IBD Team YGA Travels to Istanbul to Work with Young Guru Academy (YGA) for a Second Year

Written by Team YGA: Joanne Lee, Clara Jiang, Enrique San Martin Petit and Daniel Mombiedro

After a successful inaugural engagement between Young Guru Academy (YGA) and IBD in 2017, the two partnered again this year to send a team of four MBA students to Istanbul, Turkey. The IBD team was tasked with assessing the potential of virtual reality tours to develop a go-to-market strategy and revenue model. Piri – one of YGA’s most promising startups – wants to expand beyond its current travel app which offers only GPS-based tracking audio tours. The value that the Berkeley Haas IBD team would be able to deliver was unique – situated in the hotbed of innovation with VR companies like Oculus, YGA understood this advantage. I had the privilege of being a member of this IBD team and embarked on my first international work experience.

A day in the life:

My alarm goes off at 7:30AM. I quickly get ready and head over to the dining hall for breakfast. Dining hall? Yes, that’s right – my team members and I are staying at Özyeğin university where one of YGA’s offices are located. I assemble on my tray a typical Turkish breakfast – eggs, cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese, and simit, a circular bread encrusted with sesame seeds. I pour myself a cup of hot tea and join my team members in the discussion of today’s agenda.

An elaborate traditional Turksih breakfast spread at a café

An elaborate traditional Turkish breakfast spread at a café

Today’s agenda: a Piri tour of Karakoy, a brief 30-minute meeting with the CEO of Turkcell (the largest tech company in Turkey), self-study time for our team to get some work done, and wrap-up with a dinner party hosted by Sezin, a YGA colleague. I am excited to do a little sight-seeing of Istanbul which qualifies as product testing – perks of working with a travel tech startup.

We arrive at the starting point of the Karakoy tour, a beautiful mosque with two minaret towers, and are promptly greeted by Çağlar, one of Piri’s co-founders. We all plug in our earphones and begin following the instructions from the audio tour. The experience is seamless – as I stare up the intricate details on the dome ceiling, I hear about the rich story behind the mosque. The tour concludes with us reaching the harbor with a spectacular view of the glistening Bosphorus river. After snapping some photos, we stop in a café. Over baklava, we provide feedback to Çağlar on our experience with the tour. Eventually, it is time for us to meet with Kaan Terzioğlu, Turkcell’s CEO – we don’t want to be late and Istanbul’s traffic is unpredictable.

IBD Team on the Karakoy Harbor with Çağlar, one of Piri’s co-founders

IBD Team on the Karakoy Harbor with Çağlar, one of Piri’s co-founders

Again with an unobstructed view of the Bosphorus River, I am sitting next to Kaan in a large conference room. My team members and I are presenting our research on the VR industry and getting a rare look at how the CEO of a major tech company conducts himself. Kaan is engaged, nodding, and occasionally interjecting with an insightful comment. After the meeting, we collect our notes and head back to the YGA office.

We settle into an empty conference room and get to work. Daniel Mombiedro, our team lead, starts going through our slide deck and proposing changes to be made. We all offer our thoughts on how to best reflect the new information from today. We are a collaborative team – discovering, discussing, and delivering together. After several hours of tweaking models in Excel and putting together slides, we’ve made good progress. A YGA colleague swings by to offer us a ride to Sezin’s dinner party. We pack up and prepare to sit through more traffic.

Upon arrival at Sezin’s apartment, I kiss cheeks one-by-one with everyone there. As an Asian-American raised in New York, cheek kissing is uncommon. Through these warm embraces, I feel a strong sense of the close-knit family that YGA has formed. Sezin has prepared a bountiful feast with a variety of meze (similar to tapas). With full plates, we sit around the living room and chat with YGA members to learn about what drew them to YGA. I am particularly inspired by Küşat’s story – Küşat, who is visually impaired, is working on the world’s most advanced smart-cane, WeWalk, that detects obstacles above the waist and integrates third-party apps through voice-activation to lessen the everyday challenges of the blind. At the end of the night, my team packs into a van to return to our dormitories – it’s been a long but eventful day and I’m excited about what tomorrow holds.

Dean Rich Lyons, Forever an International Ambassador

Dean Lyons at IBD class

Dean Lyons at IBD class

Dean Rich Lyons is in the last months of his tenure at Berkeley Haas, and last week we were honored to have him address the Full-Time MBA IBD class for the last time. He has been an enthusiastic supporter of international course offerings at Berkeley Haas, as well as an active ambassador for the IBD program. 

Dean Lyons had this to share with IBD:  “I was hired here on the faculty in 1993, in a very different slot. I don’t think it had ever happened before and I don’t think it’s happened since.  They allocated an ”international” slot and my field is international finance and business. So when I got here, it is safe to say that the only course that we would refer to as experiential learning, today, was IBD.  It was an important part of the global footprint of the business school even way back then…It is really the kernel of a starting point to our whole experiential learning curriculum.”

Dean Lyons expressed that his own international experiences were transformative, and formed the basis for why he pursued a Ph.D. in international economics.  He commended our IBD students for their hard work to date and deemed them “worthy ambassadors” of the Berkeley Haas brand. With an eye to the future, Dean Lyons asked current IBD students to think about their work with IBD clients as a path to more opportunities for the next generation of IBD students.  He told us that “when you say Berkeley in Sao Paulo or Shanghai, or wherever you are going, it just has incredible resonance and you’re part of that resonance.” He encouraged our IBD students to revel in the 150 years of Berkeley tradition, and to “keep the global star rising” at Berkeley Haas.

In conclusion, he reminded us all to “do good work.”  

