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Alcatel Internet Students Week

28 Nov - 3 Dec 1999
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Numerous people have already asked me, "What was the Alcatel Internet Students week all about?" So stop wondering. Here is a brief description of what I did during that week. Yes, I skipped classes for a week, and No, we didn't sit on our lazy ass near the pool. In fact we worked our butts off.

It all started on Sunday, November 28th, The meeting point was Résidence Durbuy, which is not surprisingly situated at Durbuy. Earlier Alcatel had selected 30 students through some selection tests at their headquarters in Antwerp. Frankly I didn't really know what to expect when I arrived at Durbuy. We were all told that we were going to learn a lot about the telecom world and Internet. There was also some kind of case study to be done. We were all installed in some nice chalets. Then we were told what we were going to do that week. To get to know each other we went into the 'woods' to play a teambuilding game. No time was lost and that same evening two sessions were scheduled. The topic of the first one was 'Telecom Concepts 2000' and after dinner we were introduced to the world of the Internet. These sessions were meant to teach us all the concepts necessary for 'the game'. It had been a long time since I had been that attentive in a class, and I even sat on the first row! I'm not going to tell all activities of that week chronologically, since that's not the point. Main focus then was 'the game'. This game was all about finding a solution for a fictitious (I think) client. This client was Cyberparcs. Cyberparcs is an international group of 30 mayor holiday villages, with an average of 1100 villas in each village. Cyberparcs wants to extend their services by offering integrated telecom, multimedia and Internet services to their clients. Our job was to provide Cyberparcs with a solution for their demands. To do this we were divided in 5 groups all dealing with one core competence within the Alcatel group. These groups were:

  • IN, Intelligent Networks
  • CDD, Carrier Data Division
  • TSD, Transmission Systems Division
  • SSD, Software and Services Division
  • SRD, Switching and Routing Division
I was part of the SRD group. So the object of the game was to present one solution that integrated products from different divisions that best matched the demands of Cyberparcs. So, you can guess that there were a lot of discussions between the groups about what solution to choose. Even within the groups there were a lot of different opinions. A solution had to be found by Friday morning because then there was a meeting with the (fictitious) Cyberparcs board. A nice deadline to put even more pressure on us. Parallel with this game we had another session this time on Marketing, and visits to different Alcatel companies, for example the IN division in Namur. But as the saying goes "All work and no play makes jack a dull boy" so some activities were planned to 'relax'. A dropping, a quiz, a whole afternoon of adrenaline pumping mountainbiking, driving around with quads, climbing rope ladders another team game, prisoners dilemma

Thursday morning we all packed our bags and left Durbuy. We were heading to Geel for another company visit. After Geel we went to the headquarters in Antwerpen, where we were told more about Alcatel and Sebastian gave us a presentation on ADSL, the hot new technology from Alcatel. After dinner we went to the 'Sportpaleis' in Antwerp for the 'Night of the Proms'. Afterwards Alcatel was nice enough to provide accommodation in a nice four star hotel in the center of Antwerp. A nice opportunity to explore the city of Antwerp by night. Which frankly disappointed me a bit. Next morning there was the scheduled presentation for the (fictious) board of Cyberparcs, which was composed out of some big shot bosses from Alcatel. Afterwards Rudy Thomaes, CEO of Alcatel Belgium gave a talk about Alcatel and we were given the chance to ask questions in a Q&A session. Then it was time for our last big lunch in the corporate restaurant, high in the Alcatel tower. After lunch, time for a group picture in front of the Alcatel tower and time to say goodbye.

And that was the end of a very intens week. We worked hard, had a lot of fun. I was very happy that I was given the chance to be part of this event. Very nicely organised by the Alcatel people. Thank you!

If you have any comments on the Alcatel Internet Students Week, feel free to contribute!

Science & Technology a Belgian magazine for engineers, IT-professionals and scientists has written an article about the Alcatel Internet Students Week in their December 17 edition (Dutch only)

About Alcatel

Alcatel builds next generation networks, delivering integrated end-to-end voice and data communications solutions to established and new carriers, as well as enterprises and consumers worldwide. With 120,000 employees and sales of EURO 21.3 billion ($25.0 billion) in 1998, Alcatel operates in more than 130 countries.
www.alcatel.com Global Alcatel web site
www.alcatel.be Alcatel in Belgium

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