MSc Management study trip: Brussels

14 August 2019

Hisashi Tabata, MSc Management student, shares his experience of visiting the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, and finding out more about innovation in the world of business.

Design thinking

I am originally from Japan, and joining WBS was my first experience of studying abroad. The reason I chose to study the MSc Management course at WBS was because I am interested in design thinking which is based on an alternative approach to problem solving and innovation. I felt that the MSc Management course at WBS would give me the perfect opportunity to explore this concept further, and I wanted to join the study trip to Brussels to understand more about innovation as I am writing my dissertation on this topic.

Creativity

The study trip to Brussels included two sessions per day. The morning sessions were taught lectures held in the Solvay Business School, and during the afternoon sessions we had the opportunity to visit companies such as Procter and Gamble (P&G), the European Commission and Brussels Airport. I really enjoyed visiting the P&G research and development office which was a great experience to understand how P&G is recognised as a world leader in innovation among consumer product companies. I also had the opportunity to visit BBDO which is a worldwide advertising agency network that focuses on the consumer journey. I found it really interesting that they use data and proprietary methodologies to translate ideas into creativity. In addition to this, the CEO of BBDO delivered a presentation to us during our visit which was really engaging and demonstrated how creativity can make your business grow.

Enjoying the Belgian speciality of 'moules-frites'

Innovation

I particularly enjoyed a lecture relating to intellectual property as it wasn’t a topic I had studied before. We discussed a case study relating to an American agricultural biotechnology company that sold their high-quality seeds to farmers. However the company were at risk of imitation because the farmers they sold their seeds to were able to harvest the seeds and then create their own copy of the seed. In order to stop the process of imitation from happening the company invented a hybrid seed which farmers could only cultivate once meaning that issues relating to imitation could be overcome. I found this case really interested as it helped to simply the idea of innovation in a business context.

Exploring Belgium

The study trip was a great opportunity for me to learn more about real business, and helped me gain further knowledge for my dissertation. I gained first-hand experience of how businesses operate, and how theoretical concepts are applied in a real business environment. During the study trip I was able to explore Brussels, and try the Belgian speciality of moules and frites (mussels and fries) which were delicious. I was also amazed how many people were using electric scooters to travel around the city, you are able to rent an electric scooter simply by using an online app which I thought was a brilliant and innovative idea.

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