Continued Reflections on Our Plastic Use

*POST 2: Written by Catherine Soler, Leslie Brian, Kelly Lamble, Scott Peacock and Sipian Wang

Beautiful water and skyline with boatsThis is a second post about our project in the Bay Islands. After spending three weeks answering the question, ““How might we provide clean drinking water to the communities of the Bay Islands without a plastic footprint?”, we are now examining the question,

“How has this project changed the way we look at our own plastic footprint?”

See reflections from our team members below.

Scott’s Reflections: Developing Gratitude and Empathy

There was a perception on the islands that the pollution is caused by a “live for today” mentality. But, it’s not about enjoying the day; it’s about surviving the day. How can someone worry about the future consequences of plastic waste when they are worried about food, water, and safety today? I have the means and time to plan for the future, but still, many things that I use for convenience, saving money, or fun have negative externalities. This experience has reinforced my appreciation for the benefits I have and has made me reconsider the conveniences I take at the expense of others.

Beautiful water and sky with branch

Kelly’s Reflections: Called to Action

As we slowly moved down Pumpkin Beach on Utila, methodically picking up pieces of plastic, my heart sank. A staggering number of microplastics dotted the white sand with blues and reds and greens. Even the most painstaking cleanup could never get all of those little pieces off the sand and into a trash bag.

Witnessing the effects of plastic pollution firsthand made me think about my voice as a consumer. What excuses do I tell myself for why I’m not able to make a bigger impact? Is there really not enough space in my kitchen to have trash, recycling, and compost bins? Is there really no way to avoid buying new consumables, like big coffee tins from Trader Joe’s or shampoo from Walgreens, instead of refilling them? Those small pieces of plastic littering that beach was the motivation I needed: I bought two new trash bins yesterday, and a bar of soap that came without packaging. These may be small steps, but if enough consumers start voicing their desire for less plastic and greater sustainability, companies will have no choice but to listen.

banner saying "El Plastico recicla, la naturaliza, no!"

Catherine’s Reflections: Demystifying Plastic Perceptions

When we interviewed local people about their clean drinking water sources and plastic pollution, there was a pervasive sentiment that because we were from the US, we knew how to do things the right way. There was blind faith that, in America, we are free of single use plastic water bottles and all of our waste is composted or neatly packaged and disposed in environmentally friendly ways. Meanwhile, those same people were promoting sustainable straw use and drinking from 5 gallon jugs of water in their homes to reduce single use bottle waste – practices that are far and few between in the US. More so, by interacting with the communities on the Islands, I recognized many of my own behaviors that actually encourage plastic pollution and was inspired by their actions to change.

In a place like the US, we have the luxury of resources, education and expertise to make substantial plastic reduction and be a true ecological leader to others in the world. I hope that we act on that opportunity quickly and live up to the expectations that the rest of the world has for us. After this project, I hope to work to help local people feel empowered to design their own solutions to sustainability and have the confidence to share their practices with others. I am committed to learning more about how to reduce my own plastic footprint and find ways to inspire others around me to do the same.

plastic coke bottle on the beachClick here to read Post 1 from Team TBP

To view additional photos from Team TBP, click here

How Three Weeks in the Bay Islands Changed our Perspective on Plastic

Beautiful water and boatsPOST 1: Written by Catherine Soler, Leslie Brian, Kelly Lamble, Scott Peacock and Sipian Wang

How three weeks in the Bay Islands changed our perspective on plastic

Prior to this consulting project, none of our team members had even heard of the Bay Islands. Now, we will never forget them. The beautiful lush scenery, the warm people, the exquisite sunsets – our IBD adventure was chock full of moments to remember. And yet, the most frequent way we will remember our time on this project will be through the sight of plastic.

The objective of our consulting project was to help Think Beyond Plastic (“TBP”), a Carmel-based NGO focused on plastic reduction through creative enterprise models, bolster its Mesoamerican Reef Plastic Reduction Initiative through the identification of business ideas and partnership opportunities. We explored the question:   

“How might we provide clean drinking water to the communities of the Bay Islands without a plastic footprint?”

And now, we will share the answer to another question that came from this work:

“How has this project changed the way we look at our own plastic footprint?”

