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Archive for the ‘Business Engagement’ Category

Putting words into action – sale of text-to-speech start-up linked to Sheffield MBA director

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

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Dr Vasilis Theoharakis proves that tech start-up deals don’t always happen in Silicon Valley.

As director of the MBA, Vasilis hasn’t only built up an exceptional programme of experiential learning for students – he’s putting the relevant skills and theory into practice. A recent article by leading industry news site TechCrunch covered the sale of text-to-speech start-up Innoetics for whom Vasilis created the advisory board – he also managed part of the negotiation with buyer Samsung.

Innoetics’ product is ideally suited for application on intelligent interfaces, such as Samsung’s Bixby which works much like Siri on Apple products, or across other consumer electronic products and voice-powered services.

After starting his career in tech at IBM, Vasilis is now involved with a number of start-ups and does have links in Silicon Valley. He is a member of the management team at a prominent venture capitalist fund which provides seed money for the sector and passes his knowledge on to Sheffield’s MBA students who frequently interact with businesses and entrepreneurs through modules or the Career Accelerator Programme and Leadership Dinners. He said: “My experiences with companies like Innoetics ensure that I’m still at the sharp-end of business so our MBAs benefit from a realistic, up-to-date view of entrepreneurship and the start-up eco system.

“I make sure that our students put these learned skills into practice through the programme – it’s exciting to see their knowledge and abilities develop in this area via modules such as the New Venture Planning Challenge.”

This project-based core module, delivered in the second semester of the MBA, sees students work in groups to create a business plan and pitch it to a team of investors. Each team is mentored throughout by Vasilis, who guides them on selecting an entrepreneurial idea which leads into a comprehensive, fully-researched plan and presentation.

Vasilis concluded: “Entrepreneurship is one of the three key stands of our MBA programme – alongside leadership and consultancy. It’s a key skill, whether within an organisation or setting up on your own. I’m proud of what our MBAs go on to achieve and that my experience has contributed to their future.”

 

Click here to read more about the Sheffield MBA.

Click here for the full TechCrunch article.

Establishing pathways to resource efficiency and sustainability: Joining academia and industry

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

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Prof Lenny Koh, chair in operations management, recently co-hosted an event at the European Parliament, Brussels. Alongside John Procter, MEP for Yorkshire and Humber (European Conservatives and Reformists Group), she brought industry and academia together to showcase the research excellence and impact of the Sheffield-based Advanced Research Efficiency Centre (AREC).

Focusing on environmental sustainability, resource production and consumption efficiency, Lenny aimed to maximise the centre’s global outreach and gave an informative introduction to the Supply Chain Environmental Analysis Tool – Intelligence (SCEnATi), part of AREC’s research output.

SCEnATi is a tool used by leading organisations to map their supply chain and identify improvement opportunities in terms of economic, environmental and social factors by relying on the tool’s businesses intelligence capability integrated within the hybrid lifecycle analysis methodology.  Lenny emphasized the importance of global stakeholder collaboration using the examples of mobile phone manufacturing, use and after-life disposal, and changes to the motor industry.

Other panel members also presented their vision for greener supply chains and how researchers and industry can work closer together. They included Prof Panos Ketikidis (International Faculty of the University of Sheffield in Thessaloniki, Greece), Jay Sterling Gregg (European Energy Research Alliance), Philippe Micheaux Naudet (Association of Cities and Regions for Sustainable Resource Management) and Maria Rincon-Lievana (Circular Economy Action Plan).

A number of key points emerged from the following discussion, including the importance of interdisciplinary innovation to a greener economy, greening public procurement, investors and innovators collaborating on advancing science, energy storage and security, and the importance of the circular economy.

Comment: SMEs Going International – Capacity Building in SMEs for internationalisation, confidence, connections and capability

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

By Marian Jones and Melanie Hassett

In June, researchers from the University of Sheffield, Melanie Hassett, Marian Jones, Junzhe Ji and Tina McGuinness, along with Karl Warner from Edinburgh Napier University, hosted a sandpit event on the internationalisation of SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises). During the event they engaged in conversations with guests from local SMEs, government support agencies, and other facilitating bodies.

ABOVE: Capturing experiential knowledge. The stickers on the world map illustrate locations where workshop participants have done business.

ABOVE: Capturing experiential knowledge. The stickers on the world map illustrate locations where workshop participants have done business.

