MBA students learn big business operations on visit to Coca Cola Enterprise

The Brunel MBA students have recently enjoyed a visit to Coca Cola Enterprises bottling facilities in Edmonton, North London where a presentation delivered by the Coca Cola host highlighted many aspects of running a large corporation, from marketing challenges, business operations management, sustainability, to human resource management. Although Coca Cola comes across as a standardised product across international markets, students learned that behind this standardised image, there are many adaptations to both the product, price and its packaging between markets.


Sustainability initiatives were also demonstrated and a discussion followed regarding the challenges presented by the widespread recycling options between and even within markets, notably in the UK where each local council drives their own recycling agenda.

Christina Scandelius, the Deputy MBA Director, who accompanied the students on the visit said:

“This visit gave our MBA students a great insight into the business operations of a very well known brand – our main objective of this industry visit and part of a series of corporate events taking place as part of the Brunel MBA programme. The students also enjoyed a tour of the state of the art bottling facilities which demonstrated a highly automated process with an average of 1 million bottles filled per day.”

As a part of the Business Life employability programme, the Brunel MBA students undertake regular visits to companies in the UK and many companies visit the students on campus as part of the MBA Guest Speaker Series: “Let’s Talk Business”.




The following companies have an on-going relationship with the Brunel MBA and our students have a chance to network with representatives from:

  • Barclays
  • British Airways
  • Capital & Counties Properties PLC
  • Enterprise Rent-a-Car
  • Goldman Sachs
  • HSBC
  • IBM
  • Iraq Energy Institute
  • Jaguar
  • Johnson and Johnson
  • Lloyd Northover
  • Microsoft UK
  • Oxford Instruments
  • Radley Yeldar
  • Xerox

Photography Award for Brunel Business School’s Staff

We are pleased to announce that Dan Ketchell, Brunel Business School’s Operations & Finance Administrator, has won one of the 2014 awards for his photography featured in the Beldam Gallery as part of the All Our Own Work exhibition.

Dan has chosen 3 pictures to be featured in the Beldam Gallery exhibition, along with other exciting exhibits from new talents taking part in the Arts Centre Programme where classes include pottery, painting, life drawing, digital photography and more.

The exhibition All Our Own Work is a ’testament to the dedication of those taking Arts Centre Classes and to the skills and talent of those who teach and support them’ said Jay Wilkinson, Director, Arts Centre.Dan's picture

Dan’s award winning picture piece is a black and white portrait of a Brunel Student taken inside the Brunel Lecture Centre, a close-up photo taken with a long lens. Dan explained that his favourite features of the photo was the glow in the girl’s eyes, an effect achieved by using a light reflector, one of the skills he learnt on the digital photography course.

The exhibition closes today at 5pm, so please hurry to visit the Beldam Gallery in the Eastern Gateway Building to see Dan’s featured work and other budding artists.

Postgraduate placements becoming a must for Masters students

Brunel Business School is amongst the first few Business Schools in the UK to introduce postgraduate placements for students completing their Masters programmes as far back as 2011. This feature, pioneered in the UK for undergraduate students by Brunel University, is becoming more popular amongst more mature students, for whom such a placement can often serve as a springboard to often extremely competitive labour market. Postgraduate work placement employers cover all related expenses with many also providing a salary.

work placement

Two programmes are currently offering work placement for students on the postgraduate level:

Placements are an integral part of the courses and students receive support from the academic staff and the Placement & Careers Centre while on placement.

MSc in Applied Corporate Brand Management Work Placements

Students’ placement take place from September to January the following year and previous placements involved roles such as project manager, marketing executive, brand researcher, internal communication officer and marketing officer amongst others.

Work placements are offered to suitable candidates with companies represented in the Applied Corporate Brand Management Advisory Board amongst others:

  • Heathrow Airport
  • BrandPie
  • Telefónica Europe
  • Radley Yeldar
  • Mars
  • Jim Northover Limited
  • Network Rail
  • leapSTONE
  • Right Management
  • Tata Beverages
  • Tetley Tea

MSc in Management Work Placements

Students will be beginning their placement starting in June 2014 through to September, with some starting their placements on a part time basis in January 2014 already.

