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

Berkeley Haas 2019 MBA Commencement, Patrick Awuah, MBA ’99

Patrick Awuah speaking at Berkeley Haas Commencement

For the MBA class of 2019, Friday, May 24th, was an exciting day of celebration as Evening & Weekend and Full-Time MBAs crossed the stage at the Greek Theatre to accept their hard earned MBA diplomas.  It was also a special day for the IBD program as former IBD student Patrick Awuah delivered the commencement address. In his remarks, Patrick spoke of his time at Berkeley Haas spent working on his business plan for Ashesi University, along with five other MBA students.  He told the audience that “Ashesi started here, and I recognize the fact that there are not many places where this could have happened. We all had hope that it was going to be a remarkable institution, but it has exceeded even our loftiest dreams.”

Team Ashesi after presentation in Uganda

Team Ashesi at a presentation in Ghana

The IBD program is pleased to acknowledge Patrick’s leadership and the growth of Ashesi University, as many of our IBD teams have benefited from the continued development of this remarkable African institution.  IBD students have worked on 13 separate consulting projects with Ashesi University since the year 2000, including a team of five MBA students who are currently in Ghana for three weeks. Check back with us as the latest IBD Ashesi team writes a blog that shares their unique experience of working with the faculty, staff and students of Ashesi University.

David Richardson and Patrick Awuah

David Richardson and Patrick Awuah

To see the Berkeley Haas 2019 MBA commencement and view the video of Patrick Awuah’s address, click here.  To read the address only, click here.

 

IBD Helps EWMBA Student Pivot to New Role: Interview with Shaun Hundle, ‘19

Shaun Hundle, Haas MBA '19

Shaun Hundle, Haas ’19

Evening & Weekend MBA (EWMBA) student Shaun Hundle, ‘19, is graduating in May.  Shortly after that he will start a new role as the Manager in Consulting & Analytics division at Visa.  Shaun was a 2018 Summer IBD student who spent two months working on a project with a financial services company located in Mexico City.  We interviewed Shaun about his IBD experience and how it helped him pivot to his new career position.

IBD:  What is your current position now?  

Shaun: I am a Project Manager at the Swedish Trade and Invest Council, a go-to-market consultancy affiliated with the government of Sweden to assist Swedish companies to expand globally. As Team Lead of our Healthcare and Life Science practice, I’ve spent most of my time with small to mid-size Swedish companies looking to enter and grow in the U.S.

IBD:  Tell us a little about your new upcoming role at Visa as a Manager in Consulting & Analytics division?

Shaun and his team in Mexico during 2018 IBD Summer program

Shaun and his team in Mexico during 2018 IBD Summer program

Shaun: I will take on a Manager role on the Consulting & Analytics team. I will still be client facing (although focusing on only one or two clients at the same time, unlike at my current company) and leading the internal delivery. At Visa I will be working more with quantitative data than the qualitative consulting I’ve focused on to date, so I see this as an excellent opportunity to gain a new skill set and transition to the fin-tech industry with a globally recognized company.

IBD:  You worked for a large financial company in Mexico City last summer for the 2018 IBD program. Did this experience offer you new skills or insights that helped identify this new opportunity for a career shift?

Absolutely! The work we did was very similar to the type of work I will be doing with Visa’s clients, including data analysis. Having this type of hands on consulting experience gave me very relevant experience to talk about in my interviews with Visa, as well as strong knowledge in the retail banking and payments industry ecosystem.

IBD: What did you take away from the IBD experience that you plan to apply to this new role?

Shaun:  I learned quite a bit about how to leverage influence in a larger organization, as well as understanding how to manage various stakeholders from different divisions who we were responsible for delivering to. My big take-a-way was that it’s important to listen and build trust with various stakeholders before doing the more complicated work of presenting and recommending solutions that some stakeholders may not like.

Shaun Hundle and Team- 2018 IBD summer final presentation for client

Shaun Hundle and Team- 2018 IBD summer final presentation for client

IBD:  Do you have advice for other MBA students who are thinking of a career change? How can they utilize the IBD experience to test this hypothesis?