Pile of plastic and trash

Leslie’s Reflections: The Shield of Waste Management System

Our team came to the Bay Islands with the hypothesis that tourists were the problem behind plastic pollution. We were right, just not in the way I had first imagined.  Waste management is a problem in most developing countries, and the Bay Islands are no exception. A 16-year-old boy described how the trash outside his home would smell and attract dogs. The government simply stopped collecting trash at the end of last year due to mismanaged funds. What would I do in the absence of reliable waste management? Most likely, I’d do what the islanders do: throw trash in an uninhabited, public space.

Yes, plastic pollution is a problem in the Bay Islands, but an average person there consumes far less than an average person in the United States. The local people reuse everything out of economic necessity — kids use plastic bottles as toys. On an island, everything you consume has a direct impact on your surroundings, while in the US, our waste management system shields us from the impacts of our consumerism. I am certainly guilty of the mentality that once the garbage man comes, my trash is out of sight, out of mind. Yet, I don’t really know what happens next. My trip to the Bay Islands has pushed me to lift the lid on waste management in the US and not to rely on recycling to undo the effects of unnecessary consumption.

Sipian’s Reflections: Every Effort Counts

Sipian’s Reflections

Sipian’s Reflections

I was standing on a white sand beach in Utila. On my right hand side is one of the most gorgeous scenes I’ve ever seen with crystal-clear blue water and the colorful coral reefs underneath. On my left hand side, pieces of plastic waste can be spotted all over. In fact, the picture above captures only part of the plastic we picked up during a 3-hour cleanup: toothbrushes, straws, toys, etc.

Beyond government and institutional efforts, I believe our day-to-day actions are the key to reducing plastic footprint. Every piece of plastic waste we produce doesn’t disappear when we throw it into the trash can; it can end up somewhere in the ocean. While there is no quick path to minimize our plastic footprint, every small effort counts. Ask for no straw in your next drink, resell children’s plastic toys online, and reuse your solo cup.

Look for our next post to continue our team’s reflections here

 

 

Maximum Satisfaction: The IBD Max Warehouse Experience

Written by Natalie Bauman, Vicky Ngo-Lam, Jeremy Scheier, Elana Congress, and Alex Austin

Team Max WarehouseMay 31, 2018

“Before you come, there are two very important words which you must know: guacamole y frijoles,” asserts Juan Carlos on our first weekly team call. Juan Carlos is the project lead at Max Warehouse and serves as our cheerleader and guide throughout. He is really invested in our Spanish language education. “Next week, you will learn some new words,” he assures us. Can you guess the word we learned the next week? Cerveza–por supuesto! We learned vocabulary beyond just guacamole, beer, and beans, though. We pick up “Guatamaleños” (Guatemalan slang words)  and use them incorrectly and excessively.  Our favorite is “va” (“let’s go, sure, got it!”). We figure that between us, we have 2.5 people proficient in Spanish (and also 2.5 MBAs). Our motley collection of Spanish knowledge and ability to support one another in communication attempts represents well our team dynamics.

Introducing: IBD Team “MaxWareHaas.”Team with Duracel Bunny

We are the MaxWareHaas IBD team: Natalie, Jeremy, Elana, Alex, and Vicky.  Our project is with Max Warehouse, a subsidiary of Grupo Cemaco, the fourth largest retailer in the country. Max Warehouse started in 2012 as an online wholesaler for Ace hardware products and then launched its own website, MaxWarehouse.com, in January 2017 as a way to increase profits, build brand equity, and ensure a sustainable business. Our task is to create short-term recommendations, tactics, and a 3-year roadmap for MaxWarehouse.com’s growth. As the project progressed additional questions emerged, which kept us busy and provided a perfect opportunity to leverage our MBA skills to help this enthusiastic company. Our work at Max Warehouse
While at Berkeley this spring, we completed a design thinking-style story-board about Max Warehouse as a client and their current story. It really helped us get a grasp on how we fit in and how we can help them. What we came away with is that Max Warehouse is a feisty, entrepreneurial company pushing for growth. They are in a bit of an identity crisis though,
unsure of their value proposition or ideal customer. They are tenacious and eager to succeed in the U.S. market as an ecommerce player, despite the fact that they’re Guatemala-based and competing with Amazon.

