Team Franklin Templeton – Varsha Negi, John Maus, Seiya Nakagawa and Lily Lou – traveled to the United Kingdom and Poland for their IBD project.
We are a team of four Haas MBA students: Varsha Negi and John Maus, two finance retirees from the Americas and Asia-Pacific region (respectively), Seiya Nakagawa, a seasoned Japanese banker, and Lily Lou, a marketing expert from China.
Brief Introduction of the Project
Our client, Franklin Templeton Investments, is a global B2B asset manager with 60+ years of active management experience. Given the recent changes in regulations and market landscape, our goal is to help the client develop a strategy to target the self-directed segment for both Poland and the U.K. markets without impacting their existing business.
Working from Berkeley
While in Berkeley, we communicated with clients through weekly calls and conducted research on the competitive landscape and market opportunities. We also connected with a Polish scholar Wojciech to learn about Polish culture and public mentality, and connected with consulting professors specializing in investment management to gain insights. Not being able to communicate with the client face-to-face posed challenges to the project. In order to obtain first-hand consumer and market insights as soon as we got in country we organized focus groups and arranged meetings with different departments before our departure.
In-country – Poland
Our first stop in Poland is Warsaw, an amazing city which was completely destroyed during the Second World War and rebuilt afterwards. Our host Borno is very hospitable and, to Varsha and everyone’s delight, took us out to an Indian restaurant for lunch on the first day. We then met with internal staff from sales, legal & compliance and IT departments and obtained a lot of valuable insights.
On our second day in Poland we went to Poznan, a beautiful city where FT’s operations center is located, and conducted three focus groups.
We then applied the tools that we learnt in PFPS to work and had an extremely productive session, which led to innovative yet practical solutions to our problems.
Another benefit of being in country is that it’s extremely helpful to get a “sense” of the market. By observing and talking to the locals, we learnt so much about the history and customs of the country which in turn, helped us more accurately capture the sentiment of the audience.
To live up to the glorious motto of “work hard, play hard”, we spent the weekend in the historic city of Krakow. Strolling the streets and windowing shopping at the open market was a great way to immerse in the local culture while a visit to Schindler’s Factory gave us a chance to relive the real history from the famous movie Schindler’s List.
In-country – U.K.
After 10 days in Poland, we packed our luggage and findings and headed to our next and final stop – London.
Our office is located in the center of the financial district, making it easy for us to get the vibe of the city.
We also conducted a focus group at London Business School (LBS) and an internal focus group. Given the financial sophistication of the audience, the results may be skewed; still we obtained valuable insights about the market.
The London office is more established than the Warsaw office and we took every chance to talk to different sources – sales, sales support, compliance, marketing, PR and external agents. Each person held a different perspective and we managed to sift through all the information to provide our presentation.
On the last day, we gave an excellent presentation. We received a lot of questions from the senior management and had great discussions.
Poland and the U.K. are both diverse in terms of culture and cuisine. And we tried to be “global” while making meal choices.
One of our key findings is that IBD is as much about learning about the cultures of your teammates as learning about the local cultures. During various meals and discussions, we exchanged a great number of anecdotes on customs of Japan, India, China and of course, the U.S. Topics included, but were not limited to, traffic rules, daily meals, foreign policies and expectations for marriage.
Just a day before we conducted the focus group at LBS, Prince Charles visited the school.
After the focus group at LBS, we were invited to attend the Sundowner, which is basically a school-sponsored Bar of the Week on the beautiful lawn of the campus, and networked with LBS MBA students.