Millennium Developmental Goals talk marks United Nation’s World Toilet Day

This week, a small team of researchers, students and professionals across innovation, corporate responsibility, environmental sciences and branding disciplines marked the United Nations’ World Toilet Day. The meeting in Brunel Business School was hosted by Shyama Ramani, a Professor of Innovation and the Social Enterprise.

The main theme of the meeting was water, sanitation and waste management, an area of expertise in Brunel University, which has been granted the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, for the ground-breaking work of the Institute for the Environment (IfE) researchers.  Professor Rakesh Kanda explained the research undertaken in IfE towards sustainable water and waste management and Professor Shyama Ramani presented the issue of sanitation management and economic empowerment in the developing countries.  Dr Suraksha Gupta, the Course Director for Applied Corporate Brand Management, explained the factors behind the involvement of corporations in such projects as part of their Social Corporate Responsibility activities.

A Brunel Business School student, Felix Gottschalk, currently pursuing the MSc in Marketing, added to the discussion by explaining his research in the area of social media impact on crowd-funding for the purpose of providing support needed by NGOs and social enterprises tasked with tackling these issues on the ground.

Watch to Prof Shyama Ramani’s presentation on the day below. To find out more about Brunel Business School research please visit our Research webpages.

 

Students experience Brand Management on a visit to Telefonica Europe HQ

As part of Brunel Business Life programme students had the opportunity to visit the headquarters of Telefónica Europe in London recently. The visit, part of the highly commended employer engagement strategy of the MSc in Applied Corporate Brand Management programme, was also enjoyed by a group of BBS students across other programmes in the School. Telefonica is a world leader in telecommunications and manages some of the most popular mobile brands such as O2 in the UK, where it recently implemented the popular O2 Refresh proposition, and its European base boasts a total customer base reach of 101.8 million.

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Olga Tikhomirova, a final year Business and Management marketing student, relates the experience:

 “When we arrived at the home of the O2 brand we were greeted by the friendly members of Telefonica Europe and given a presentation by Amanda Clay, Head of Brand at Telefónica Europe, and Gary Holt – the Co-Founder of SomeOne branding agency, who worked together to design and create the office building we were visiting.

Amanda and Gary covered many topics during the presentation, such as the practical aspects of corporate brand management and internal branding, combining company and consumer brand within the office space, effective communication with a branding agency employee motivation and much more. The building itself was a testimony to what they were saying as it very carefully incorporated the values of O2 so that you could ‘feel’ the brand without actually seeing its logo everywhere.

After a Q&A session we were taken on a tour around the office to see the examples of what we had just discussed.

This was a fantastic opportunity for me and all students who had attended the visit to widen our business knowledge and see it applied in practice. I believe that visits like this provide a great insight into a variety of business aspects and are highly beneficial for every business student.”

The MSc in Applied Corporate Brand Management has been shortlisted for the 2013 Times Higher Education award in the Outstanding Employer Engagement Initiative category, alongside the nomination for the School in the Business School of the Year category.

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Sales & Operations Planning: industry speaker talks shop with students

At a recent Global Supply Chain Management MSc lecture, an industry speaker Jools Massey, a Group Procurement Systems and Governance Manager at United Biscuits, explained to our students how sales and operations planning plays a key role in Supply Chain Management for this major food and snack manufacturer.

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Sharjeel Ishaque, one of the students participating in the lecture, commented on the experience:

“The lecture helped me understand operational planning and forecasting of supply chains. Moreover, my appreciation of the methodology used in forecasting of supply chains and demand volatility has been greater than ever before, following this guest lecture. The practical examples from our guest speaker, who is a practitioner, gave us a real insight of the company’s supply chain planning, operational planning process, decision making process and the imperative role that information plays between the supplier and the consumer.
Even though the lecture didn’t give us an opportunity to cover everything, it was a delight listening to the industry speaker and have a chance to ask him questions. The presentation was also very useful because it gave us some interesting data for the future.  Lectures like this give us an opportunity to learn about the industry challenges and give us ideas how to apply theoretical knowledge to practical situations.”

Commercial supply chains agility can save lives in disaster relief

By Dr Afshin Mansouri

In the wake of the typhoon Haiyan which hit Philippines on the 8th November, leaving over 3,600 dead and affected 12.9 million and displaced more than 3 million, governments, donors and NGOs started to send out relief items to Philippines. As a result, a massive global relief operation was triggered.

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Relief operations are extremely complex due to their unique features including huge uncertainty on the demand side and limited control over the supply side. There has been a growing interest in the research community to explore good practices that can be shared between commercial and humanitarian supply chains. Wal-Mart’s response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was as a prime example of the positive role of commercial supply chains in relief operations. There is an accumulated knowledge and best practices in commercial domain in the areas of logistics and supply chain management. These include soft skills such as strategic partnership, coordination and collaboration with suppliers as well as hard skills such as supply network design, capacity planning, inventory prepositioning, and distribution of products to customers.

One area that relief operations can learn from commercial supply chain management is logistics operations. Research has shown that humanitarian agencies do not consider logistics as a key strategic function to improve the performance of relief operations, yet good practices and accumulated knowledge of the commercial supply chain has the potential to improve humanitarian operations. One of the challenges for logistics in a disaster relief environment is uncertainty with infrastructure and facilities designed for relief operations themselves subject to damage and destruction. In the commercial domain there are established practices to manage disruption in the supply chain for example through business continuity management (BCM). Adopting some of these practices can help relief chains enhance their available capacities in the event of damages to some infrastructure.

