Meet the 2019 IBD Team Leads!

By Danner Doud-Martin

The fall semester is in full swing at Berkeley Haas — and so is IBD as we prepare for the approaching new year and the 2019 Full-Time MBA IBD program that launches in January.  IBD Executive Director David Richardson has been traveling the world, talking to potential IBD clients about projects.  IBD Faculty Director Frank Schultz and Associate Director Danner Doud-Martin recently spent a week interviewing IBD student Team Lead applicants.  

Beginning with a list of 60 Team Lead applicants, we ended up interviewing 28 MBA candidates, then selecting a final list of 16 Team Leads.  We are very excited about this new group of diverse and remarkable students and what they bring to the IBD program. They all have incredible stories that influenced their interest in being part of IBD.  

Per our tradition of wanting to give the IBD community a chance to know them, we asked the newly selected Team Leads to share something about themselves and why they applied to be a Team Lead.  Below you will find their answers, as well as a little bit about the amazing careers they have experienced before coming to Berkeley Haas. Enjoy!

2019 IBD Team Leads:

 

Adriana Bonifaz

Adriana Bonifaz

Adriana Bonifaz, MBA Candidate ’20

Adriana has spent the majority of her career in Lima, Peru working for the Banco de Credito del Peru as a Program Manager in the Innovation Center.   When she isn’t working or leading events fostering camaraderie among her colleagues, you might find her singing.

“I think being in IBD will give me more than one good lesson that I will take forever.  I believe that having the opportunity to work with people from a different culture, with different ways of looking at the world, and also with a diverse team of students, is going to help me open my mind to new ideas. In a global world it is really important to be open and to understand there are many different faces to the same coin. One must have the willingness and mindset to embrace them all and take the best of each version, so we all become better. Finally, and also very important, I want to build long-lasting relationship with my teammates and clients.” – Adriana

Alix Slosberg in front of the Taj Mahal

Alix Slosberg in front of the Taj Mahal

Alix Slosberg, MBA/MPH Candidate ‘20

Prior to Haas, Alix worked for Social Finance Inc., a nonprofit impact investing firm specializing in pay for success projects. Prior to working for Social Finance, Alix spent a year working for the Clinton Health Access Initiative in Swaziland.  In her free time, Alix has taught herself how to play the guitar.

“The opportunity to be an IBD Team Lead is a significant reason I came to Haas. I am really excited to apply the management concepts we’ve been learning in class to a real-world client project, and to have the experience of leading an international engagement from beginning to end – starting with team selection and concluding with an in-country presentation with company leadership.” – Alix

 

Brian Bell

Brian Bell

Brian Bell, MBA Candidate ’20

After spending four years working at the Acara Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, Brian lived and worked in South and Central America as the Director of Programs at Agora Partnerships.  Agora is an entrepreneurship organization serving growing ventures in Latin America.  Brian also enjoys running marathons and cycling.

“From leadership experience to emerging market travel, from collaborative teamwork to new shared experiences, the opportunity for IBD lead was a reason I came to Haas and I’m excited to take on the challenge! For me IBD is a real opportunity to work closely with passionate Haasies and a committed management team, while having a big impact on a real world growth challenge.” – Brian

 

Fay Yu

Fay Yu

Fay Yu, MBA Candidate ’20

Throughout her career Fay has worked on multiple projects as a consultant with Deloitte including a two year stint in San José, Costa Rica.  She also coordinated logistics for Deloitte’s international pro bono consulting trip to Darién, Panamá, where she and her colleagues delivered sustainable technology based solutions at 5 local organizations.  

“When I think about the IBD experience, I am most excited about the opportunity to learn about the unique business problems faced by our client and deep-dive into the culture that influences them this coming summer!” – Fay

 

Felix Schadeck

Felix Schadeck

Felix Schadeck, MBA Candidate ’20

When Felix is not working for INNPACT, an Impact Investing-focused Consulting firm located in Luxembourg City, he serves as the Founder and President of MPG Responsibility Now, a non-profit that builds and operates schools for refugee children from Myanmar.  

I am most excited about the opportunity of being placed in a business and cultural environment that will be new to our whole team. I’ve always found that tackling a steep learning curve with like-minded people makes for exceptional bonding opportunities and has the potential to create friendships that last a lifetime.” – Felix

 

Jennifer Nixon in Peru

Jennifer Nixon in Peru

Jennifer Nixon, MBA Candidate ’20

Before joining her peers at Haas, Jennifer was a Deputy Chief Operations Officer in the U.S. Army.  Jennifer has received numerous awards for her service, including the Bronze Star Medal, a wartime award given for exceptionally commendable service affecting a large scale of responsibility.  She is also a dedicated Godmother.

“I am excited to jump into the unknown. A team I’ve never worked with, an industry I’ve never experienced, and a culture and country I’ve likely never been to! The whole point of business school for me is to pivot into the corporate world – one that is altogether unfamiliar to me – prepared to be an effective leader. Being an IBD Team Lead will allow me to do exactly that. Doing this job in the safety of the school environment will help to build my confidence in the skills I bring to the table and allow me to see how those skills work in a corporate environment.” – Jennifer

 

Joseph Bird, MBA Candidate ’20

Joseph Bird running a marathon

Joseph Bird running a marathon

Most of Joseph career has been in India working for various NGO’s, social enterprises and most recently as the CEO of Reality Tours & Travel, in Mumbai, India. When he has free time, Joseph is climbing mountains, cycling across countries and running half, full and ultra marathons to raise funds for various causes.