IBD presentation Our final recommendation included 5-10 short and medium term recommendations. When we came in the next day, they were already in the process of implementing the recommendations. They had started interviewing for search optimization personnel, cutting products that weigh > 50 lbs from their SKUs, figuring out how to eliminate products without complete content listings, and implementing project management and communication software to increase cross-functional knowledge sharing across the team. This just shows the client’s drive to improve, and is what has made this project so rewarding and fun.

Touring Guatemala in Style

One of the highest ROI moments of the trip occurred when Alex and Natalie Team site seeingattended Grupo Cemaco’s annual internal football tournament. 26 teams competed, consisting of Grupo Cemaco employees from the stores, warehouses, and corporate teams. The Zona 5 office team, where we work, made the championship game for the first time ever. Alex and Natalie attended the game to cheer on the team and show our support. Afterwards, they chatted with Don Mario, the patriarch of the family that founded and leads the Grupo Cemaco enterprise. They mention that the upcoming weekend agenda was a trip to Tikal to see the ancient Mayan ruins. Don Mario asked about flights, arrangement, and hotels. Alex and Natalie sheepishly admitted that nothing has yet been booked. Two hours later, we had an entire weekend itinerary: flights, a stay at a beautiful eco lodge in El Remate (near Tikal) and a luxury hotel in Antigua, a top-notch tour guide, and complete transportation. The generosity and care is unfathomable to us. We cannot even begin to express our gratitude. This is just another example of the hospitality which is woven into the fabric of the Guatemalan

Sunset in Antigua IBD

Sunset in Antigua IBD

culture.

Farewell to Guate.

As we prepare to depart from this beautiful country, return to Berkeley, and start our internships, we are grateful for our amazing experience here. In addition to the work we accomplished for the company, everything that we learned about ecommerce in the home goods segment, and how a startup nested within a corporation can find success, we have learned about this hidden gem of a place and met some of the kindest people in the world.Team in Antigua

Greetings from Antigua, Guatemala and the HF Healthcare team!

Written by Michael Sahm​, ​Amy Fan​, ​Rachel Green​, ​Joanna Lyons, and ​Carlos Sanchez

May 31st, 2018

Project Overview

The arch in Antigua

The arch in Antigua

Our client is Nasir Hospital, a private, nonprofit hospital in Sacatepéquez, Guatemala (opening October 2018) that seeks to expand access to quality healthcare services for Guatemalans. The healthcare system in Guatemala is inadequate, as providers across the country lack necessary resources to meet the healthcare needs of citizens. Nasir Hospital’s goal is to provide free care free to approximately 20% of its patients, while still making enough money to sustain operations. Our task was to design a business model which makes this feasible. Today marks the last day of our project, and we feel privileged to have worked with such outstanding people pursuing this cause.

During our trip, we visited several local hospitals and conducted over twenty interviews with doctors, patients, and administrators to better understand Guatemala’s healthcare system. Much of what we saw was eye-opening. For example, public hospitals often lack basic supplies necessary to provide services, forcing patients to purchase their own and bring them to the hospital to receive care. Furthermore, basic hygiene and sterilization pose significant challenges in public hospitals, leading to a high number of hospital-acquired infections and illnesses. These are just a few of the issues which inspired HF Healthcare to build its first hospital in Guatemala.

HF Healthcare Team participating in global telethon for Humanity First

HF Healthcare Team participating in global telethon for Humanity First

Our recommended business model contained several components. First, we defined Nasir Hospital’s position in the marketplace, and crafted a strategy to attract target patients to the facility. Next, we designed an operating model to make the provision of free care financially and operationally feasible. Finally, we recommended service prices and projected patient volumes to create a multi-year financial forecast for the facility. Despite working with minimal data, our interview-centered research allowed us to deliver a quality final recommendation to our client, one we hope will be instrumental to its successful operation in the future.

Life in Antigua

We have been fortunate to call Antigua, Guatemala home during our trip. Antigua is a small city approximately one hour outside of Guatemala City, and is one of Central America’s most popular tourist destinations. It is filled with bars and restaurants (which we explored daily), and is close to some of Guatemala’s best outdoor attractions, including active volcanoes, coffee plantations, and Lake Atitlan.