Work placements where students will be taking up roles in e-marketing, HR, finance and client services have already been secured in the following companies:

  • Grant Thornton
  • Orange
  • Coats plc
  • MadBid
  • Better Lettings

Work Placement Testimonials

mai ann“During the summer of 2012, I had the opportunity to start my work placement at the successful brand agency BrandPie. I supported one of their top account managers in his day-to-day work and took on some of my own projects and research for the agency. I’ve work on an important project to rebrand an international technology company named ARM. The process included an audit of the market, interviews, re-defining their vision and purpose along with supporting the design team in designing the company’s new visual identity. I have also been involved in creating a new brand for a charity programme inspired by a pilot project the prince of Wales started in 2011. The programme was built for young kids to interest them in STEM. Finally, my work involved research and supporting the BrandPie to prepare for pitches. Working along creative strategist like Dave Allen, Roger Partington, Terry Moore, Sally Bye, Creative director Pete Widdup and Engagement consultant Kevin Keohane was a privileged.” Mai An Tran


“My work placement was done with the corporate marketing team of Network Rail, the company that is in charge of the British Rail infrastructure. My role was to blend business, consultancy and academic insights, in order to create scenarios and tools for corporate brand management in a context of ongoing devolution and strategic partnerships. The placement provided me with the opportunity to apply the newly acquired knowledge in a blue chip corporate environment and to develop valuable insight about the art of engaging a business audience with the science of branding.” Manuela Irimescu


mannan“I had the unique opportunity to work as an inter n for Tata Global Beverages (TGB), one of the leading companies in hot beverages. At TGB, I got to work on a part of the course, the placement at TGB has made my portfolio stronger on the basis of being a foreign work experience. This placement gave me the opportunity to work on the client’s side and get a different kind of perspective of working in the Marketing department of a global conglomerate. This has lead me to come in close contact with a lot of new areas like working with Kantar and Nielsen research data where I got to work with consumer trends and sales figures. Tetley being a heritage brand has always been at the forefront of innovation and new product development and I have learnt the importance of innovation even though tea as an everyday product. Another insight that I gained during my internship was the understanding of television as a media vehicle in the UK. This was a very crucial lesson for me since TV remains one of the most used advertising mediums. Finally, I am very proud to mention that I was given the task to organise a small tea party celebrating Tetley’s 175th anniversary in the London office. Managing and coordinating with different people has definitely taught me how to deal with people and manage their expectations. All in all, I must say that the ACBM course gave me a specialised understanding of corporate brands and the placement at TGB complimented the course very well. “ Mushfique Mannan

Work placement students launch Student-2-Student support group on LinkedIn

A group of work placement students from Brunel Business School came up with the idea to form a Student-2-Student support group on LinkedIn to help returning placement students continue with their professional development, networking and business skills gained over the placement year.

linkedin group

Mona Kalantar, currently on work placement with BOSCH as a Logistics Continuous Improvement Intern, one of the group founders, said the group will also help to reintegrate final year students into the business student community.

“We’ve created the BBS Student-2-Student Support Group to provide support to our classmates in the final year of studies. Students can connect with and seek support from other classmates studying the same modules/degree pathway, with the long-term objective of facilitating a culture of teamwork amongst BBS current final year students and alumni. This group is focused on maximising the potential of BBS students achieving their very best and to support returning placement students in connecting with their new classmates, leading to a better integration experience in the final year of studies.”

The group, launched today, is dedicated to students expected to graduate in 2015 at this stage only, with the view of including other years in the future.

To request to join the group please visit Student-2-Student support group on LinkedIn.

Top 5 things you need from a Masters in Management

We filmed an interview recently with MSc Management Course Director, Dr Grahame Fallon, to find out the top 5 things you need from a Masters in Management for career success. Watch the video below to find out what they are. We highlight the main points from the interview with the charismatic academic below:

Specialist options on a generalist course

You can be both generalist and specialist at the same time with bolt-on specialist areas of choice such as: Marketing and Branding, Innovation Management or the Creative Industries.

Employment experience and work placement

Career progression and finding suitable jobs are key for our students; hence employment experience is part of the degree programme. From your placement you identify a project, linked to the dissertation, and produce an internal consultancy report for a company.

Showcasing the degree certificate to future employers

Your specialist study and specialist placement experience is showcased on your actual degree certificate, to make it blindingly obvious for a potential employer, who is looking for a candidate that really stands out.

Engaging with businesses at high level

The Business Life programme is really supportive to your career prospects with a range of opportunities such as meeting with industry guest speakers, visits to companies and factories, and international business tours.

Accepting students from a variety of disciplines

Applications from candidates from social sciences areas and beyond who have aspirations of becoming managers are looked at seriously and positively, to put together a student body that’s multidisciplinary and international to enrich the course.

To find out more about this programme and other Masters degrees please visit the Brunel Business School website.

Students learn the business of entertainment on visit to O2 Arena

Students of the MSc Applied Corporate Brand Management, MBA and MSc Human Resources accompanied Dr Suraksha Gupta recently to the O2 Arena – the world’s most popular entertainment venue – as part of the Business Life programme of visits.

O2 Arena visit 066

The Brunel team was received by Ms Amanda Jones, O2 Head of European Marketing and the O2 resident team. A presentation delivered by the O2 team helped students to understand strategic partnership between the O2 and AEG, one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world.

