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! 

IBD Travels to the LEPE Conference Hosted by NYU Stern School of Business

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

Written by Danner Doud-Martin, IBD Associate Director

I had the privilege for the third consecutive year of representing Berkeley Haas at the Leaders of Experiential Project-Based Education (LEPE) Conference in June 2019.  LEPE brings together higher education faculty and administrative staff who work on action learning based curriculum and programs. The Conference consisted of three days of networking, workshop sessions, panels and small group discussions, all focused on the pedagogy of experiential learning.  The LEPE Conference location changes year to year, and each hosting school takes the opportunity to show off their school and city. This year’s Conference was hosted by NYU Stern, and as you can imagine, there was much to see and do in Manhattan.  

2019 LEPE Group photo

Participating Universities and Colleges:

Currently LEPE is made up of a small but growing group of business school participants, and this year 33 unique universities were represented at the Conference.  The list of participating schools attending this year’s Conference included Harvard Business School, Michigan Ross, MIT Sloan, Chicago Booth, UCLA Anderson and others.  Two international business school representatives were also in attendance: IESE Business School in Barcelona, and Singapore Management University.  

Small Group conversations at LEPE

Small Group conversations at LEPE

LEPE’s goals and mission:

Although the official mission of LEPE is still being finalized, the Conference’s goal is to have participants learn and share best practices, gain professional development and tools, learn to advocate for experiential project-based learning as a pedagogy, and set standards for programs and courses.  This year’s LEPE Conference achieved this and offered much more. I loved the insights shared by participants in the larger sessions, but it was the smaller conversations that benefited me the most. As in previous years, I returned from the LEPE Conference with new ideas on how we might adopt a different tact or strategy to make our IBD program even better than it is.  I was able to hear how other business school programs operate, what they do to ensure the highest level of learning by their students, and how they measure program success. Additionally, it has been fun and valuable to get to know other folks from different business schools, and to build industry-wide relationships on a professional and personal level. Over the years I have been able to utilize these relationships by reaching out for industry advice and counsel.  

Washington Square Park- NYC

Washington Square Park- NYC

Lots of great speakers:

Each year the LEPE Conference presenters prove to be engaging and informative.  One of my favorite panels at this year’s Conference was led by three librarians from NYU Stern, Michigan Ross, and Emory Goizueta.  “You can lead a horse to water” focused on the benefits of quality research, and how providing support, resources, and techniques to students will lead to more impactful projects.  Panelists advocated for students to go beyond ”googling” and work toward finding multiple high-quality sources. Students tend to get stuck on a few sources that are skewed toward the answer they think is correct.   Having touch points with the business school librarians plays a huge part in the success of quality resources. We have wonderful librarians at Berkeley Haas, and I left the LEPE Conference thinking about ways to encourage our students to engage with them more during the IBD program.  

New York City Library celebrating Stonewall 50th anniversary

Fun at LEPE:

Over the last three years I have enjoyed experiencing the different cities that host the LEPE Conference. In 2017 the LEPE Conference was hosted at Darden University in Virginia; last year it was hosted at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh.   This year’s Conference host, NYU Stern, is located in Greenwich Village, and I found myself walking daily through Washington Square to the NYU campus and Conference site. Even though it rained for the majority of my time in New York, I spent a number of hours walking along the city streets, enjoying the people, the sights, and the hot and muggy June weather.  On the final evening of the LEPE Conference, NYU Stern hosted a harbor cruise around Manhattan. The skies finally parted as we boarded the boat, and from there the views of the city and the Statue of Liberty were absolutely spectacular. 

New York City view during harbor tour

Danner enjoying the NYC view during harbor tour

Austin 2020

Next year the LEPE Conference will be hosted by the University of Texas at Austin.  Having never visited Austin, I am looking forward to experiencing this unique city. But I am even more excited about getting together with the exceptional people I have met and befriended during the last three years of LEPE Conferences! 

IBD Team We Care Solar in Uganda, July 2019

Written by Ana Quirino Simões

“Not only lights, it provides warmth…”  – midwife in Kyannamukaaka, Uganda

Roughly seven weeks ago, our team was introduced to We Care Solar, a non-profit based in Berkeley that aims to reduce maternal mortality rates in the developing world by providing the most essential resource for successful nighttime deliveries … LIGHT.