Dean Lyons and IBD Faculty Mentors

Dean Lyons and IBD Faculty Mentors

Dean Lyons has been doing exceptional work for years on behalf of many departments at Berkeley Haas and UC Berkeley.  The faculty, staff, alumni, and students at IBD are grateful to him for keeping the IBD program top of mind when he travels internationally.  Dean Lyons has always been considered an extension of our own team, as well as our best advocate at home and abroad. As a small token of our appreciation, the IBD team presented Dean Lyons with an award that fits the profile of the IBD program as well as the Dean’s love of all things international: a commemorative globe.  We hope that after Dean Lyons returns from his much-deserved sabbatical, he will continue to be an advocate for the IBD program and other course opportunities that offer MBAs transformative international experiences.

Global Lives Project – Building Understanding and Empathy Across Cultures

Example of a Globe Smart Country Comparison

Example of a Globe Smart Country Comparison

On the first day of the spring 2018 IBD class, Faculty Director Frank Schultz told 80 IBD students that they were going to learn a number of skills, including how to solve strategic problems in a business setting across cultures.  Not surprisingly, this is one of the main reasons that Berkeley Haas MBAs want to be a part of the IBD program. While it is common for many of our MBAs to be have lived and traveled extensively outside the US, not all of them have worked internationally.  IBD provides a great opportunity to work on this lifelong skill set.

What are the ways that IBD Faculty Mentors prepare students for challenging international work experiences?  For years, IBD students have had access to the online tool, GlobeSmart, an online platform that offers extensive information on how individuals in different countries conduct themselves in a professional setting.  In addition to being a resource for cross-cultural understanding, it is also a tool used by our IBD students to understand how they conduct themselves overall in business. After completing a diagnostic survey, each IBD team is asked to compare and discuss their differences and similarities on how they prefer to work.  The IBD students are also asked to compare their individual and team results to the specific project country in which they will work for the remainder of their IBD project.

In our most recent IBD class, our newest Faculty Mentor, David Evan Harris, expanded on the GlobeSmart cross-cultural

David at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive exhibit of the Global Lives Project (2017)

David at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive exhibit of the Global Lives Project (2017)

assignment and asked students to visit one of the Global Lives Project exhibits on UC Berkeley campus.  Global Lives Project is a nonprofit that David started after he graduated from UC Berkeley in 2003.  

When asked why he tasked IBD Teams with going to on-campus exhibit, David said,  

“I think the Global Lives Project and GlobeSmart are complimentary.  I hoped by experiencing Global Lives, students would have the chance to really think about people around the world, and especially in the countries that they will be traveling to; just as people and not as customers, clients or a target audience.  I wanted them to really think about these individuals, as people who have complex lives and go home to a family each day. I want them to really empathize and think about how people’s lives around the world are different and similar to our own.  GlobeSmart is very much looking at a macro level, looking at statistics and trying to use numbers to break down billions of people into certain types.  Global Lives Project is the exact opposite of that.  It’s about looking at people as individuals that are really unique and that we have to take the time to study and observe carefully.  There are no single answers about what you can learn from a Global Lives Project visit. The student responses were extremely thoughtful and I was really happy about that.”

What were the reactions from IBD students after viewing the Global Lives Project exhibits and getting a look into the lives of 20 people from around the globe?  Here are some of their representative comments:

'19 MBA Gagan Dhaliwal in front of the Global Lives Project

’19 MBA Gagan Dhaliwal in front of the Global Lives Project

“As the son of immigrants, I cannot help but reflect upon the immigrant experience—the challenges and virtues of cross-cultural experiences. Some of the most transformational growth I’ve experienced has come when I was in another country; when I was immersed in a language and culture so foreign to me I did not even know how to call for a taxi. This exhibit reminds me to always seek new experiences—and pay homage to those that have done the same before me.  – Gagan Dhaliwal, MBA Candidate 2019

“I liked this installation a lot. Very cool project. It’s nice that the footage was not overly edited or stylized—clearly an effort to provide as clear and unbiased a depiction of what each of these individuals’ daily lives are like. Kind of like a “presented without comment” type of approach, which I appreciated. Of course, the earnings-per-day figures listed in each description were startling, especially those in South Korea and Canada, which are largely developed nations. What went through my mind was a reaffirmation of just how privileged I am, something I don’t even need to leave the country (let alone our campus) to feel. My privilege abounds.”  Daniel Clayton, MBA Candidate 2019

“Watching the Global Lives Project made me feel closer to these people who live so far away. I was able to see how we are similar and what it might be like for me to live in their situation. I love that this project will serve as a time capsule on daily life around the world for future generations to appreciate as well.” – Rachel Green, MBA Candidate 2019 

MBA '19 Jack Anderson in front of the Global Lives Project

MBA ’19 Jack Anderson in front of the Global Lives Project

“Ivan Montaño from Colombia helped remind me that all kinds of work and lives look different but can have meaning. He showed that the mentality of the person can weigh more than any other part and embodied my understanding of traditional Colombian culture.”  – Tam Pace-Emerson, MBA Candidate 2019

“As I observed the exhibit, the thought that most resonated with me was how big the world is outside my little bubble of existence, but how infrequently I truly think about and empathize with people outside of this narrow view (despite my best efforts). It was a good reminder to build awareness, be curious, and keep perspective – something that can be hard at a top MBA Program.”  – Jack Anderson, MBA Candidate 2019

'19 MBA Rachel Green in front of Global Lives Project Video Exhibit

’19 MBA Rachel Green in front of Global Lives Project Video Exhibit

“Going to the exhibit made me think about how personal and complicated each person’s life is. It made me want to hear more from these individuals to learn why they were doing what they were doing or going where they were going.” – Breona Jenkins, MBA Candidate 2019

“The Global Lives Project was really eye-opening to see the different ways that people across the world lived. While some things were incredibly different (people motor-biking long distances to work, etc.), we found that we could relate to every exhibit in small ways. One thing our group noticed was that for most people, there was way less dependence on phones or electronic devices. More people seemed to be “in the moment” than we see in our daily lives at Berkeley.” – Natalie Bauman, MBA Candidate 2019