The aim of this event was to capture the entrepreneurial voice from lived experiences of ‘going international’ and to understand how entrepreneurs, intermediaries/support organisations and academics can create and share knowledge with potential to enhance sustainable success for SMEs in international markets.

The mechanisms through which a firm becomes international are well known, yet research shows that many firms find that building confidence and capabilities can be as problematic as dealing with exchange rates, freight forwarding and export guarantees. From that starting point, the group enjoyed an afternoon of lively conversation and shared narratives, and collectively generated a series of issues on which to build an agenda for future engagement, research and collaboration.

Participating were 13 entrepreneurs, four representatives from three intermediary/ support orgnisations, six academics and three doctoral researchers.

 

Enablers and barriers to internationalisation

The first set of issues emerging from the group conversations concerned enablers and barriers to internationalisation.

Home country enablers were reported as: institutional factors such as government programmes, availability of financial support, services provided by private and public sector intermediaries or support organisations, and availability of knowledge. Company/ firm enablers mentioned included, having:  product, technology, or firm expertise; financial and digital capabilities, capability to access and understand information on international markets, and having a wide network and established product and corporate reputation in the UK.

International/ foreign country enablers,included having people in the right places such as culturally aware contacts (Chinese students was mentioned by one participant), access to the overseas networks of UK institutions, universal standards, internet and digitalisation beyond the home country (including understanding search engines), cultural awareness and experience, being aware of trends in international markets and industries, and interaction at international trade fairs.

Barriers to internationalisation within the home country  were reported as: risk averse boards, parochial organisational culture, shortage of experienced human resource, financial resources and managerial time, and lack of support for development of young and new companies. Conversations revealed a long list of barriers stemming from the international environment and the firms’ own difficulties in knowing how to overcome international institutional and cultural barriers. Factors mentioned included: regulations and regulatory compliance and bureaucracy: risks (including IP, currency, corruption and general uncertainty); knowledge on where to go for support and market intelligence; understanding the fit between the the firm’s capabilities and scale and scope of opportunity; and problems associated with logistics. It was pointed out that many enablers can also be barriers and a “double-edged sword” for internationalising firms.

 

The lived experience

There was a general concensus that some of the biggest challenges stem from how we as human beings respond to internationalisation as a lived experience.  One participant described the feeling as “being comfortable with being uncomfortable”.The group discussed this as being about learning to understand cultural differences and breaking cultural barriers as well as creating business relationships while feeling out of one’s comfort zone.

Another participant expressed fustration that examples of internationalisation provided by supporting bodies are about the most successful firms whereas she felt it was important to understand the complexities of the process, the hard work that goes into it and the failures that firms experience along the way. An issue that came out strongly from conversations was that widespread negative reporting in the media about international business and political issues is creating a very difficult atmosphere for firms trying to engage in international business.

ABOVE: Balloons and stones – discussing the barriers and enablers of SME internationalisation.

ABOVE: Balloons and stones – discussing the barriers and enablers of SME internationalisation.

 

Where do we go from here

In the concluding conversation the group explored areas identified by participants as deserving attention from service providers such as intermediary organisations, support organisations and universities. In summary the main themes identified were:

  • Support for the SMEs in the ‘middle bit’, after the start-up phase
  • Need to share positive and successful stories of internationalisation
  • Need to share non-traditional success stories including the honest reality and hard work
  • Learning-by-doing, and learning-by-engaging in, or constructing communities of practice
  • How to change attitudes about culture and diversity at home and abroad
  • Making international connections and networking (crossing cultural and institutional barriers and mindsets) at home and abroad
  • Extending the multicultural university experience to local business communities.

The team would like to thank everyone who participated and aims to continue the conversation towards building a research agenda to better understand how confidence, capabilities and connections contribute to successful SME internationalisation.

Please send any comments to: m.v.jones@sheffield.ac.uk or melanie.hassett@sheffield.ac.uk

Thank you to the Sheffield University Management School Research Impact and Stimulation Fund for enabling this sandpit to take place.

 

PICTURE CAPTIONS:

ABOVE: Capturing experiential knowledge. The stickers on the world map illustrate locations where workshop participants have done business.

