“How Nestle standardised and truly globalised its operations through technology”?

As the popular saying goes – hear it from the horse’s mouth, we were the lucky ones to explore our technology case-study on Nestle with Mr. Stephen Howells, Business Excellence Manager for Nestle.


The problem encountered by Nestle was owing to its huge global presence, it had multiple stocks with different SKU’s (an abbreviation for product codes) i.e. unique code for each product. Numerous codes for a single item complicated not only tracking the contents that went into the thousands of products, but also failed to provide the company with a single source of truth regarding its product performance.


To circumvent this issue, Nestle took strategic decisions to implement a new ERP system into their business, (WITH) a group of 400 of their best employees from around the world, each team member specialised in the different sectors like marketing, purchasing, finance, distribution, etc.


The selected people set out for assignment GLOBE in Switzerland and each member received a new car and the estimated operating cost for this project £30 million every year. Nestle was committed to uniting and aligning on the inside and outside to be more globally competitive while managing complexity with operational efficiency.


Mr. Howells oversaw logistics and purchasing during the project. The firm benchmarked their ideas, accordingly to their market competitors and as communication between different departments was crucial to project’s success there was an open-desk policy.


As described by Stephen, they identified materials requirement planning based on 8 key areas of the business. Each process was documented, checked and verified.


The major challenge was to cleanse the data that had to be integrated into the new SAP system to be launched into the business processes. Initially, there was low focus on data-entry in the earlier stages and resistance to change by senior management.


Chris Johnson, Globe manager of Nestle travelled all over the world to different country units and steered the project successfully by identifying the project as not just an ‘IT project, but a CRITICAL business project’.


Ultimately, the project became a Big Success for Nestle and continues to save the company hundreds of millions of dollars every year. It is also a great example of Business-IT Alignment and effective change management.


-Sakeynay (Sammy), Batch of 2017-2018



How Cisco wow’ed us with collaboration !

After attending Dr. Hari’s lectures on Technology on the MBA, we began understanding how businesses are being undermined by not adopting the potential of information technology.

The coming together of digitization, infusion of software and the ubiquity of IT has led to a revolution in the business world!
After discussing a variety of business cases showing the disruptive and innovative potential of IT, we were told our Tuesday afternoon class was scheduled at the offices of Cisco to experience technology real-time.


We were warmly welcomed by one of our alumni, Mr. Ozgur Savas, senior manager at Cisco and his colleague, Cristi Grigore.2

After getting our brand new ID cards we were headed for a scrumptous lunch from Cisco.


Sneak peak of my first selfie 😉 – First look with the Cisco ID card!


Nope! That’s not just a massive cafeteria with live counters but also an amazing view of London!!!


After being treated like a royalty at lunch on our way out, we found two Cisco employees campaigning for employee mental health welfare initiative. This made us feel how much Cisco as an employer values in their people and also their well-being.


We next entered the Customer experience centre. Our first glimpse was of a real-time video conference between 3 employees from different geographical zones. Who knew work could get that fancy !


Mr. Ozgur and his colleague, Vlad took us through the Spark technology which works on stimulation of the surrounding network. The technology is so advanced that it detects the end-users in the nearest surroundings which saves the employees valuable time to join calls immediately or remain in a call while catching a room reservation as the calls are enabled on the Spark app. The spark app allows people to communicate with all kinds of devices. And by devices, I also mean the telephones enabled with smart video cameras. How cool can that be to work from home with your personal video and voice enabled gadgets. The employees get to know each other not only during year-end meetings but all throughout the year, that’s a terrific idea of simplify business processes.



The coolest feature of the Cisco systems were they don’t require user to connect using any cable, the system not only recognised its end-user but also identifies its user by its voice.

file9-1P.s.: That laptop is connected to the Spark tv without any cable !!!How cooler can technology get !!!

