovation Week Online 

The first and most obvious challenge presented by COVID-19 was moving everything from a physical space to a virtual one. “After three weeks of organization, we flipped everything online” Elias explains. This created some challenges because “It’s more difficult to involve people and to make students participate”. In order to prevent background noise or interruption, the organizers asked students to keep their mics on mute unless approved by the committee.  

However, the online format also presented some advantages. “The advantage was that there were no boundaries,” says Elias, adding that “You can invite speakers from all over the world. We had three speakers from Brazil, which we were unable to do before.” That unique advantage is one that might be used in future events, in order to involve inspirational speakers and organizations from all four corners of the world.

The online format meant that speakers from anywhere in the world could attend

Relevance: Adapting the Theme for COVID-19 

The outbreak of the coronavirus has had a huge impact on businesses worldwide. The student council at BSL felt it was important to adapt the theme of the event so that it was relevant to students during this unprecedented time. 

The original topic for the week was innovation. However, in response to COVID-19 this was adapted. Elias explains that “We wanted to do something focused on the current situation, and how you can adapt to the current situation as an entrepreneur”. This would be particularly relevant to students enrolled in an entrepreneurship degree at BSL. 

Hands-on Challenge:  A Very Real Simulation for Students at Our Business School in Switzerland

As well as presentations and panel discussions, workshops are an important component of BIW. The team at BSL decided to replace the workshop sessions with a virtual challenge using a simulation format. 

On day two, the students were split into 10 groups as part of an entrepreneurial challenge. As part of the competition, teams were asked to create a business plan for a futuristic project. Students had to plan everything, including whether they would rent or buy a factory, whether they would take a loan from the bank, how many products they would produce, how many employees they would hire, how to market the product, and more. The simulation covered everything from marketing to finance, entrepreneurship, and decision-making. This was an important part of the simulation because students at BSL can study an MIB in finance, marketing, and more. 

For all involved, the virtual event offered an interactive and inspirational experience. 

Do you want to find out more about attending our business school in Switzerland?

Contact BSL to take the first steps towards an inspiring career!

Interested in Attending Business School in Switzerland? 3 Reasons Why Lausanne Is an Ideal Place to Study


business school Switzerland

The city of Lausanne is popular with international students and young professionals alike. This multicultural city offers students endless opportunities to explore Switzerland and Europe, to network with other international students and professionals, and kickstart their career in a thriving business hub.

Business School Lausanne (BSL) is conveniently located near the center of the city, meaning that prospective students and alumni can benefit from all of the above. Read on to find out some of the reasons why Lausanne is a dream city for business students. 

Lausanne Is One of the Most Multicultural Cities in Switzerland

As the 4th largest city in Switzerland, Lausanne has a population of 130,000, with people coming from all over the world to live, work, and study in the city. This means that students earning a business administration degree, Master in International Business, MBA, or other business program in Lausanne will have plenty of opportunities to network with students from all over the world. BSL is also a stone’s throw away from both the University of Lausanne (UNIL) and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) campuses, housing some 25’000 students from over 120 countries.

At BSL, our students come from over 60 different countries. Combined with our small class sizes, which allow students to truly connect with their peers and teachers, BSL’s international environment allows you to gain a truly global network. Growing an international network of peers comes with many advantages. Students have the opportunity to learn about other cultures and discover different perspectives, helping them tap into new opportunities and innovative solutions.

graduate business school
Students in Lausanne will be part of an international business community

Explore What Europe Has to Offer

Outside of work and academia, Lausanne is a great base for students who want to see more of Europe while they study. In the current environment with COVID-19, we know that there are plenty of restrictions at this time, however Switzerland is planning a phase 3 opening on the 8th of June, opening its borders to neighboring countries.      

Switzerland is perfectly located in the heart of Europe, bordered by Italy, Germany, Austria, France, and Liechtenstein, meaning that you don’t have to travel far to see some of Europe’s top destinations. As a student at BSL, you could take a weekend cultural trip to some of Europe’s major cities such as Paris, Rome, Berlin, Madrid, Amsterdam or London or simply take advantage of beaches along the Mediterranean coast line. A romantic Italian getaway, an Oktoberfest celebration in Germany—your choices are endless!

This means that students at Business School Lausanne will have plenty of opportunities to broaden their horizons, learn more about European culture and take advantage of learning a new language.

