BearingPoint challenges students to rethinking business models in telecom

31 August 2018 5 min. read
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BearingPoint recently invited students studying in the Netherlands to make their way to the firm’s premises in Amsterdam to pitch their ideas on how the telecommunications market could embrace innovation in a bid to stay ahead of the game. 

“What better way for students to learn to develop their own opinions, do strategic analysis, and experience different ways of working than by testing them in a real business environment?” said David Bergsma, Senior Manager at the European-origin management consulting firm. In order to prepare the 25 students – all are enrolled in the ‘Computer Science & Economics’ programme from the Leiden University – Bergsma gave a guest lecture on key trends and developments in the telecom industry to the students. 

During the lecture, part of the course “Orientation Informatics & Economics”, Bergsma explained to his audience the value chain of the telecom industry, from the required infrastructure through to the services and content delivered to customers. A deep dive on the inner layers of a provider showed students how business and technology is heavily interconnected. The guest lecture ended with Bergsma touching upon the eTOM model. “The guest lecture gave me insight in the many different players in the telecom industry and how the several layers are connected to each other,” said Renee Boot, one of the students who sat in Leiden University’s auditorium.

On top of the lecture, the students were invited for a company visit at BearingPoint’s office in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam. On the day, they would crack a case – a typical part of simulating how it is to work in consulting. The case, which the students prepared prior to the day, asked them to rethink the business model of a telecom provider and how this would translate to the firm’s operating model.BearingPoint challenges students to rethinking business models in telecom

At the start of the company visit day, the students pitched their ideas. The rest of the day was focused on translating the requirements from the business & operating model to applications/technology. Using post-its, flip-charts and markers among other items, teams of students worked together in a bid to find the silver bullet. To provide students with further inspiration, BearingPoint hosted an inspirational session on Artificial Intelligence. The day was closed off by the students presenting their entire solution: future business model, target operating model, and target application/technology landscape.

Telecom is one of BearingPoint’s larger areas of expertise across its functional footprint. The consultancy works for large telcos such as BT, Eircom, O2, Orange, Tele2, T-Mobile, Telefonica, Vodafone and Ziggo, supporting them with offerings such as operational strategy, organisation, marketing & sales, innovation, performance improvement, and digital transformation. The firm also provides a range of thought leadership pieces on the industry, with its latest in the field finding that partnership models in the industry’s broader ecosystem have yet to deliver the hyped returns.

Commenting on the learning experience he gained, Boot said, “At BearingPoint we learned among other things how to use the business model canvas, which made it a lot easier to understand. When you are working with these kind of models it can be complicated, but visualising it like we did that day made it much more fun. We also had to give presentations, which was a little scary at first, but it did prepare us for our final presentation.” 

Tyron Offerman, a Senior Business Consultant at BearingPoint and a lecturer at Leiden University, explained the importance of including a company visit into the programme for students. “As a lecturer, I always try to incorporate at least one company visit in my courses. These company visits are great for the motivation of students, they really like seeing the inner workings of organisations, and seeing some of the theory in practice. Such an experience provides practice of theory, but it also shows students some of the limitations that theory has in practice.”

Bergsma added; “As a student or future consultant it is important to understand the driving factors of both the business as well as the technology. It is key to have good understanding of the value chain, the business models of organisations within that chain, the role technologies play to be successful, and the capabilities an organisation must master. This requires a holistic view that can be supported by process and technology frameworks such as eTOM and TAM.”

Concluding his reflection on the day, Boot remarked, “Visiting BearingPoint was a lot of fun and it was interesting to hear such great people speak and being able to ask them questions. Overall it was a nice experience!”