One of our trip’s highlights was a weekend trip to the Lake. We teamed up with the Cemaco IBD Team from Guatemala City, and stayed at a hotel in Panacachel, a small town which borders the lake. On Saturday, we rented a boat and spent the day visiting different towns all around the lake. It was a special chance to connect with classmates so far away from Berkeley!

HF Healthcare Team participating in global telethon for Humanity First

HF Healthcare Team participating in global telethon for Humanity First

For our second weekend, we chose to stay in Antigua. After working Saturday to participate in a worldwide fundraiser telethon for our client, we started our weekend at Antigua Brewing, where we enjoyed local beer while watching live eruptions from Volcán Fuego.

HF Healthcare and Cemaco teams at the top of Volcán Pacaya

HF Healthcare and Cemaco teams at the top of Volcán Pacaya

The next day, we hiked Volcán Pacaya where we roasted marshmallows in hot spots throughout the summit. We ended our weekend with dinner and souvenir shopping with the Cemaco team, who trekked to Antigua after touring Mayan ruins at Tikal National Park the previous day!

¡Hasta Luego, Guatemala!

As we conclude our project, we feel very grateful for our IBD experience, and have several things to be thankful for. First, for the chance to work on a high-impact project that we know will impact the lives of thousands of patients at Nasir Hospital. Second, to the community members in Guatemala, who were incredibly generous with their time in assisting our project work. We were fortunate to meet several high-profile guests of Nasir Hospital including congresswomen, the family of the President of Guatemala, and an ambassador for Mayan culture and welfare, all of whom recognize the hospital’s potential and are eager to help in any way possible.

HF Team at dinner with Sheba Velasco, international ambassador for Mayan culture and welfare

HF Team at dinner with Sheba Velasco, international ambassador for Mayan culture and welfare

HF Team with the mother and aunt of the President of Guatemala, Jimmy Morales

HF Team with the mother and aunt of the President of Guatemala, Jimmy Morales

Finally, to our friends at HF Healthcare, especially Majid, Patricia, Manuel, and Erick. You went above and beyond in your hospitality, and we are so thankful for your help in making our project experience and trip to Guatemala a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We are confident that Nasir Hospital will be among the best in all of Guatemala, and look forward to following your future successes!

The amazing staff at Nasir Hospital!

The amazing staff at Nasir Hospital!

 

IBD Team Belize aka Team Unbelizable – Week 2

Written by Hima Erukulla,  Andrew Lee, Jerry Philip, Srinivas Rajamani and Nik Reddy

Week 2

Backdrop of beautiful water sceneryIt had been nearly 2 months, 4 grueling Saturdays, 1 week in-country experience since the “Big Reveal” of our IBD project in May, but the energy and excitement of the team was still intact. It was due in no small to our project which was to develop a sustainable business model for WCS GLovers Reef Research Station Belize. That the entire project was set against the backdrop of a tropical island was icing on the cake.

Diving on the Weekend

Travel to island named Marisol

Travel to island named Marisol

As Friday dawned, island fever crept on us and we decided to give ourselves a break. Starting Friday afternoon we spent our time at the nearby island named Marisol. We made a lot of connections on this trip, but one of the most impressionable people that we met was our transporter – Seth.

While the PADI certified folks snorkeled in the gorgeous lagoon, two of us were sweating towards getting our PADI certification as we had a special event planned for Sunday. On Sunday morning, five of us along with a couple of dive instructors dove in the Glover’s Reef Atoll to unfurl the CAL flag at a depth of 100 feet underwater!

Team dove in the Glover’s Reef Atoll to unfurl the CAL flag at a depth of 100 feet underwater!

Team dove in the Glover’s Reef Atoll to unfurl the CAL flag at a depth of 100 feet underwater!

Back at Glover’s in the afternoon it hit us that it was our last day there. We spent the rest of the evening exchanging goodbyes, clicking pictures, swapping stories and went to bed reminiscing on all the good times.

