International Insights at TATA and Randstad

After another great breakfast, we made our way into Amsterdam to TATA Consultancy Services (TCS).  Sandra Ondunk-van Der Meij gave us great insight on their operations under TATA in India.  Part of their financial success can be attributed to the cost advantages of operating in a developing nation, but they have specific governance concerns related to managing international risk.

The entire company is governed by a code of conduct and excellence model; TATA and TCS focus on developing transparent relationships, demonstrating good citizenship, and running a fair business.  In India, five to ten percent of profits must be reinvested in the community by law, but TCS is taking steps in that direction without statutory motivation.  Ondunk-van Der Meij described how sustainability and socially responsible initiatives are generally slow in coming for TCS but said that within a few years, the projects should be in full motion.

She also spoke to a question from yesterday regarding companies having a tendency to window dress with sustainability and corporate responsibility reporting.  Firms should absolutely present their activities in the most positive light, but if the spin on the description of their efforts can no longer be substantiated, then they should reconsider the ethical concerns behind that reporting precedent and the additional risk for the firm.

We then moved on to Randstad to hear from three different speakers on their reporting position, internal audit structure and additional corporate governance.

Robert Jan van de Kraats, the CFO, gave us insight on their business model and a few reporting issues.  Operating in forty countries, Randstad serves each customer with a cookie-cutter product, applying 20% variation to adapt to the unique cultural or customer needs.

Randstad sees the major integrated reporting challenges as getting the correct data, choosing the relevant measure, and holding the interest of shareholders.  While these seemed to dissuade the CFO, the company secretary was more motivated to make the transition.  He spoke to the importance of maintaining the firm image via corporate governance based on core values, behavior expectations, and the correct tone from the top.  All in all, corporate governance should be the link that pulls each segment of a business together under the same ethical and business motivations.

To wrap up our afternoon, we had the opportunity to visit the Anne Frank Museum in the actual house where she and her family went into hiding during the Second World War.  Many of us were familiar with the story, but the tour provided amazing context to the published diary as we traveled through the same corridors and rooms that Anne Frank called home for two years during those trying times.

Dutch pancakes for dinner caused quite a stir.  They were sweet, savory, or a mix of both. We each chose three toppings to embellish our thin pancakes.  Some combinations included:

  • Apples, bananas, and Nutella
  • Chicken, cheese, and mushrooms
  • Chicken, apples, and peaches

All the pancakes were topped with apple or caramel syrup.  It was a tasty treat.

We spent one more hour exploring the festive streets of Amsterdam before retiring back at Nyenrode.

We are all looking forward to our last day together tomorrow.

—Maggie Pietka ’13, MAcc ’14

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.