Uganda Come to Africa!

Team Makerere is comprised of five Masters in Business Administration (MBA) students from the University of California, Berkeley, USA: April Zhu, Samuel O’Reilly, Juliana Pugliese, Pat Hyde and Nina Ho (who served as the Team Lead).

Team Makerere descends on Zimbabwe and Botswana!

From the moment the team was formed, plans had already begun to make the most of our long flight over to Africa by traveling together. After much deliberation, the team decided that Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and the Chobe National Park in Botswana would be our destination. And as a lovely surprise, Partners would be joining the team as well. 

First Official Team Meeting

The Team then flew together to Johannesburg, South Africa where they officially kicked off their in-country experience with the first official Team Meeting in Africa. Team Lead Nina Ho led the first official meeting by discussing our first day’s schedule and team norms. The team expressed joy and excitement as the moment they had been working on for the past 4 months had finally arrived. The next morning, the team boarded flights headed for Uganda!

How might we equip Makerere with the right people, process, and technology to enable them to develop and iterate their own solution that addresses students’ needs?  

Makerere University Private Sector Forum approached us to develop a non-conventional approach to internships that improves the quality of Makerere University graduates through enhanced hands-on experience with professional practice.

Makerere University students face significant challenges in securing internship positions, as well as participating in meaningful professional development during their attachments. Students are rarely given consequential work, and subsequently meaningful feedback, because they often enter their internships lacking essential workplace skills around communication, professionalism, and teamwork. 

Therefore, our time in Uganda was spent by meeting with each primary stakeholder: the students, faculty and employer partners. These meetings allowed us to validate our prior research, learn the ground truth and use the information we gathered to help us adapt our vision for a non conventional approach to internships. 

One day in Kampala

Anyone who has lived in Kampala will tell you how frustrating traffic can be. To only go 2 miles can take up to 1 hour, but the blistering heat and humidity will make you think twice before walking. On our second day in Kampala, we had meetings arranged with Umeme Power and the Bank of Uganda. The map said that it was only 7 minutes away by car, but we knew that could mean anything. We woke up much earlier than usual and planned to go to a coffee shop down the street so that if it did in fact take only 7 minutes, we would have somewhere to wait. The drive did indeed take 10 minutes and we were able to enjoy a nice cup of Ugandan coffee while we waited for the meeting to start. Our day was looking up. When we finished our last meeting at about 1pm, our blind optimism from that morning led us to say, why not, let’s take an uber back to the hotel. As the wait for the uber ticked past 30 minutes and the blistering heat was starting to take its toll, our uber pulled up. The Toyota Wish had seen better days, but we were optimistic that it would get us there in record time. As sweat was dripping down my face, and countless boda boda’s (motorbikes) passed us in traffic, I regretted our decision not to walk the 2 miles. I looked down at my watch and yes, it took us 75 minutes to go 2 miles. 

The Haas Global Alumni Network is Strong 

One of the reasons many of us chose to attend Haas was that we wanted to join a community that doesn’t end with graduating business school. Early on in the project we were researching Uganda’s economy and realized that Makerere University Private Sector Forum had established partnerships with many traditional employer partners such as banks, but none with fast growing sectors in the country. During our research, we came across Fenix International, a solar energy company based in Kampala. The CTO happened to be a Haas 2008 Alum and he immediately responded to our cold linkedin message while he was on vacation offering to meet us in San Francisco and link us up with Fenix’s human resources team in Kampala to help us gain feedback on our project and learn more about what students need to be successful in the fast growing Uganda economy. 

The Development Fellowship Scheme

The Development Fellowship Scheme (DFS) is a solution-based career preparation fellowship that includes a dynamic two-part training program for Makerere University’s third-year students. The DFS is structured into a nine workshop Development Fellowship Scheme Skills Course and the 10-12 weeks Development Fellowship Graduate Training Program. The goal of the DFS is to provide Makerere University students with the opportunity to work in teams on real life business problems, while simultaneously developing the analytical, interpersonal, and practical workplace skills necessary to thrive in the formal sector.  The Team presented the DFS to the Executive Director of the Makerere University Private Sector Forum and received positive feedback for the program with hopes of it’s implementation this fall for the 2019-2020 academic year. 