Team Thailand: MBA students, Stan Cataldo, Elaine Leong, Ryan Dingler, Igor Borges, Mila Pires

Team Thailand: MBA students, Stan Cataldo, Elaine Leong, Ryan Dingler, Igor Borges, Mila Pires

“I enjoyed my visit to the Global Lives Project and seeing all the ways that people live out their lives. It is amazing how different our lives are in what we eat and how we structure our days, and yet the overarching structures of work, family, and friends is always prevalent.” – Ryan Dingler, MBA Candidate 2019

“I went to the CITRIS Tech Museum and immediately thought about how the people that we are going to be marketing to for our public health client have daily lives that are so completely different from our own. As my team jumps into thinking about potential tactics for our marketing plan, I’m hoping we can step back and view interviewing patients as a really critical process to our project.”  – Rachel Lee, MBA Candidate 2019

'19 MBA Rachel Lee in front of the Global Lives Project Video Exhibit

’19 MBA Rachel Lee in front of the Global Lives Project Video Exhibit

Cross-cultural tools like GlobeSmart and Global Lives Project are important starting points to open up cultural awareness and empathy among students and viewer.  Rachel’s comment above sums up some of the most important priorities for being successful at working across cultures: Talk to people; interview them; spend time listening and learning how they feel and think.  This is critical to the success of the project, and at its essence, it is what makes the IBD experience so rewarding.

The Global Lives Project exhibit runs through the end of May at the CITRIS Tech Museum in Sutardja Dai Hall on the UC Berkeley Campus.

The Spring IBD Program is Off and Running….

A lot has happened this past month in the life of the 2018 Spring FTMBA IBD program. On February 1st, we held the first day of Spring IBD class, revealing the names of IBD clients, their projects and country destinations to an excited group of 16 IBD Student Team Leads. The Team Leads then introduced themselves online to their project clients for the first time. Following that, IBD Team Leads and Faculty Mentors collaborated and successfully executed an IBD Team Member draft —  selecting up to four MBA Team Members for each project team.

Team Lead Reveal on Feb 1st

Team Lead Reveal on Feb 1st

This spring we are partnering with 16 client organizations in 12 different countries, spread across four continents.  Six clients from last year’s spring and summer programs, as well as three organizations from past IBD project years, have returned to work with our IBD FTMBAs on a project this spring. Our 16 Team Leads have certainly hit the ground running with their IBD projects, and they are looking forward to the first day of the full IBD class (March 15th), when incoming IBD Team Members officially join their project teams. 

We asked each of our Team Leads and Faculty Mentors to describe their impressions of their IBD projects, the “Big Reveal” of projects to the students, and what excites them about this stage of the IBD program.  Here is what they had to share:

“I am excited about the European expansion plans of Piri. It is such an ambitious and interesting project, that if it is successful it will have a big impact within YGA. So far it has been a great experience getting to know the team and the unique culture of YGA.” Team Lead Daniel Mombiedro

Catherine, Jocelyn, Daniel and Sara

“My Team Leads are in the throes of work planning and are really getting their arms around the client issues and available information. It’s so great to see them taking charge of the client relationship, and bouncing hypotheses off their client teams. I can tell their clients are excited about it, too. Keep up the good work, everyone!” Faculty Mentor Judy Hopelain

“’I’m incredibly excited about both the scope of my project as well as returning to explore Latin America after many years away! Although the amount of work in front of us is daunting, my (TBD) team is amazing and I’m highly confident in our ability to deliver a great set of insights for our client.” Team Lead Colin Dunn

“I only wish I could go on these​ trips with all the students as our clients are doing incredibly important and impactful work in fascinating places.” Faculty Mentor David Evan Harris

Jorge Tellez

Jorge Tellez

“I can’t wait for the Big Reveal tomorrow. I have seen so many IBD students walking around, and I just want to shout with excitement about where they will be going and what cool project they will be on. I’m looking forward to meeting members of my team (some for the first time!) and getting them excited about our work together!” Team Lead

Catherine Soler

“I could not be more excited to be working for Ford in Shanghai this semester. Having accepted an offer to work as a consultant this summer, I’m anxious to begin developing my consulting toolkit during IBD and deliver a great project to our client.  It’s going to be an amazing experience and I’m excited to onboard my team and get things going!” Team Lead James Westhafer

Tech Team Drafting Team Members

Tech Team Drafting Team Members

“I’m very excited about my project, and I’m thrilled to be leading the first IBD team to work with Majid Al Futtaim

James Westhafer

Holding. I am confident that this project will be the beginning of a long and meaningful relationship between Majid Al Futtaim and Berkeley Haas.” Team Lead Jorge Tellez

“Being a Team Lead is a big responsibility, but I’m comfortable with the great support we have from our Faculty Mentors and the executive coaching program.” Team Lead Melea Atkins

Team Lead Reveal

Team Lead Reveal

“Our Team Leads are fantastic: full of enthusiasm and undaunted by somewhat ambiguous and ambitious client project scopes!” Faculty Mentor Whitney Hischier

 

“I’m excited for the opportunity to develop my team leadership style with a group of all-star MBAs. I also can’t wait to develop a team experience that supports all of our professional and personal development.” Team Lead Michelle Boyd

“I’m really looking forward to the Big Reveal and introducing my team to the Seva Foundation project. My team has a strong and diverse set of healthcare experiences, and I can’t wait to see how we can tackle our project together.” Team Lead Jocelyn Brown

Natalie Bauman

Natalie Bauman

“I originally wanted to a be a Team Lead to push myself outside of my comfort zone and gain experience leading peers. Choosing the team and realizing how impressive and awesome my teammates are has made me even more excited/nervous about the opportunity to be a Team Lead!” Team Lead Natalie Bauman

“I’m excited about the project and client! Working with a repeat client sets a high bar, but also makes it a little easier since the client knows what to expect from a project like IBD. This was one of the top projects last year, and I’m happy to have the opportunity to work with this client.” Team Lead Stan Cataldo

“I continue to be impressed by the talent pool at Berkeley Haas.  It really was an embarrassment of riches that we could draw upon for our IBD teams.” Faculty Mentor Frank Schultz

The IBD program is indeed very fortunate to have these talented MBA Team Leads working with our international clients.  We are looking forward to expanding the energy and talent of this group with an additional 64 MBAs, when we welcome them into the IBD fold on March 1st for the “Big Reveal.”

