Know Before You Go with NOCTO

University is the perfect environment for young creative minds to branch out into the world and use the knowledge from their studies to pursue their real-world goals. As such, many students form their own companies catering to specific needs that arise.  One such need is finding the best place to party, or socialize in this bustling city, however, nights often end in a wasted effort. This is where a few students decided to make a change: NOCTO, a student created app that aids users in finding the best party to suit their taste. Intrigued by this concept, I decided to interview a fellow IBCoM student, Laurens Van der Valk. He works at NOCTO to get some inside info on NOCTO, what it is, and what exactly it plans to fix.

nocto2So what is NOCTO? NOCTO is THE new nightlife and events app that displays all available party locations in a Google maps, which allows you to get a good overview of the city. It also gives you in depth information, such as entry price, music type and other users’ comments of their time in the club along with live photos and videos that they upload. By contributing to the content in the app, users can earn in-app currency, called NOCS, which can be exchanged for real world items like beer or shots, free entrance and even queue skips. Sign me up! NOCTO has been available for download on the Apple app store since January 27 with a release on the Android app store scheduled very soon.

With my interest piqued, I inquired as to what Laurens’ role at the company was, and how long he had worked in the company? He mentioned that he got involved in the company through Facebook. He had met the app-founder, David Franzén, previously in an SR event and since Laurens had an app idea himself, he was recruited into the NOCTO team as the Dutch Country Manager. He then moved into the user procurement role and finally branched into the sales role, which deals with contacting clubs and venues to register them on the app; quite a bit of work for a first year IBCoM student.  When asked how he manages his time, Laurens responded by saying that since a start up takes a lot of time, he has divided his time efficiently to make room for both his studies and work. However. he feels that IBCoM contributed to his ability to communicate effectively and get his message across to the owners of the clubs he contacts.  He also mentioned his knowledge of consumer behavior (also acquired in the course) helped him getting to know the market and understanding exactly what type of content other students or potential app users want to have as well as promotions.

As a final thought, I asked why he thought this app was THE app for students to which he responded by saying: “it’s not just THE app for students, I think it’s THE app for everybody. It allows you to see what’s happening in your city and allows you to plan out a night you will enjoy without having to deal with disappointment associated with a wasted night out.  No one wants to wait 45 minutes in line and, once they’re inside, find out that the club environment is terrible, so NOCTO prevents that from happening.”

In his last thoughts to me, Laurens mentioned that since NOCTO is a startup, there is a lot of work t be done and therefore, if you’re a young motivated and hardworking student looking for practical experience, you should give them a call through the details on their website. Don’t wait around to start pursuing your goals, be like Laurens and get active in something you enjoy right now.

R&G Events: Zambia’s Premiere Events Management Firm

Before my time as ‘Rey the IBCoM student,’ I did a brief, well not so brief, 6 month long internship at a premiere event management firm in Lusaka, Zambia, called R&G Events. R&G Events focuses on corporate advertising, media campaigns and event management.  Furthermore, they own key advertising screens throughout Zambia, which they can lease out to other corporations. They also created their own model agency to provide models for corporate promotional events. When I worked there, it was still a relatively small company with a total workforce of about 20 people, separated into the tech team, the design team and the model agency. During my time as an intern there, I switched between these departments, but I spent most of my time in the design team.reyhaan

This internship required a lot of effort in terms of being able to drive long periods of time, as I had to run around the city to meet with clients or to pick up banners, signs and other promotional items. I didn’t mind doing it, because the work was always exciting. My biggest achievement in the company was successfully running my own event for a soft drink company, called Vivo. The organization of this event included meeting with the client, working out their demands, sourcing a venue for the event, creating promotional items and finally making sure that the target audience, in this case students, would attend the event.

It wasn’t all work though, so don’t worry; once your shift is done, you will have a lot of time to enjoy the fruits of your labour and you can join the party with the highest level of VIP access. The travelling wasn’t too bad either, as I was able to visit cities I would never have travelled to by myself. I experienced more of Zambia than if I had taken a desk job, which made all the hard work worth it in the end; there isn’t much that compares to a Zambian sunset in the mountains, trust me.

Patience and people skills are the two most needed skills in the event management; everything that can go wrong, will go wrong, so you need to be able to calmly handle crazy situations, angry clients or even drunk guests, without damaging the reputation of the company. Having a huge 6ft 7 bouncer on your side helps in most cases, though. I would say that my experiences handling day events, night events, mall promotions and advertising campaigns really put life into perspective and made me a lot more motivated to start IBCoM. If you’re planning on doing an event management internship this year, I urge you to give it your all, as few jobs are as satisfying and free as events management. However, be prepared to put the work in, because, as with most things in life, without effort you will not succeed.

The life of a Consumer Marketing intern: Messages for Miranda Priestly

For a period of six months, I worked as an intern at Weber Shandwick, the second largest public relations agency worldwide. Situated in The Hague, I assisted the Consumer Marketing team with a variety of activities, ranging from pitching ideas to journalists, writing press releases, and creating press kits, but also organizing press events for clients, managing the company’s website and onlinedavid channels, and setting up the lunch.

On my first day as a Consumer Marketing intern, I found that my highest calling did not involve any calling. After severe journey delays, relentless stress symptoms and pouring rain, I found myself seated at my very own desk, getting explained every single detail of the job. And that also meant to regularly pick up the phone. During my first days, I could effortlessly brush aside this seemingly easy task to the other intern, who happened to have five more days of telephone experience. Plus, she used to work in a call center, so I already endorsed her for being more suitable. But after a week, she ignored the whimpering of the phone while giving me a hostile look, forcing me to pick up this one. I hoped to catch a glimpse of our office manager, but her desk seemed empty at first sight. There I was, finding myself in one of ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ scenes, where I had to leave messages for Miranda Priestly, with hardly an idea how to handle the situation. Luckily, I didn’t have to spell Gabbana, the call wasn’t that nerve-racking and I received a genuine tap on the back from the other intern at last.

The next day, I was ready to take any call, with a neat, written-out scenario lying on my desk, in case I would suffer from severely lacking capabilities to put through one journalist to one colleague. But I was assigned another task. If I could call a vast amount of Dutch celebrities to do a commercial for one of our clients. For what price? “Well, we do not have any budget, so they have to do it for free”. As I was escorted to one of the meeting rooms, sweat trickled off my forehead as I saw myself stammering my pitch while begging their managements to cheeringly pop a beer bottle for free. Eventually, I manned up, forgot that I had only been a PR intern for a week without any experience in the field, and freestyled. Although my request was sometimes received with scornful laughter (“For free? Well, our [insert famous Dutch singer] is an a-list celebrity now. So, how about, no?”), I had some hilarious conversations, still convinced a variety of managers to participate and came back to my manager’s desk with a list of notorious Dutchmen and Dutchwomen. I celebrated my modest victory with an after work beer. Well, let’s say, beers.

After six months of interning, I left the office contended and developed. While getting back to my barista job, one of my colleague asked me if I would now easily take a call center job. I wanted to give a quick yes or no answer. But it was still a tough call.