Shaun: IBD gave me the opportunity to have an “internship-like” summer project that became invaluable to speak about in my interviews and conversations when I was recruiting in the Fall, so I think this is a great opportunity for Evening & Weekend MBA students especially. It definitely allowed me to pivot towards tech, fintech, and consulting roles a bit easier than previously, since I had direct experience I could point to. Although I had previous consulting experience, I didn’t have much experience working in fintech, retail banking, or payments, but the exposure to the industry I received through IBD was great in helping me decide where I wanted to focus for Fall recruiting. There is a high level of diversity in the types of IBD clients and industries which makes it a bit of an adventure, but there is a lot one can gain out of the experience, especially if you are still a career or industry explorer.

End of Interview:

We in the IBD program love hearing from our IBD students about their experience working on international consulting projects, and we especially love it when the experience contributes to making valuable career choices.  Shaun’s experience is not unlike many MBA students who participate in the IBD program. If you are a Berkeley Haas MBA student, and would like more information about IBD, click here or contact the IBD program office.

“Big Reveal” Day for the Spring 2019 IBD Student Team Leads

Student Team Leads' First Day of IBD

Student Team Leads’ First Day of IBD

Every year the IBD Faculty Director and staff spend hours looking over student Team Lead resumes and interview notes, as well as client project applications, with the goal of matching 16 student Team Leads to the right IBD projects and clients.  It’s a painstaking puzzle that includes many iterations before the final assignments are confirmed.

Team Lead Perrie Briskin

Team Lead Perrie Briskin

On January 24th, the Spring 2019 IBD student Team Lead “Big Reveal” event took place, during which the Team Leads learned for the first time the identity of their projects, clients, and country locations.  There was excitement and anticipation in the classroom as individual projects were announced. Team Lead Joseph Bird (MBA 2020) felt the energy in the room, and described it this way: “Sitting amongst my fellow IBD Team Leads, the tension as

Team Lead Joseph BIrd

Team Lead Joseph BIrd

our first ever IBD session drew closer to the big project reveal was palpable. Pre-reveal nerves quickly subsided as one by one my peers stood up and learned of fascinating projects working in some incredible cultures with such broad range of clients. Whilst every project was unique, a common thread of important, meaningful, challenging work ran through them. I can’t wait to get started!” 

The way the IBD program works, carefully selected student Team Leads have no knowledge of their projects before the “Big Reveal” first day of class.  The IBD program assigns them to projects that fit with their career and course objectives, while accommodating the nature of the IBD project itself. IBD Faculty Director Frank Schultz put this into perspective for the student Team Leads:  “We are asking them to put their trust in us to match them with their dream project. They are leading a team of four other MBAs on this consulting experience, and they want to feel completely engaged in the project, the client, and the solutions they need to come up with.  They also want to have unique international experiences. We are balancing that with the needs of our client and the project. We want everyone to be happy, successful, and learn a lot.”

Team Lead Adriana Bonifaz

Team Lead Adriana Bonifaz

Watching the students’ expressions and reactions as they learned for the first time the names of their project clients and the countries they will be visiting made the first day one of the best of the entire IBD program.  Team Lead Adriana Bonifaz (MBA 2020) reacted this way to the event: “For me the reveal was very exciting and emotional.  We were all so happy, bonding together, and getting to know all the wonderful places in the world that we are going to.  Being able to go to Finland is like a dream come true, and the project is going to be an amazing challenge! I can’t wait to meet the client and my fellow teammates and start working together!”

Team Lead Julian Florez (MBA 2020) had this to say about the experience:  “I think for me it was the perfect combination: a country that I dreamed to visit and a well known client. I couldn’t believe I am so lucky to have this amazing opportunity.”  Team Lead Perrie Briskin (MBA 2020) contributed this comment as well:  “The big reveal was what we had been waiting for. In all honesty, any IBD project is amazing, but I am particularly excited for mine. The client is in an industry that is new and intriguing to me, and they just happen to be in an incredible location. I can’t wait to dive in!”

