Heineken Asks MBA Students to Design Strategies in a Five-Week Challenge
The Business Impact Lab and Digital Transformation Track, partner with Heineken to challenge students with a real-life problem and a high profile client.
Students from IE Business School’s newly-launched Tech MBA and the International MBA participated in a five-week challenge in collaboration with beer giant Heineken, marking the first time the two programs shared a corporate sponsor.
The two programs addressed a real-world challenge from different perspectives, highlighting the multi-faceted approach to business solutions. The Tech MBA program offered the challenge as part of its Digital Transformation Track, while the International MBA (IMBA) offered it via its Business Impact Lab.
The teams, made up of four or five students each, met with professors and Heineken advisors to design a solution to the problem, “How can we make Heineken the best connected beer?”
Winning teams had the chance to showcase their ideas to a panel of expert brand executives.
“Our way to keep leading the innovation is to be able to establish strong liaisons with referenced universities, sharing our challenges, bringing the next generation of technological leaders to the ability to tackle real problems,” said Heineken CIO Javier Álvarez.
Manuel Ortega, Digital Office Manager at Heineken, highlighted the benefits of the experience for all parties involved.
“With this collaboration we wanted to bring the spark to our Heineken recipe. Being able to collaborate -as equals- with top MBA students from all around the world, for sure will bring a lot of different perspectives and why not, make us rethink our grounds,” said Ortega. “The aim was to deal with the corporate challenges as if they were green fields. No constraints, just a full world of possibilities.”
All 52 participants set out to build strategies and models to maximize customer profitability as well as sustainability within the company’s operations.
“Even though students from the IMBA and the TechMBA had different academic courses, they all had the purpose of aiming towards the corporate challenge, a hands-on way for students to use the knowledge acquired during the Core periods of each corresponding MBA.”
Stephanie Lim, IE Business School Associate Director
Ortega said the challenge divided into two sub-sections: 1) create a B2B2C Model to provide end consumers with the right product at the right time; and 2) digitize the supply distribution.
The winning proposals were Heineken GO, the IMBA and Smart Tag, for the TechMBA.
“Being the winning team of the DT project of Heineken and the fact that there has been a subsequent interest from them in bringing to life our proposed solution,” said Pedro Jesus Fernandez, Smart Tag team member. “I have been able to verify the urgency to digitalise that the biggest companies in the world are experiencing.”
With the Heineken Go idea, IMBA students crafted a smart proposal to solve consumer issues with limited storage and mobilization of big orders of the product among other problems.
Team member Ignacio Castro said he was thrilled to have access to top-tier advisors.
“This experience offered me direct contact to executives of this company, and an endless supply of advisors, ranging from professors to experts in the field,” said Castro. “This made the experience enriching, constant and diverse, in a way I had not yet encountered in my academic development.”
Shibanshu Mukhopadhyay, member of the runner-up team of IMBA students, said his biggest takeaway was developing a new thought process with fresh working styles and reporting structures.
“I come from the startup world and am looking to transition into corporate,” said Mukhopadhyay. “I was able to get my first hands-on experience of working with a corporate entity on a project.”