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Another key competence that can be learnt from the commercial world is in controlling the supply side of the chain. In a disaster relief setting there are often several organisations sending out resources which can sometimes create a bigger problem by having too many of one item in a particular area and not enough of another. In this instance a lack of coordination between organisations exacerbates the complexity of the issue whilst in the commercial supply chain coordination and collaboration is an established practice to ensure maximum efficiency.

More work needs to be done to raise awareness of the good practices that can be adopted from commercial supply chains amongst policy makers, local authorities and relief agencies. Improving relief operations will increase the resilience of societies affected by natural disasters and this improvement will translate into more lives saved, less suffering and quicker recovery. In the commercial world, efficiency and agility are key because they result in better service and more profits. Whilst the motivators are different in the humanitarian supply chain, efficiency and agility are still the ultimate goals because a more efficient and agile network can save more lives and speed up the recovery period.

Dr Mansouri (PhD, MSc, BSc) is a Senior Lecturer in Operations Management on the MSc Global Supply Chain Management at Brunel Business School. He has several years of industrial work experience in production and project management areas. In 2005 he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Tours in France. Prior to joining Brunel University in 2007, he has held academic and research positions at the University of Tehran and King’s College London. Dr Mansouri’s research on humanitarian supply chain management for disaster relief in Iran has been funded by ESRC. Afshin is co-investigator and leader of the scientific work package of the EU FP7 funded project MINI-CHIP which aims to minimise carbon footprint in maritime shipping. He has also received research funding from Brunel University to investigate the role of multi-objective optimisation as a decision aid in build-to-order supply chains. Afshin co-guest edited a special issue of ‘IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering’ on Search Based Optimization for Software Engineering.

90 days to job success – free training for recent graduates

Brunel Business Life and the Careers Consultants from the award winning Placement and Career Centre in Brunel University teamed up to offer graduates who recently completed their Bachelor degree in Brunel Business School a free course to teach them how to:

  • be more efficient in job searches
  • stand out from the pile of applications
  • stop wasting time on job search techniques that don’t work

DEADLINE TO APPLY: 23rd November 2013
Course starts on 25th November 2013

90 Days to Success, is delivered through a series of webinars, emails and 1-2-1 skype sessions to deliver, at the convenience of the participant:

  • one-to-one help with applications
  • advice for improving their CV
  • support with covering letters
  • interview practice
  • tools to conduct more successful job searches
  • understanding of what graduate employers are looking for!

For more information and eligibility please email business.life@brunel.ac.uk .

A Bold Turn to Social Media

By Sankar Sivarajah

Being social with tools such as Facebook and Twitter in the business world is no longer a new phenomenon as companies have been jumping on the social media bandwagon for a while now. But used the wrong way, these tools can cost the company dearly in terms of reputation as well as resources.

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One of the biggest problems is that some companies still take the same old traditional approach of using these tools. For example, companies mostly remain active and engaging during the standard “9-5” office hours or post formal messages/replies on their Facebook or Twitter page. Not only does this appear to be mundane but it also fails to keep in line with the traditions of social networking!

The social sphere is now a busy open market and it’s important for companies to stand out from the crowd. How can this be achieved one may ask? Let’s take a leaf out of Tesco mobile and its latest #nojoke viral campaign on Twitter. This was part of a recent marketing campaign to promote the fact it was voted best network and there was nothing funny about being on Tesco Mobile.

Tesco Mobile, the not so cool network, is now a “hot property” on social media sites such as Twitter with its sassy and cheeky responses to users. Witty comebacks by the Tesco mobile care team to users on Twitter had received thousands of retweets and have been made favourites by many Twitter users.

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Interestingly, this social media strategy has been mainly positive as the Tesco’s Twitter page has seen its user base and engagement grow.  Now, who would have thought taking such a bold and different approach would pay off in such style!

How bold is your business when using social media?

Meet 2013 Team of Business Life Ambassadors

The Business Life programme at Brunel is one of the most innovative student employability schemes in the UK. It has always run with the help of student ambassadors who volunteer their time to help other students become successful professionals. So if you are not sure which workshop to attend, or wish to ask about ways you can improve your career skills, please approach them directly for a chat. They will be happy to help you!

Following recent recruitment drive we are proud to announce that we now have in place a great team from across different courses in BBS to help promote, run and develop the Business Life programme. This is a superb opportunity for Brunel Business School students, as it allows them to develop their business skills and experience, supported by an exclusive training and mentoring programme.

These young professionals will be undertaking projects such as marketing, product development, communications, business intelligence and event management, but most importantly they will serve other students in helping them fulfill their career goals by guiding them through the Business Life programme.

View the Business Life Ambassador team here:

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As they start in their new role we look back at what our previous volunteers had to say about their experience:

“It was great to be part of the BL team and to help promote the programme amongst students and academic staff. I would recommend becoming an ambassador to anyone. It will help you further develop your team working and communication skills and build your network. You will also have fun while doing something worthwhile!”- Ralitsa Todorova, BSc first class honours in Business and Management (Accounting) and final year Business Life Student Ambassador”

 

“My input was always valued and acted upon which made my contributions seem very worthwhile. It has been a pleasure working with the BL team, networking with students and employers and also enhancing my own skills such as the ability to speak in front of an audience. Being a BL Student Ambassador has helped me a lot! Working alongside the people who manage the business school was like we were a small team that makes a lot happen! – Amar Mistry, BSc first class honours in Business and Management with Placement Year and final year Student Ambassador”