Team Lead Julian Florez

Team Lead Julian Florez

Now that the first day of class and the “Big Reveal” event have informed Team Leads what they will focus on in our IBD class for the next 17 weeks, they will all most likely “dive in” to their respective projects in a meaningful way.  The next steps for the Team Leads include introducing themselves to their project clients on calls, followed by working with their Faculty Mentors to select a group of four Team Members to join their projects. There remains a lot of exciting work ahead for IBD students, faculty, and staff, as our exceptional Team Leads connect with our IBD project clients and embark on the international consulting experience ahead.  Stay tuned for more! 

Jon Metzler Joins the IBD Faculty Mentor Team

Jon Metzler speaking on panelIBD is excited to welcome our newest Faculty Mentor to the Spring IBD program, Jon Metzler.  Jon is a Lecturer at Berkeley Haas, where he teaches competitive advantage in technology, telecom and media markets (Strategy for the IT Firm), and international business.  He teaches MBA and undergraduate students at Berkeley Haas, and has led EWMBA students on Seminar in International Business (SIB) class trips to Japan. Jon is also associated faculty for the UC Berkeley for Center for Japanese Studies, and a faculty mentor at Berkeley SkyDeck, our local accelerator for Berkeley-affiliated startups.

When Jon is not teaching, mentoring or leading SIB class trips to Japan, he is managing the consulting firm that he founded in 2007, Blue Field Strategies.  Blue Field Strategies helps clients accelerate service innovation through market research and entry support, investment sourcing and due diligence, and market and policy advocacy.  Jon has supported new business launches in online media, print, edtech, wireless infrastructure, geolocation, events and services.

Jon is also an alumnus of Berkeley Haas, where he earned his MBA/MA-Asian Studies. He co-founded the Berkeley Asia Business Conference, now called the Bridge Conference.  

Jon can now add IBD Faculty Mentor to his extensive resume, and we are thrilled to have him on our team.  Recently we tracked down Jon to ask him some questions about himself and his career. Please check out his answers below.  

IBD:  What excites you most about being an IBD Faculty Mentor, and what would you like to get out of the experience?

Jon Metzler: “ What I enjoy most about teaching is working with students and getting to know them — how they think, what they aspire to, and then working with them to help them grow.  I also come from a client services (consulting) background and derive satisfaction from helping clients, so IBD is very aligned with both of these!”

IBD:  What skills or qualities do you hope to bring to your new role and/or offer to our IBD MBA students?

Jon and David Richardson, IBD Executive Director eating soft cream

Jon and David Richardson, IBD Executive Director eating soft cream

Jon Metzler:  “I have launch experience in print, wireless broadband, events, edtech, wireless infrastructure and innovation spaces, and have experience helping clients assess new opportunities and figure out how to go to market, or, as incumbents, how to harness a growing market.  In general, I enjoy helping new enterprises get off the ground and hope to bring this to the IBD program.”

IBD:  What brought you to Berkeley Haas, and how has your experience been teaching these last 4+ years?

Jon Metzler: First, some context.  When I was a student at Haas (MBA/MA-Asian Studies), I really enjoyed the balance of tenured and professional faculty, and with regards to the professional faculty, I always enjoyed the pragmatism of classes led by practitioners.  

Fast forward to 2014.  There were two paths that led me to teaching at Haas. First, I felt like I had value to provide to students after years working at startups and in services, particularly in the fields of tech and telecom. This is what eventually led to teaching Strategy for the Information Technology Firm. Secondly,  my Master’s thesis advisor (Steve Vogel in PoliSci) suggested that I teach on Japan. This is what led to leading SIBs on Japan in the EWMBA program, and a business in Japan class in the UGBA program.”

Jon Metzler- moderating panelIBD:  Tell us about being the Founder & President of Blue Field Strategies, and how this work relates to what you can offer to IBD students or clients?