“I’m really excited to take of the role of IBD team lead as it represents a great opportunity to take my experience leading teams across the social impact spear in India and apply those skills to new cultures and industries. To me, IBD represents a unique opportunity to take what I’m learning here in the classroom and apply it to create positive change with our program partners.” – Joseph Bird

 

Joshua Summer, MBA Candidate ’20

Josh joins Haas as U.S. Army Veteran, where he was Captain and served all over the world, specifically in Afghanistan and South Korea.  Like Jennifer, he has received many honors and awards for his service. Josh is also a Service to School ambassador and mentors veterans applying to graduate programs.  Josh speaks conversational German.

Joshua Summer

Joshua Summer

“I applied to be a Team Lead to challenge myself in a global setting. Knowing that business is increasingly global, I was excited at the opportunity to step outside of the classroom and gain first-hand experience working with international clients. Also, as a veteran, I have a lot of experience with formal leadership.  With IBD, I am excited to practice more informal leadership with classmates from diverse backgrounds. Finally, IBD will provide an invaluable opportunity for me to learn about and practice consulting, managing clients, and working remotely. I am excited to not just develop personally but to make Haas proud by leading a team to solve an important business problem for an organization in need.” – Josh

Julian Florez, MBA Candidate ’20

Julian has spent his career working as a consultant for StratCo Consultores S.A. located in Bogata, Colombia.  StratCo is a spinoff of McKinsey by two partners who started McKinsey’s Colombian operation.  Julian focus is in the financial sector. As a student at Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá,  Julian went abroad as an exchange student in both Portugal and France.

Julian Florez in Chicago

Julian Florez in Chicago

“Being part of IBD was one of my goals while being at Haas. I wanted to be exposed to work with people from different backgrounds, build a relationship with an international client and get to know a different culture in a work environment. This is why I did not doubt when I had the opportunity to apply to be a Team Lead. I am sure we are going to build a close-knit working environment and that we are going to learn from each other past experiences, which will help us do a great job for our client!” – Julian

 

Katharine Hawthorne

Katharine Hawthorne

Katharine Hawthorne, MBA Candidate ’20

Until last December 2017, Katharine was a professional dancer and founder of Katharine Hawthorne Dance.  Concurrently, she worked at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco, as a senior contract manager.  Jennifer speaks conversational Mandarin and French.

“I value creativity and collaboration, and working in a global business context requires these skills in spades.  As an IBD team lead, I am excited to facilitate a group of my peers, question my own cultural assumptions, and make a meaningful contribution to an organization.” – Katharine

 

Kyle Rolnick

Kyle Rolnick

Kyle Rolnick, MBA Candidate ’20

Prior to attending Haas and working for Epic Systems, a medical records software company, Kyle lived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  For three years he taught ESL and created English language courses for students preparing them for a public service exam. He left Rio a Brazilian music lover and karaoke enthusiast.  

“I applied to be a Team Lead because I’m excited about the IBD program and wanted to lead a team of very talented students to make a positive impact on an international organization. I love hands-on learning and see this opportunity as a great way to help leverage everyone’s existing skills while building on them by tackling unique problems in unique cross-cultural settings. I have high expectations for our experience and want everyone to walk away from it not only proud of the work we did, but also proud of their personal growth through it.” – Kyle

Nicholas Matcheck

Nicholas Matcheck

 

Nicholas Matcheck, MBA Candidate ’20

After departing the Navy in 2016, Nick went on a language learning sabbatical in Latin America and Spain.  He then became an Economic Development Specialist/NGO Advisor in the Peace Corps in Capiibary, Paraguay.  Before coming to Haas, Nick earned his Certificate in Project Management from University of California, Los Angeles.

“I love working with great people on important projects and I know IBD at Haas will be that kind of experience. Working overseas will be even more exciting. I can’t wait to find out my project and team and get started!” – Nick

 

Nina Ho

Nina Ho

Nina Ho, MBA Candidate ’20

Nina spent the last year before coming to Haas as a senior consultant at Clerestory Consulting, a boutique consulting firm specializing in change management, technology adoption, and process improvement. Nina has numerous certifications; including Project Management Professional (PMP), Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and HCI Talent Acquisition Specialist.

“There are two things I am hoping to get out IBD.  First, I want to make a lasting impact; as a lead, I see my role as a facilitator, ensuring that both my team can thrive and our client feels supported.  Secondly, I am excited to travel and experience a new culture. Much of my personal learning has come from spending time with people who have lived very differently than I have.” – Nina

 

Perrie Briskin – MBA/MPH Candidate ’20

Perrie Briskin

Perrie Briskin

Prior to Haas, Perrie worked for Population Services International (PSI) in Washington and Yangon, Myanmar.  Her super fun job was as an Associate Producer working in New York with clients like The Notorious B.I.G. Estate, Wiffle Ball, and Kobayashi, ESPN, Kellogg’s, and the Billie Jean King’s Foundation.

Working internationally prior to Haas was one of the most formative experiences of my life. I applied to be an IBD Team Lead for the opportunity to guide my peers in an experience that I hope will be just as meaningful.” – Perrie

 

Roland Ekop

Roland Ekop

Roland Ekop, MBA Candidate ’20

Roland has spent the majority of his career as Management Consulting Senior Analyst for Accenture in Nigeria.  Roland is a dedicated volunteer and has offered his services pro bono for nonprofit organizations through the Accenture Corporate Citizenship Volunteer program and to the Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG) Nigeria.  

