5 Essential Networking Tips for Students at Business School in Switzerland

One of the most valuable things that you can gain at Business School is connections. Not only will you have the opportunity to advance your career with new skills and a deeper understanding of business, but you will also be able to learn from others. The connections that you make as a student and Alumni could be instrumental in your professional life. They could help you build your own company or get your foot in the door of your dream industry.

Business School Lausanne (BSL) is home to students from around the world, and Lausanne is one of the most multicultural cities in Europe. This means you will have endless opportunities to build an international network and enhance your cross-cultural communication skills (on top of course of learning another language, French), extremely valuable in today’s globalized business world. 

Read on to discover five of the best ways to network while you’re at Business School.  

Connect with the Careers Office and make the most of the Master classes

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 Master 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.

Attend Events and Company Visits at Graduate Business School 

BSL and the Student Council organize various events and visits for students. These include panel discussions with guest speakers and visits to company headquarters in and around Lausanne. It’s a good idea to attend as many of these online and offline events as you can while enrolled at our Business School. This could be an opportunity to network with a potential future employer and connect with other students across programs.

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

Secure an Internship for your Final Capstone

At BSL, Master students have an internship option as part of their Capstone experience and they can apply for this unique experience at a company anywhere in the world. Via the Careers Office, they have access to personalized employability sessions 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 also have access to opportunities through the BSL Career Center where Alumni and partner companies can advertise internship positions with the BSL Community.

There are a number of reasons to take on an internship as a final capstone of a Master degree in Switzerland as an internship is an excellent way to gain valuable experience in the business world and kickstart their career while studying. Not only does this improve students’ professional profile and gives them greater understanding of business in practice, it also helps them discover how to shape their future career path and possibly continue working with the company they joined for the internship. Last, but not least, it’s an opportunity to network with experienced professionals. 

Use LinkedIn for connecting to your Network and finding opportunities 

It is now easier than ever to network ‘virtually’, which is why it’s important to have an up-to-date LinkedIn account listing all of your experience, skills and interests. You could use this to reach out to Alumni or professionals in your field of interest for advice. In this respect, the BSL 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. Once you have your stunning online profile, you can join groups on LinkedIn relating to your field or interests. This can help to expand your network and connect you with opportunities you might be interested in. 

Connect with Students Professors and Guest Speakers 

You don’t need to attend a formal networking event to network. In fact, every day at BSL will be an opportunity to connect with other students, Faculty members and their Guest speakers. The small class sizes at BSL make it easy to connect with everyone and create an intimate, family-like atmosphere. Guest speakers are often invited to deliver inspiring talks about their specific industries to students in class. These will give you the opportunity to potentially connect with successful industry experts from all kinds of businesses. 

 

The friendships you develop will also become part of your professional network

Don’t hesitate to ask questions and arrange a meeting outside of class time with a Faculty member that you think you could learn from. 

Are you interested in a Masters with Specialization in Finance?

Contact BSL to learn more!

BSL alumni Richard Fyk brews entrepreneurial success

For the next installment of our BSL careers office interview series, where we get an insight into the lives of our business and entrepreneurial graduates, we caught up with BSL alumnus Richard Fyk, owner of SYC Brewing. Based in Alberta, Canada, SYC Brewing brews and distributes craft beer to various suppliers across the country, including bars, restaurants, and liquor stores. SYC Brewing officially opened its doors in January 2019 and has received a warm reception from the craft brewing savvy public in North America. BSL interview _ Richard Fyk (SYC Brewing)

Richard owes a lot of his initial business success to his formative grounding and the business knowledge he acquired during his MBA at BSL. “My thesis paper really helped me galvanize my plans to start my own business. I put all that I had learned at BSL into practice and it gave me first-hand experience in how to piece everything together and create something from scratch. It was very helpful – so much so that I immediately put my teaching into practice to start SYC Brewing”. 

Richard’s thesis also focuses on finance. Although far removed from the craft beer industry, Richard insists that BSL equipped him with the tools to pursue any career in any industry or sector. “Once you understand how each cog in a business mechanism operates, you soon realize that the possibilities for starting your own business are endless”. 

It was a conversation from an unlikely source that helped Richard make the decision to study his MBA at BSL. “I was working in a bank and had progressed very quickly through the ranks. I had an informal career coaching discussion with my manager where I informed him of my intent to progress even further within the organization. He told me to give it another year to have the conversation, which made me quickly realize that he didn’t have my best interests at heart. Directly after that conversation, I began researching online the best places to do my MBA and BSL was on the top of that list. The next thing I knew I was enrolled and on my way to attend my first class”. 

