International Management Study Trip Israel: Day 7

On the last day of our study trip we went to the national park of Masada.
Located on the top of an isolated rock plateau, it provides majestic views of the dead sea and the surrounding Judean desert.

On our way from the hotel to this historic site we had the opportunity to visit the cosmetic producer Ahava. The visit included an overview of the company‘s core activities followed by a shopping spree through the on-site store. The company is known for its natural ingredients and vegan friendly approach to beauty. Ahava‘s products are based on 4 main ingredients: Water, Mud, Salt and Plants. After the shopping tour, students were equipped with new moisturizers, mud masks and skin treatments.

Getting to the rock plateau we had two options. One group decided to walk the narrow ‚snake path’ up to the hill while the other half took the cable car to look at the acient structures on the mountain. Masada was the last pastion of the Jewish Freedom Fighters and is regarded as a Jewish cultural icon as its last days were overshadowed by tragic events where the freedom fighters had to face the choice of death or slavery by the Romans.

The last stop of the day was at the dead sea where we could enjoy the unusual experience of floating in the ocean. En Boqeq is known for its free beaches and is a center medicine tourism. The healing properties of the dead sea have been used for hundreds of years and people from all over the world travel to this area to make use of them

All in all, it was a great trip with a lot of impressions and insights into Israel’s culture and business environment. Many thanks to the organization team from all the students!

International Management Study Trip Israel: Day 5

After a one and half hour bus drive we arrived in the southern part of Israel. The region of Negev is covering 60% of Israel’s territory but is home to only 10% of the Israeli population. Since David Ben-Gurion initiated the development of this particular region, many companies settled down in the Negev region. 5 years ago, Sodastream was among the companies that opened a manufacturing plant and since then produce their bottles as well as the fizz machines which are later on distributed to 46 countries everywhere in the world. Only glas components are sourced through third party delivery. We got a very interesting insight into the whole manufacturing process and were made familiar with the company’s vision of being highly environmentally responsible. At the end of the tour the whole group got a Sodastream bottle displaying their vision of Israel, Jews and Arabs working side by side in peace.

After another 45 minutes bus ride we arrived at the second stop of today’s program, Soreq Winery. The winery school teaches interested people the finest art of wine making, from harvesting the grapes to the final step of bottling the wine. After an authentic tour we were able to participate in a wine tasting. Everybody got to taste three different sorts of red wine and enjoy some snacks.

Since the study trip is slowly approaching the end, the ZHAW invited everybody for a beautiful and delicious supper. The restaurant Yulia was situated at the Tel-Aviv’s port, giving us a stunning view on the waves of the agitated ocean. We all had a wonderful time and enjoyed the company of each other. Hereby we would like to thank ZHAW, in the name of all 34 students, for this delicious meal.

Health Foundry incubator

After an interesting morning at Bristol-Myers Squibb we made our way back to the city center leaving one person behind, which in the end was faster at the meeting point than the whole group, due to prior experience with missing connections.

 

In the afternoon we visited the Health Foundry, which is a collaborative workspace for Digital Health start-ups. The Health Foundry is exactly as one would image a start-up incubator – young, a little chaotic, a touch of hipster and with a powerful and innovative atmosphere. Since its foundation in 2016 the Health Foundry supported more than 125 start-ups from all branches of health technologies and can show a diverse portfolio. The Health Foundry supports start-ups in all stages. One of the recent emerged successful start-ups is DrDoctor, a digital outpatient platform, which is used by hospitals all over the country and facilitates over 4 million doctors’ appointments a year.

We get to hear an insightful talk from a start-up consultant turned clinician Dr. Somauroo about the difficulties of starting a company under the NHS regulations. He practiced under the NHS and has now been involved in supporting over 120 health-tech start-ups with his accelerator called HS. This accelerator works closer with the start-ups than Health Foundry and focuses on late-stage start-ups. The industry of health technology has many challenges that need to be addressed due to its involvement with various stakeholders, ranging from the patients to clinicians to the NHS. The next two talks were held by founders of health tech start-ups.

Hello daisy tackles the problem of loneliness among older people, which can lead to a number of conditions costing several billions a year. A small device aims at creating a private social media platform that connects older people, without the need of being proficient with modern technologies and platforms.