To revamp the office team meeting Cisco has also developed – Spark board which is a touch-screen board and the writing can be saved on the company drive using cloud computing. Who thought so many brainstorming ideas in team meeting could be saved as files, well a company did and we were lucky to witness this technology 🙂


We were next headed to our next segment of the study trip which was a presentation by Cristi. On our way, we came across these huge motherboards which store tons of database, and we were amazed knowing each of these machines is worth millions.

During the presentation, Cristi explained the power of collaboration on which Cisco runs. It was interesting to know how Cisco provides the framework for Internet and electricity in the world. We were introduced to cloud computing and IP telephoning.


After the presentation, we were given an opportunity to come up with a business idea using cloud computing. This was the ‘Creathon’. We had about 30 minutes to come up with a techie idea.

Team 1 – Brainstroming their eco-friendly idea of creating sensor enabled bins for waste management – Smartbin


Team 2 – Candidly developing their cab-share and hassle-free parking business idea.


Team 3 – Developing their idea of using cloud computing in the hospitality industry . As the idea was inspired by Cisco’s objectives, we named it HotelSpark.


After some really good presentations from each team, Team 3 was announced as the winner and each member was awarded an Amazon dot Echo and lots more Cisco goodies.


Nicole was awarded for her excellent presentation skills.


It was very kind of Mr. Ozgur for showing us the innovation of Cisco and also letting us know that we will be soon seeing a Part 2 of him as very soon he will be visiting us to
talk about security and the most-hyped technology of the era -Blockchain.


A day well-spent with an extremely knowledgeable faculty Dr Hari with whom we discussed professional and technology developments on our way back to university. Thank you Dr. Hari for the wonderful study trip and tech enlightenment. 🙂

– Sakeynay (Sammy) Batch of 2017-2018

A RHUL MBA Alumnus Gives a Guest Talk to the Current MBA Cohort

Mr Srinath B. Ramachandra from Jaguar Land Rover was a guest speaker in the seminar for the “Strategy, Technology and Operations in a Globalised World” course (MN5137). He gave a talk about International Manufacturing Operations at JLR. Srinath is a MBA graduate from RHUL. He studied here in 2013-2014. Great honour to welcome our successful graduates back to share their experience and knowledge with the current student cohort!


Mr Srinath B. Ramachandra with MBA students and Dr. Adrain Coronado.


MBA17/18 starting Individual Business Projects (Term 2) – AI is a hot topic

MBA17/18 students are starting their Individual Business Projects (Term 2). Artificial Intelligence (AI) pops up in many initial IBP proposals. Clearly a hot topic – after all “Artificial Intelligence is the New Electricity” (Andrew Ng) – but the biggest question is how to customise AI for a particular business context. Here Andrew Ng on impact of AI:



RHUL MBA 2016-17 Graduation

Well deserved! Congratulations to all the MBA 16-17 students at the graduation.

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The first group presentation

The first group presentation

Introducing the batch of 2017!!!


Oops!!! Here you go 😊


After our finance in-class test, we got started with building a portfolio of 5 FTSE100 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. It was very challenging for most of us, as we weren’t from Finance background. Reading after classes, referring to dummies videos, to calculating our portfolio of different companies and explaining each other how much profit we made; we did all of that.The preparation had endless meetings and repeated rehearsals a night before. And how can I forget the lovely memories I made throughout!


This is what happens when the mouse doesn’t work, we use our highly specialized touch!


When Mac gave up after rehearsing for the presentation a night before!!! (P.S: Don’t worry, she was only taking a power nap to memorize better)

24th of November, 9a.m. – The nervous students arrived to showcase their newly-developed finance knowledge. It was interesting how every team built a unique portfolio of 5 equities from a budget of £10,000.


(Excuse me for the order of the teams as I wasn’t able to photograph the first and second group presentations because to be honest in the first part I was doing my presentation and during the second presentation calming down from my nervousness)


From group 3 – Kim explaining the correlation of the stocks they selected for their portfolio.