The O2 team explained the operational excellence of this partnership to students through a presentation. The O2 team showcased how a partnership between AEG and O2 has expanded the penetration of the O2 brand into Europe, how top music artists are sourced to play at the O2 Arena, and how the O2 team manages all acts keeping in mind the brand image of O2 including the brand experience that visitors will look for during their visit.

The presentation also highlighted how O2 tries to engage its mobile users and make them feel special through promotions. Students were taken to exclusive bar areas built for the O2 customers and saw how promotions are publicised throughout the year. Other points of the visit also included a demonstration of the interactive wall displays and a photographic video studio that informs customer as soon as the shoot is complete and plays the video throughout the main screens within the O2.

This visit gave students of Brunel Business School a great insight into how a major, internationally known venue is operated and marketed and how firms aim to exploit branding opportunities.

Top tips from an ‘Apprentice’ – getting noticed by employers

Saira Khan, author, business owner, TV presenter and corporate speaker, was one of the first contestants on the BBC’s The Apprentice series in 2005. Saira recently shared her top tips on getting noticed by employers at the Brunel Business School’s annual Business Boot Camps for prospective BSc Business and Management students.

Saira Khan

Saira Khan (left) with Business Boot Camp attendee Misbah Ishfaq

  • Forget ‘Business’, embrace the word ‘data’ – your success is linked to how well you analyse, interpret and utilise it to create ideas and solutions – translating big data into insights and business value will be an essential skill to get to the top.
  • Do your internship in an IT company to develop data literacy – internet marketing experience will be valuable.
  • Think about how you want to make the world easier for people when choosing your business idea or career path.
  • Be honest with yourself – why are you going to university? 61.6% of students say that a degree is useful for getting a job.
  • It’s not about which university you went to – it’s about what you did at University to enhance yourself and make yourself employable.
  • At job interviews, try and think about what an employer would want in you, rather than what you can offer an employer.
  • Employers want self-confidence, self-awareness and great communication skills.
  • Be prepared at an interview – research the company, their values, and the key decisions makers and then demonstrate in the interview that you have done your homework – this will impress.
  • Have a vision for your life five years from now and then get a plan on how to achieve it.
  • Ask for feedback after the interview – ask what you did well and what you could improve on, so you are prepared for the next one, and don’t make the same mistakes.
  • Master good communication skills: body language, speaking, writing, personal presentation, questioning and LISTENING.
  • Talk the language at interviews: your competencies – the drive for results, integrity, honesty, innovation. Consider how you can demonstrate these without bragging.
  • Develop yourself: understand yourself, sell yourself, have high standards
  • Get confidence – other people can’t give you this – work outside your comfort zone to understand your strengths and development areas – this will help you to gain confidence about who you are.
  • Be proactive about everyday life. Don’t wait for things to come to you, fight for them. Don’t hound people though, do it in a nice way.
  • Sell yourself – selling yourself is about listening, ‘so what do you want to know about me?’ An employer wants to feel they could work with you.
  • Come down to people as needed. Change your tone.
  • Network. Talk about them, not business.
  • Have a spirit of excellence and high standards in your work – be known for always being on time, responding quickly and always looking presentable – 3 quick things anyone can do to create that brilliant first impression.
  • Think Education. Experience. Exposure.
  • My Life CV. Start writing your Life CV at secondary school and keep it updated, write down everything that you do outside of school – speaking a different language, working in a charity shop, playing a sport, getting recognition for something that you have achieved, being a carer, volunteering, etc – always keep this separate from your main CV and send it as a CV in its own right with your academic one to the employer.
  • Read business books – get to know the latest thinking, trends and personalities shaping the business world today.

Saira Khan is author of ‘P.U.S.H. for Success’ and founder of Miamoo naturally derived skincare products.

Brunel Business Boot Camp is an exclusive, invitation only event for candidates wishing to pursue their Business Degree in Brunel University. The Business Boot Camp is a three day, residential event with accommodation and food provided by the School for all participants. It truly is a unique opportunity for future Brunel students to be distinctive within a vibrant, innovative, and forward-looking environment.


Prof Balmer’s corporate identity article most downloaded in top European journal

Prof John Balmer

Recently The European Journal of Marketing announced that a co-authored article by Professor Hong-Wei He of Strathclyde University and our own Professor John M.T. Balmer, published in 2013, has been one of the most downloaded articles over the last year. Since its publication well over 1,100 downloads have taken place. This publication is the top European marketing journal and a unique forum for the dissemination of high-quality scholarly research and thinking in marketing.

The article examines corporate identity change within the British Building Society Industry. One distinctive feature of the article is its use of – and detailed description of – a grounded theory methodology. The research is taken from Professor He’s PhD thesis which was supervised by Professor Balmer whilst at Bradford University School of Management. Hong-Wei He won a competitive award to study with Professor Balmer on an area associated with corporate identity.