Wellbones tries to circumvent the NHS and go directly to the customer, with the aim of getting NHS support once it can prove its utility with real-world data obtained by their product. Osteoporosis has not been the priority of the NHS funding so far, which is where Wellbones wants to make their impact. Misinformation and outdated “best practices” need to be corrected. The approach is a video-based platform with current information, free content on different aspects of the disease from nutrition to recommended exercises. Additionally a monthly subscription will unlock even more content and access to face-to-face support with professionals.

The start-up environment made for a nice contrast to BMS, the pharmaceutical giant we got to know better in the morning. We went from suits, ties and clean shaven faces to hoodies, shorts, stubbles and proper beards. The talks were less serious and more fun while being at least as well pitched as by the professionals at BMS. From the start-up point of view the biggest barriers to success seem to stem from the slow and fragmented, yet gigantic bureaucratic processes at the NHS. This makes predictions and market analysis rather difficult, with the consequences of struggling for funding. The incubator experts and environment help by tackling some of these points with experienced support, insight and mentoring.

After a very interesting day we are looking forward to our last dinner together and a fun night out. Friday morning we will conclude our study trip with a visit of the Royal Free Hospital. There we will be able to gain strategic insight on the positioning of the Royal Free NHS trust environment. Further talks on the performance and collaborations of the Hospital will be followed by a visit to different sections of the Hospitals.

In the end we would like to thank our supervisors Alfred Angerer, Karin Brunner Schmidt and Eva Hollenstein for organizing the details of our study trip. We enjoyed learning about the British health system from different perspectives and getting closer to our fellow students and supervisors, more than once during extended talks over a few pints.

 

 

 

Squibb not Squid

Today was our 4th visit during our study trip to London. We had the pleasure to have a new member joining us, also known for her busy jet-set life, Dr. Karin Brunner Schmid. Fortunately she left Vienna for London. But actually, we were lucky to have the chance to visit the UK & Irish headquarters of the American pharmaceutical company, Bristol-Myers Squibb (which has nothing to do with a Squid). The employees we were able to meet during our 2h visit were very professional, despite a few technical problems at the beginning, but let’s be honest we are all human :-). They were very proud to share with us the company achievements as well as its mission, which they dedicate their work life to: ‘’the best people helping patients in their fight against serious diseases’’. They were able to share a lot of information about their company. One of them surprised some of us, in other words, they spend 25% of their total revenue of 4.8 billion on R&D, which fights against the stereotype of ‘’greedy Pharma’’.  Additionally, another anecdote which we found impressive, is that it takes around 2 billion USD to develop a new drug until its release to the market.


One of the speakers came from the medical affairs department and he enlightened us with some key information such as another mission of their team is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients over serious diseases. Also, they base their research on end to end development, from the very basic discovery in science to the development and research and finally to the commercial step. Their key focus lies on innovative medicine, which tackles new diseases with high morbidity rates. In order to achieve this, they also co-develop medicine with strategic partnerships such as academic partnerships as well as other big Pharma and biotech companies. In order to blend the experience of yesterday’s visit to NICE and today’s visit, we asked a few questions about the relationship between NICE and Pharma. We found out that 20% of NICE’s work comes from Bristol-Myer Squibb, this number alone represents the relevance of their impressive pipeline for oncology, cardio vascular diseases and fibrosis. They are very fast in creating new products since they have a new one launched every 4 months. The relationship between NICE and the company can be also described as a dynamic tension. Since NICE does not always approve their innovations and this mechanism pushed them to continuously improve and continue to research. Additionally, the toughness of NICE on regards of  product approval is actually being mirrored by other European countries, who follow the recommendations NICE gives to companies based in the UK. Even though some products are approved in other countries before the UK, the company does not see this as a back-leap, since they have a better access to patients in comparison to other European countries.


This high level of complexity, has created a job pool, that gives access to students as wells as professionals from other countries to develop and grow with their career (yes, Kevin, please do send your CV). They spoke highly about their company and it their devotion to the unmet needs of cancer patients, but this counts only for patients in countries where costly treatments are being payed for. Can we continue to go down this path or has the Pharma industry to adapt in the future? We finished our visit with a lovely lunch (for those who remembered to bring their sandwiches.. no names will be disclosed :-))  and headed to our next meeting to the Health Foundry.