Jon Metzler:  “I will answer this question as:  I feel that teaching and consulting feed each other — consulting allows me to deep dive into current industry issues, and teaching helps me digest and synthesize that into more broadly applicable lessons and material.“

IBD:  What do you like to do when you aren’t teaching, mentoring or working at Blue Field?

Jon Metzler: I am board chairman of a non-profit in San Francisco – the Japan Society of Northern California. It’s a 113-year-old non-profit, and I take that heritage and history seriously. It’s been fun working with the board and staff making sure a venerable institution is addressing market needs today.

I also have two children, one in sixth-grade and one in third-grade. Both are far smarter than I am. This keeps me on my toes!  And also helps me keep perspective on what’s important.

Lastly, I play – albeit not well – soccer as often as my schedule and body permit.”

The IBD team feels very fortunate to have Jon as a Faculty Mentor, and we look forward to his contributions to the upcoming 2019 IBD Spring program.  

It’s Time to Celebrate IBD!

Frank and conference

When Frank Schultz, IBD Faculty Director, took the stage on September 14th at the 2018 IBD Conference, he shared that he has two favorite days in the IBD yearly program cycle: the day that IBD projects are revealed, and the day of the annual IBD Conference.  “I see this as a celebration, a celebration of IBD, and more importantly of you all and the work you have done on behalf of Berkeley Haas and your clients.”

Like Frank, the entire IBD program (including FTMBA and EWMBA students) looked forward to the 2018 IBD Conference as an opportunity to connect with fellow students, and to hear directly from them about their individual IBD experiences.  Said IBD FTMBA student Team Lead Jocelyn Brown (Seva Foundation, India): “My team and I felt that the IBD Conference was a great way to reflect on our project and the accomplishments of our team. It’s easy to rush to the end of the project in-country, and not take much time to reflect on outcomes and overall learnings. I think the Conference really allowed us to do that, and to compare our experiences to our classmates’.” 

Team Ford with Ford Client, Sam Smith

Team Ford with Ford Client, Sam Smith

IBD EWMBA student Jerry Phillips (Wildlife Conservation Society, Belize) reported that the “IBD conference was an excellent opportunity to learn what our colleagues had delivered to their clients through a thoughtful exchange of war stories, experiences and results. Between all the posters, the energy in Spieker Forum was easily noticeable with smiles all around and a constant buzz of excitement.”

Spieker Forum in Chou Hall was a fantastic new venue for showcasing the hard work of our IBD student teams through project poster presentations.  The ample space and beautiful views added to the energy of students, staff, faculty and guests, as they walked from team poster to team poster, learning about each of the 19 international IBD consulting projects.

Team Seva with their poster

Team Seva with their poster

It is especially rewarding when IBD project clients attend the IBD Conference.  This year we were joined by representatives from Seva Foundation and Ford Motor Company.  Ford Motor Company executive Sam Smith, a Berkeley Haas and IBD alumnus, said he “found it deeply rewarding to return to Haas as a client of IBD, having been a participant 15 years ago.  The scope of projects this year was remarkable in its diversity, with a common thread of creative problem solving by the teams – kudos to the teams and the administration. I can say for Ford that the engagement with our team was excellent, with the best possible feedback – we are continuing the work that they started.  I’m thrilled to expand the IBD community!”

Team Novartis after presentation

Team Novartis after presentation

Following the general project poster session, the 2018 IBD Conference program kicked off with the long awaited announcement that IBD teams WCS and Novartis were selected by a vote of their peers to come on stage to present their projects to the audience.  In addition, annual awards were given out to IBD student teams in the categories of Best Blog, Team Photo, Art Photo — and a new category called “Beyond Yourself.” (Click here to see the winners of these awards.)

