FTMBA students Shipra Agarwal, Scarlett Li, Joan Mao, Shantanu Mittal, and Matt Mueller traveled to Veghel, Netherlands, to work on an International Business Development (IBD) project.
We have had a fantastic time so far on our trip to the Netherlands for IBD. On our first weekend in country, we met up with 30 other Haasies who were in Amsterdam for a course on Design Thinking. It was also the birthday of one of our Dutch classmates. Needless to say, we had a really fantastic amount of fun.
Due to our client’s NDA, I can’t share much of the details of our project. What we can share is that we are working on a long-term strategic proposal related to how they best serve their customers. The work experience so far has been very informative. During our first week, we visited more than 20 grocery stores to observe key differences with the US market and interviewed a large set of customers on their habits and motivations. We were really surprised by the number of differences in something so simple as grocery shopping and how much a solution would need to be tailored to each individual market.
In addition to our visits and interviews, we have met with a number of key stakeholders in our project across the company. Everyone has been nice and genuinely interested in learning what we are working on, and how they can help. It has been great to have the support needed to deliver on our project and provide real value to the client.
Finally, we had the chance to lead multiple consumer focus groups to test out proposals. It was a great experience to interview and lead a discussion for a large group of Dutch consumers. We also received valuable feedback on our work and got a new perspective on how our ideas stand up to a different culture. We are now working hard to summarize our work and present two concrete solutions to Jumbo that address the initial problem presented to us.
Culture and Country
Enough about work. Traveling to the Netherlands has given us a fantastic base to explore the country and Europe in general. As we mentioned above, we spent our first weekend in the Netherlands in Amsterdam with a big group of Haasies exploring everything the city had to offer. We saw a great set of museums (highly recommend Van Gogh), toured the canals and celebrated our classmate’s birthday in traditional Dutch fashion. One of our best memories was grabbing food from the local grocery store and sitting down in Vondelpark on a nice sunny day to watch the crowds. During our second week on IBD, we spent a memorable evening in the city of Rotterdam. We had the chance to go to a 500-foot observation tower and got a view of one of the largest ports in the world.
While in Rotterdam, we also had one of the best dinners on the trip. The meal was a 10 course rampage through everything Indonesian. We all left happy and full for our drive home to Veghel that night.
Finally, our group split up and spent last weekend in both Prague and Berlin. In Prague we walked around the entire city, saw a thousand-year-old church and ate a large quantity of pork knuckle. The weather was fantastic, and it was a great chance to explore the fairytale like city. In Berlin, Shipra visited her cousin, and walked along the Berlin Wall and visited the famous Brandenburg gate.
That is about all we have to say at this point. We are finishing up our final deliverable now and getting ready to head back to the US. Thanks for taking the time to read about our experience!