Study Trip MSc HC HCM: Day 3 in London – our NICEst Visit

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NICE Alfred

After yesterday’s ducking sightseeing tour we returned to the lying lying lions today and are happy to visit the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in London. After the short briefing outside and signing in at reception we were NICEly welcomed with coffee, tea and biscuits. Please, help yourself!

NICE briefing

NICE was established in 1999 and is today a Non Departmental Public Body of the Department of Health & Social Care developing guidelines and quality standards. NICE supports decision making at a national level and evaluates the allocation of the limited health care budget. Basically, NICE builds an evidence-based bridge between a new product and its market launch. The ultimate goal of NICE is to ensure more equitable access to healthcare in England and by its purpose reduces post code lottery of care.

The first speaker emphasized the focus of NICE which is value, not price. Budget constraint implies that whenever one treatment is approved and going to be funded by the NHS England, another treatment will no longer be funded. NICE’s role is to support decision making through appraisal programmes. Therefore, NICE compares costs and benefits in order to decide whether a new treatment shall be funded. In detail, NICE assesses how well the new technology works and how much it costs compared to the established practice in the health service.

The second speaker talked about the NICE health technology assessment (HTA) programmes. Basically, the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation has HTA programmes in the following four fields: (1) Technological Appraisal, (2) Diagnostics Assessment, (3) Medical Technologies Evaluation and (4) Highly Specialised Technologies.

Our three key takeaways are:

  1. Once a product or service has passed the technological appraisal it is going to be funded by the NHS England. This implies that the product has to be available to all patients within 90 days.
  2. Unlike Switzerland, NICE sets a cost-effectiveness threshold at £20’000-£30’000 per QALY gained when a new technology is being assessed. In the case the technology is beyond the threshold NICE considers it as cost-effective.
  3. The NHS England has newly introduced a budget impact threshold which considers the costs of a technology after its market launch. The threshold is at £20million/year in the first 3 years.

The third and last speaker talked about the development of quality standards in the health and care system in England. The goal of quality standards is to improve outcomes. NICE quality standards are derived from NICE guidelines and contain a small number of measurable, action-focussed statements that focus on priority areas for quality improvement. The quality standards do not replace the guidelines, but go along with them.

NICE conference room

After three interesting presentations we would like to take this opportunity to say a great thank you to the speakers. You did an excellent job. Thanks to you we gained a unique and valuable insight into the activities at NICE.

And now it’s time to call it the day – have a NICE evening!

NICE table tennis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

posted by Raphael, Nicolas, Julia & Monika

London Day 2: NHS Improvement and sightseeing tour

Hello folks and welcome to the second blog entry about our study trip here in London!

The agenda promised a variety of exciting presentations followed by some “ducking around” in the heart of London City.

In the morning we met at 8:30 at the NHS Improvement HQ. After a short briefing and a recap about yesterday’s events we were eagerly queuing up for our badges to get inside and improve our knowledge about the complexity of the English healthcare system. Starting with a brief introduction into pricing methods of the NHS Improvement, Paul Healy-Pricing Policy Manager explained how they set 2500 prices per year. In comparison to the Swiss healthcare system there is no negotiation between healthcare providers and the government. As a matter of fact, the NHS Improvement has full power in defining the prices for health services. However, with the option “payment by results” they also try to set some incentives to increase quality of care. His presentation was followed by an interactive and philosophic mini-experiment to better understand the influence of individual interpretation and perception on leadership, in general and of course in healthcare.

Toby Austerten gave us an insight of how health economic studies are applied as a support tool in decision making processes. Patrick Fraher introduced us on how the monitoring of the different trusts are managed. After 4 hours, almost no breaks, lots of useful information and good insights however, we were happy to finally get some caffeine and lunch.

We had some more fun afterwards on our sightseeing tour on the “Duck-Truck”, where we learned how laying lions lie.

The day ended with a delicious dinner and beer tasting. 😉

We are looking forward to the rest of the week. Greetings and cheers from the healthcare class 2017.

Day 8 & 9 – Hong Kong

After one week of China it was time to change the scenery and go to Hong Kong for 2 days. We arrived in Hong Kong on Saturday evening and most of the people had a bright smile on their face. No hot pots, no chicken feet – finally more western food again.

After a night out on Saturday in lan kwai fong it was time to do some sightseeing on Sunday. Most of us went up to the victoria peak and enjoyed the impressive skyline of Hong Kong.