Team YGA with poster

Team YGA with poster

Community, celebration, awards, and acknowledgement of the efforts of our program’s MBA students are what the IBD Conference is all about.  It was great to hear that after all the hard work and time invested in IBD projects — along with the funny and challenging moments of traveling abroad — our MBA students found real value in the IBD project experience.  As IBD EWMBA student Nik Reddy said, “The proof is in the pudding; you’d be hard pressed to find a team that did not enjoy their IBD experience.”

Thank you to the students, faculty, staff, and project clients who made the IBD program in 2018 a success. We can’t wait to launch the next IBD class in 2019!

To see the photos from the IBD Conference click here.

A Week in the Life of an IBD Team – Team Ananda

Written by Igor Borges, Stan Cataldo, Ryan Dingler, Elaine Leong, and Mila Pires, of the Ananda Development team in Thailand.

It was May 13th at 6pm and our team had just arrived in Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok’s main airport. Ryan (one of our team members) hailed us a Grab, Thailand’s Uber, and we were on our way to the hotel. In the hot and humid Thai weather, we passed two of our clients real estate developments. During our research, we found Ananda Development (our client) had a strong real estate presence in Bangkok and were already finding that to be true!

Ananda1

The next day we met Lloyd, our main employee contact and the best host we could have asked for. He introduced us to his staff and gave us a tour of the office, which looked more like a high-tech company office in the Bay Area than a real estate company.

Ananda2

Ananda3

After showing our initial research and framework to Dr. John, Ananda’s Chief Development Officer, we rebuilt our deck to dive deeper into the solutions we identified as strongest in preparation for our field research the following day. To decompress, back at the hotel we began a tradition, which continued for the full three weeks, where we would all play foosball but only Elaine would win. Then we managed to get through the intense Bangkok traffic to Beer Belly, a restaurant recommended by an employee at Ananda, where played some pool, air hockey and ping pong along with eating fried pork skin and some (very) spicy food.

Ananda4

Tuesday during the day, Lloyd and his team setup tours of three of Ananda’s real estate developments, from pre-construction to fully sold-out and transferred properties, including an amazing 4D projection for the Ashton brand (Ananda’s most luxurious sub-brand). The three developments were all different Ananda sub-brands (these brands vary by target resident income and style) which gave us a good perspective of the various types of customers Ananda attracts.

Ananda5

In the afternoon, we went to dinner with Ananda and a USC-Marshall team that was also doing a project with Ananda. It was a great opportunity to mingle and try several typical Thai dishes that our Ananda team ordered for us. This was also the point where Ryan was introduced to mango sticky rice – a true love story in the making.

Ananda6

Wednesday we spent the day incorporating our initial feedback from Dr. John and additional information and insights we gathered during our field tours into our deck before our presentation to the CEO on Thursday. We also got to participate in a Singularity University event on the development of “fake meat” delivered by a professor from Japan.

Ananda7

Thursday, was our big day to present to Ananda’s CEO, Khun Chanond Ruangkritya. Khun Chanond is a young Berkeley alum that is at the forefront of rewriting how real estate is done in Bangkok. During the meeting, he gave us the go-ahead and said we were heading in the right direction and gave us a lesson on how to be a successful but humble leader – a true Haasie! To close the day, we were invited to the presentation of USC’s project and networked with professors and other USC teams that were also in Thailand.

On Friday we visited another Ananda building to learn about their Property Management division and how they manage existing developments. Also, Ananda had a TGIF event, where we were able to hear an amazing Adele performance by one of our close Ananda contacts, who used to be a professional singer before joining Ananda.

Ananda8

After the performance, we headed to our flights to Chiang Mai (a city in the north of Thailand) where we spent the weekend visiting temples, caring for our “own” elephants at a sanctuary and driving rented motorcycles.

It was an amazing pleasure and privilege to be in this project and we hope the next classes are as lucky as we were in getting such a heartwarming, exciting and eye-opening experience as ours. Lloyd and the team were wonderful hosts, every week they planned multiple events for us to network with CEOs, academics, and Berkeley alums.

Thank you Ananda for this unique experience and for the invaluable lessons!