In our last “GCP Despatches from the Field”, one MBA student shares his experience of working with illwerke VKW. 

If anyone were to ask us whether the Global Consulting Project turned out as expected, the answer would probably be a resounding no – in the best possible way. Working on our project as a close-knit team was a fantastic experience – both by learning from each other while working on our project, and by enjoying our free time together with a group of friends.

Our task was to discover and develop a blockchain application for the energy sector, working with illwerke VKW, a state-owned energy provider in Austria. After an initial phone-call with the illwerke VKW team to set out the frame for our project initiation document, we finally arrived in the beautiful province of Vorarlberg, ready to start our work.

Apart from various trips to educate us on areas of the Austrian energy market illwerke VKW served, such as visiting an energy trading desk or test-driving electric cars, most of our work took place in the illwerke Innovation Lab.

In this open space office equipped with meeting rooms, whiteboards, couches and abundant coffee, we applied a structured design thinking methodology consisting of a sequence of sprints to develop our project. Over the course of four weeks, we mapped out existing blockchain projects, focused on specific projects and finally selected a project to build our business case around.

We refined the idea over the following weeks and ultimately presented a concept for an integrated mobility platform that illwerke VKW could introduce in the region. While the work in Austria was a great all-around experience, the highlight was probably the day our team got interviewed on national television about the collaboration with illwerke VKW – before heading to lunch in one of the offices’ cafeteria with a beautiful mountain scenery. This was followed with a visit to a hydro-powerplant construction site in the afternoon and dinner at a panoramic restaurant, overlooking the rhine valley.

For us, the GCP has certainly been one of the highlights of our MBA – it was great to live together for four weeks, enjoy Austria, and at the same time gain a deep insight into a cutting-edge topic such as blockchain by working with it first hand and having a chance to apply in practice what we had learned throughout the MBA.