 

 

Kristi Raube, Former IBD Executive Director, Made An Impact At Berkeley Haas and Beyond

Kristi Raube speaking at the annual IBD Conference

Kristi Raube speaking at the annual IBD Conference

It has now been a month since former IBD Executive Director, Kristi Raube, left for her new position as the Peace Corps Country Director in Liberia, West Africa.  During her 19 years at UC Berkeley, Kristi took on a variety of roles at Berkeley Haas and across the UC campus.  She left behind a legacy of hard work, dedication, passionate enthusiasm, and the ability to manage efficiently the different priorities and moving parts of our institution.  Kristi accomplished all this while traveling the world, looking for ways that Berkeley Haas could make an impact globally.  In the wake of her departure, we in the IBD team want to offer a tribute to Kristi’s distinguished career by highlighting comments made recently by IBD clients, colleagues and students.  

Peace Corps - Liberia Facebook Page post about Kristi Raube

During her tenure as Executive Director, Kristi rebuilt IBD to become the cornerstone experiential learning program it is today.  She aligned the course to highlight real-world strategic problems and their solutions, providing MBAs with the opportunity to learn consulting tools and skill sets while working overseas.  “She added structure and accountability to the program, which benefited both the students and the clients,” said David Richardson, now the Interim Executive Director for IBD.  2017 IBD Team Lead Carolyn Chuong (MBA ‘18) spoke of Kristi as “a fantastic mentor throughout the engagement with Makerere University (a 2017 IBD Client).  One thing I really admire about Kristi is her ability to find the balance between providing guidance to students and being hands-off. She was clearly invested in helping our client succeed, but she also wanted our team to truly own the client relationship and project scope. As the Team Lead, I felt like I had her full trust and support.”

2017 Team YGA

2017 Team YGA

Kristi firmly believed that regardless of their career path, MBAs needed to experience working across different cultures–something that would prepare them better for developments in their personal and professional lives.  Former Berkeley Haas Dean and current Faculty Director for the Institute for Business and Social Impact (IBSI), Laura Tyson said of Kristi, “I am in awe of your energy and leadership on behalf of the Haas community.  Also awed by your intrepid travel–a true road warrior on behalf of IBSI and the IBD course that you nurtured over many years. You literally went to the ends of the earth to find challenging and transformative projects for several generations of Haas students. You have changed their lives forever in meaningful ways.”  2017 IBD student Mark Angel (MBA ‘18) is one of many who agreed with this sentiment in writing that Kristi “helped shaped one of the most formidable experiences I had at Haas.”

Kristi has provided mentorship and coaching to countless students through the years.  Sarah Evans (MBA ‘18), IBD Team

Dean Lyons and Kristi Raube at the IBD Conference

Dean Lyons and Kristi Raube at the IBD Conference

Lead for the Seva Foundation, was one of many students to benefit from Kristi’s mentorship.  She said that it “was absolutely instrumental to my positive IBD experience and frankly my positive experience at Haas. As a woman interested in global health, it was amazing to have a female mentor who has had such success in that particular field. Kristi was always happy to give me frank advice on everything from career choices to client management. I feel lucky to have worked with her. “

Kristi advocated for multiple ways that MBA students could experience international experiences at Berkeley Haas, expanding the scope of our school’s global reach.  Dean Rich Lyons praised Kristi for “carrying the global banner,” during a speech he gave recently in Kristi’s honor.  In talking about Kristi, he added, “your commitment to everything international is authentic and powerful.  We’ve learned from you and we’re going to continue to advance our international and global offerings.“

Kristi Raube and David Richardson in Bogota with Berkeley Haas Alumni

Kristi Raube and David Richardson in Bogota with Berkeley Haas Alumni

Kristi’s influence also went far beyond the walls of Berkeley Haas.  Heidi Chase, Director of Innovation & Sight for the Seva Foundation, has been a long time client of IBD.  Heidi said on behalf of Seva that, “Kristi has been an inspiration to many Seva staff and international partners dating back to the decade before her appointment with IBD.  Kristi’s excellence in strategic thinking, training, and building teams have benefited sight programs in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.  The legacy of Kristi’s service with Seva will live on through sustainable eye care services for years to come.”

Laura Stachel, MD, Kristi’s former MPH student at UC Berkeley School of Public Health and now Co-Founder and Executive Director of the international nonprofit We Care Solar, would often turn to Kristi for mentorship.  Ultimately, she asked Kristi to join her organization’s board of directors.   Stachel said that in “addition to everything Kristi did here (at Haas), she has been an amazing board member for our nonprofit and brought so much of her passion and insight.  She also enabled us to connect with IBD projects for two years in Uganda and the Philippines.  These projects strengthened our organization tremendously.” 

Kristi visiting PHI clinic in Kampala for her own research, she was delighted to find a We Care Solar Solar Suitcases brightening up the delivery room!

Kristi visiting PHI clinic in Kampala for her own research, she was delighted to find a We Care Solar Solar Suitcases brightening up the delivery room!