Team RD – Florianopolis Brazil

Written by the IBD Team RD, Perrie Briskin, Jamil Bashir, Emily Brechlin, Yenkai Huang, and Michael Kochevar

“Oh, that’s why he wasn’t talking to me,” the Brazilian man exclaimed loudly with laughter. “I thought he was a mute!”

This was the statement of a friendly Brazilian man when he encountered one of our teammates during breakfast in our hotel. Our teammate smiled and gestured to the man to go first for coffee. When the man thanked our teammate, it was met with another smile and a nod. The man only realized that our teammate spoke English when another teammate gave a heartfelt “good morning!”

This encounter sums up much of our International Business Development (IBD) experience. We were all excited for IBD, eagerly anticipating those sorts of miscommunications and disconnects. Needless to say, we were not disappointed. 

Our team of five spent a few weeks in Florianópolis Brazil (known as Floripa) with a marketing automation company. There was an inherent disconnect from the beginning, far before we set off for Floripa. While we think of ourselves as studious MBAs with diverse professional backgrounds, none of us knew much about tech, let alone marketing automation. We quickly dove in to get an understanding of our client’s operations and how they’ve come to dominate the Brazilian market. 

Although we quickly figured out the industry and our client, there remained minor disconnects around the scope of our project. Just when we thought we had it figured out, we would learn something new that would steer us in a slightly different direction. Those small redirects added up to countless hours of healthy debate and multiple white-boarding sessions. Fortunately, we remained nimble and kept in close contact with our client. It was much easier to collaborate with our client when we were finally in Floripa. Key learning – while remote collaboration can be helpful, sometimes a face-to-face meeting is necessary! (read: boss, I think I need to go to [name your favorite city] to really make this project work)  

RD Team white boarding

In Brazil, we quickly learned that English is not widely spoken. It would be a lie if we said it was easy to navigate – just ask the mute if you need proof. But, Google Translate was our friend. The few years of high school Spanish many of us took also proved surprisingly useful. When all else fails, smile and nod. 

RD Team enjoying cake

Our team of 5 had numerous internal disconnects. We had different schedules, varying preferences and unique goals. We embraced the time in Brazil to bond with one another – sharing our “life stories” as a way to get to know one another on a deeper level. We connected over Brazilian barbecue, food trucks and a 3-hour long dinner with our client (small aside – we forgot to place the order for our food…). Karaoke and juggling (our team leader brought a set of juggling balls!) during sunrise on a Floripa beach eliminated any divide that may have remained within our team. Team RD on the beach

This is IBD, it’s all about learning – it’s about stretching ourselves. Working internationally is not easy, but in the challenge lies great learning and fun! 

In the end, we ask – is there a disconnect that cannot be overcome with a bit of hard work, compromise and fun?

 

Building Bridges: The Story of How Two Asians, Two South Americans, and a North Carolinian Found Each Other in Germany

Written by Team SAP Ariba: Jennifer Nixon, Antonio Ciudad Casafranca, Ka Wing Lo, Rodrigo Morelli and Boyu Zhang

More than just data integration… 

SAP’s CEOs’ words marked us from the beginning when we got to SAP headquarters in Walldorf, Germany. SAP’s core business is more than just data integration; it is about creating “bridges” within an organization so that communication can flow freely, and thus, better decisions are made. 

Experiencing this project with IBD consulting eyes resulted in a similar realization to each of us. From visiting the offices in Palo Alto, to the headquarters in Walldorf, Germany, to the Apphaus in Heidelberg, we were able to see first hand what makes this giant tech company tick. It was not just that we had not seen so many bridges, literally connecting all buildings in the headquarters like a giant above- and below-ground maze. These bridges weren’t just to shield employees from the harsh German winters. The concept of bridges was embedded in this company’s DNA. The key to success for them was collaboration, which led to the best possible solution for the client. We knew that this was what this big tech company did differently. 