Professional Opportunities After an Undergraduate or Graduate Business Degree

One of the many other advantages to studying in Lausanne is the access to career opportunities. The Lausanne region is a thriving business hub renowned across Europe for its commercial opportunities, hosting a multitude of multinational business headquarters. Major Swiss cities such as Geneva and Bern are less than an hour away, meaning students are ideally placed to access opportunities across Switzerland.

business administration
Students will be able to access internships and opportunities across Switzerland

 

BSL is committed to helping students succeed within a career that is right for them, and offers a wide range of career support, including customized career mentoring sessions on self-branding and networking. As well as this, BSL students have access to the online BSL Career Center which helps to connect students with employers. The site advertises relevant internship, job, and volunteer positions in addition to networking events. Whatever your career aspirations, BSL is there to help you succeed.

Do you want to find out more about studying for an undergraduate or post-graduate business degree in Lausanne?

Contact Business School Lausanne today!

Coronavirus, travel, resilience and sustainability

Finally and thankfully, over 100 countries are now following calls by epidemiologists to severely restrict public life, closing schools, universities, cultural institutions, cancelling social events – forcing social distancing as a virtue. A necessary emergency measure with an enormous human cost. This map from The Economist shows school closures, a good proxy for social distancing:

It is worth taking a step back and asking three important questions:

  • How did we get ourselves in this unenviable global mess in the first place?
  • Was it worth it?
  • Did we unconsciously stumble into it, or was it a miscalculation?

The short answer to the first question is that SARS-CoV-2 got a bit of help from an incomparably more powerful force, our own socio-economic system, more specifically the excessive and growing global integration and travel, and the exploitation of animals. Our collective resilience was further reduced by inequality and exclusion, both accelerating propagation. The result: three deadly outbreaks in just 17 years: SARS (2002-3), MERS (2012), and COVID19 (2019-…).

SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, is part of a large family of coronaviruses, originating in animals, like SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. It needs an intermediate animal to “jump” from bats to humans, and spreads slowly, from human to human, one at a time, mostly within a very short distance (1 m), floating just minutes in airborne droplets and mostly dying within hours on solid surfaces (more on cdc.gov).

How can a relatively well understood, infectious but slowly propagating pathogen become a global pandemic in only a few weeks, under the watchful eyes of scientists, health officials and governments, in spite of the heroic engagement of doctors and nurses? It is already causing untold human suffering, and requiring the most drastic restrictions to avoid claiming millions of victims.

Globalization and excessive travel: the increase in travel is making the world much less sustainable (CO2, pollution, road accidents, habitat destruction to build roads) and less resilient at the same time. Air travel alone increased almost three-fold worldwide (1.6bn to 4.4bn) between 2002 and 2019, 8-fold in China (83m to 660m), more on data.worldbank.org. For comparison, the Black Death, a more deadly and infectious disease, infected Europe in 7 years (peaking in 1347-1351), in a population much weakened by famine, with no understanding of immunology or any organized attempt to stop infections.

Today’s disease propagation in Europe is about 100 times faster – in spite of all knowledge, awareness, and efforts by dedicated and competent health authorities, and of course a well-fed population, Europe reached a “beyond containment” stage in less than 3 weeks. Data on new infections show European countries following Italy by 6-16 days, more on nrg.cs.ucl.ac.uk/mjh/covid19.

[chart attribution: Mark Handley, UCL, 19.03.2020]

Animals: billions of stressed, unhealthy, exploited animals in close proximity to humans significantly facilitate transmission. Living in harmony with a small number of healthy domestic animals, with the wild populations undisturbed, would have almost certainly prevented all recent coronaviruses.

Inequality and exclusion: poorly nourished, unhealthy people living in cramped conditions are much more likely to catch and transmit the virus, especially if the inability to take sick leave means they continue working.

Individualistic, selfish culture, well illustrated by careless youths bragging about even more travel “Young, Confident and Flying, Virus Be Damned”.

* * *

We have analyzed how and why a relatively harmless pathogen, from a broad historical perspective, has completely overwhelmed all progress in human knowledge, technology, institutions, and dedication of health professionals – spreading the pandemic around the globe in less than two months. Current drastic social distancing is a necessary short-term action. Let’s use this case as final wake-up call, as the next one could be much worse.

Was it worth creating this system with so many dangerous side-effects? Thomas Piketty writes in “Capital and Ideology”, just published, that “what made economic development and human progress possible was the struggle for equality and education and not the sanctification of property, stability, or inequality”. An optimal, low level of globalization helps share knowledge and human understanding, and increases resilience. Past this point, consequences of further globalization create suffering for most life, human or not. The same could be said for energy or resource use, or indeed most aspects of our society.

It is time to replace social distancing with distancing from consumerism, material growth, individualism, fossil fuels, excessive travel, industrial food and all the other things making us miserable – and start building a new society.