Kristi meeting with YGA in Istanbul

Kristi meeting with YGA in Istanbul

The IBD program, together with Kristi’s partnership, has left lasting impressions on many of our clients.  In the spring 2017 IBD course, Young Guru Academy (YGA) collaborated carefully with Kristi to ensure that an IBD student team could work safely for three weeks in Istanbul and areas nearby in Turkey. YGA’s Director of International Affairs, Sezin Aydın, expressed gratitude to Kristi for “being wholeheartedly courageous and hopeful” throughout the long process of making this project in Turkey a reality.  “The value of having such a trusting relationship with your partner is priceless,” said Sezin of her experience of working with Kristi and the IBD program.   

Kristi Raube and Laura Tyson

Kristi Raube and Laura Tyson

Partnerships, leadership, mentorship, and friendship: all these are part of the legacy that Kristi leaves behind.  Since 2010, Berkeley Haas Instructor Frank Schultz has been a part of the IBD program as a Faculty Mentor.  Now, in the wake of Kristi’s departure, he has been tasked to take on the role of IBD Faculty Director.  When asked to share his feelings about her leaving, Frank wrote that ”Kristi was an inspiring colleague, mentor and friend to me during my entire career at Haas.  I feel honored that I will be taking on her role as Faculty Director of IBD.  I always tell my Leadership students that one of the biggest compliments you can pay to a leader is that you will not miss them when they are gone.  Outstanding leaders set their organizations up to succeed well after they are gone.  This is so true of Kristi – IBD is amazingly well positioned for the future.  I realize though I have been terribly wrong in my aseptic statement about not missing leaders when they are gone.  On a personal level, Kristi will be deeply missed by me and all of her colleagues here at Haas.”    

IBD Faculty Mentors

IBD Faculty Mentors

Team Makerere 2017

Team Makerere 2017

In summary, we learned through these interviews and conversations that IBD was just one of the many programs at Berkeley Haas that benefited from Kristi’s leadership and inspired work.  Because of Kristi and the outstanding legacy she left behind, IBD is now ready to launch another inspiring year of connecting MBA students with international consulting challenges.   And yes, Frank Schultz was right: we already miss Kristi here at Berkeley Haas.

IBD Welcomes New Faculty Mentor David Evan Harris to the Spring 2018 IBD Program

David at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive exhibit of the Global Lives Project (2017)

David at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive exhibit of the Global Lives Project (2017)

This year we are thrilled to welcome David Evan Harris as the newest member of our Spring IBD Program Faculty Mentor team.  We are excited to see David join the IBD family, where he can share his international work experience and passion for social impact.  His extensive background and skills will have a positive effect on both our IBD students and our project clients.

David’s interest in international work started when he was an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, and it has continued to drive his career ever since.  Two years after graduating from Cal, while living in Brazil, David founded a nonprofit called the Global Lives Project—a video library of life experience around the world, produced by thousands of collaborating filmmakers, photographers, and translators.  The Global Lives Project was designed to spark conversations about race, religion, diversity, gender, and class. In a recent article written by UC Berkeley’s Kathleen MacLay, David shared that “Global Lives challenges audiences to reflect deeply about their place in the world and the moral and ethical responsibilities that come with that.”  (To read more from MacLay’s article, click here).  David’s work with Global Lives Project called on him to make presentations to audiences at the Smithsonian, Harvard, and United Nations University, among other institutions.  He has been supported in his work by groups including the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, the Goldman Fund and more.

David also serves as Research Director at the Institute for the Future (IFTF), where he leads research on the future of philanthropy, media, governance and social movements.  Building on this research, he has served as an advisor and consultant to dozens of foundations, government agencies, and corporations.  His writings have been published by the BBC, The Guardian, Focus on the Global South, Hivos, Alternet and Grist, and his work has been translated into dozens of languages.

David hard at work at the Institute for the Future with his coworker Sara Skvirsky and IFTF Fellows Lance Coleman and Milicent Johnson (2016)

David hard at work at the Institute for the Future with his coworker Sara Skvirsky and IFTF Fellows Lance Coleman and Milicent Johnson (2016)

In 2015, David returned to UC Berkeley and added Chancellor’s Public Scholar and Berkeley Haas Lecturer to his long list of professional roles.  We recently interviewed David to ask more about his background and what he hopes to bring to the IBD program.  

Question: What brought you to Haas?

David Evan Harris: “Whitney Hischier (current Berkeley Haas Lecturer, IBD Faculty Mentor and Faculty Director at Berkeley Executive Education) brought a couple of groups of international executive education students to IFTF in Palo Alto.  After two of those sessions, Whitney and I had a conversation about teaching a class at Haas in scenario planning and that was my first course at Haas; Scenario Planning and the Futures Thinking.  I still teach that course -which is an Evening Weekend course for MBAs.  I also teach two classes in the undergrad program; Social Movements and Social Media and Civic Technology.  Civic Technology is a freshman and sophomore seminar so I get to work with the freshest minds on campus.  I am excited to add IBD as my fourth class.”

Question:  Tell us about your career and how it relates to your business experience?

David Evan Harris: “I started a nonprofit organization which is the Global Lives Project.  It is a unique nonprofit in that, it has no employees but thousands of volunteers all over the world.  Those volunteers have produced over 500 hours of footage of 20 different people from 17 countries for 24 hours straight.  It is on exhibit right now at various Museums around Berkeley (click here for the schedule) and will be on display at Chou Hall in the spring.  The project has a big part of my life for 14 years which makes me a strange kind of entrepreneur, a nonprofit founder and a founder of a network organization.  I have also been very lucky to work with IFTF and had the opportunity to work with a lot of very large institutions, helping them do strategic planning and think about how they can be responsible players in shaping the long-term future of the world.”

Question:  How are you feeling about being a part of the IBD Program?