Beyond my interests in consulting projects, I applied for a Team Lead role because I wanted to work at the heart of a project – at the intersection of the interests of the client, the project and team members. In addition, leading a team of MBA classmates, providing and receiving feedback, and working towards a common project goal is certainly the prototypical experiential learning opportunity.” – Roland

 

Stephen Collins, MBA Candidate ’20

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins

Stephen career has been at Prophet, a management consulting firm headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. As a senior associate, Stephen worked on multiple consulting projects both in Atlanta and around the globe.  He also volunteered his time and expertise for the non-profit arm of Prophet and led the Atlanta office team in organizing service days and pro bono projects.  

I can’t wait to get to know my client and immerse myself fully in their industry, customer base, and challenges. Working with a new team, in a new industry, in a new geography is always a thrill and I can’t wait to see what IBD has in store for me!” – Stephen

~

Our newest Team Leads will start their IBD journey in January 2019, on the first day of spring semester at the “Big Reveal” IBD class.  Until then, they will have to wait patiently until they find out more about their IBD project, their project client, and where they will travel for their in-country project destinations.  Stay tuned for more on the IBD student Team Leads and their projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ford Shanghai – 2018 IBD

Members: James Westhafer (team lead), Sandra Tamer, Alyssa Warren, John Sheffield, Joe Akoni

Figure : The Ford Asia-Pacific headquarters in the Shanghai neighborhood of Pudong

Figure : The Ford Asia-Pacific headquarters in the Shanghai neighborhood of Pudong

The Ford-Shanghai team was tasked with a very unique problem in their IBD project: How can Ford improve their customer experience in the “pre-drive” space (before a journey starts) and the”post-drive” space (after the journey ends).  It was a relevant problem for multi-national company because so much of Ford’s internal effort is spent on the “in-flight” (during the journey) customer experience. We spent the spring semester at Berkeley researching customer use cases, benchmarking the competitive landscape, and speaking with as many Ford employees as possible to better educate ourselves on this unique problem.  We knew that our in-country experience in China at the end of the spring semester would be immersive and we came in with high expectations. Our time in Shanghai exceeded these expectations and gave us a level of exposure and experience that none of us thought was possible when we were sitting at our gate ready to board our flight to China on May 11.

After registering at the front desk of the Shanghai Information Center in the skyscraper-laden Shanghai neighborhood of Pudong and passing through the facial-recognition security checkpoint, we arrived on the 36th floor of Ford’s Shanghai office.  Our first day was filled with meetings of Ford executives, in groups ranging from strategy to Ford Smart Mobility to their Autonomous/Electric vehicle division.  It was the epitome of “drinking from the firehose” as we continued to educate ourselves on a very complex topic. We soon realized that talking and listening is only one component, and to fully understand the travel woes in urban China, our team had to experience it for ourselves.  We spent the entire second day of our project moving through Shanghai: subways at rush hour, the bus during non-peak hours, the dock-less bike share program, Didi (Uber equivalent in China), and even more.  

    

Experiencing the true urban China mobility experience first-hand was essential for our understanding of the true pains of residents and Ford customers.  It’s these pain points that drive Ford’s strategy in product development and partnership selection and an area that we believed to be a key area of focus in our project.  We didn’t have much time to debrief after our mobility outing because we were scheduled to travel to Beijing on Thursday for all-day meetings on Friday. We wanted to meet with other key Chinese mobility players to better understand their strategies for addressing customer pain points in the pre and post-drive space.  The partners we visited—Didi (Uber equivalent in China), Mobike (China’s most promising and successful dock-less bike company) and Shouqi (Didi competitor)—would be a great data point on how other companies in China were thinking about similar mobility problems.

 

After a marathon day of meetings, we were able to unwind a bit and take in the local flavors of northern China.  There was an eventful Beijing night that included the local favorite dish of Peking duck and a Chinese alcohol specialty, Bijou.  The next day, the team made a memorable trip to the Great Wall of China that far-exceeded everyone’s expectations. We had a great tour guide that educated us on all-things Chinese history and helped put the grandeur of the Great Wall into perspective.  It was a highlight of our trip and certainly a lifetime memory for all of us.

An amazing day trip to Huanghugcheng, north of Beijing, to visit a relatively tourist-less portion of the Great Wall

An amazing day trip to Huanghugcheng, north of Beijing, to visit a relatively tourist-less portion of the Great Wall

We got back to work the following Monday and began designing and creating a comprehensive interview guide that would help to validate (or disprove) some of our customer painpoint takeaways from our mobility outing and various meetings from the week before.  We lined up a number of Ford employees and other Shanghai residents that ranged from ages 23 to 60 in order to help our team better understand mobility trends and personal travel pain points in urban China. We had some very interesting and thought-provoking conversations that validated some of our personal painpoint takeaways, but also some unique nuggets that we used to develop some preliminary recommendations.  

As the week progressed, we had more meetings and team brainstorms to start landing on what our final recommendations would be to the Ford team.  There were many long nights as our team sifted through the massive amounts of data and information that we had in front of us from the 2 weeks of immersive meetings and interviews.  We left the Ford office on Friday on the second week of our in-country visit with a clear (yet ambitious) presentation outline that we would delve into during our last week.

Figure 7: The Ford team working through some slides in “CR-9 War Room”, the designated space for the team during their stay in Shanghai.  Lots of snacks, coffee and water were needed.

Figure 7: The Ford team working through some slides in “CR-9 War Room”, the designated space for the team during their stay in Shanghai. Lots of snacks, coffee and water were needed.

