Living in the Fast Lane: BMW Helping GIS Students Get Ahead

Last December, GIS invited Mr. Peter Kronschnabl, the President and CEO of BMW Japan Corp., to speak at the university. The success of the event led to the first BMW x GIS Collaboration Event, which took place on May 8th, June 14th and June 28th this year. 21 GIS students (14 third year students / 7 second-year students) took part in an employer branding workshop, with all communication taking place in English.

The first session was held on May 8th at BMW Group Japan HQ. After introductions, intensive and informative lectures were given by four members of BMW Group Japan, which helped the GIS students gain a deeper understanding of the company’s profile, the external environment, the customer journey, and the company’s digital strategy. At the end of the session, the BMW staff announced two tasks for the students. Once the tasks had been outlined, the students broke into four teams, with two teams tasked with making a marketing plan to enhance market recognition of the BMW brand and promote BMW car sales using social media. The other two teams had to make a marketing plan for improving online sales of BMW cars.

1st session




Using the time between the first and second sessions, the four teams made great efforts to collect and analyze the relevant data and produce effective marketing plans. The second session started on June 14th at Hosei University’s Ichigaya campus, with a welcome speech given by Dr. Fukuoka, the vice dean of GIS. Each team then gave their ten-minute presentation to the six BMW Japan staff members present. The BMW staff gave insightful feedback to each team and pointed out possible improvements, exchanging ideas with each team. The second session closed with an overall feedback comment by Mr. Tom Stepanchak, Director of Sales and Marketing Division of BMW Japan Finance Corp.

2nd session





The third and final session took place on June 28th at the BMW Group Tokyo Bay site. Each team unveiled their novel marketing plan at 9:30 am, and after these final presentations, the group members had to answer incisive questions from the panel of judges (the BMW staff and Dr. Fukuoka). After ten minutes of deliberation, the winners were announced, and the victorious teams received awards on stage from Ms. Satoko Nakatani, Chief Operation Officer of Operation Division of BMW Japan Finance Corp. with appreciation for students’ efforts. Each judge gave fruitful feedback to every team.

In the afternoon, Mr. Kaname Saeki, Manager of Product Marketing, explained BMW’s innovative product line-up, which was followed by a talk by an employee who had joined BMW Group Japan through their internship program. Finally, Ms. Michaela Kieninger, Director of brand management BMW, gave an expert lecture to the students on the company’s brand strategy. The session ended with a chance for the GIS members to experience BMW’s latest products and technology.

3rd session









<Student comments>
・It was such a great experience to apply what we have learned and focus on output in front of professionals. I had never been required to have deep insight that cuts to the heart of a problem, so it gave me real knowledge that I can make use of in real life. (Daiki)
・In the BMW workshop, we could apply the practical skills and academic knowledge that we have acquired in our seminar to the fullest. The experience provided the participants with a stronger motivation, an insight into a real business, and clues to what can be improved. (Ryoji)
・Through this event, I could learn not only about BMW itself but also about how difficult it is to create something from your imagination. Also, thanks to this event, I could think about my career more deeply. I would like to attend an event like this again. I am so grateful to BMW Group Japan and the GIS faculty for giving me such a wonderful opportunity.(Yukariko)
・This experience with BMW group is one I will treasure as I go forward in my life. The event gave me an opportunity to gain opinions from professionals and understanding the significance of branding was eye-opening. Not only was it educational, but it was enjoyable too! (Sara)
・The workshop helped me to see what it’s like to develop an innovative marketing plan in a big company. One of the difficulties we faced is that we need a simple and strong story for our marketing plan. We learned that we cannot just throw around innovative ideas; we also need to think about the storyline to introduce the marketing plan. (Yuta)
・I found all the sessions BMW Japan gave us informative. I learned a lot about marketing, including what we cannot learn in class. I will make use of this experience for the next step. (Takumi)
・The programme gave us a great opportunity to experience how to overcome adversities we may face in a real working environment in the future. Plus, this experience enhanced our understanding of the car industry. (Yasunri)
・This workshop was challenging, but very exciting. With great team effort and generous support from our teachers and the BMW headquarters, we were able to present a good marketing plan. I am so grateful for this opportunity because it gave me an idea of what I want to do with my future career. (Mari)

<Dr. Fukuoka’s comment>
I don’t want students to be armchair theorists. This workshop gave GIS students an excellent opportunity to combine relevant academic theories with practice, in a perfect setting. I want to express sincere appreciation to the following BMW Japan staff, without their help, this workshop would not have been successful:

・Peter Kronschnabl (President and CEO, BMW Japan Corp.)
・Michaela Kieninger (Director, Brand Management BMW, BMW Japan Corp.)
・Tom Stepanchak (Director, Sales and Marketing Division, BMW Japan Finance Corp.)
・Satoko Nakatani (Chief Operation Officer, Operation Division, BMW Japan Finance Corp.)
・Kaname Saeki (Manager, Product Marketing, Brand Management BMW Division, BMW Japan Corp.)
・Giuseppe De Filippis (Customer Relations Manager, Customer Relations Division, Sales Channel Development, BMW Japan Corp.)
・Yo Nagai (Manager, Marketing and Sales Services, Sales and Marketing Division, BMW Japan Finance Corp.)
・Arisa Misumi (Digital Market Manager, BMW Japan Corp.)
・Vroni Fiederile Shiohara (Digital Marketing Manager, Brand Communications, Brand Management BMW Division, BMW Japan Corp.)
・Dex Victor Van Hunen (Product Manager, Product Marketing, Brand Management BMW Division, BMW Japan Corp.)
・Andrew Appleton Marc (Product Manager, Product Marketing, Brand Management BMW Division, BMW Japan Corp.)
・Yumi Furuyama (Product Manager, Product Marketing, Brand Management BMW Division, BMW Japan Corp.)
・Katsuyoshi Tanaka (Electro Mobility Sales Advisor, Sales Division, BMW Japan Corp. )
・Misuzu Isomura (Marketing and Sales Services, Sales and Marketing Division, BMW Japan Finance Corp.)
・Mihoko Hosoya (Marketing and Sales Services, Sales and Marketing Division, BMW Japan Finance Corp.)
・Kevin Pruvot (Marketing and Sales Services, Sales and Marketing Division, BMW Japan Finance Corp.)
・Yumi Nagae (Senior HR Business Partner / Manager, Human Resources, BMW Japan Finance Corp.)
・Akihiro Miyoshi (HR Business Partner, Human Resources, BMW Japan Corp.)
・Noriko Chikusa (HR Planning Manager, Projects Lead, talent management, Human Resources, BMW Japan Corp.)
・Tsubasa Murakami (People Development, Human Resources, BMW Japan Finance Corp.)