The purpose of our project itself was to create a concept and strategy for a new product in Northern Europe. And for that reason, we had not only to understand our potential Northern European client, but also get a better understanding of one another. 

Coming from 5 different regions in the world: Brazil, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Peru and the US, the “data integration” had to start with us. One morning, as we entered the SAP headquarters building, a symbol struck us from an SAP sign welcoming a distinguished Chinese client delegation. The symbol depicted below means team – the

The Chinese symbol for team

inner symbol means talent, and the outside 4 walls mean group, which we saw as a great representation of the four nations from which we came. We realized that this symbol represented what we have become: a talented, multifaceted group that came together as one team, on the other side of the world, to solve a complex problem.

Our Journey to the Bridges:

Living in Heidelberg for three weeks, we were exposed to the oldest university city in Europe. Being surrounded by centuries of pursuit of knowledge, exemplified by the willingness of SAP people to talk to us and share their experiences with us, helped to open our eyes to a new understanding of the client, but most importantly to the company integration project that we had to help accomplish.

SAP Ariba is itself in an undergoing process to integrate with SAP, and our proposal had to take those aspects into consideration. 

We were also able to explore Germany, and understand centuries of division, but also reunification and integration of a new Germany. This nation does not forget its past, but builds “bridges” to connect its future.

It is about abandoning the silos and understanding our client’s client, our client, and each other. The pain points of one were not the pain points for everyone, so we had to bridge the gap to find a common ground, and work from there to find a comprehensive solution. 

It has been a journey to create bridges around the world and between us. After this experience, it is safe to say that we will always search for ways to connect people, build trust, and team up! 

The Stories Behind the Bottles

Bottles of Samai

Bottles of Samai

By IBD Team Samai

Samai is Cambodia’s first premium rum distillery founded by Daniel Pacheco and Antonio Lopez de Haro in 2014. Samai’s mission is to lead in the craft of distilling premium Cambodian spirits that combines high-quality, locally grown ingredients, innovation, and passion. Our team of five had the opportunity to work with Samai on its marketing expansion strategy and financial model for the next round of fundraising. Samai’s hope is to deliver high- quality Cambodian rum to the world and help change the perceptions of Cambodia. 

Introduction and Guided Tour

On the first day to Samai, Daniel gave the team a thorough tour on the production process, which ranged from fermentation to bottling. To gain an understanding of what the rum production process looked like before arriving on-site, the team attended private distillery tours and conducted several interviews with individuals who worked in the spirits industry. Being able to visualize the production steps allowed us to make more informed and strategic recommendations. In addition, we were able to have more insightful conversations when speaking face to face with Daniel and learn more in depth about business.

Team Samai sitting around a table talkingDay of Arrival Brief

Prior to arriving on site, the team held weekly conference calls with Samai to discuss the scope and details of the project. For the Day of Arrival Brief, we presented to Antonio and Julie, their marketing manager, on our findings on the global go-to-market strategy, focusing on the Spain, UK, Hong Kong and Japan markets. 

Given that Samai is a growing start up, our project scope fluctuated quite a bit. After we presented our global expansion plan, we found it more opportunistic to help Samai redefine their mission and values and provide them with strategic marketing plans and tactics for implementation. 