As we are not only in Hong Kong for pleasure, we met at 0900 on Monday to visit Credit Suisse and KPMG. The Cedit Suisse offices are located in Kowloon in the ICC building. Located on the 88th floor we had the presentations with beautiful views of Hong Kong and the harbour. Mrs Bergqvist organized the event and invited guest speakers that spoke about various topics. Those included the liberalization of the chinese capital market, change in labour and domestic bond market.

Key points were that China has a huge potential and is slowly opening up the market and Credit Suisse tries to take advantage of that. Also there is a change in labour. China used to provide cheap labour where as now, cheap and educated engineers are available. In 2016 only, 1.4 million chinese people graduated. (Bsc, Msc or PHD)

After having lunch at the shopping mall we continued our day with a visit at the KPMG office in central Hong Kong. In a short time, we had 4 presentations about various topics. Most interesting presentations were the virtual banking and the insights of symon and oliver about the expat life in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong lacks behind China when it comes to digital payment. That’s one of the reasons why the HKMA (Hong Kong Monetary Authority) started an application process and will issue 4 virtual banking licenses. KPMG estimates that around 81 firms are interested in the 4 licenses. However, it is not clear if all the interested firms will apply and go through the difficult application process.

Symon and Oliver wrapped up the session at KPMG. They gave us various and interesting insights about living and working in Hong Kong. Topics discussed where the rents, way of living in Hong Kong and the working culture.

All in all it was a very interesting day with valuable information.

Now it is time to take the speed ferry which brings us to the Las Vegas of Asia – Macau 🙂

 

Here some further impressions about Hong Kong and its gold fish market. – poor fish 🙁

 

 

 

 

Day 7 – Chongqing

Dear Blog readers from all around the world 🌍

Big, Bigger, Chongqing!

Chongqing is the world’s largest municipality, with a population of about 30 million people, is surely enough to make anyone sit up and take notice.

Everything about Chongqing is hot and spicy: the weather, the people and most notably, the cuisine. The city of Chongqing is not a vast boundless plain, but rather a unique landscape set in mountains and rivers. You can see a light rail passing through a building, experiance a cable car ride across the Yangtze River, and watch a mystical mirage upon the mist and clouds. One thing is for sure, nothing is usual here.

In the morning the delegation of the students had the opportunity to visit the Swiss China Center (SCC). SCC is a non-profit organization established in 2016 in Mainland
China, Hong Kong, London, and Switzerland. It was founded by a diverse group of Swiss and Chinese entrepreneurs with the main objective of providing a dynamic platform for business and cultural exchange between the two countries. SCC can be seen as the gateway between China and Switzerland!

After highly interesting presentations from both side, SCC and Mr. Braun (ZHAW), a lively discussion started. Topics like the trade war between China and US or the free trade agreement with Switzerland were on the list.

After the mandatory photo session the time has come to say goodbye to SCC and Chongqing. Next destination ✈ Hong Kong!

Arrived in Hong Kong we noticed the difference to “real” China heavily. Finally we were able to communicate with the people in English again. Ordering food in a restaurant was not a challenge anymore.

We are looking forward to our free day in Hong Kong tomorrow!

Why opening a jogging equipment store in Brussels?

Why opening a jogging equipment store in Brussels?

 

During our weekend in Brussels we had time to explore the outdoor areas and the environment surrounding active people in the capital of Belgium. We have been asked to give recommendations to adapt a brand or product in the “jogging equipment” industry. Therefore, we investigate for the opening of a jogging equipment shop in the city.

To get more insights from the sport equipment industry of Brussels and to understand the possible adaptations that the company should make to be successful there, we approached the concept of the Contextual Intelligence. In particular, we made a city tour and looked for places where runners are training, explored the incentives of the city to encourage running and interviewed a successful athlete.

 

Environment

We went on an adventure tour! The impressions were, that there are many beautiful parks and buildings to pass by while running – sightseeing and jogging combined! We arranged an interview with the local expert Luman Kinali @luman_kinali, who provided us with valuable insights concerning the running tracks. He told us, that the most popular place for jogging is the beautiful river canal close to the city center. Furthermore, the city already organized running events like the ‘Brussels Night Run’, which took place last summer. This event aims at bringing people of Brussels, locals and foreigners, together to practice sports and bring the physically, mentally and socially aspects to society.