The final week in Shanghai consisted of long working sessions to perfect the slide deck that would be presented to senior Ford leadership at 8am on Thursday May 31st, the last day of the project.  The climax of the in-country experience came on Wednesday May 30th when the team worked from 7:30am until 10:30pm at night, which included a final run through of the presentation in our hotel room while eating one last meal of Shanghai’s famous “soup dumplings”.  

The final presentation on Thursday morning was a wild success.  We presented to the head of Asia Pacific Ford Smart Mobility and the head of Asia Pacific Strategy for Ford along with a number of other Ford executives.  After presenting our findings and making final recommendations on Ford’s strategy in China, the VP of Strategy for Asia Pacific (formerly a partner at Bain Consulting in Shanghai) said that the presentation “exceeded his expectations” and that he saw really tangible ideas that could make a difference in China.  He even started brainstorming with Ford’s lead on Connected Services on how some of our recommendations could be piloted in China! It was a very rewarding ending to the project and validated the hard work that we put in throughout the spring semester. It was an absolutely amazing experience for all 5 members of the team and will certainly be a highlight of our two years at Haas.  We want to publicly thank the Ford team for their help and support throughout the project. It was a joy working with the Shanghai team and we are happy that our recommendations could have a lasting impact for the company. From the entire team, xiè xie for everything, Ford!

The Ford team on the 36th floor of the Shanghai Information Tower in Pudong on the last day of their project.  Thanks for everything Ford!

The Ford team on the 36th floor of the Shanghai Information Tower in Pudong on the last day of their project. Thanks for everything Ford!

 

Using Human-Centered Design to Improve Patients’ Lives

By Melea Atkins, Kathryn Balestreri, Bree Jenkins, Ben Lauing, and Hannah Levinson

There were bright pink and orange and blue post-its everywhere. It looked just like the Innovation Lab at Haas had looked weeks before as we ran through an exercise during our Problem-Finding, Problem-Solving class. But we were 6,500 miles away from Haas, many of the post-its were written in Portuguese, and the stakes were high.

The São Paulo IBD team was facilitating a three-hour rapid ideation workshop at the major pharmaceutical company Novartis, leading a group of 16 senior-level employees through the human-centered design cycle to generate ideas about why patients don’t adhere to their medication. Our fear that directions would be lost in translation given the language barrier was immediately assuaged as people openly shared personal journeys with chronic illness and others wrote down observations. One woman shared her personal experience being treated by a physician for a chronic illness. He chose not to pursue aggressive treatment because he didn’t want to impose physical pain on his patient. She was left feeling out of control over her own life, and her emotional and physical suffering only increased over time. This led to an insight around shared decision-making and that a personal physician relationship is foundational to patient engagement and medication adherence.

Sticky notes

After the workshop, we received such a thoughtful WhatsApp message (the primary mode of communication – even for Novartis professionals!): This was so great, I’ve worked here for so long but I forgot that I’ve been the patient too.

Leading this workshop was a transformational Haas experience. When facilitating, we were pushed to command a room of people who were senior to us, whose primary language was different from ours, and who had no prior exposure to design thinking tools. The workshop also strengthened the bond of our IBD team, as we all worked together to ensure the success of the experience. Our team was especially fortunate to have Kathryn Balestreri, who brought design thinking expertise from her work as an innovation consultant and through Haas at Work. 

The Novartis Brazil team collaborates in small groups

The Novartis Brazil team collaborates in small groups

This human-centered design approach landed well with the Novartis team, and we realized how well it lent itself to the overarching goal of our project: helping patients better adhere to heart failure medication. Through our research and 71 interviews with subject matter experts, physicians, startups, and heart failure patients over the course of our project, it was abundantly clear that we wouldn’t be able to identify the root cause of non-adherence to heart failure medication without truly understanding why patients behave the way they do. Thus, when it came to generating solutions for Novartis, we generated six key insights about how we might positively impact patient behavior and improve adherence, used these insights to power ideas, and ultimately converged on one idea to create a prototype and action plan for Brazil. We called the prototype “Rede Integrade de Acolhimento” (RIA), which means “smile” in Portuguese. This is a title that a Novartis employee generated during the final prototyping stage of the ideation workshop.

In our final client call, the project manager requested materials about leading human-centered design workshops, because she wanted to replicate the workshop for Novartis teams in other Latin American countries. Hearing not only that Novartis was interested in our ideas, but also that they wanted to use some of the tools that we’d brought felt like a true success.

Bree Jenkins leads our team through our own ideation workshop

Bree Jenkins leads our team through our own ideation workshop

IBD Team Makerere, Changing the Trajectory of Uganda’s Tourism Sector

Team Makerere together in front of a lakeWritten by Elizabeth Andrada, Luca Cosentino, ​Tamara Pace-Emerson, ​

Logan Gallogly, and ​Renee Medina

Changing the trajectory of Uganda’s tourism sector

Our IBD team worked with the government of Uganda and a team focused on enhancing public and private sector partnerships at Makerere University, Uganda’s largest university, to redefine the country’s tourism strategy. Many sectors have invested a lot of time and money to improve the country’s tourism sector, however, there were a few elements missing in both the strategies and execution that prevented Uganda’s tourism sector from thriving.

Making an impact with a dedicated audience

Our team had a once in a lifetime opportunity to present our final recommendations to the Prime Minister of Uganda, Governor of the Central Bank of Uganda and Minister of Tourism of Uganda, in addition to many other members of government and private sector leaders in the country. Our three weeks in country culminated in this exciting event, which was followed by a private dinner with the mentioned stakeholders (several of whom are UC Berkeley alums!) that evening. The dinner gave us an opportunity to discuss our final presentation in a less formal environment, share more details of our findings, and highlight the key resource requirements so Uganda can successfully implement our recommendations.

