Learning from the masters

Alex Martin
3 January 2014

Alex Martin3 January 2014 | Alex Martin

Alex Martin is writing a series of blogs for Supply Management about studying part-time for an MBA. You can find his previous entries here.

In December, my MBA restarted with a masterclass exclusively for students and EIPM alumni, and then a two-day purchasing conference on ‘Ecosystem Excellence’ for all interested, including external companies.

During my November break I completed a maturity assessment of my employer’s procurement function, which is part of the purchasing module assignment, using the EIPM’s free online assessment tool. I compiled the questions into a Powerpoint format, interviewed eight vice presidents, and averaged the scores. Then I finally entered the scores into the tool for the results, which I analysed in a report for the CPO and submitted as an essay for my assignment. Companies have the opportunity to participate in an awards process, based on the tool’s criteria, and the awards gala evening is part of the December module.

This module was a great experience – meeting my fellow MBA students from China and receiving lectures in the masterclass from Lisa Ellram of Miami University, Arjan van Weele of the Eindhoven Institute of Technology and author of the book Purchasing and Supply Chain Management, and Peter Kraljic, the creator of the Kraljic portfolio purchasing matrix.

In total, the lectures focused on: Product life cycle concept and procurement services landscape, including outsourcing services; risk management in oil drilling operations and creating shared value in the global coffee value chain; and finally globalisation, competitiveness and supply management.

We also had a special lecture on procurement transformation from Detlef Schultz, Vodafone board member and CPO and CEO of the Vodafone Procurement Company (interviewed by SM in 2007).

The conference was delivered through a number of presentations from various companies on their own experiences regarding sourcing. Presenting companies varied from McKinsey and Nokia to L’Oreal and Vodafone. Everyone received a copy of the EIPM’s latest book, Global Industrial Trends published by e3 Associates, written by MBA students (including me).

Throughout the evenings in the first half of the week, all students dined out sharing MBA stories and experiences. The second half we had a networking dinner, followed by a gala dinner for the awards ceremony, with conference attendees.

The week drew to a close on Friday afternoon with people jetting to all corners of the globe but, for me, I stayed over the weekend and celebrated my birthday in Geneva with friends.

☛ Alex Martin is IT business service principal consultant at SAP. He welcomes comments and LinkedIn connections

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