David with his advisor, Professor Sedi Hirano, just after completing the defense of his master's thesis at the University of São Paulo. (2008)

David with his advisor, Professor Sedi Hirano, just after completing the defense of his master’s thesis at the University of São Paulo. (2008)

David Evan Harris: I am really excited about joining the IBD program as I have been hearing great things about it from people at Haas for years now. I am also excited to be working with this team, especially with Whitney, as she was one of the first contacts I had here at Haas.  I am also very excited about the way that IBD fits into the work I have been doing with public sector and nonprofit organizations. After I graduated from Berkeley as an undergrad, where I studied Political Economy of Development and Environment, which was the focus of my major in the Interdisciplinary Studies Program, I lived in Brazil for three years.  I studied sociology at the University of São Paulo.  As an undergrad, I also studied abroad on the International Honors Program in five different countries; Tanzania, India, the Philippines, Mexico and the U.K.  I have also been very lucky through my work with the Global Lives Project and IFTF to travel to and do work in dozens of countries all over the world.  The idea of being part of this international program within Haas is really thrilling for me, especially because study abroad and international work has had such an immense influence on making me the person I am today.”

Question: Are there any specific learnings or skill sets that you bring to the program that you want MBA to take full advantage of?

David Evan Harris: “Yes, absolutely, as a student from an American university, it is very important when you work internationally that you bring a lot of humility to that work.  It is essential that you acknowledge that even though your clients are hiring you because they see you as bringing cutting-edge knowledge and experience to the work, you really need to listen very carefully and do everything you possibly can to understand the culture where you are working.  You must also understand that, as a visitor, you can’t truly understand the culture where you are working, and you must be there as a supporter and not an authoritarian consultant who acts like they know everything. That is one thing I want to bring to the program.  I also have a lot of experience working with NGOs, nonprofit organizations and with public-sector groups in other parts of the world. I am excited to work with students who are interested in working with those types of organizations. I hope to develop their skills in offering business expertise, which is very, very, much needed in those sectors, and in a way that is aligned with the public-minded missions of people and institutions doing that work.”

Question: How do you find time for everything you do?

David Evan Harris: “Over the years I have managed to juggle a lot of different relationships with different institutions.  I have different techniques but the key thing is to be part of great institutions that have really valued the work that I do and made it possible to be involved with them in ways that fit into my jigsaw puzzle of a schedule.”  

Question: Do you have time to do anything that is not work-related?  

David Evan Harris: “Most of the time when I have free time, I tend to spend it with my twin seventeen-month-old children. They are a joy and educational opportunity for me.  That takes up most of my non- working time and I also enjoy getting some sleep when I can. I also try to make time to do the other things.  I love to hike and sometimes I take my kids along in our off-road stroller. You might also hear me zipping up to campus on my electric bicycle, which is a form of transportation and also a form of recreation and exercise.”

Question: Where is your favorite place to visit in the world?

David Evan Harris: “I have a long-standing special relationship with Brazil. It is such a big country that every time I go there, I see new and learn new things.  After living there for three years, Brazil became a part of me and part of my identity.  Whenever I have a chance or the option of where I want to go, I go back to Brazil.”

Question: Is there a place you would like to visit in the world that you haven’t been to yet?

David Evan Harris: “I have been trying to get to Cuba.  I am fascinated by Cuba, Cuban culture, economy, politics and I am very interested in going at some point.”   

Question:  Do you have a defining principle that you are working on right now and plan to apply to your role at IBD?

David Evan Harris:  “Beyond Yourself” is definitely my favorite defining principle. In my teaching work at Berkeley Haas, I constantly strive to surface the ways in which movements for social change are so deeply enmeshed in economic relationships and business challenges. Non-profit organizations that have sprung up parallel to grassroots movements like #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter are critically important to understand as management challenges. Fundraising is almost always a struggle for these organizations, as are management and measurement of outcomes. The specifics of these challenges are often distinct from those faced by for-profit companies and merit systematic study, analysis and engagement from faculty and students at Haas. In my work this semester with IBD, coaching teams working with non-profit and for-benefit corporations, I intend to bring the “Beyond Yourself” ethos together with rigorous applied scholarship and consulting. I hope that this experience will fit into a lifelong engagement on the part of my students with the businesses—both non-profit, for-profit, and the many shades of gray emerging in-between—that are guided not by the pursuit of self-enrichment of their own leaders, but on the world beyond.”

This concludes our interview with our newest IBD Faculty Mentor, David Evan Harris.  Thank you, David, for going “Beyond Yourself” in all the work you do at the IFTF, at the Global Lives Project, and at Berkeley Haas.  We look forward to the impact you will make on the Spring 2018 IBD program over the course of the next few months.

An Interview with IBD’s Program Coordinator, Dara McKenzie

Dara McKenzie, IBD Program Coordinator, has been an integral part of the IBD Team for over four years. Dara is responsible for coordinating all international travel and accommodations for over 100 MBA candidates.  She also supports the IBD Team, managing client contracts, and accounting for both clients and students.    Executive Director Kristi Raube reports that Dara’s “upbeat, can-do attitude makes (her) a great member of the IBD team.”  We wanted to share a little more about Dara with the IBD community.  Please enjoy the following interview with Dara

Dara visits the Louvre Museum in Paris, Summer of 2017

Dara visits the Louvre Museum in Paris, Summer of 2017

Question:  Where are you from and how did you end up in the Bay Area?

Dara: I am from Boston, born and raised. Four years ago, I decided to move to California on a whim. I had visited only once before, but I knew I wanted a change — so I packed my bags and bought a one-way ticket.

Question: Tell us about your career here at Berkeley-Haas. Why did you want to work here? What do you do here at Berkeley-Haas?

Dara: I first saw a posting for this position while I was working in Engineering as an admission specialist. I was immediately intrigued at the international component of the job, so I jumped at the chance to apply. Luckily, I got the job, and it’s been one of the best choices I’ve made. I’m the program coordinator, and I work with students, clients and staff on everything ranging from travel and contracting to accounting and much, much more.