Our project approach

Before heading to Kampala (the country’s capital), our team conducted secondary research on the tourism industry in Uganda and studied tourism strategy for the neighboring East African countries such as Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania. Based on the research, surveys and focus groups with classmates as well as our weekly client calls, our team developed a set of initial hypotheses related to improving the current state of tourism in Uganda.

IBD Team Makerere posingDespite our pre-work and research, we quickly discovered once we had arrived in-country that there was a lot to learn with many more nuances and local considerations to keep in mind when thinking about our final recommendations. We spent the first week conducting interviews with more than 15 stakeholders across the tourism sector, which changed our perceptions of the primary challenges facing the Uganda tourism sector. We spent the second week traveling around the country as tourists ourselves in order to understand first-hand the differentiators and challenges to a thriving tourism sector in the country.

Where we visited

Our team used Kampala, Uganda’s largest city, as our home base, but because many of the country’s key tourist sites are outside of the city, we also wanted to spend time visiting these destinations. This primary research would help inform our final recommendations related to a tourist’s experience in the country. Our team had the opportunity to visit:

  • Jinga, the source of the Nile River (where the Nile meets Lake Victoria) and to do a sunset kayaking trip on the Nile;
  • Entebbe and the Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre where we got to pet cheetahs and feed lions and baby elephants;
  • Murchison Falls National Park, where we participated in a traditional safari game drive and saw giraffes, hippos, elephants, lions, bison, buffalo, birds and countless other animals as well as hike to the top of the two waterfalls in the park;
  • Lake Bunyoni, the second deepest lake in the world and the deepest lake in Africa, where we stayed at an eco-lodge and had the opportunity to boat, swim and hike; and
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park, where we participated in a second game drive and enjoyed views of the Rwenzori mountain range while having an authentic ‘Rolex’ breakfast.

IBD Team Makerere in front of body of waterOur final recommendations and project culmination

The team developed four final recommendations for our client, focusing on marketing as well as the tourist and business experience. As mentioned, we had the unique opportunity to present our findings and final recommendations to the Prime Minister as well as other government and private sector stakeholders.

Our IBD experience was a highlight of our time thus far at Haas and is one that we will never forget. Our team created a meaningful bond as we sought to provide an actionable roadmap for the country’s leaders to make it a top tourist destination. We feel so honored to have had the opportunity to make an impact and to change the trajectory of the tourism industry in Uganda. We look forward to visiting Uganda again to see the progress that has been made in implementing our recommendations.

IBD BLOG – TEAM MAJID AL FUTTAIM

Written by: Jorge Tellez, Ryan King, Jennifer Rokosa, Daniel Clayton and Kelly Gillfillan

Entry 1: May 17, 2018

The five of us (Jenny, Daniel, Kelly, Ryan, and Jorge) touched down in Dubai five days ago and were greeted by 105-degree heat and a 4-day long sandstorm. Dubai has a giant desert in its backyard, and if the wind is blowing strong enough in the right direction, the entire city gets hit with a wall of sand. From the street, a sandstorm just looks like a foggy day (not quite San Francisco level fogginess, but close), but if you run your fingers across any outdoor surface, you can immediately see the layer of sand blanketing everything.

The jetlag is finally starting to wear off for most of us. Dubai is 11 hours ahead of Berkeley, meaning we’ve been hitting the coffee pretty hard. However, starting today, we’ll be drinking those coffees in a large closet at Majid Al Futtaim’s (our host company) headquarters. Let me explain…

Team Majid Al Futtaim at the Cultural Center

Team Majid Al Futtaim

Today is the first day of Ramadan in the UAE, meaning most Muslims are fasting for the whole month. Between the hours of 4am and 7pm, it’s is not permitted (whether Muslim or not) to eat or drink in public, including in the office. So while we’re on-site, we’ve been instructed to keep any eating or drinking restricted to a small pantry area on the fourth floor—don’t worry, they have an espresso machine in there.

We head to the UAE cultural center later today where we’ll learn a little bit more about the history of the country, the traditional dress, food and customs. This weekend, we’re heading out to the desert on a guided tour, and then to Abu Dhabi to check out the sights there. Pictures to follow!

 

Entry 2: May 24, 2018

Somewhere between hanging out with two dozen penguins at the foot of an indoor ski slope and watching tourists scuba dive with sharks inside a three story aquarium, you realize the words “shopping mall” in Dubai mean something very different than they do back in the states.

Penguins

Penguins

For us, five millennial Americans dropped into the Middle East for the first time, the word “mall” evokes imagery of angsty loitering teens, sticky movie theater floors, and CDs with the parental advisory warning peeled halfway off (I don’t know about you, but that’s the only way my parents would let me listen to Eminem). Conversely, malls in Dubai have less to do with shopping and more to do with mind-blowing art installations, architecture, five-star restaurants and hotels, movie theaters where you’re served three-course meals, and did I mention, PENGUINS!

This is all to say that while malls in the US have been dead for nearly two decades (thanks, Bezos), they’re thriving here in Dubai. Why? A couple reasons:

  1. E-commerce hasn’t had nearly the same impact here as it has had in the states. Online sales penetration stands at just 2% of total retail sales in the Middle East and Africa, compared to over 10% worldwide.
  2. It hot. Really, really hot. Six months out of the year its too hot to go outside, so heavily airconditioned malls are absolutely the place to be.
  3. The folks at Majid Al Futtaim (our host company) and Emaar (their primary regional competitor) realized a long time ago that experiences would be the way forward for brick and mortar retail. Hence why malls here are built around incredible, experiential attractions.