 

Journey to Belize City

We were up early Monday morning as the boat was slated to leave at 6:30 AM with 9:00AM ETA in Belize City. Since the UCF students were traveling back with us it was slightly cramped but as the boat gently swayed we were too immersed in the vast ocean to be bothered with anything. Half an hour our ride, as we ventured deep into the ocean, one of the boat engines died with a with loud pop. Immediately, the boat started rocking violently with angry waves lashing at it. The boat captain cautiously maneuvered close to an island to send a signal to a rescue boat which was summoned to rescue us in the middle of the ocean. It was a long and choppy boat ride and, at one point, the fear was palpable in everyone’s face when the boat’s only working engine groaned, threatening to give up. Fortunately, we were safely transferred to the rescue boat before the engine could give out. We reached Belize City nearly two hours late, tired and extremely glad, given how precariously close the boat came to capsizing.

Final Presentation and Wrap up

We spent the rest of the week in WCS office working feverishly on the final report and presentation. Fortunately the World Cup semis coincided with two conveniently long lunch breaks.

Watching World Cup Semi Champs

Watching World Cup Semi Champs

Friday morning we presented our findings spanning our experience at the research station, journey, recommendations, and implementation playbook. As the presentation progressed it appeared as if WCS was connecting with the various sections, pausing to clarify, corroborating their earlier findings and having internal discussions as well.  At close, our audience seemed satisfied with the work and were eager to present our recommendations to the headquarters in New York. They then took us for an fantastic lunch at a popular restaurant that we were meaning to go to and gifted us Glover’s Station merchandise for our efforts.

After providing a final rundown of our analysis and models developed, we left the WCS office one last time after much hand shaking and mutual appreciation for getting to work on such a wonderful project together. We ended the evening celebrating the successful completion of our assignment in Belize City. 

Celebration lunch

Celebration lunch

Forever grateful to IBD and Haas for an amazing project. This assignment has been a rewarding opportunity to learn and an ideal setting to form lasting bonds!

 

 

GRRS Promo Video

https://berkeley.box.com/s/kzgo6ybzz75jkhw136ywkck1e54thzni

IBD Team Belize aka Team Unbelizable – Week 1

Written by Hima Erukulla,  Andrew Lee, Jerry Philip, Srinivas Rajamani and Nik Reddy

Sea Turtle at Belize Barrier Reef

Sea Turtle at Belize Barrier Reef

IBD Team Belize aka Team Unbelizable – Week 1

From the time we learned about our IBD summer project in May, we knew we were up for an amazing experience. Our assignment was to develop a sustainable business model for WCS Glover’s Reef Research Station in Belize. We spent most of June developing work streams to explore the business problem. Through extensive customer interviews, routine client interactions and pouring over their financial data we came up with the hypothesis that student groups are the most attractive customer segment and Glover’s should focus on scaling this customer segment to become sustainable. The next step was in- country experience to answer the questions – “how to scale” and “is the solution feasible”. It was now time to travel to the clients office in Belize.

Belize Barrier Reef

Belize Barrier Reef

June 25th – July 1st

Lobster for lunchOur first stop upon arrival in Belize was San Pedro. San Pedro is a popular tourist destination about 2 hour boat ride away from Belize City. It’s most prized possession is the Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest reef on the planet.

Three of us (Andrew, Jerry and Srinivas) arrived earlier on 06/27. We were either already PADI certified or got certified on short notice to be ready for some of the best dives in the world – Half Moon Caye, Great Blue Hole, the Aquarium as well as other local dives. We captured extensive footage of green turtle, reef shark, rays, variety of fish, corals reefs and an interesting tug of war with a nurse shark.

The remaining two of us arrived on June 30th and the team was back together. The team was also fortunate to be in-country during the famous, annual Lobster Festival. We made friends with a local bartender, Dion Samuels, who acted as our unofficial tour guide for the weekend. With his guidance, we were able to explore the local cuisine and popular bars for a couple of days before bidding a fond farewell to San Pedro on July 1st, Sunday.

July 2nd

Monday morning we met the client at their office in Belize City and gave a presentation to update them on the work done so far. The presentation was well received, and the client appreciated our efforts and were looking forward to hearing our solutions.

After a quick lunch, it was time to visit the station itself. Glover’s Reef Research Station is located on the Middle Caye island of the Glovers Atoll, about a 3-hour boat ride from Belize City. We reached the island late afternoon, and after a quick orientation and a sumptuous dinner we called it a night after what was a very long, day.