Question: What is your favorite part of IBD?

Dara: My favorite part of IBD is interacting with students and hearing about their in-country experiences. I also love the Big Reveal—it’s the first class of the semester when they learn who’ll be on their team, what project they’ll be working on, and what country they’ll be working in for three weeks at the end of the project.

Dara in the Louvre Museum, Summer 2017

Dara in the Louvre Museum, Summer 2017

Question: What is the hardest part of your job?

Dara: The hardest part of my job is contracting. I have no legal background, and often times I’m the intermediary between two different organizations and their legal teams trying to come to an agreement on a contract. Although it’s a long and tedious process, I have to admit I’ve learned a lot from the contracting experience.

Question: If you could pick one Berkeley-Haas principal that is your favorite right now, which one and why?

Dara: My favorite Berkeley-Haas principle is Student Always — I strongly believe there’s always something new to be learned, and I’m grateful to be in an environment that not only encourages this but gives me the opportunity to pursue this principle every day.

Question: You travel a ton, tell me about your favorite place. Where would you like to go next?

Dara: This is a very hard question, because I’ve visited so many wonderful places. If I have to choose just one place, I would have to say Jamaica. My family is from Jamaica, and I’ve been visiting there since before I could walk. I’ve been to Jamaica a number of times, and it’s always been a blast, from the culture and people to the weather and nightlife — it’s never a dull moment. Jamaica is very laid back and everyone is always happy. My second choice would have to be Paris.

I have yet to visit Asia, and I’m hoping my next trip will be to Hong Kong or somewhere in Southeast Asia — maybe to Singapore or Indonesia.

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Question: What is one thing on your bucket list that you have crossed off and one that you still have to accomplish?

Dara: One thing I have crossed off my bucket list is snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef.

That was an incredible experience and one that I’ll never forget. One item on my bucket list I have yet to cross off is to visit all 7 Wonders of the World. Although there are many different versions of this list, I can say that so far I’ve visited two of them (the Colosseum in Rome and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia)

Dunns River Fall, Jamaica

 

 

IBD Suritex

Written by Gloria Gerngross,  Sophia Kaady, Deepak Nainani, Isei Nakae, and Lyndsey Wilson

The sun was setting on the rural landscape, the grassy highlands of rural Peru, as Gregor’s truck bounced over unpaved, rocky roads, all five of our team members squished into the backseat as he sped to the new textile workshop before night fell. We had spent the day in a bus from Lima, winding our way through the Cordillera mountain range for 8 hours and ascending 14,000 feet to Huancayo, where our client was waiting to introduce us to the women who worked in the textile workshop, and the alpaca breeders who lived in the highlands.Suritex-group

We arrived at the construction site with just 20 minutes to spare before the horizon was swallowed by the darkness. Gregor’s eyes lit up as he waved his hands, pointing at empty space above the large foundation as though showing his blueprint for the new plant. Where we saw exposed rebar and hand-laid concrete bricks, he saw a room for the women’s children to play, a resting area for alpaqueros that came to have their fibers weighed, graded, and dyed, and a weaving room four times the size of their current plant’s. We left inspired by Gregor’s vision for growing his small social enterprise and energized to use our business skills to enable this dream to become a reality.

Suritex 2 AlpacasThe Project

Our team was hired by NESsT, an Oakland-based impact investing firm, to help its portfolio company, Suritex, increase its revenues by expanding sales of alpaca-blend textiles into the U.S. market. Though Suritex prides itself on its high-quality products created through technically sophisticated dying, weaving, and fiber-blending methods, it is their impact on the rural Lima region that is truly incredible. Suritex pays above-market prices for alpaca fibers, ensuring continued livelihoods of agricultural communities. They hire and train single women to operate machinery and manufacture textiles, creating jobs in communities struggling to develop economically. Our team met several women who worked in their factory, and their young children played while they fed colorful yarn into the large looming machines.Suritex loom.jpg

Prior to arriving in Lima, our team focused on understanding the U.S. alpaca-based goods market, sales channels, and our client’s capabilities to create designs and products that U.S. customers would be excited to buy. However, the disparate nature of the imported alpaca-based goods (textiles, clothing, and yarn) market made it difficult to collect any quantitative data, so our team relied on information collected by visiting local stores, and interviewing sales partners and customers.

This preliminary research led us to conclude that our client needed a re-brand, targeted marketing towards high-income, socially conscious customer segments, and to emphasize their strong social and environmental impact to differentiate themselves among hundreds of textile importers. We were excited to meet the client, visit the processing facilities, and better understand how we could make Suritex stand out among competitive exporters of similar products.

Suritex - loom 2The Focus Changes

Once in-country, we learned more about Suritex’s technically sophisticated and uniquely socially-conscious supply chain. Our meetings with the textile mill workers and the alpaqueros confirmed the importance of scaling Suritex’s efforts, and inspired and energized us to develop a sales and marketing strategy so that U.S. customers understand the impact that their Suritex purchase will have on the community.Suritex working.jpg

It came as a surprise to our team to learn that our client had already hired a marketing consulting team, so we were no longer needed in the proposed re-brand!  While our team had initially focused on creating branding and marketing strategy that would enable Suritex to successfully enter the US market, we had to do a 180° pivot and reframe our project. When our focus had to change, we spent hours whiteboarding and reframing the problem, ultimately pivoting to more of a sales and product strategy. Our focus turned then on researching the logistics of how to actually sell products in the US: who to sell to, how to sell them, and which products to sell.

