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Anna Melne, Strategy Director at PHD Latvia

"The Retail, Markets, Consumer Engagement" Summer School Programme was a perfect fit for me: I wanted to acquire a fresh perspective on retail innovation and to learn new methodologies for making innovative products, as to make better strategies for my customers", says Anna Melne, Strategy Director at PHD Latvia, a communications planning and media buying agency.

Anna Melne, Strategy Director at PHD Latvia, a communications planning and media buying agency, considers herself very lucky to be selected for the Summer School Digital Industry on "Retail, Markets, Consumer Engagement". Unlike most of her fellow students in the programme she is not an EIT Digital Master School student but joined it as a professional learner coming from the business world.

Melne first heard about the EIT Digital Summer School offering from the Riga University, where she graduated with a Master's degree in entrepreneurship and innovation in the spring of 2017. For her, the Retail, Markets, Consumer Engagement Summer School, was "The Programme" she wanted to attend. "This programme is a perfect fit for me as many of my own customers are in the retail business. I wanted a fresh perspective on retail innovation, as well as new methodologies for making innovative products, so I can build better strategies for my customers."

Melne trusts that the takeaways from the Summer School will help her to meet her goals. Her palette will definitely contain more methodologies to choose from. "The most important learning to me, is that to really get the insight to solve my customers' problems, you need to go and ask their customers direct questions. All of us know how tempting it is to skip this phase due to our always busy schedules, and instead share our own conclusions in a team meeting amongst colleagues".

The second important learning experience for Melne has been working as a member of an internationally and disciplinary diverse team. "In your own office, you all are more or less still the same, speaking the same language, having a similar education and cultural background, and so on. Here you need to learn, understand and tolerate the different ways people see things and the ways they work - not the least as some reflect the perspectives of a programmer, some as a data-analyst, and others as a marketer. The collaboration with others really teaches you how to adjust your own ways."

The way EIT Digital took care of organising the programme as well hosted the students exceeded Melne's expectations, she says. "EIT Digital had really managed to get great partners with real customer problems to solve. During the programme, you learn to know customers' businesses, which is so much more effective than joining lectures by professors who only share theoretical examples."

Anna would definitely recommend the Summer School to everyone who has at least a BSC-diploma and preferably some work-life experience. "These basics help you to reflect and comprehend in-depth what you are learning. Otherwise, there is a risk that you may miss the valuable teachings."

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