As I reflect on our time last semester working on IBD on campus as well as in Australia, I see that a lot of people have worked hard to put together this wonderful experience for us. To these people, I dedicate this last piece in my blogging mini-series and offer my heartfelt thanks. As such, this note is, more than my other posts, written from my perspective rather than the team’s, though I have no doubt my colleagues share in many of these sentiments below.
- To all the strategy thought leaders who offered us their time and expertise for interviews: our project would not have been half as insightful as it is today without your guidance and perspectives. Thanks in particular to Professors Ned Augenblick and Ernie Gundling of Haas for being flexible with time zones and taking interviews in off-hours
- To all the technical and consulting experts that we’ve interviewed: you helped us understand a market and a technology with which none of us have had any experience. Thanks in particular to Professor Michael Schaeffer of Berkeley’s School of Information, our colleague Dan Stotts, Jay Beermann, and Flora Kuo, and the many employees at our client offices (Dale, Yaron, Geoff, Michael, and others) for being so helpful with our ad-hoc questions
- To the Haas library, in particular, librarian Hilary Schiraldi: thanks for your help guiding us to all the right industry resources for our research. It was not easy trying to find all that data, and we definitely wouldn’t have found the information without your help
- To the idea champions (Walter, Werner, Nico, Leendert, Glenn): we are very grateful for the inordinate amount of time you’ve spent with us, either face-to-face or on the phone, walking us through your ideas and answering the many questions we had for you about the scorecard process. In being the champions of some of the best ideas that your company was considering, you were drafted to work with us to come up with a framework everyone else can follow. We hope that you’ve found our conversations and research helpful to you as well, and wish you all the best in the execution of your ideas
- To Professor Kristiana Raube, Elizabeth Kovats, Thad Raczkowski – the core group who run the day-to-day of the IBD program: it’s clear that there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that you do liaising with all the clients as well as managing us students. It must not be easy dealing with that many of us (more than half our class!) and handling urgent issues from all across the world. I got a small glimpse of the scope of your work as I worked with you to noodle out our surprisingly convoluted air and hotel booking process, and that’s only a small part of the logistics that goes into the whole program. Many thanks for spearheading the effort and making this possible for us and for Haas
- To Professor Frank Schultz, our faculty mentor: it certainly has been a long semester, and we’re grateful for your mentorship. Our team has had our fair share of successes as well as issues, along many fronts, and you were there with us each step of the way. Thanks for all your time, your insights, and all those cramped meetings in your office!
- To our client – in particular Quintin for setting it all up, and of course, Trevor and Richard for… everything: our project took on a life of its own as it separated out into the many different components, from strategy (the scorecard, and all the underlying thinking about how to enter and defend a market), to market/competitive analysis (the research on the five ideas, which pushed us to get smart on various technology themes and trends), and finally to leadership/change management (the discussions on how to stimulate change and foster innovation). Your countless hours with us on the phone and in the office have helped us define our project and guidepost our discussions with others; your hospitality and friendliness have made our stay easy and enjoyable and have put us at ease about working in a foreign country and working with a first-time IBD client; and your insights and ways of doing business have made us better businesspeople. Even the seemingly small things like talking with Richard about his dilemma with “hopping” to a different partner on that bid, and observing Trevor as he adeptly reads the people around him… all these make our IBD experience so much more than just about working in a foreign country for three weeks. Thank you for being our hosts, our mentors, our friends.
And finally, on a personal note, I want to thank my team – Aashi, Aisha, Nick, Joe. We’ve had many up’s and down’s these past few months, up till the very last day. But as I think about our time together, what I remember most is how much fun I’ve had and how much I’ve grown. We were serious enough to deliver a multi-faceted project, yet loose enough to make fun of and with each other non-stop. We’ve learned a lot about each other, and are now so cliquish that we’ve adopted each other’s mannerisms and dance moves. We visited so many places, took so many pictures (or was that just me?), tried so many foods, saw and played with so many animals, and experienced so many new things. When we got together as a team last January and discussed individual goals, we talked about forming deep friendships out of this team. We succeeded.
Saturday night before we left, as we sat at Opera Bar, I looked around the table and for the first time, suddenly had a feeling that after more than 3 weeks of 24/7 interaction with you guys, I was ready for a break and wouldn’t miss Australia and our team all that much. This week, looking through the pictures, reading through our quoteboard, rocking out to “Delicious” on my headphones, I realize I was wrong.