(From left to right-Elsa,Kim, Sukhi and Anjali)Group 3 – Acing through their Q&A session with professor Kyu. This group had a unique objective of conservation investment to build their portfolio. The 4 key take-a ways after seeing their presentation were 1. Safe investment, 2. Protect the portfolio against inflation, 3. Ascertain normal returns for all the equities, 4. Adopting low-risk tolerance.


(From left to right- Nicole, Grace, Youngeun, Sherry and Mag) Group 2 – This group took a Warren Buffet-wannabe strategy. They focused to find undervalued stocks in the market. They analyzed the market, economy and the individual companies to ensure they made a good portfolio. Their favorite strategy was the PE ratio (which is the Price-earning ratio, to explain in simpler words if an equity has a PE value 12 then the price you are paying is 12 times the earnings).


A touch of Dab – Who said Finance can be difficult? It’s enthralling when we learn it with enthusiasm 😊


(From left to right – Skye, Mackenzie, Vj and Sammy) Group 1 – Representing their diversified portfolio. We built a risk-averse, diversified portfolio which got steady income to our 60-year old client for his retirement. The portfolio was built using the standard deviation (which measures the risk element of the asset products) and Bid-Ask spread (this is the key indicator to ascertain the demand and supply of the stocks. Bid-ask spread = Ask price-Bid price. Ask price is the price at which companies sell their shares and Bid price is the price at which investors wish to buy share. The key take-away was to invest in companies having a good dividend per share and to hold on to portfolio for a longer term to reap maximum benefits.


Look at us ! All Finance-savvied to take up our consultancy projects and build a profitable portfolio for our future clients.


Our best candid moment was with our cool finance professor – Dr Kyu who gives his fantastic touch to a competent subject like Finance.


And finally the Celebration time – A class that eats together, stays together 😊

– Sakeynay (Sammy) Batch of 2017-2018



#AcademicWriting: How to write paragraphs

The 1st term is ending (8 Dec!), many written assignments to submit… If you have any difficulty with writing check CeDAS workshops and resources. Also, here is a great how-to article to help refresh the basics: How To Write Paragraphs

In English the core building blocks of any intellectual or research argument are paragraphs. Each paragraphs should be a single unit of thought, a discrete package of ideas composed of closely linked sentences. The most generally applicable sequence to follow is — Topic, Body, Tokens, Wrap.

more here

Marketing enthusiasts at the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising in the city of London


When you sign up for one of the world’s most accredited MBA’s in the most beautiful university of UK (huge shout-out to RHUL for bagging the award this year), you know you’re headed for something new every day.

From looking up a new class in the campus (we call it treasure hunt), to having renowned guest speakers speak eloquently for students to figure out their opportunities, to having a surprise off-campus class; this blog is for the latter.

After 6 weeks of extensive knowledge in marketing, we were given an opportunity to see marketing come out of our books and see how it grew in the British era. The announcement was made by our charismatic lecturer – Giana Eckhardt that Tuesday the 31st October we had an off-campus class and were headed to the Museum of Brands in the city of London.


As enthusiastic children amazed to find their way in Disneyland, we the young millennial marketers entered awestruck in the museum to find our favorite brands take birth in the 1800’s during the Victorian era. It was interesting to know how the Industrial revolution resulted in the birth of brands. Trade developed and people felt the need to have distinct products and brands.

The first segment on display was the Victorian and Edwardian phase which was pompously marked with exquisite crockery of the Royal household, complimenting the newly-born brands showcased in the display. The development of railways was widely advertised in the Sunday Times newspaper (interesting to know that Sunday times is that old a newspaper brand). There were bright-colored boxes with brand names in huge fonts which caught our eye and depicted the newness of advertising in the market (baby steps as they say). It was amusing to find big brands like Nestle originate in 1837 and most people’s favorite comfort food product – Cadbury chocolate came into existence in this very phase. Printed postcards started circulating by 1894 during the Edwardian phase and to get active the game – Ping pong was invented.