We Care Solar offers a simple concept – a ruggedized suitcase with up to four bright LED lights, fetal heart monitor, and basic USB charging that draws power from the sun and stores in a reliable battery. With a solution that is simple, low-maintenance, and user-friendly, locals describe this suitcase as “Light in a Box.” Proper lighting has an incredible impact at healthcare facilities where the only alternate source is the tiny LED in a smartphone and enables staff to perform procedures otherwise avoided when surrounded by absolute darkness. Assurance of available lighting enables facilities to care for more patients, contributing to positive performance metrics, eligibility for more public funding, and increased healthcare service options. Network effects of the Solar Suitcase have the power to elevate the life of an entire community.  

Given the successful impact with their simple and ruggedized design, it is not surprising that they want to branch out beyond maternity to support other areas of healthcare that are similarly challenged with scarce and unreliable power, such as vaccination, lab services, and surgical operations.

We Care Solar asked the IBD team to assess the next opportunity to grow their impact.

A “direct” connection from San Francisco to Kampala takes about 28 hours and has 2-3 stops/layovers. Steven would tell you that the 28-hour hub to Kampala is a myth. A combination of airport delays, severe weather issues, and lack of alternate flight options led to a total travel time of 52 hours for Steven. As for his luggage, he found out that it was still stuck in Newark by the time he landed in Uganda. Fortunately, Chinmay helped by sharing his clothes (no further details) until Steven could go clothes shopping at the fancy Acacia Mall. That’s how one starts a great journey as a team!

For our first days on the ground, we met with the local We Care Solar team, who gave us incredible perspective into their work and the realities they have to deal with. IBD is truly hands-on and we were immersed in the problems of unreliable electricity. On the second night of the week, we experienced a full 12-hour black-out in our Airbnb: no lights, no hot water, no cell phones, no internet, no computers, no TV. And no fans!

On the bright side, days start early in Kampala. Ana was the team’s early morning person and enjoyed peaceful morning sunshine on the balcony of our Airbnb in Ntinda.

Our early mornings would start with breakfast in the apartment before we commuted around the city to where many of our stakeholders were based. Because of the severe traffic, almost every trip took an hour despite Uber claiming an optimistic 15 minutes. The roads are filled with cars, people, and boda bodas (motorcycle taxis), and one driver joked that sometimes he has to close his eyes and pray when he drives through Kampala.

By the end of the first week, we had visited a variety of healthcare facilities and learned about their challenges, including those in more remote areas in the Masaka region. We visited mid-size healthcare facilities that served a wide local population range between 5000-20000 patients per year. Beyond maternity, these facilities also offer out-patient treatments, vaccination, diagnostics, and treatment for wide-spread diseases such as HIV, TB, and malaria; one of the facilities also had an “operating theater” (OR). They were all connected to the main electricity grid, but all reported outages 2-8 times a month, lasting anywhere from a few hours to two whole days.

Their top wishlist items for We Care Solar? More lights. Brighter lights. Security lights. Treating patients in darkness is a difficult business. Non-preventable yet treatable conditions such as obstetric hemorrhage (massive bleeding from childbirth), obstructive labor, eclampsia, and sepsis can go undiagnosed and become fatal just because there are no lights.

Driving through rural Uganda gave us a good sense of the impact that the Solar Suitcase has had in the communities and ideas about how to expand it to other areas of healthcare and reach a broader population.

During our second week in Kampala, we met with multiple stakeholders in the healthcare and solar solutions space: the Ministry of Health, solar distributors and installers, healthcare experts, and other NGO representatives. The potential for partnerships to amplify WCS’s reach became very clear. We started to get a glimpse into the intricate network of stakeholders and factors that need to work in harmony to influence and transform the condition of healthcare in places like Uganda. 

It was not all work! During the weekend, we squeezed in a safari visit at Lake Mburo National Park and experienced the amazing local nature. The park is beautiful and amazing, even with challenges such as bugs, especially mosquitoes. If you see Neha, ask about the feline friend she made at the lodge.

A walking safari allowed us to get really close up to the animals. The zoom lens on Ana’s camera also helped.

For seven weeks, we were challenged with tackling one of the world’s biggest problems. Each one of us has collected new experiences, gained a new perspective of the world and our own realities, and made new amazing friends. We finished our journey with a deeper understanding of Uganda’s challenges in healthcare and in everyday life. And after we finished our final recommendations report to We Care Solar, we celebrated in the best way possible – with an African Night at the Kampala Cultural Center.

The narrator at the Cultural Center explained: “If you get stressed, relax and shake your sitting facilities – and you will be happy!”

A big shout out to the We Care Solar team and all of their support with information and logistics! We hope to see them again soon. Weebale!

Pictured left to right: Ana, Steven, Chinmay, Neha

Team We Care Solar

IBD – Uganda 2019

Chinmay Gaikwad, Ana Quirino Simões, Neha Shah, Steven Wang

Greetings from Middle Caye in Glover’s Reef Atoll!