ABOVE: Balloons and stones – discussing the barriers and enablers of SME internationalisation

Highly commended: How SUMS impressed AACSB

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

 

L-R: Bob Reid, Executive Vice President and Chief Accreditation Officer from AACSB, with Yvonne Beach, Prof David Oglethorpe and Prof Andrew Simpson from the Management School

Pictured above (L-R): Bob Reid, Executive Vice President and Chief Accreditation Officer from AACSB, with Yvonne Beach, Prof David Oglethorpe and Prof Andrew Simpson from the Management School

From an intensive focus on careers, to impact on organisations and commitment to the mission and vision, Sheffield University Management School has received standout feedback from accrediting body, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

In April, the School announced that it has been awarded another five years of accreditation from AACSB, further to a visit from their peer review team comprising Deans from thee other international business schools. Amongst the formal feedback from AACSB are a number of strengths, innovations, features and practices which they have chosen to commend.

The panel praises the School’s research, employability initiatives and its work with organisations, highlighting how these activities link back to a recognised mission and vision used by the Dean, Prof David Oglethorpe, to embed socially responsible and sustainable practices throughout.

A research-driven environment which impacts on learning and teaching is core to the School, and the University as a whole. AACSB’s panel credited this approach, also noting that toolkits deriving from academic research projects had contributed positively to a variety of organisations, including the International Labour Organisation.

This link with business was also recognised as excellent in the context of Futures First, the School’s student employability initiative which draws on expertise and knowledge from its advisory board members, whose high profile day jobs inform some of the content.

Professor Oglethorpe said: “I’m so incredibly proud of the School, which has once again been granted the full five-year accreditation from AACSB. This is a wonderful result and testament to everything we have all worked very hard towards.

A further five years of AACSB accreditation cements Sheffield’s position as having a top one per cent global business school.

Click here to read our Mission and Vision.

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AACSB were impressed that the School’s mission and vision were embedded throughout the School

Reporting a positive start to the year: Management School contributes to Sheffield City Region economic survey

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Analysis on survey data performed by experts at SUMS suggests that Sheffield City Region firms continued to show growth in both domestic and export markets since the New Year, and also demonstrates increased investment in plant, people and training.

Over 300 business leaders in the service and manufacturing sectors completed the Sheffield City Region Quarterly Economic Survey for Q1 2017 to report a mainly positive start to the year. They forecast a strong outlook for sales in the next quarter with manufacturing firms foreseeing a substantial increase in both domestic and export markets – particularly across Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Possibly in response to this, both sectors have increased their investment in their plant, staff force and training.

Businesses identified the most important elements of the Government’s Industrial Strategy as encouraging growth across the whole country, encouraging trade and inward investment, and supporting businesses to start and grow. However nearly half of the businesses polled felt they didn’t know enough about strategy and how it would impact their business.

Dr David Littlewood, lecturer in strategic management and a Divisional Director for External Business Advancement at the Management School, presented the Quarterly Economic Survey first-quarter results at a breakfast event in Doncaster on 5 May.

Sir Nigel Knowles, chair of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The results of the Quarterly Economic Survey give an important insight into the current experience of businesses around the region. Looking at the results, we know that businesses want more support for starting and growing business and to see the right local institutions to support people, industries and places. That’s why our Growth Hub is now the gateway for specialist business support including innovation, exporting, accessing finance and training and why we are telling Government that we want to see greater local decision-making as an important part of the Industrial Strategy.”

Click here to read the Quarterly Economic Survey results in full, including a foreword from our Associate Dean for External Business Advancement Professor Andrew Simpson.

Sheffield women gain insight at IBM

Friday, May 5th, 2017

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In March, four Management School students joined a visit to tech giant IBM’s site in Hursley for a Women in Technology Insight Day.

The trip, shared with students from Sheffield Hallam University, offered participants a great opportunity to learn more about opportunities at IBM – they were able to get a feel for the culture, experience group work activity, get support with their CVs and meet with staff in a wide range of roles in the organisation.

Two BA Business Management students, Israa Abdelrahim and Monika Fekete, were joined by BA Hispanic Studies and Business Management student Anna Rubingh and Mirna Cheet, who studies our MSc Work Psychology.

We asked Israa about her experience:

“The Women in Technology event is organised exclusively for female Sheffield students by two alumni, now IBMers, Waleed and Emma. It was honestly the most valuable experience and opened my eyes to a whole world of technology I had never experienced before.