Samai bar

Samai bar

Events on Thursday Night

Rum Tastings and Cocktail Competition

Every week, the Samai Distillery opens its doors to the public so that new and devoted Samai customers can enjoy hand-crafted cocktail beverages prepared by Samai’s bartenders. The most popular cocktail on the menu is the infamous 21 Points, cheekily named by co-owner Antonio. Original cocktail 21 Points presents a classic version of a rum and coke, while the 21 Points features the Samai Rum, cola, lime, bitters, and fresh sugarcane. We can attest that it is as delicious as it sounds! We spent our evening talking with customers, bartenders, and expats to gain deeper insight into their perspective of Samai. These insights were an invaluable contribution to our formulation of marketing and expansion strategies. Glasses lined up

One of the traditions started by a prior IBD team is to  host a Thursday night cocktail competition. This year, the girls and boys battled it out for curating the best cocktail on the tiki bar menu.  The girls’ cocktail were so popular that there were a few moments where we couldn’t keep up with the demand. We did our best to act like seasoned bartenders who knew how to accommodate a packed bar. We learned useful skills that aren’t often taught in the classroom, had fun, brought in incremental sales for Samai, and met some interesting people.IBD Team in front of the rum barrels

As much fun as Samai nights may be, its purpose is to produce rum. Venezuelan co-owner Daniel Pacheco hopes to improve the reputation of rum as a high-end alcohol worthy of appreciation.

 

Samai bottle next to a beachWeekend Adventure #1

Beach in Koh Rong Sanloem

 

The team had a great, relaxing time on the Koh Rong Sanloem, a well-known island off the coast of Cambodia. We continued to work on our marketing efforts, even during our vacation weekend. During our resort stay, we asked if the resort had Samai rum at their bar. To our surprise, the resort said that they had already ordered Samai rum, or we would have never given up our marketing efforts.

 

Angkor Wat in Siem ReapWeekend Adventure #2

Angkor Wat in Siem Reap

The team rose at 4am to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat. Though exhausted from the early wake up call, it was truly worthwhile experience to have see this exceptional view. The team also enjoyed visiting multiple temples in Angkor Wat and learning about the history of the Kingdom of Cambodia.  

 

Team Sega Sammy: Tokyo 2019 #samuraibd

Written by Sega Sammy Team Member, Mina Matsumoto, ’20 MBA Candidate 

When people think of Sega Sammy, most picture Sonic the Hedgehog. However, Sega Sammy Holdings is more than a cartoon- it’s a multi-billion dollar conglomerate that merged Japan’s biggest pachinko manufacturer with one of the leading arcade and video game makers. They invited a Haas team to help them create a sustainable investment strategy for their corporate venture capital team. As a mature company, they want to invest in the future. 

Team IBD Sega Sammy

Day 1 – VR 

Mina: Holding a laser gun, I stood on the edge of a high tower. I shot a grappling hook through the air, jerked the gun back, and flew through the air to another tower. My teammates were across the field, shooting at the opposing team. This was Tower Tag, a multi-player VR game in the Sega Arcade in Shinjuku. 

Next to us, there were other VR games where you can ride a horse through a western, or fight off a ghost (I didn’t dare try that one). To a passerby, all of the sudden movements wouldn’t make any sense. But until the staff comes to help you out of your headgear, you’re in another world. What a way to end our first day of work- by the end, we were ready for a traditional izakaya dinner with the clients. 

Fearless Team Lead, Julian Florez, along with team members Andrew Blute and Aanchal Kawatra, take their shot in Tower Tag

Fearless Team Lead, Julian Florez, along with team members Andrew Blute and Aanchal Kawatra, take their shot in Tower Tag

Day 5 – COO

Upon entering a large circular boardroom, with memorabilia of Sonic the Hedgehog and gaming history along the walls, we were greeted by President and CEO Haruki Satomi wearing a Haas jacket. Mr. Satomi (EWMBA ‘12) has been in leadership roles at Sega Sammy for over a decade, and has been president and CEO since 2017. It was a great opportunity to chat with a fellow Haasie about his experiences as CEO, and about the futures of corporate venture capital and gaming. How to use new technology in their current business, and how to source good talent that can partner with the business units to identify promising startups earlier are both key priorities. 

Haruki Satomi (MBA 2012), President, Sega Sammy Holdings; CEO, Sega Holdings; President, Sammy Corporation.