Written by IBD Team WCS,  Banu Nagasundaram, Lindsay Zhang, Mark Parker, Maureen Klarich, and Pathak Pankaj

Glover's Reef Marine ReserveWe are Team WCS.  Our project this summer is to work in partnership with the Belize organization of the Wildlife Conservation Society to recommend effective management practices for Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve, a World Heritage site that also serves as one of the nine designated marine protected areas in Belize.  

During our five weeks at Berkeley, we began understanding marine protected areas and started navigating the complex network that involves marine protection management within Belize.  From fishermen to government to landowners to conservationists, there are many whose livelihoods are impacted by decisions made within these marine protected areas. Each week, we met with the WCS Belize management team from Berkeley to begin building relationships and ultimately the direction in which we would take this project.

Upon arriving to Belize City, we spent a day in the WCS Belize office before heading out to the Middle Caye island which is owned by WCS.  This was truly a once in a lifetime experience, exploring and understanding the realities of marine protection management 35 miles off the coast of Dangriga, Belize. 

Follow us for a day in the life of a Berkeley Haas IBD consultant on Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve:

6AM – 9AM

Sunrise Glover's Reef Marine Reserve

Early to bed, early to rise!  Along with the WCS and Belizean Fisheries and Coast Guard staff on the reserve, we started our days with the sun. Breakfast, delivered by the cooks Ms. Annette and Ms. Brenda, began promptly at 7AM.  Fried jacks (a Belizean specialty best described by our group as “fried dough”) and coffee were essential to the start of our day along with in-depth conversations with the WCS team and their visiting guests from the St. Louis Zoo. We spent a lot of time on the dock of Middle Caye, learning about the experiences of the WCS staff – many of whom have worked for and amongst the various stakeholders throughout their careers. What valuable conversations and a beautiful environment to hold these!

Dock at Glover's Reef Marine Reserve

9AM – 11AM

Taking in the nature of Belize. Along with the guests from St. Louis, we had the opportunity to explore the reserve each morning – learning about and understanding the marine ecosystem within the reserve and clearly understanding the need for conservation of this beautiful protected area. The team had the opportunity to partake in snorkeling the reef – a big shout out to our teammate, Banu, for diving right in and exploring the open seas for the first time!  She went from joining boat rides to swimming on her own in the reserve within four days.

11AM – 12PM

We took each morning to check in with the WCS Operations Manager, Ken. We really valued this time to talk through some of our observations and understand his perspective on the region. These sessions took place in the Research Lab where we were able to get a break from the strong sun.

12PM – 2PM

Ms. Annette and Ms. Brenda were back in action for lunch, hosting for over 40 guests – the WCS staff, the St Louis visiting guests, the Fisheries staff and Coast Guard staff on-site at Middle Caye, and ourselves.  Each meal gave us an opportunity to interact with stakeholders, learning their personal histories, their path to Glover’s Reef, and their thoughts and ideas surrounding conservation of this beautiful area.

2PM – 6PM

The afternoons were spent with more snorkeling and exploration of the Glover’s Reef atoll and the islands outside of Middle Caye.  Throughout the week, we had the opportunity to visit and meet with key stakeholders in the region who sit on the Advisory Committee of Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve.  These included Jim and Kendra who own a resort in Glover’s Reef. Living in Belize for 25 years, they have a vested interest in protecting the ecosystem of the reef for their guests and sustainability of their livelihood on this atoll.  We also had a chance to speak with Warren, another landowner who was born in Glover’s Reef and continues to be an active participant in the community. One evening, our boat captain Bok took us out to meet fishers who had just come in for the day.  Hearing their perspectives and efforts to teach the younger generations of fishers about the needs for sustainability was encouraging and inspiring.

Fisher boat

7PM – 9PM

Dinners were served to the entire group – complete with rice and beans, chicken stew, and local desserts and fruits. Again, the opportunity to engage with the stakeholders on the island over meals and card games following dinner gave us the ability to build relationships and get to know the team better.

Throughout the day

Sun and mosquito protection were essential! The island’s mosquitos were no joke, and some group members survived the mosquito bites better than others. We also learned that any walk on the island needs to be accompanied with long sleeve t-shirts, long pants, and bug spray applied to any open skin.  Wish we had bought some stock in mosquito repellent and sunscreen approved sunscreen brands!

2019 IBD Team WCS Belize

2019 IBD Team WCS Belize

As we’ve headed back to Belize City, we are looking forward to the continued learning in our 2nd week – meeting with other Marine Protected Areas to discuss best practices and exploring the best of Belize.  Look out for another update in the next week! 

 

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.