Philip Morris International & Sustainable Change

Sustainability is a highly complex concept that, at times, might be hard to integrate in a business environment. However, even companies that were not built with a sustainable focus in mind can turn the leaf and make a real change. A great example illustrating sustainable change is Philip Morris International, which BSL’s Master in International Business students visited on 16th January 2018.

The morning started with warm greetings from Huub Savelkouls, Vice President of Social and Economic Affairs. After a short coffee break, Mr. Savelkouls took us through what the future might hold for PMI’s stakeholders in our first presentation: “Transformation and Sustainability within Philip Morris International”. An interesting fact he mentioned was that, while the world population is growing, the number of smokers remains constant. This represents a great opportunity for Philip Morris to reevaluate their strategic focus. Mr. Savelkouls also tackled common misconceptions, suggesting that contrary to what people think, the tobacco industry can have an important role in solving the smoking problem. This is one of the main points within PMI’ sustainability strategy – convincing people to switch to less harmful products, such as the newly released IQOS device.

The release of this “reduced risk product” allowed Philip Morris International to publish their first ever Sustainability Report in 2016. One of the striking figures in the report is the fact PMI now allocates approx. 70% of their R&D spending on the development of smoke-free products, even though this segment currently only represents 12% of their net revenues. Their overall emphasis on the development of technology-driven, smoke-free products is a great example of sustainability being at the core of a major company’s strategic pivot.

Numbers aside, most students that attended the visit at the Philip Morris International Headquarters in Lausanne were pleasantly surprised by the overall work environment and culture. The free of charge gym, with provided gym attires, and motorsport-themed “Paddock” smoking area were the two favorite workplace perks among the BSL Master students.

To conclude, we would like to thank the people that made this visit possible and PMI for sharing with us their long-term vision on sustainability – hoping it will allow them to leave their competition in a cloud of smoke.

Author:

Ana Maria Login – MIB Master in International Business, Spring 2017 Intake

An ungoogleable experience

Walking from Zurich Central station to the Google offices I was wondering what was ahead of us. What I had in mind was a mix of flash-forwards, involving PlayStation corners, employees riding bicycles across offices and me sliding down to the canteen. I was curious and intrigued and so were the students: why was Google the best large-company workplace in Switzerland for three years in a row? The reasons started to materialize during the first few presentations.

BSL Students Visit Google Offices in Zurich, Switzerland on November 29, 2017

Four senior Googlers gave us a warm welcome and, through their stories, a real insight of what it takes to work at Google, as well as some clarity about the company culture. Also, we had the chance to learn how Google recruits and encourages employees to draw their own career paths within the organization. As their presentations and answers to our (many) questions were so interesting, I had to jot a few things down while listening. But let me go through the three key facts that, in my opinion, are particularly relevant to understand how the company operates.

At Google you need to be able to learn, as much as to re-learn. At the fast pace the company is cruising, employees need to constantly challenge themselves and embrace change pro-actively and fully. One of the speakers, long tenure with the company, spoke about his experience of getting in the company with minor responsibilities. Eight months after he was starting an exciting career, leading for several years projects in Tokyo and London – to mention just a couple – and keeping on challenging himself embracing change and exploring several areas of the business.

Google re-hires good employees. They let free their employees if they feel they want to take another path however if and where possible, they are welcome to re-join the company without going through an official interview process.

Google encourages you to make mistakes and work on personal projects. To employees, the company provides some physical spaces to develop special projects and own ideas to be developed outside their own competences, however within their working hours. There is also a small auditorium where employees present their ideas while other googlers listen to them, comfortably sitting on some vintage armchairs.

After the visit, I realized that Google is not only massage rooms, ping-pong tables, chill out areas and incredible services to employees. It is much more than that, and our experience was so enriching that is so hard to describe. What can I say, you need to see the place, you cannot just Google it.

Author: Daniele TicliCreating opportunities for Companies, Students and Alumni by addressing the needs of Education and Corporate world.

 

BSL students on a company visit at Starbucks

BSL company visit at Starbucks

Masters Students from BSL’ s Competitive Positioning class paid a visit to Starbucks Coffee Trading Company (SCTC) on 29th June, 2015 . A warm welcome from the Starbucks team started the morning off well. Our journey to the world of coffee began with some coffee testing in their premises in Lausanne.
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A tale of complexity and connectedness – BSL goes to Nestlé

A group of BSL students from the Bachelor, Masters and MBA programs visited Nestlé today.  The aim of the visit was to try to understand the complexity of a multinational organization like Nestlé in today’s globalized, interconnected world.

For this visit we were hosted by Nicolas Lorne, the person responsible for Promoting Corporate Culture, Values & Principles internally in Nestlé.  To start off, we visited the 6th floor of the beautiful headquarters overlooking Lac Léman in Vevey where we saw an exhibition of the Nestlé products and were able to read their communications on who they are and what they believe in as an organization.   Creating Shared Value for society is very important to this company, we heard and evidence of this commitment was very present on the 6th floor.BSL visit to Nestle
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BSL Project Management Class on Instruction Outing

On February 13, the Master in International Business and Finance classes in Project Management were welcomed by the CEVA Project team in Geneva. The objective of the visit was for the students to see what “applied project management” means and what theory studied in class is good for.

Indeed, the CEVA railway/metro track that will link Geneva’s Cornavin station with the Eaux-Vive station and finally the French border town Annemasse (hence the project’s name) is the second biggest construction site in Switzerland. Continue reading