That last point, which doesn’t really sink in until you’re watching a fountain show at the base of the tallest building in the world, left the five of us asking “How are we going to add value here when this company is so far ahead of mall operators in the US?”

Sitting in Silicon Valley, its sometimes easy to think the US is at the forefront of virtually every industry, but our ignorance was made abundantly clear with just one lap around the Mall of the Emirates. Our recommendation to Majid Al Futtaim was not going to be as simple as relaying what mall operators in the US are doing. Instead, we’d have to figure out how a company that is performing quite well can continue to innovate in the retail space, and how they can even better prepare to defend against e-commerce, which we’d be naïve to think Dubai is immune from.

More next time from Team Majid Al Futtaim!

Entry 3: May 31, 2018

We presented our final project today! The last week and a half was filled with almost a complete overhaul of our presentation, as we homed in on some key recommendations for the company and what we envision the mall of the future will look like. If you had asked me a month ago, my vision of the mall of the future would have been precisely the malls we saw on this trip, but there are some really interesting regional dynamics that lead us to believe a lot may change behind the scenes for malls in the Middle East.

A good example is everything happening in Saudi Arabia today, where the crown prince is loosening up a lot of restrictions, allowing women to drive for the first time and allowing movie theaters to reopen after a more than 30-year ban. Majid Al Futtaim, who manages Vox Cinemas, has plans to open 300+ screens in Saudi Arabia in the next year.

From the dozens of conversations we had with Majid Al Futtaim employees over the last three weeks (including the CEO), it seems absolutely key for malls to position themselves as “experience centers” going forward, as opposed to shopping-only centers. This means more movie theaters, gourmet restaurants, and leisure activities—like an indoor ski resort, for example, or a giant aquarium full of sharks! (Those last two already exist.)

We also believe that the relationship between mall operator and tenant (retail stores) will change in the coming years. We’ve seen a ton of direct-to-consumer brands realize that their e-commerce presence isn’t quite enough, and that they actually need a brick and mortar presence to round out an “omnichannel” offering (e.g. Warby Parker, Everlane, Casper, and dozens more). We think this will be one of the primary retail models going forward, meaning that there will be a host of online-only retailers looking to move into the brick and mortar space through pop-up shops and showroom-style stores.

Mall operators can take advantage of this trend by pioneering what we’re calling a “store-as-a-service” model, whereby the mall operator provides everything required to build and run a store, making it very easy for brands that do not have a physical retail presence to create one quickly. This would also have the benefit of attracting fresh, new retailers to the UAE by offering a de-risked and less capital-intensive entry to the country.

We’ve also been really impressed with Majid Al Futtaim’s commitment to sustainability. Most of their buildings and hotels are LEED gold or platinum certified, which is no small feat. Further, they have a goal to be “net positive” in carbon and water by 2040. Jenny absolutely nailed her piece of the presentation, which focused on how the company can make progress towards achieving that goal by partnering with clean building technologies (at Berkeley, for instance) and helping them through the commercialization phase, which is often known as the “valley of death” for cleantech given the number of companies that fail at that stage.

Team MAJ enjoying dinner after their presentation

Team MAJ enjoying dinner after their presentation

Our presentation was very well received, and we’re thrilled to hear they’re interested in many of our suggestions. We look forward to being in touch with the team in the future and we’re incredibly thankful for the opportunity to work with them all.

We went out on the town to celebrate the end of our project and this journey last night. We shared highlights over pizza and drinks and then packed up for the 15 hour flight I’m currently on now. I think we’re all excited to get back stateside and start our internships, but sad at the same time that this amazing journey has come to an end.

That’s it from us (Jenny, Dan, Kelly, Ryan and Jorge)! Thanks for reading!

PSI Team in Nairobi, Kenya

PSI in front of hospitalWritten by Sara Farsio, Kamellia Saroop, Jennifer Richard, Nick Greczyna, Deitrich Davidheiser

May 29th, 2018

Writing to you from my Westlands Apartment in Nairobi, Kenya. We just completed our final presentation with our client yesterday! Let me share a little about our time in country.

PSI IBD team visiting a national distributor, MEDS, and learning about how they control the quality of drugs

PSI IBD team visiting a national distributor, MEDS, and learning about how they control the quality of drugs

Our IBD team arrived in Nairobi 3 weeks ago to meet our client, Population Services International, face to face for the first time. Population Services International (PSI) is a U.S. based NGO that is working to make it easier for people in the developing world, work to lead healthier lives and plan the families they desire. PSI does this by carrying out Social Franchise Networks. While the organization works globally, our team has been partnering with the Franchise Networks in East Africa (over 500 clinics in the network!), looking to bring solutions to not only those in Kenya, but also Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Burundi and Somaliand.

In-Country – Week 1

It was great to get our feet on the ground when we arrived. We had meetings set up for us all week! I’ll share some highlights from our experience.