“On the first day we met some of IBM’s inspiring female employees. They talked about their experiences of working in top positions and each gave refreshing perspectives on how to progress through a career as women. There was a discussion on how IBM provides plenty of opportunities for employees, particularly women, to develop themselves and progress. A common aspect of their jobs they were all passionate about was the flexibility they have.

This gave us an insight as to how IBM employees work. There is a great deal of autonomy and control over their work which is fantastic if you are seeking for a position that allows you to lead and one that recognises your contributions and ideas. What’s more, you do not necessarily have to be a very technical person to work at IBM. For example, I spoke to a chemistry graduate who mentioned that IBM valued her analytical skills from her degree more than her knowledge on technology. Whilst this definitely a relief to know, having a valuable, unique skill is most definitely useful when it comes to finding a graduate job.

“After a chat with the ladies, we were taken on a tour of the campus starting with the ‘Innovative Room’. It had four stations in this room each showcasing different projects developed by IBM. One that stood out to me was the ‘Classifier Content’ software that was developed by IBM Watson – you could enter any baby name into a search box and the software provided a statistic showing what percentage of the name sounded female and what percentage male. The software was also able to ‘classify’ a name of a city to where in the world it is most likely situated. It was particularly fascinating because it was an unusual but original idea and there were some unexpected results.

“After this, we explored the surrounding parkland – if you are the kind of person who likes to take a walk outside during a break, this is the perfect spot.

“We spent the next day participating in a mock assessment centre, one of the stages of the IBM placement or internship application process. This was useful as I was put to the test with other women in my group to figure out the answers to two logical questions using statements given on a paper given to each one of us. What we’d thought was going to be straight forward turned out to be an ordeal and a few minutes in, we realised our own papers actually had different statements so had to scramble together the pieces! Something I learnt to keep in mind for any future assessment centres! In the end, we did manage to find two possible solutions and were given some great tips such as using a logic table when finding the answer.

“IBM does not necessarily look at how much experience you have in technology or coding but rather find any useful skills you may have. They also assess how well you work with other people. There are plenty of opportunities there to progress your career, be flexible with your job and have full control over your work.

“A massive thank you to Waleed and Emma and IBM for organising everything for us. It was a wonderful experience and one that I hope to share with others.”

Welcome back! The Management School opens its doors with new alumni network

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Northern Alumni Network

Whether you graduated two or 20 years ago, if you’re still in or around Sheffield our new network offers the perfect opportunity to get to know the Management School again.

On 10 May we’re launching the Northern Alumni Network. Open to all Sheffield graduates in business in the north, it’s a chance to connect with other alumni, have a look around our fantastic Crookesmoor premises, and meet members of the School who can help you get more involved in the future.

Prof Andrew Simpson, who will welcome attendees on the day, is Associate Dean for External Business Advancement at the Management School. He said: “The School has connections all over the world but with this event we’re looking to engage people a little closer to home. We’re very proud of the impact Sheffield graduates have on the city region and hope to harness this enthusiasm via the Northern Alumni Network.

“Whether your priority is reconnecting over a glass of wine with your old cohort, scoping out collaborative research opportunities with our academic staff, or understanding how to contribute your expertise to our students, this launch event will showcase everything we can offer our alumni and give guests a point of contact at the School.”

This focus on our regional alumni is an exciting step forward for the School. Let us know that you want to be part of it by signing up here:

http://management.sheffield.ac.uk/events/33526437477/

Venue: Sheffield University Management School, Conduit Road, Sheffield S10 1FL
Date and time: 10 May 2017, 6pm onwards
Programme:
6pm – Welcome
6.30pm – Food and drink
7pm-8.30pm – Showcase and Networking

We look forward to seeing you again in Sheffield.

For more information about Alumni activity at Sheffield University Management School, visit the Management Gateway Alumni pages here.

Collaboration for Inclusion: Social Inclusion Works

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

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Social inequalities affect us all. From a social and economic perspective, collaboration between organisations and researchers is beneficial to promote equality of opportunity, eliminate discrimination, enable inclusive growth, give voice, and change societal norms and infrastructure to catalyse inclusive communities, workplaces, and societies.

Dr Andreana Drencheva, lecturer in entrepreneurship at the Management School, is making the first steps towards doing so in partnership with University of Sheffield Enterprise (USE) and the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). She’s behind Social Inclusion Works, an innovative duo of events in Sheffield (4 April and 6 June, 2017) designed to bring together social entrepreneurs, academic researchers and entrepreneurship support organisations.

