A multi-talented team works wonders at KBC

Bolero is the name of KBC Securities’ online trading platform for retail investors, and for several years it’s been the best kept secret. The division, under head of retail, Peter Van Heeke, saw there was considerable potential, and asked our help in examining the problem from a neutral perspective.

Peter Van Heeke, Junior Cuigniez, Tom Dhaene and Therese PerssonThe team

The three students who undertook the analysis came from mixed backgrounds, doing Masters in both Finance and General Management, and this in fact added considerable value to the project. Therese Persson comes from Sweden, where she studied for a Business Administration degree in Lund. Now working as a senior analyst at IMS Health, she’d previously worked as a controller in the public sector there. Tom Dhaene graduated with a Masters in International Business Law, studying in both Japan (Kyushu University) and New York (NY University School of Law), and now works as an analyst at PriceWaterhouseCooper. Junior Cuigniez did a degree in Business Economics at Ghent University, and majored in finance. He’s always been passionate about stock exchanges, so it’s no surprise he’s ended up at Petercam.

The project

It was a very open brief, but the essence was to see what could be done to make Bolero more visible. The title of the project says it all: “A strategic marketing and positioning plan for an online broker”. Peter Van Heeke explains: “Originally we imagined we’d be getting a team from the Marketing faculty but, as it turned out, what we got was just what we needed. Up until recently, KBC Securities was a separate division within the Group, and as such hadn’t received the investment of time (or money) that it might have. This exercise was a chance to start afresh, and see just what could be done in the future.”

Open-door policy

The student team confirms that it was both a challenging and a rewarding project to work on. Therese: “We got to see just how things work in a big company. It was virtually a full-time assignment for two months, and a lot of that time was spent in the KBC Securities offices. We were given full access to everyone we wanted to speak to, from every level in the company. It was most gratifying to see just how much respect the organisation had for our opinions. They took us seriously. We really felt like esteemed consultants, which was particularly motivating.”

The result

“The team worked very well together,” says Peter. “They each had their specific role: Therese managed the tasks, Junior crunched the numbers, and Tom read and wrote. There’s no doubt they did a good job, and they certainly deserved the KPMG award for best financial project of their year. And from the business standpoint, their report has had a significant impact too. KBC Securities won’t look like it does today and there will definitely be major developments in the bank’s online proposition.”

Read all about how our students can help your company via an in-company project!

Masters@Vlerick

An in-company project like this one at KBC Securities is just one of the ways in which we integrate the real business world into our Masters programme.

  • To start with, there’s the Deep Dive Challenge, where students tackle an actual business case and report their findings and recommendations to the company in question.
  • We have interactive case-based teaching and business games.
  • At the end of the programme, they choose one of ten boot camps, which are organised around themes that tie in with typical starter jobs for Masters students.

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