  • Visiting the Tunza Franchise Network clinics in Kenya. We went to 6 clinics and met with the owners and staff. Everyone was incredible friendly and willing to answer our questions even though they had a lot on their plates serving patients.
  • We met with the CEO of a new Group Purchasing Organization, MedSource. Incredible to hear about the platform they just launched to help clinics like the ones in the Tunza network.
  • Spending the day with the PS Kenya team was great. They drove us to the various clinics and shared their insights about working with clinics. We had a pit spot for lunch which was a perfect setting to get to know them better. We ate freshly fried Tilapia caught in Lake Victoria – delicious and so much bigger than what we see in the States.
Diani-Beach,-Kenya

Diani-Beach,-Kenya

We finished Week 1 with a weekend trip to Diani Beach! One of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Water was clear and sand was as white as it gets! Such a rewarding getaway for our team. We had a fun bonding experience going scuba diving along a coral reef! Deitrich was certified but for the rest of us, it was our first time. We saw starfish, sea turtles, eel, shrimp, and so much more.

Scuba-time

Scuba-time

In-Country – Week 2

Crunch time! Week 1 was a whole week of new information for us all to intake. This week we spent incorporating new insights into our strategy, then refining and validating our deliverables. This meant a lot of heads down time on our computers. Luckily, our apartments and the client office are really close by, so we had a good setup for getting a lot of work done. Each morning, our apartment complex offers us free breakfast. Kenyan tea is always a treat – comes with hot milk and is delicious– an influence from when the British colonialized Kenya.

Masai Mara

Masai Mara

Thursday of this week we did a practice dry run through of our final presentation to one person at PSI. This was a great chance to get feedback and prepare for next week.

A male lion!

A male lion!

We finished off Week 2 with a long awaited Safari! 6 hour drive from Nairobi and we were close to the Tanzanian border, in the middle of the Masai Mara. We did two game drives and saw tons of animals: lions, cheetah, leopard, wildebeest, gazelle, impalas, elephants, giraffes…the list goes on! Had a great time here and also got to meet the Masai villagers – and incredible and humbling experience.

PSI IBD Team with Carlos, our Safari Tour Guide.

PSI IBD Team with Carlos, our Safari Tour Guide.

In-Country – Week 3

Our last week! It felt so good to have worked so hard on the deck, practiced the presentation using our Lead Comm skills and presented to over 20 people from PSI. It was great to hear their feedback and excitement about our strategies. They appreciated how realistic our ideas were and it felt great to deliver! Enjoyed the rest of this week by finalizing our deliverables and enjoying Nairobi!

Team PSI enjoying dinner

Team PSI enjoying dinner

Haas IBD Blog – Citibanamex

Written by Michelle Boyd, Kira Mikityanskaya​, ​Jack Anderson, Danielle Pinder​ & Neeraj Goyal

The view from our apartment at dawn

The view from our apartment at dawn

As the second Haas IBD team to work with Citibanamex, we knew we up for an interesting experience!  Citibanamex is one of the oldest and largest banks in Mexico, and it has a culture of being traditional.

So how does a massive and traditional bank attract the young and emerging affluent, and adapt to an increasingly digital world? 

That is the question we were trying to help solve, and here is a day in the life:

 6:00 am – 9:00 am

We were fortunate enough to be staying in an Airbnb on the 18th floor of a beautiful apartment complex.  The views from our apartment were incredible, and we were rewarded with amazing sunrises and sunsets – but more importantly we were able to get a sense of how large Mexico City is.  There are over 21 million people living in the greater metro area, which contributes to some of the worst traffic any of us had ever seen.

Although our apartment was less than a mile away from Citibanamex headquarters, our daily commute regularly took over 30 minutes, as we wound our way down the hill and through incredibly dense traffic.

Team picture on the way to the office

Team picture on the way to the office

Our commute!

Our commute!

9:00 am – 1:00 pm

When traffic was light we made it into the office by 9:00am.  The office doors were also a source of daily comedy – we are still not sure what their purpose is.

On one of our first mornings in Mexico we hosted an Ideation Workshop.  We had 17 Citibanamex employees from across the organization come together to help us develop new ideas.  Although this workshop was very generative (over 90 ideas!), it got off to a bumpy start.  Just as we kicked off the workshop with a presentation about our research, we were told we needed to evacuate; a 4.7 magnitude earthquake had just hit a town nearby.

Waiting to be allowed back inside after the earthquake evacuation.

Waiting to be allowed back inside after the earthquake evacuation.

After about 20 minutes of waiting outside, we went back upstairs to finish our

Michelle and Kira going through the office doors

Michelle and Kira going through the office doors

presentation. We then divided into groups and tried to embody different customer personas.  Our goal was to brainstorm the tasks, influences, pain points and feelings that these customers would experience while working with Citibanamex.  These factors were then assembled into a customer journey, which was used as a platform to brainstorm potential solutions.

 

1:00 pm  – 2:30pm

The Ideation Workshop in action

The Ideation Workshop in action

Lunch is Mexico is a production.  Working lunches are not the norm, and employees regularly take an hour and a half to relax and chat with friends.  We tried everything from going to restaurants nearby, ordering from Rappi (the Amazon of Latin America), braving the crowds at the wallet-friendly Citibanamex cafeteria (3 dollars for a three-course meal!), and even the street taco’s.

Michelle and Neeraj digging into the street food!

Michelle and Neeraj digging into the street food!

2:30 pm – 4:00 pm

 Afternoons were filled with team-work sessions, meetings with various stakeholders, and the occasional coffee break.

During this time we saw some challenges related to innovating across such a large organization.  We met with amazing, intelligent and driven people, who were questioning the status quo and tackling big challenges – but were struggling to implement their initiatives, or multiple similar projects were being undertaken in different departments.  For most of our team (who came from small organizations pre-Haas), this was an interesting education in large corporate culture and organizational structure.