By running a creative space for individuals and organisations to learn with and from each other, the first event of the series on 4 April will result in mapping the common challenges organisations working toward social inclusion face in Sheffield. In the time that passes between the two events, participants will work together to collate and co-create evidence and insights to address these challenges. On 6 June, in the second part of the event series, participants will share actionable insights that social entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship support organisations, and researchers can take forward.

Andreana said: “The aim is to find better ways to catalyse social inclusion based on best practice and evidence. Together, we can share best practice, build capacity, and collaborate on new research or training projects that can make meaningful contributions to our communities. We are excited to host these events at Sheffield, where there’s lots of positive energy already in this area.

“The fact that the Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development (CREED), USE and the RSA are working together is a testament to the collaborative approach of these events. Collaboration is the key here – we would like to engage with a diverse range of sectors and disciplines relevant to social inclusion such as education, housing, social and health care, political studies, technology, urban planning, and finance, to name just a few examples.”

Social Inclusion Works has a co-creative focus. The approach of the events recognises that social entrepreneurs, researchers and entrepreneurship support organisations bring different knowledge and skills. Focusing on the current challenges of social entrepreneurs, the events will not just enable a safe space to share what works, but also to co-create new initiatives related to research, training and public engagement to improve current practice. Because of this collaborative approach, it is essential that individuals and organisations register only if they can attend both dates (4 April and 6 June, 2017).

Join the events to make social inclusion work. Click here to book your place.

Entrepreneurship conference showcases regional business expertise

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

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A conference hosted by Sheffield University Management School (SUMS) is taking full advantage of the city region’s vibrant business community.

Organised in collaboration with EFMD, a European management development network based in Brussels, the conference (8-10 March) explores the theme of entrepreneurship within organisations and launches in the Management School’s Middleton lecture theatre with a panel event featuring guests from organisations including Plusnet, Tech North and KPMG.

Attracting academics from all over Europe and the US, its influence, which draws on Sheffield’s business strengths, will have global impact. Chair of the conference, Professor Tim Vorley, said: “Researchers and practitioners in the field of entrepreneurship continue to push the boundaries about what we understand about entrepreneurs and how they operate. This has important implications for entrepreneurship education, both in terms of what leading businesses and management schools teach and how they teach it.

“Entrepreneurship inside organisations is an area of management education that is growing in interest. We’re delighted to be pairing with EFMD on leading this renowned annual event – welcoming input from the region’s business community is essential to its success.”

Guests on the panel include Andy Baker, CEO of Plusnet whose career at BT saw him take leadership roles in WiFi and gaming; business leader Douglas Dawson from the Liberty Industries Group who brings his exceptional global knowledge; Laura Bennett from Tech North, whose experience in entrepreneurship and organisational development sees her lead their Founders Network; KPMG’s Head of South Yorkshire region Philippa Sanderson; and Palie Smart from Cranfield School of Management whose interests encapsulate innovation and technology management.

EFMD runs and awards the EQUIS accreditation, one of SUMS’ triple crown accreditors which positions it in the top one per cent of business and management schools worldwide.

Click here to view the programme for the conference.

International Business Management students progress through UK competition

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017
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ABOVE (L-R): Margaret Barrionuevo, Kristers Zuika, Meg Seaman, programme director of BA International Business Management Panayiota Alevizou, Dominique Von Oppell and Isaac Bamber Lister

A team of five BA International Business Management students have reached the UK semi-finals of a prestigious international competition.

The Universities Business Challenge (UBC), which runs annually, has educational and employer partners and guides them through three rounds of rigorous testing designed by Learning Dynamics. The Management School’s team, championed by programme director Panayiota Alevizou, stormed through the first round – an online simulation of a real business where they had to make business decisions with regards to the financial data of each trading period, the external business environment, competitor data, and other live factors that any executive board would have to consider.

Competing directly with seven randomly chosen groups from other universities, our team accumulated as much profit as possible after six trading periods, confidently progressing to round two which will be held at the Sheffield’s Octagon Centre on 7 March.

Should they progress to round 3 – the grand final – Margaret, Kristers, Meg, Dom and Isaac will go to compete live against ten other teams at a London venue in an event hosted by UBC’s lead employer partner.

Click here to read more about the competition.