The 1910’s were uniquely marked with introduction of Jig-saw puzzles as this was the learning phase of marketing and the great minds were still developing their ideas so why not make it an interesting game! People developed a sense of sophistication which led to shoe-related brands origination; the famous shoe polish brand – Kiwi and Dr. Scholl’s sole were neatly presented in big colorful printed media posters. Heinz came up with easy-to-use tin containers of soup, spaghetti and soups while the sweet-toothed experimented with their taste buds and produced cocoa and Bournville- Dark chocolate.

The next few years from 1920-30’s weren’t the best in terms of trade or marketing due to the war crisis. However, Radio was the highly-used media for marketing and also the London Underground system was developed. Food products like Kellogg’s initiated cornflakes and chocolates producers – Nestle and Macintosh diversified their products by producing variety of toffee and chocolates.

In the 1940’s, which was a post-war time; it was turning point in the marketing history. Various FMCG products like Vim dish washers, Kleenex tissues, HP sauces, Nescafe coffee and Brook bond tea saw an evolution. It was evident that people developed newer products and tried various print media marketing from catchy one-liners to brightly colored posters of their products.

The period of 1950’s, people were heavily investing in leisure and travel. Based on the need the huge the photography revolutionary company –  Kodak was born. While food products expanded their product lines, we also observed beverages like Pepsi and fruits juices in the household items.

In 1960’s, brand started using mascots in their branding. Mascots were cartoon figures to famous celebrities marketing product campaigns and advertisements. This was a period of revolutionary breakthroughs wherein the first personal computer – Apple’s Macintosh was born. Daily consumption products developed diversified product categories like Kellogg’s adding different flavors of cornflakes in their product category to Fairy’s liquid dish washers being replaced by soap bars. Entertainment sector was more music-oriented in this era and famous bands like Beatles and Bench boys gave birth to the pop culture.

The 1980-1990’s was the booming period of entertainment; pop music culture was in huge demand. Music bands like Spice girl, Blue, West life were hugely popular and to listen their songs Sony developed Walkman’s to play their songs on the go and shifted the public from old-age tape recorders to Walkman cassette players. Major supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s were the go-to place for buying FMCG products. Cadbury chocolates to Kellogg’s to Macintosh chocolates, all these brands were developing different flavors to attract sales and ascertain public response.

Now many of you must be wondering why have I been referring brands which already exist? Were these the only brands I observed? Apparently no! They were plenty of brands, so many out of which I handpicked the ones I could relate with. What happened to the rest of majority that didn’t ring a bell with the students? These brands didn’t survive or didn’t make enough stakes to pass the rest of time (survival of the fittest as they say!). The unique attributes of brands listed above to have survived while other brands have disappeared were consistency and their ability to modernize with changing trends of the market.


Interesting observations of my fellow marketing students

Vijay – He observed how older brands marketed their brands by having images of activities depicting the usage of the brand (like a woman washing clothes with a detergent).

Sherry – She observed that in 1950’s, both men and women were used in illustrations of brand marketing images.

Nicole – She identified brands adopted innovative packaging to update their positioning in the market. There was more artistic display of grains in food products and transfer to pictures in packaging.

Anjali – She observed how brands survived throughout the various periods by adopting the right pricing strategies.

Youngeun – She observed how marketing was more about stories earlier and now it’s has been simplified and is competitive. Also, the colors used in packaging are getting stronger with time.

I observed how the font size on the packaging has decreased with time.

In the last class exercise to pick a brand, to discuss its various brand elements the famous liquor brand – Johnny walkers was picked by Kim for discussion.