What really impressed Richard from the onset was BSL’s focus on entrepreneurship. He always knew he wanted to create a business for himself but he didn’t have the skills and know-how to progress his ideas into action. When the idea for opening his own craft beer brewery was solidified in his mind, the next step was to learn the necessary business skills to make it work. “After I graduated from BSL with my MBA I knew exactly what I wanted to do, but more importantly, how I was going to do it. Suddenly the thought of starting my own business wasn’t a daunting idea because I knew exactly what I had to and how I was going to do it”.

BSL interview _ Richard Fyk (SYC Brewing)2Richard enlisted the help of a friend to get the business off the ground. Together they began brewing a range of different variations of craft beer until they settled on what they wanted SYC Brewing to taste like. The next step was marketing the product. “I knew branding was crucial in the beer industry, but when you deal with it first-hand you realize it’s a lot bigger than you initially think. You have to make sure that your beer quality is great and that your branding is almost better. I learned a lot about marketing a product during my MBA and that really gave me the upper hand when starting out. I knew what to expect and how to execute my ideas into action, and it worked”.

Due to Richard’s product being alcohol, getting started is not an easy thing to do. The alcohol industry is highly regulated and so brewers have to go through every single level of government to acquire alcohol manufacturing, selling and distributing licenses. Richard had to go through the federal government for permission to make beer. Then he had to get allowances from the provincial government to allow him to brew while still having to deal with his local municipality for rules and regulations regarding the specific location of his brewery. “The entire process takes a long time because you’re dealing with all forms of government and each department’s processes and regulations, including their waiting periods. This is of course not great for entrepreneurs needing to get ahead of the competition”. However, Richard managed to get all the required licenses quickly through his dogged determination to get his business off the ground. 

BSL interview _ Richard Fyk (SYC Brewing)3

As Richard will tell you, no amount of studying and theoretical framework can sufficiently prepare you for the real thing – but it can certainly help. Having gone through the channels of his MBA at BSL to starting his own business, what advice can he give to current and future entrepreneurs hoping to create their own businesses in the future?

“Knowing what you want to achieve from the very beginning is crucial. Being willing to always learn from either your own or others’ mistakes can save you a lot of time, energy and money – so be aware of those who have come before you. You have to make sure you are agile and that you have the ability to make quick and important decisions. These can come along rarely, or twice in an hour – so be ready.  If something is not working, change it up. Make sure it’s working for you. Being a small startup we’ve done it multiple times. If something wasn’t working, we made a decision the same day and before we knew it the next day it was working. I’m a big believer in not saying ‘sorry’. If you are selling a product in a higher price range it’s because you believe in the quality, and so you’ve got to sell your vision. But perhaps the big one is to just work hard. It’s amazing what you can do with a 100 hour week. I work 100+ hours and I don’t get tired because I love what I do and what I am creating. It’s not about the number of hours – it’s about what you do with your hours that makes all the difference”. 

Well done on your amazing business achievement, Richard! We are very proud to see you and your brewing business flourish. Although it is still early days, we are sure you will create something truly remarkable that will send waves of inspiration through our classrooms as an example to all our future entrepreneurs that anything is possible with the right skills and mindset. We look forward to charting your success from across the pond and hopefully soon SYC Brewing will be a household name in both Switzerland and the world.

Marco Piermartiri: a BSL Alumnus appointed COO of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce

marcoMarco Piermartiri, one of our EMBA Alumni, was recently appointed as Chief Operations Officer (COO) of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, after an exciting career going from consultancy and entrepreneurship to telecom and digital transformation. Marco had already valuable touch-points with Chamber of Commerce, having collaborated with them as a Telecom and Digital transformation expert respectively in 2003 and in 2017. A professional marriage that was meant to happen?

Graduated from Business School Lausanne in 2000, Marco is a seasoned B2B and Digital transformation expert with a background in engineering who started his career with Swisscom when the company was still State-owned, climbing to the Director position of Enterprise Solutions in 1999.

Throughout his career, Marco covered executive roles as well as the role of entrepreneur: In 2005 he was Vice-President of Integrated Solutions (a local IT services company), selling the company and running the executive operations of the bigger buying firm, Business&Decision, where he managed to raise the numbers by three times (revenues, profits, collaborators) and to open subsidiaries in various cities throughout Switzerland. An important milestone in his career that set up the foundation for his own business consulting firm, ONDACO, which saw the light of the day in 2012.

Since a few weeks, a new chapter of his professional career has started, taking the lead on the business operations of the Chamber of Commerce in Geneva. The most exciting challenge is for him to transition from consulting to action, this new position will be a great way to provide tangible help to established companies, as well as recently launched enterprises and young entrepreneurs. Considering that the Geneva Chamber of Commerce is an absolutely independent and private economic association, although having a non-profit status, it actually operates as any private company does.

BSL congratulates Marco on this new adventure, being positive that once again he will keep our flag flying high.

Dani-Linkedin-300x300Author: Daniele Ticli, BSL Head of Careers and External Affairs