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Students have a taste of consultancy during company visit

What is it like to work in the consulting industry? Twenty-five students from the bachelor programme Informatics & Economics visited the consulting firm BearingPoint, where they innovated the business model of a telecom company.

Preparing for company visit

Tyron Offerman teaches at the programme Informatics & Economics (I&E) and organises an annual company visit for the course Orientation Informatics & Economics. Besides being a lecturer, he is also a Senior Business Consultant at BearingPoint. In preparation for the company visit, the students received a guest lecture from colleague David Bergsma, Senior Manager at Bearingpoint. ‘The lecture gave me more insight into the many different players in the telecom sector and how the different layers in the sector are connected', says I&E student Renée Boot.

Being a consultant

After the guest lecture, the students took on the role of a consultant and considered the question: How can a telecom provider use innovation to stay ahead of the pack? They looked at how they could renew the business model. At the beginning of the day, students pitched their ideas, which they had prepared based on the guest lecture. The rest of the day was focused on the new business model, by shaping the operational model and the application landscape of the organisation. With the help of post-its, flipcharts and markers the student teams worked out their ideas, which they presented at the end of the day to consultants and managers at BearingPoint. 

' A little scary'

‘At BearingPoint we learned to use the Business Model Canvas (see box), which made the organization and the subject “Integration of IT and Business” a lot easier to understand', Boot looks back on the company visit. ‘It can be quite complicated to work with these kinds of models. But by visualising the model as we did that day, it became much more fun. We also had to give presentations, which was a bit scary at first. But it ensured that we were well prepared for our final presentation.'

The Business Model Canvas is a model for strategic management to create a new business model or to map an existing one.

Tyron Offerman

Theory in practice

Offermans explains how useful it is for students to visit a company: 'As a teacher I always try to include at least one company visit in my courses. These company visits are great for the motivation of students, they really like to see the internal workings of organisations and to put some of the theory into practice. Such an experience offers students a theoretical basis, but also shows them some limitations of the theory when it is put into practice.

Insight into motivations  

Bergsma complements his colleague and emphasises the importance of the day: 'As a student or future consultant it is important to understand the driving factors of both the company and the technology. It is essential to have a good understanding of the value chain, the business models of organisations within that chain, the role technologies play in success, and the capabilities an organisation needs to possess.’

Header image: Marc Bartels, Partner at BearingPoint, welcomes the students. 

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