Haruki Satomi (MBA 2012), President, Sega Sammy Holdings; CEO, Sega Holdings; President, Sammy Corporation

Day 9 – Pitch Night

In Tunnel Tokyo, the area of the office we worked out of, startup events happen multiple times per week. We were invited to attend a Startup Pitch Night, where five early stage startups presented their ideas. 

Startup Pitch Night with screen of game

Day 10 – Baseball Game 

A different kind of pitch: to kick off our final weekend, we caught a Giants game (yeah, different black-and-orange Giants) at the Tokyo Dome. Japanese baseball games are quite a bit more intense than MLB games; we enjoyed watching the passionate fans sing chants for each of their players, and cheer wildly on their feet. 

Giants game at the Tokyo Dome

Giants game at the Tokyo Dome

Final Presentation

Following our final presentation to the executive committee, we celebrated an amazing trip AND Andrew’s birthday with the clients out in Tokyo. かんぱい!

IBD Team Sega Sammy

 

Berkeley Haas Travels to Nepal for Eye Care Nonprofit

Written by IBD Team Seva; Alix Slosberg, Elinor Chang, Lauren Greenwood, Ryan Overcash and Ryan Adams

*Haas team’s travel in Nepal

*Haas team’s travel in Nepal

Five current Berkeley Haas MBA students partnered with Seva, a global nonprofit, to support its mission to preserve and restore sight for communities around the world for the 2019 International Business Development (IBD) course.  The Haas team started working in Kathmandu, but quickly traveled around Nepal to see the famed Lumbini Eye Institute and settled in Tansen, Nepal, where the team focused its IBD work for the Palpa Lions Lacoul Eye Hospital (PLLEH).

The Haas team spent three weeks in-country exploring how PLLEH could increase cataract surgery patient volume to drive revenue growth to become financially self-sustaining in the long-term.

A Day in the Life

*Tansen, Nepal

*Tansen, Nepal

While in Tansen, the Haas team ingrained itself with PLLEH’s eye care staff and operations. The team met with the other Tansen medical care facilities that also serve the broader Palpa district, which includes Tansen and has a population of 270,000.

In total, the Haas team conducted 24 stakeholder interviews and 5 hospital tours while in Nepal.

One of the most memorable days was when the Haas team worked with the Seva Nepal contact, Parami Dhakhwa, and the PLLEH staff to set up a full day of patient interviews at the hospital.

The Haas team wanted to learn about PLLEH’s patient journey through patients that came for cataract surgery, those that were just diagnosed with cataracts, and those that came for a general checkup.

*Elinor Chang & Alix Slosberg work with the translator and patients

*Elinor Chang & Alix Slosberg work with the translator and patients

The hospital opened at 10am and already had a line of people waiting to be seen. As the morning progressed, the hospital became more crowded since people had traveled hours by foot and bus and wanted to receive care in time to return home before the last bus left Tansen.

*Buffalo, common farm animal

*Buffalo, common farm animal

There was added excitement on this particular interview day. An ophthalmologist from the Lumbini Eye Institute was visiting PLLEH for one day to perform cataract surgeries since PLLEH was temporarily operating without an ophthalmologist.

The Haas team prepared standard interview questions for patients and worked with two translators to dive into patients’ experiences at PLLEH.

The Nepali patients were kind, forthcoming, and supportive of the Haas team’s work. The patients also made clear that PLLEH’s brand was highly regarded and they trusted the quality of care received at PLLEH.

*Interviewed PLLEH Patients

*Interviewed PLLEH Patients

The interviewed patients were mostly farmers in the region and many of them brought up concerns about leaving their crops and animals in order to receive care at PLLEH.

The Haas team also gained insights into the decision making process for patients that decided to receive cataract surgery and the team’s hypotheses were further refined. An interesting development was that finding a guardian or caretaker for cataract surgery is likely not as much of a barrier to surgery as the team previously thought. At PLLEH, grandchildren, daughters-in-law, and spouses still appeared available and willing to assist family members with cataracts.