Details of the article are as follows: He, H-W and Balmer JMT (2013) ‘A Grounded Theory of the Corporate Identity and Corporate Strategy Dynamic: A Corporate Marketing Perspective’, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 47 Iss: 3/4, pp.401 – 430.

Professor John M.T. Balmer BA (Hons). MBA (Dunelm), PhD, A.Mus.TCL, Dip.M, PGCE is Director of the Marketing Research Group and Professor of Corporate Marketing at Brunel Business School and quondam Professor of Corporate Brand/Identity Management at Bradford School of Management.

Prof Balmer remembers corporate identity guru Wally Olins (1930-2014)

Written by Prof John Balmer

Marketing faculty and postgraduates (especially those on our MSc in Applied Corporate Brand Management along with many of our current and former PhD scholars) will be profoundly saddened to learn of the death of Walter (Wally) Olins who died in April at the age of 83.

The doyen of corporate identity consultancy, his work on corporate identity was of seminal importance. He was a global brand in his own right. Wally was an occasional visitor to Brunel Business School and was a regular speaker at ICIG (International Corporate Identity Group) symposia including the first in 1994 at The University of Strathclyde which I organised.

His reflections on corporate identity still meaningfully inform our lectures on corporate identity, branding and corporate marketing.

Prof Balmer (left) with Walter Olins (right)  in 1994

Prof Balmer (left) with Walter Olins (right) in 1994

Whilst obituaries in the Economist, FT, Times and Daily Telegraph etc. have focussed on the influence of his consultancy work and writing to generations of senior managers and scholars his profound influence on academic research, scholarship and teaching has largely been ignored.

His books on corporate identity and, more recently branding, have been – and continue to be – highly influential within the academy. He held numerous Visiting Professorships in leading British and Continental Universities.

As an MBA student at DUBS (Durham University Business School) from 1987-8 it was a meeting with Wally in his London office which fired my growing interest in the corporate identity field. Also of significance were the reflections penned in his book, “The Corporate Personality” The book is broad in scope and is rich in thought. To me, it surpasses anything else written by him.

The rest is history: my PhD in corporate identity (Wally was one of the examiners); a Chair in Corporate Identity Management followed by Chairs in Corporate Brand Management and Corporate Marketing. All of this rather surprised Wally but as I told him: it was largely his fault!

I will miss his sometimes irascible behaviour, wicked humour, striking socks, colourful bow-ties and his black, retro spectacles. Moreover, I will miss his intelligence and good-sense. There is no doubt that he will be accorded a prominent place among the pantheon of thinkers in the broad corporate marketing field. Although he has died, his writing and influence will live on and has, no doubt, inspired many prominent academics who have been associated with Brunel Business School (Professors Abratt, Elving, Greyser, Melewar, Nielsen).

Improving the lives of ageing consumers

Age UK imageThose aged 65 and over will account for 23% of the total UK population by 2035 (ONS, 2012) so it is essential that the needs of older consumers are understood. This group also has a large amount of buying power. Working with the charity Age UK,

Dr Gabriella Spinelli from Brunel Business School has generated solutions to tackle the problem of product and service provision for older people. Her work involves developing and evaluating products and services which can assist communication, improve the range of choice and enhance mobility.

Dr Spinelli’s team interviewed over 100 older consumers, distributed a questionnaire to over 1500 people aged 50-94 and surveyed 75 SMEs and large corporations in the UK Five specific marketing segments were identified based on self-perception of age and which are linked to older consumers’ attitudes, behaviour, values and needs.

The findings have enabled Age UK to develop and strengthen a business network called “Engage” (including organisations such as: BskyB, Atoc, BT, Virgin and Homebase). This network seeks in consultation with Dr Spinelli and Age UK to improve services and products for older customers.

“I valued the whole process; talking to real users through to designing with ageing consumers in mind” 
(Member of Engage)

Dr Spinelli states that it is important to focus on the context or social resources available to the older consumer. Only then is it possible to understand how the individual makes a product or service choice. An older individual’s adoption of a smart phone, for example, may not take place without support in setting up the device from a family member or from assistance in the shop.

%asset_title%Dr Spinelli’s research has contributed to an understanding of the often complex and sophisticated product and service needs of the elderly. The research has also led to a growth in Age UK’s business network from 7 companies to 40 in two years and has enabled the charity to diversify its revenue stream by offering consultancy services. This research led by Brunel has increased awareness of the product and service needs of an ageing population, helping to make the lives of older people easier.

This is part of a stream of research within Centre for Research into Entrepreneurship, International Business and Innovation in Emerging Markets.