Partnering up with one of the largest companies in the world (guest entry)

Today is the last guest entry about the summer Company Engagement projects, written by  Swiss/German Philipp de Angelis.

Some enroll in an MBA to strengthen their business acumen and general management skills. Others want to change industry, geography and function, using the MBA to build a bridge over their professional hopes and fears. Some others focus on personal development and leadership skills. What the people who come to the IMD MBA have in common, however, is their curiosity and readiness to explore. And the Program caters to this desire.

The company engagement project (“summer internship”) is yet another opportunity for us to explore different industries and sectors. I was offered the opportunity to engage with Royal Dutch Shell, the Oil&Gas major, which was quite fortunate as I am keen to understand the fundamental sectors of the world economy, and those industries with the biggest impact on our everyday lives, and energy is definitely one of them. What better occasion than doing so through a project with one of the largest companies of the world (Shell is currently on nr.7, with USD 265bln in revenues in 2015).

Together with 3 MBA colleagues (Sumil Jain, Igor Popkov, Denis Borisenko), we have now been working on the topic of corporate alliances and strategic partnerships for the last 4 weeks. We were tasked to look at the best practices in various industries and the latest academic thinking, providing a number of recommendations to answer the following questions:

  • How are partnerships managed in other industries?
  • How can they effectively be used to drive revenues and/or reduce costs?
  • How can multinationals partner with startups?
  • How to manage an ecosystem of partners including startups and corporations?

The experience so far has been intense but rewarding: despite the flexibility we had by working remotely from Switzerland, the dedication of our team to provide Shell with high-quality inputs has been substantial. At the same time, we were excited to work on a challenging and strategic subject, requiring us to look in depth at the drivers, challenges and potential future directions of a large integrated energy company such as Shell, particularly its current and potential future external relationship ‘universe’ across existing business lines and in the ‘new energy’ arena. In addition, of course, making connections with professionals in the industry has made our efforts worthwhile.

In the next weeks we will finalize our recommendations and present them to executives at Shell, and before we know it, we’ll be back in class with our friends – we all look forward to seeing them again!

Philipp

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