 

Infrastructure and Conditions

We went a step further and did some online research to gather more information. Brussels is one of the greenest European capitals, offering kilometers of running tracks with plenty of nature. In fact, there are 45 parks suitable for jogging activities. Therefore, Brussels offers everything a runner’s heart wants. However, the drawback about Brussels is the weather, with an average of 200 rainy days during the year.

 

Healthy Lifestyle & Competitors

Despite being famous for Belgian chocolate, beer and waffles…

Brussels also has a lot to offer to people willing to have a healthy lifestyle. We saw a lot of bio shops, healthy restaurants, smoothie places, protein product shops. You can find all global sport brands shops as well as local ones. In the city center, more than hundreds of shops are either specialized on jogging equipment or healthy nutrition to boost a healthy lifestyle.

Our recommendations

Considering the healthy lifestyle of Belgium people, Brussels is a very attractive city for the establishment of a jogging equipment store. The best location for a shop could be next to a park, where most of the runners are training, e.g. selling equipment like smart watches and other wearables. Furthermore, they could sell some rain apparels specially designed for running activities since the weather conditions are not ideal. Regarding advertising, it is recommended to use the local press as well as the dedicated events to inform about the opening of the shops. Also, they can gain advantage of EU initiatives promoting health worldwide to communicate about their opening and localization in Brussels.

Anton, Charlène, Diana, Emanuelle, Milica & Sead

 

Day 6 – Swissnex: Our outpost in China

On our last day in Shanghai we went to visit Swissnex.

Many people in Switzerland may have never heard of Swissnex but Swissnex does actually an import job for Switzerland abroad. Swissnex is a public-private venture and has offices in Boston, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Bangalore and Shanghai and many science counselor locations all around the world. They work together with the Science, Education and Technology Section in the Embassy of Switzerland in China and regional consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou. Their goal is to promote Switzerland’s excellence as one of the world’s leading countries in the fields of innovation, research, technology and higher education, to connect academia and business and to facilitate cooperation between, in this case, China and Switzerland. Along with individual science and technology counselors around the world, they work on behalf of Switzerland to expand education, research, and innovation. Vital financial support is provided by donors and sponsors for the respective country of each outpost. In other words, without Swissnex many people in China may not know Switzerland.

Once we arrived, we received a warm welcome from Isabel Götz, General Manager, ad intermin of Swissnex. The first speaker was Erwin Lüthi, Deputy Consul General of Switzerland. He gave us an understanding of what the Consulate of Switzerland is doing in China and why a Consulate is important next to an Embassy. Isabel Götz introduced us to Swissnex and gave us a deeper understanding of their work and operation in China in the second speech. At the Q&A she was able to answer a lot of our questions regarding the life here in Shanghai. For example, she always has to think twice whether she really wants to lower the window shutter on a sunny day as it might lead here Chinese neighbors to hang out their clothes on it.

Leo Peng, Promotion Officer, Swiss Business Hub Shanghai, explained us the function and work of Swiss Business Hub China. The Swiss Business Hub China is a part of the Embassy in Switzerland the representative of the official international trade and investment promotion agency Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE). It is responsible for implementing Swiss export strategies in China and for promoting Switzerland as a business location. On the one hand, they inform Chinese companies about the key advantages of Switzerland as a business and investment location. On the other hand, they are the key contact point for Swiss SMEs looking for export opportunities in the Chinese market.

The last presentation of the morning was, in our opinion, the highlight. Michael Lehmann, Managing Director of Selective International Management [SIM], introduced us to services of his company. SIM is a Swiss consultancy with its main operations in Shanghai providing support to European and Chinese Companies. They provide transparent and pragmatic professional solutions to their clients with their internal and external experts through Management Consulting, Corporate Services and Project Management. One of their key activities is the yearly Swiss Week which is the only platform in China for Swiss companies to promote their products directly to the public. On the second part of his speech he illustrated in a fun way his own developed strategy of how you should start a business in China and what you should be aware of the differences in culture and life in China.

After the four interesting presentations, we had lunch at a nearby by Japanese restaurant together with some of the speakers and people of Swissnex. After this it was time to say goodbye to Isabel Götz and her team and also to Shanghai.

Our journey went on to Hong Kong where we happily arrived in the evening by plane.

Group Shanghai
André Birri, Floriane Bopp, Sergio Galli, Philemon Gschwend, Richard Lauper