Author: Sascha Nick, BSL Professor

Steps to high quality business external environment analysis

Over many years of reading market analysis from thousands of reports, it appears that the same issues pop-up again and again. Therefore, it is worth discussing few key and small elements that will help deliver high quality analysis of the marketing external environment.

First, any marketing external environment should start with defining the scope of the research. Both from a geographical and from market/industry perspectives.

Starting with the geographical perspective, it is worth mentioning that a marketing environment analysis can be done at several level: eg., Global, continent, country, state, county, city and even district. When the geographic scope is defined, the research should only focus on the specified region. In the case where several regions are considered for example several countries, the external environment should be done for each country separately. The market and industry scope is even more essential, because the information provided should only focus on and be relevant for the targeted market/industry.

Second, the external environment should always be done by considering the trend analysis for each information provided mostly because there is no such thing as a static environment. The environment is always changing and today it is changing very fast.

Third, it is important to always have a critical view of the provided information to ask oneself if we are dealing with an opportunity or a threat.

Fourth, after providing a good assessment of the environment it is important to evaluate and to prioritize all of the available information to further proceed with the more impactful ones.

Optimizing Customer interviews/surveys with Market research

With no doubt, customer interviews and surveys during market research are great tools to better understand customers’ needs, wants, purchasing behaviors and consumption patterns to list few benefits.
Nevertheless, too often, the market research activities focus only on already existing customers that are already buying and using the offerings available to them. Therefore, while conducting market research it is worthwhile investigating also non-customers or non-users for two main reasons.
The first reason is that by disregarding non-users and non-customers, analysts fail to have a complete view of the entire market potential. Indeed, non-users are also part of the market potential; the part that has not been reached yet.
The second reason is that interviews are a great opportunity to understand why non-users are not purchasing the available offerings and thus could understand the reasons why they are not buying and what could be done to make them change their behavior and get them to start buying.
An additional critical element to get the most of interviews and surveys is to make good use of the segmentation criteria at the beginning of the interview/survey to be able and the end of the process to generate customers’ profiles, summarizing findings for each segment that share the same characteristics.

David Vanni Interview | BSL Careers Office

Our BSL Careers Office interview series is a great opportunity where we reconnect with some of our former students and find out about their personal and professional lives after graduation from BSL. For the next installment of this series, we reached out to BSL alumni David Vanni, who is currently living halfway across the world in Shanghai and Hong Kong as the Digital Marketing Supervisor for the Chinese division of Novartis Pharmaceuticals. 

David achieved his Master in International Business at BSL in February 2019 after successfully completing a 6 months exchange at the Renmin University  School of Business of China. This proved to be a pivotal factor in carving out the next few years of David’s professional career. We chatted with David to find out more about his career path.

david vanniWhat product or service does Novartis Pharmaceuticals offer?

Novartis is a worldwide leader in innovative medicines, focusing on several disease areas like cancer, cardiovascular, immunology and dermatology, and ophthalmic diseases. Novartis is also a leader is gene and cell therapy that will revolutionize medicine. Gene therapy is the introduction, removal or change in the content of a person’s genetic code with the goal of treating or curing a disease. Cell therapy is the transfer of intact, live cells into a patient to help lessen or cure a disease. In my digital marketing role, part of the Business Model Transformation team in China, I work with the team on initiatives to build local partnerships with Chinese technology companies to enable better patient access to our medicine and better treatment adherence through digital platforms and tools in order to support better patient outcomes. Novartis is determined to change the practice of medicine and our team in China is supporting that by reimagining the Chinese healthcare industry with data and digital.

What got you interested in studying business and how has studied through BSL helped you in your career?

My Bachelor’s degree was focused on business, more specifically in marketing. During a diverse work experience of 4 years before BSL, I went from private banking to a sales role in commodity trading, and then to a cost analyst position. I believe it gave me a taste for acquiring diverse knowledge and skills, which is increasingly important in today’s fast-changing business world. It is this mindset that pushed me to enroll at BSL. It has a great diversity of people from different backgrounds and a focus on smart and sustainable business practices. I picked the Master in International Business course as I wanted to have a broader understanding of doing business internationally, and because I wanted to leave Switzerland for a few years after graduating to pursue my career. I jumped at the opportunity provided by BSL to enroll for a 6 months exchange at the Renmin University. It was really a pivotal moment in my life and today I am still living in China and working there thanks to that decision.

Which subjects and professors stood out to you most?

Arash Golnam from Systems Thinking

A highly knowledgeable and unconventional professor teaching a way to frame issues through models and how to solve them by understanding the relationships between different factors.

 Tim Connerton from Strategic Leadership

A very experienced mind in business that brought his real-life experiences with a very sharp aptitude on a topic that I felt enthusiastic about.