*PLLEH staff & Haas team

*PLLEH staff & Haas team

Through days like this interview day, surveys written by the Haas team, and the incredible support from Seva and PLLEH staff, the IBD project came alive. The Haas team used the data and primary research to think through eye care patients’ needs and wants and provided dynamic recommendations to PLLEH. Seva will continue to engage the Haas team over the coming year and Haas wishes PLLEH the best in making additional outreach and operational efforts to better position the hospital to care for more patients.

OPTION A:

*Diagram of PLLEH Hospital

OPTION B:

*Diagram of PLLEH Hospital

*Diagram of PLLEH Hospital

IBD Blog “Dois dias no Brasil”

By Varstation Team Member, Dakota Campbell, MBA Candidate 2020

São Paulo Skyline

São Paulo Skyline

As a relatively inexperienced international traveler, I did not know what to expect when signing up for IBD other than that I’d stretch myself personally. As I was assigned to team Varstation in São Paulo, Brazil, I was excited to visit a country to which I had never been, but that my Brazilian classmates spoke highly of. After spending 3 weeks in country working with my Haas classmates and the Varstation team, I can certainly confirm that it was a transformative experience. Week days working in the office with the Varstation team and weekends exploring Brazil with my classmates both contributed immensely to the experience in unique ways. Profiling a “typical” week day and our shared weekend in Rio will paint the most complete picture of the Brazilian IBD experience.

Example of student deliverableWeek Day

The work days typically began with 6:15am alarm to rattle us out of our comfortable hotel beds. I’d fumble around the room for clothes and brush my teeth before heading upstairs to the hotel gym for a team workout! Depending on the adventures of the night before, team participation varied but was a great way to start each day. Afterwards, we’d all run downstairs to shower and hustle out the door for Starbucks on the way in to the office – a 20-minute cab ride from our hotel. Side note: we appeared the most American at Starbucks via our iced coffee or café filtrado orders as all the locals drink espresso-based drinks!

IBD/Varstation final presentation

IBD/Varstation final presentation

Our client, Varstation, is a genetic analysis software company that is in the process of spinning out of the prestigious Albert Einstein hospital in Brazil. Our office was located within an incubator that serves as a satellite office for the various companies the hospital is incubating in the Vila Mariana neighborhood. The Varstation team was gracious enough to carve out a conference room for us to set up shop for three weeks to finish all the deliverables we had been working towards over the semester.

IBD Touring Albert Einstein Hospital’s Sequencing Lab

IBD Touring Albert Einstein Hospital’s Sequencing Lab

You can’t have IBD without the work, so what did we actually work on? Our three main deliverables for the project were a spinoff playbook, market prioritization, and competitive audit. The spinoff playbook delivered best practices, case studies, and a synthesis of critical success factors across financing, governance, leadership structure, and business strategy. Market prioritization distilled down many factors including total healthcare spend, genetic analysis competition, market growth, etc. across ~26 different global markets to determine where Varstation could best expand in the near to mid term beyond Brazil. The competitive audit profiled four key competitors in the genomic space to provide Varstation with a competitive intelligence report. This report enables Varstation to more effectively compete by seeing services that are offered by everyone, what they do better or worse than others in the industry, how their value proposition stacks up, etc. Since the Varstation team is primarily comprised of computer engineers / coders working towards building their software, these higher-level business strategy documents were far beyond the scope of their daily activities and created value by more concretely guiding their business at it continues to take shape.

Our IBD team was usually in the office from ~9am to 630pm working towards these deliverables. We’d grab lunch at any one of several local eateries for lunch with many Varstation team members. This break for lunch is an integral part of Brazilian culture, as they can often take upwards of 90 minutes – a stark contrast to eating lunch at my desk as I was used to in the states. Our favorite destination was the “boteco”, a Brazilian staple that is a mix of a local café, corner store, and diner. Lunches were heavier than I was accustomed to, ranging from chicken parmigiana to a huge “corner” omelet, all served with rice, beans, and French fries.