Suritex thread.jpgThe Final Presentation

Our final presentation provided Suritex with tactical recommendations on how to begin selling products in the US, and how to modify their current product offerings to ensure U.S. customer interest in their products. We provided a thorough go-to-market guidebook that included sales on online platforms (such as Etsy or Amazon), hiring a fulfillment center and sales reps to manage buyer relationships, and which certifications and trade shows to pursue to access the right B2B customers. Our client, a technical and operations-focused career manufacturer, was very happy with the detailed recommendations. Our team left energized by the important work of Suritex, driven by the knowledge that our recommendations would enable Suritex to reach its goal of building more manufacturing facilities closer to workers’ communities, hiring and educating more workers, and ultimately developing these rural economies to support the sustainability of this artisan trade.Suritex finished product

The 2017 International Business Development (IBD) Program Holds its Final Event of the Year, Celebrating the Teamwork of Berkeley-Haas MBAs

Full Audience and KristiThe International Business Development (IBD) program yearly cycle officially came to a close on September 15, 2017, with the final event of year, the IBD Conference, held at the Haas School of Business.  IBD student teams, both from the Full-Time (FTMBA) and Evening and Weekend (EWMBA) MBA programs, were tasked with creating posters that showcased their international consulting journey.  Berkeley-Haas faculty, guests and fellow classmates mixed and mingled among the 20 posters as teams shared their projects, final recommendations and in-country experiences.  The IBD Conference represented the first time IBD student teams came back together after the conclusion of their MBA summer internships in order to talk about the exciting project work they did in-country.

Judy and Aramis

IBD Faculty Mentor, Judy Hopelain, talking with EWMBA Team Aramis

It was a great time for reflection for many students, as well as an opportunity to speak publicly about the accomplishments of their IBD projects and the impact on the organizations and individuals they served.  Said EWMBA candidate Joe Layton about the Conference experience: “It was nice seeing that people wanted to hear about our project that much, since we love talking about it.”  Frank Schultz, an IBD Faculty Mentor and Instructor for both FTMBA and EWMBA programs, observed, “it is great to see students from both the Evening-Weekend and Full-Time MBA programs coming together, interacting, and sharing their projects.  You could clearly see why both programs are ranked so highly!”
The IBD Conference was also a great opportunity for Berkeley-Haas faculty and staff to engage with MBA’s in their element.  EWMBA Director of Academics, Mark Gorenflo, attending the Conference for the first

Mark-and-Beth-showing-Makarere

Team Makerere’s, Beth Foster, chatting with Haas Staff, Mark Gorenflo

time, said,

“I attended the IBD Conference to get a sense of the scope of IBD opportunities and the depth of each team’s consulting experience. I was amazed at the number of very different opportunities, with huge variety in geography, culture, and types of customers (private companies, public companies, non-profits, and government entities). I was also deeply impressed with the enthusiasm, rigor, and imagination that the IBD teams brought to their engagements.”

Poster-Session-in-actionAll the Conference posters, teams, and projects as presented were impressive.  Ultimately a vote was held to select the two best IBD teams to make a presentation to the general Conference audience.  IBD Faculty Mentors and students voted separately, picking EWMBA Team Samai and FTMBA Team Agripacific Holdings, as the two winners.  Click here to read more about their respective presentations.  

 

Following the two IBD team presentations came the announcement of the annual project

Sarah and Seva talking about project

Sarah Evans, from Team Seva, presenting their project poster

photo and blog award winners.  Upon returning home from their in-country journeys, students were asked to write blogs about their experiences working and living in a new country.  IBD student team blogs were posted weekly on the IBD Haas in the World Blog site.  IBD students are also asked to submit their “best team photo” and “aesthetic or art photo” to be judged by the IBD Staff.  Winners of the IBD photo contest will have their photos featured later in the IBD Hall of Fame in the Faculty Building at Berkeley-Haas. Click here for the Winners of the Blog and Photo Contest

After all the IBD team presentations and awards were handed out, and the last group photo was taken, it was time to say goodbye to the 2017 IBD program. As Executive Director and Faculty Mentor Kristi Raube concluded, “I’ve left the IBD Conference on a high, and although it is sad to see this all come to an end, we are ready to do it all over again.”  All of us in the IBD program look forward to another year of IBD in 2018.  To view the photos from the Conference, click here.  

IBD full class 

 

Team Flowers and Team Samai Present at the 2017 IBD Conference

Team Samai After the PresentationTwo student teams were chosen to present their IBD projects to the audience at the 2017 IBD Conference.  IBD Team Samai was the first to present.  This team was made up of Evening and Weekend MBA students Sushant Barave, Bill Conry, Dan Conti and Joe Layton.

Team Samai worked with a rum distillery in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  While Team Samai had a fun project, the students also talked about the impact they had on the Samai organization, as well as the recommendations they gave their client so they could scale the business “tactically and strategically.”  The student team also focused on making sure their suggestions were actionable once they left and, in fact, Samai was already Samai-presenting-with-power-pointimplementing some of their recommendations before they departed Cambodia.  Team Lead Sushant Barave declared, “I was surprised at how rewarding that feeling can be — that you design something, you recommend something, and the client is taking action on that.  That was the best part of it.”

The second student team to make a Conference presentation on stage was Team Agripacific Holdings, aka Team Flower.  Full-Time MBA students Mary Harty, George Panagiotakopoulos, Laura Smith, Leah Finn and Anne Kramer made up the team.  In order to understand the flower business in Asia, Team Flower traveled across China, visiting flower markets and distributors in Kunming, Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.

Team Flower 4 of the 5 and flowersTeam Flower member Leah Finn said about the IBD Conference that “it was definitely fun to reflect on our experience in China, and to learn a bit about how it contrasted with the other projects. It helped me appreciate how adventurous and hands-on our IBD experience was.  I think it’s rare to get to experience so many different sides of China in one trip, so I’m grateful that we were able to have that experience as part of the IBD course.”  Team Lead Mary Harty agreed by sharing that “it felt great to share our experiences with the broader IBD community. As we presented, the photos and slides bought back so many fantastic memories for us all!”  To view the photos from the Conference, click here.Team Flower- Presentation for web.jpg