 Kelly Kretz from Marketing

She told me I have ‘an eye for marketing’ which inspired me further. She guided me to listen to people’s needs and wants, and to offer them value through innovative products and services. Her class was made for me. 

 And last but not least, André Delafontaine from Entrepreneurship

He supervised my Master thesis and we share the same passion for entrepreneurship and startups. I learned a lot in his class and it resonated with my views on proactive thinking and an entrepreneurial mindset, whether you are in a corporate setup or if you have your own company.

What is the most valuable lesson you learned during your studies?

How much you gain from a class is really up to you. If you are able to study for the educational value and not for the grades, your experience will be so much more enriching. When you understand that you are doing this to have a positive impact on your life and to society itself, it is very empowering. I also learned to care for everyone and that everyone had something to say. If certain pieces of information don’t necessarily match with your current interests now, they will often do so in the near future – so don’t dismiss anything. If you listen well and build relationships you will be able to let yourself be positively surprised by the synergies you will find along the way from the people you met.

In your current role, what are the biggest challenges you have faced?

Novartis pushes us to have proactive behavior, to seek solutions ourselves, and to take ownership of our decisions. It is a challenge in a way, but an amazing enabler as well as it empowers you to trust yourself and to be humble enough to acknowledge you cannot succeed alone and that you often need support from others. 

What have been your biggest wins in your career and what would you attribute them to?

I believe I can access people rather easily. I speak several languages, I traveled a lot, and I am curious by nature. This enables me to rapidly find common topics of conversation with people and build relationships. My biggest win so far is receiving the trust of others in business initiatives. In particular, when top management entrusts me with implementing a project. For example, I have organized a startup pitching competition in Beijing with 10 of the most innovative local healthcare startups, over 150 people attending and many honorable guest speakers. This was the very first Novartis startup event in China and only the first step in our commitment to increasing our footprint in local innovation and startup ecosystem while promoting entrepreneurship and creating a flow of exchange between startups and the corporate world. Building on that success, we will now lay down the strategy to open our very own startup incubator in China next year.

What is your vision for your career going into the future?

I plan to be based in China for the next 3 to 4 years, working in the business model transformation in applying digital technologies to business processes, changing the mindset to an active learner and promote a more agile corporate structure. In our industry, the importance of big data is rising and impacting all the units of the business. The same data that can be gathered from patients in order to tailor treatments to people’s very specific needs and improve the treatment outcomes with the support of technologies forming a digital therapeutic solution around the conventional medicine. China is a great country to test new technologies and iterate quickly from one solution to another.

Do you believe that studying through BSL has provided you with a competitive advantage among your peers?

Yes definitely. I really thank BSL for two things: first, the quality and diversity of the BSL professors’ backgrounds. Many (if not all) of them have practical business experience which made the courses so much more ‘real world’. Second, their partnership with the Renmin University of China, School of Business, which exposed me to an environment I previously knew nothing about and changed my view of life forever. I am now ready to embrace change and different ideas.

What is the one piece of advice you’d give to other budding entrepreneurs and business-focused students?

I have been involved a lot with startups in Beijing as it was the focus of my Master thesis. I understood the importance of testing your ideas as quickly as possible. This is what is called the MVP (or minimum viable product). I truly believe in it for startups but I see also in larger corporations that it is becoming a priority. It is the acknowledgment of a customer-centric approach: you don’t build a product for the customer but rather with the customer. That means you will test your product or service as early as possible with your target market so that you can use their feedback to quickly make modifications. You do this many times until you reach a point where your product or service will fit to the market needs. My advice is to not be afraid to share your ideas and test them with other people, don’t be afraid to have it stolen as it will change so many times anyway. The worst is to work for years and launch a product that has no market traction, even though it can be a good product by itself.

How do you think business and business leadership will change going into the future and how do you believe businesses can prepare for the change?

New technologies, changing demographics and geopolitics have pushed the world in a speed of change like never before. Leadership is adapting to this by empowering employees and giving them ownership of initiatives. Ideally, businesses should not react to change nor get ready for it but be the change themselves. The best way to anticipate change is to be the change agent yourself. Speed of decision needs to be prevalent in all aspects of the business, and this can only be done by empowering employees and allowing them to take part in certain aspects of decision-making that was previously in the hands of the middle and top management. New technologies are supporting and accelerating these organizational changes. It will also give people a stronger sense of belonging and a hard-working mentality.

David is clearly passionate about what he does and what he has achieved in his early career. We hope that the next few years of his growth will see him furthering his achievements and advancing his ideas to the benefit of his team. Onward and upwards, David!