Jack taking us through a Hypothesis Tree

Jack taking us through a Hypothesis Tree

4:00 pm – 4:15 pm

Coffee was an important ingredient for our team, and we definitely took advantage of the Starbucks in our building.  For those of us who did not know Spanish before Mexico, ordering coffee was about as far as we got. It was appreciated.

Neeraj with a correctly spelled name and a heart for his improving Spanish

Neeraj with a correctly spelled name and a heart for his improving Spanish

4:15 pm. – 6:00pm

After coffee it was back to work, although on a few days we were lucky enough to get out of the office to learn more about Citibanamex first-hand.  We visited two branches, one traditional branch and one digital branch, as well as a contact center.  These visits gave us greater insight into both the benefits and pain points of being a priority customer.

Team picture in the contact center

Team picture in the contact center

After 6:00 pm  

When we were not indulging in the amazing restaurant scene that Mexico City offers, dinners consisted of Rappi, Uber Eats, and a few homecooked meals.

IBD is pitched as an intense team experience – after spending all day together, we were still each other’s company for dinner.  Our team made the most of this experience, and we turned dinners into friendly ‘interrogations’.  We threw out the etiquette rule of no religion or politics at the table and asked each other about childhoods, families, career goals, weird habits, and everything in between!

Although we never fulfilled Jack’s goal of watching Ten Things I Hate About You (his favorite rom-com), we all became closer friends from this experience, and we had a lot of fun hanging out and exploring what Mexico City has to offer.

Here are a few more highlights!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team Seedlink- Lives and Learns in Shanghai with Dynamic Clients and Colleagues

Written by Paola Blanco, Nanor Asadorian, Ralph Boyajian, Conor Farese, and Dean Guo

The Seedlink team on our first day of work.

The Seedlink team on our first day of work.

Only a week in, and the hustle and bustle of Shanghai is slowly seeping into our lives. We wake up at 8am every morning, and our team breaks into a myriad of mobility tools to get to work. Conor and Paola on the MoBikes – a local bikeshare service. Dean, Ralph, and Nanor grab a Didi – the local equivalent to Uber. We head into the coworking space where our company, Seedlink, is based. Grab coffees, crack open our computers, and turn on the VPNs (even in China, we are never far from gmail). And we get to work. 

Seedlink, our client, is a Human Resources Tech company based here in Shanghai, with offices in Amsterdam as well. They build an artificial intelligence tool that uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand the science of human behavior. In a nutshell, they can use their tool to predict how well incoming job candidates will perform when compared to the talent a company already has in their organization. They have a strong foothold in China and Europe, and are working with IBD to establish their approach to the U.S. market. We have our hands full, to say the least. Our seven weeks in the U.S. prior to travel was jam-packed with interviews and insights, while our time here in China has been primarily about turning those insights into clear suggestions and tactics that the Seedlink team can use immediately.

Our team hard at work, with the Shanghai sunset behind us.

Our team hard at work, with the Shanghai sunset behind us.

Professionally, this has been a tremendous opportunity for all of us. In our push to build a business strategy, we’ve incorporated bit and pieces from almost every class from our core this year. Marketing lessons have influenced how we think about Seedlink’s value proposition and branding. Strategy frameworks have encouraged us to consider the incumbent response to Seedlink’s entrance. From Problem-Finding Problem-Solving, our Haas design course, we borrowed the Business Model Canvas and the insight session tactics. And of course, we lean on our diverse backgrounds to bring it all together: between the five of us, we cover Operations, Finance, Consulting, Tech and Design. Almost perfectly, our project with Seedlink has called on us to weave the lessons from these courses and experiences together into a carefully crafted plan for our client.

The Seedlink team on a lunchtime stroll through the Jing’An gardens.

The Seedlink team on a lunchtime stroll through the Jing’An gardens.

But so much of this experience has also existed beyond the workplace. Our first week here was a huge learning opportunity for all of us. We struggled through the four tones of Mandarin, thankful to our teammate Dean who patiently instructs us (still) each time we stumble. We’ve tried countless food options: Dumpling (x3), Hunan, Yunnan, Hot Pot (x2), Xinjiang, Japanese, Korean… the list goes on and our bellies are full. 

A happy Dean, ready for the first soup dumplings of the trip.

A happy Dean, ready for the first soup dumplings of the trip.

The weekends have included a trip to Guilin to see the fabled mountains and Hangzhou for the storied West Lake.

Even today, we’re just back from a weekend on the beautiful Jeju island, one of Korea’s most famous spots. We stuffed ourselves full of Korean BBQ, took a trip through a 7km underground lava tube, climbed the side of the volcano, and hit the town at night to see K-Pop in action.

1km into the lava tubes of Jeju, Korea.

1km into the lava tubes of Jeju, Korea.

The Seedlink and 51Jobs teams take a boat cruise in Hangzhou, China.

The Seedlink and 51Jobs teams take a boat cruise in Hangzhou, China.

Shanghai, in other words, has served us well: we are working in an urban hotspot, and are eager to take advantage of the proximity to beautiful places and of the melting pot of ideas, cuisines, and cultures that happens here.

It should go without saying that this upcoming last week will pass by all-too-quickly. We much more learning in store, and are preparing our final pitch to our client encapsulating the output of 10 weeks of research and energy. And beyond that, we are focused on spending time with each other, and with the other IBD teams in our Shang-Haas family. We know this time is precious, and that this rare moment in our lives – when we can live and learn abroad with dynamic clients and colleagues – will come to an end before we know it.

On the Bund, a river walk in Shanghai.

On the Bund, a river walk in Shanghai.

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.

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.