  • Packaging – The brand used exquisite packaging in a square bottle.
  • Slogan of the brand – Keep walking
  • Logos/symbols – Name of the brand was embossed in golden and written in indented font.
  • Characters/ Celebrities – The brand developed their mascot of a suited man, wearing a royal shield walking in the outdoors.
  • Audience – It was interesting how Johnny walkers sponsored a race car event and golf tournaments to market themselves in the premium high-class society.
  • Colors -They used bright colors like red and blue in their packaging for indicating the level of premium.

I would like to conclude this blog with a big thank you to our program director – Olga Kravets for giving us this amazing opportunity to connect with the marketing history with this museum trip and treating us to Honest burgers after the museum trip.

IMG_0814-Sakeynay (Sammy),  Batch of 2017-2018




My MBA at Royal Holloway – Flashback

The very first day I entered the classroom I was a little scared and out of my comfort zone. For a person like me, who was born in a small village in Pakistan and spent the whole of his life in that country, this was too much. I was looking at the faces from different parts of the world and ethnic backgrounds. I sat alone on a chair at the back of the class. Everybody was introducing themselves, so did I. Everyone had a unique background and varied experiences which made me think that how will I connect with these people as each one is so different from me. There were some tasks for the first two weeks so that we can become familiar with each other and then the modules started but there was still some hesitation.


Then came the last day; we had our presentations for the consultancy project. All the students presented their best with the help of their group fellows. After the presentations everybody stood in front of Moor building for a final group photo, however, no one left after the photo. I was feeling more scared than the first day and I had somewhat same feeling on the last day but the reason was totally different. I was uncomfortable on the first day because I felt out of my comfort zone but now I was uncomfortable because I was leaving my comfort zone. Everybody was saying goodbye to each other with promises to remain in touch. I stayed on campus until late that day and then left in the evening with a heavy heart. I could not have thought I would make good friends during such a short span of less than a year, and the impact this MBA would have on me in this time period.


I still remember the day, when I went to see Olga, our programme director. I was there for something else but during the conversation, I told her that I am a reluctant person in class who is afraid of asking questions and participating in the class discussions. She encouraged me to speak without fear as it is quite possible that you might have a better point than the others. I gave it a thought and started participating in the class not because of what I had in my mind was right but because, often, what others were saying seems not quiterelevant to the subject under discussion as I understood it. It seems a bit awkward but that is how I tackled my fear of classroom participation and presentations.

I developed and refined my thought processing through interaction with the faculty members and my classmates. I cannot express in words, the learning and experience that I gained from my MBA cohort and I am so thankful to all of them for sharing their time, experiences and thinking with me. I tried so many foods with them from across the globe. Similarly, I will remember our sittings in the Hub, Imagine and Bedford library.  Also, the group work provided me with the opportunity to learn from them and understand their way of doing things. Moreover, the study trip to Germany and Czech Republic was an amazing experience where I spent quality time with the MBA family. I know that I will definitely keep in touch with most of them for rest of my life.


Apart from in class discussions and debates, I really enjoyed my out of the class conversations with Dr Brendan McSweeney on British history and Brexit; Dr Mathew Li on economics and financial markets; Dr Helen Tregidga on PhD and New Zealand; and most importantly Dr Olga Kravets on everything. Most of the faculty members were always helping and easy to approach in and outside the classroom. They played the role of a guide rather than strictly being teachers as they were always guiding the class debates on a given topic towards healthy thought-provoking ideas. Instead of providing answers most of them helped and steered the discussions towards the thinking and ideology behind the answers.

In the end, I would just like to say that my MBA at the Royal Holloway University of London developed me as a manager, leader and most importantly as a person. An interesting learning for me was the difference between ‘doing the right things’ and ‘doing the things right’. Furthermore, now, I am prepared and confident to face the challenges in my life with the tools acquired through my MBA. However, I do wish that I could have more time to spend with my friends of MBA and more Nigel Laurie sessions.

– Fraz Ahsan (MBA 2016/17)

Greetings from MBA 2016/17 – Postcard

Greetings from Royal Holloway MBA 2016/17! (see video postcard from Henry)