After staving off the food-induced afternoon sleepiness, we’d finish our work for the day and depart the office back to our hotel. We stayed in the Itaim Bibi neighborhood which was a wealthier suburb, containing many stores for shopping and restaurants. We’d typically take 45 minutes upon returning to the hotel for personal tasks – tough to keep your life in order while out of the country for a month! Most nights the team would then all go to one of many local restaurants for dinner, spanning styles from Japanese, Brazilian, Mexican, American, etc. After dinner, we’d typically return to the hotel around 930pm. I’d put on the Warriors or Bruins games on the TV in the room and enjoy watching with the excitable Portuguese commentary, before going to bed around midnight to start the following day all over again!

Weekend in Rio

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Jainero

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Jainero

Our team had two weekends in Brazil where we could really cut it loose and see more of what the country had to offer. Since there were 4 separate IBD teams stationed in Brazil, we took the opportunity to plan a weekend in Rio together. Despite it being early winter in Brazil, Rio was still warm enough where we could take advantage of the nightlife, beach, and general outdoor ethos of the city. Teams from São Paulo, Florianopolis, and San Jose all assembled into two shared rental houses for a weekend full of shenanigans.

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Jainero

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Jainero

On Friday night we all grabbed quick dinners, and then headed for the street fair located in the center of the city. Here, numerous food vendors, drink carts, musicians, etc. lined the central park of the city near a major nightlife district. The streets were filled with locals and tourists celebrating, popping into the local bars and eateries before spilling back out into the central street party. Samba music mixed with contemporary American music to create a truly unique cultural immersion.

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Jainero

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Jainero

On Saturday we all rebounded from the late night Friday by heading straight to the iconic beaches of Rio. Despite it being early winter, the midday temperatures were over 70F and the water was delightful to swim in. Most of us relaxed on the beach for the day, strolling down to check out the coast line, and getting drinks from beachside vendors. When late afternoon arrived, some of us decided to hop in cabs and head to Sugar Loaf Mountain, a high mountain at the edge of Rio that has a system of cable cars to take you up top for a breathtaking vista. It was a truly expansive view of the entire city. The only issue was that we were still damp from swimming and it was unsurprisingly window at the top of the peak, which you can see from some crazy hair in the second picture below! We grabbed a glass a wine from a vendor at one of these peaks and listened to a live band before departing for a pre-planned, all group dinner.

iew from the top of SugarLoaf; Multi-team photo

Multi-team photo

View from the top of SugarLoaf;

View from the top of SugarLoaf;

As a sendoff for the broader Brazil IBD teams, we planned a nice dinner Saturday night before everyone departed at varying times on Sunday. We went to the local restaurant Bazaar, where most people indulged in seafood paired with Argentinian wines. We even squeezed all of us into one photo!

Wrap up

Overall, the IBD experience pushed me outside my comfort zone, both personally and professionally. I had never worked internationally before, and all my international clients had previously come from Europe. Getting used to the more laid-back Brazilian culture away from the comforts of home tested me over the 3+ weeks I was out of country. Personally, it brought me close with my IBD team members Stephen Collins, Erika Renson, Michael de Lyon, and Moto Takai. Whenever you’re out of your element, as we were in Brazil, the uncomfortable external environment really draws you close to those most similar to you. From that standpoint, I really appreciated IBD in that it brought me closer to my teammates. We now share a truly unique experience between us, and I hope that propagates in our relationships beyond our time at Haas. As for our client team at Varstation, they were truly gracious hosts and a fun-loving bunch, and I hope to track Varstation’s progress and keep in touch with them moving forward.

Full Brazil IBD team photo in Rio

Full Brazil IBD team photo in Rio