July 3rd – July 8th

Life on Tropical Paradise: A typical day started at 8:00AM after breakfast which was served from 7-8am.

Morning: (8:00AM – 12PM)

Dining overlooking the oceanMornings were our high productivity time and we reserved it for brainstorming. We would meet in the library, which was a long room with a narrow center table, a few chairs, white board and two wall fans. It was far cry from the conference rooms we were accustomed to at Haas.

We would then discuss our potential solutions with the operations manager, Kenneth, to check for its feasibility in implementation. We would also walk around the island to interview the staff to learn about the facilities and its operations. Our goal was to evaluate if the station had capacity to handle an increase in customer volume.

Afternoon (12:00PM -5:00PM)

Lunch was served in a cozy dining area adjoining the kitchen. They were both located on the second floor overlooking the ocean. Pristine beach views made for a luxurious dining experience to an otherwise modest and rustic dining area.

Afternoons, we worked in the wet lab and focused on execution work. We would usually break into solo or smaller groups to work on feasibility/ROI analysis and other research and documentation tasks. Our favorite hangout spot by far, for work or pleasure, was the Wet Lab. The Wet Lab at Glover’s is a large square open air area, filled with benches, tables, chairs and HAMMOCKS. There was also a 360 degree view of the island – an ideal setting to temper the tediousness in execution tasks.

Evening (5:00PM -10:00PM)After Volleyball

Volleyball Time. We played volleyball with the staff every day. Initially it was Haas vs. GRRS/Belize Coast Guard but soon we mixed up the teams. These volleyball matches got quite intense, but they were a lot of fun. There was also a match between the UCF students and Haas & GRRS. Naturally, Haas dominated UCF, even winning the first game with a 21-0 sweep.

Volleyball was followed by dinner. Similar to lunch, the dinner menu was elaborate and included salad, a couple of main dishes, a side dish, dessert and fruit drinks. To say that every meal at Glover’s was exceptionally delicious is a gross understatement. All thanks to Rushell – chatty, patient and a brilliant chef. We would then retreat to the hammocks in the Wet Lab and relax in the fierce but warm tropical breeze for some reading, reflection, banter and bonding. Of course, we also hydrated with some fresh coconut water. Despite spending an entire day together on a remote island, we still looked forward to this time to get know each other more, form stronger bonds and become better friends.

Playing VolleyballAs blissful as this life sounds, it was not without its challenges. Andrew, Jerry, Nik and Srini were crammed into a tiny room and had to deal with a particularly stubborn gecko every night. Nik invariably made the gecko’s daily musings the topic of every breakfast meal. Sand flies did have a feast on some more than others. A/C was a luxury we could only dream about and internet was at best intermittent and non-existent at worst. Despite these challenges, time spent on this tropical paradise was productive, relaxing, fun. The team was able to make beautiful memories to last us a lifetime.

Stay tuned for part two which covers deep sea diving on the weekend, an “adventurous” boat ride back, and wrapping up in the main office in Belize City.

Hydrating with Coconut Water

 

 

Check out next weeks Haas In the World Blog for the second student blog from Team Belize which will include a video.

Haas Goes to China; Experiences a Fusion of Culture and Technology

Written by Nausher Cholavaram, Rohan Balwani, Tanya Gupta, Pradeep Khanal, and Edi Lim

Team Yirendai after Final Presentation

Team Yirendai after Final Presentation

We just returned from China after completing a two-week stint with Yirendai, a FinTech company based in Beijing. Our time was filled with experiences that enriched us professionally, personally, and culturally. We learned about the booming economy in China and the uncertainty that comes with it. We also talked to company leads and learned how they think about company strategy. The two weeks were also great exposure to Chinese culture both at and outside of work. We tried different types of Chinese food, watched traditional Chinese opera, and participated in some heavy bargaining when shopping.

Client and project overview

Yirendai, our client, is a leading FinTech company in China. It is a dominant player in the Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry and has recently expanded into the Online Wealth Management space. Having made a huge impact in China, Yirendai is now setting their sights on the US!  Yirendai enlisted our help to explore options for their expansion into the US market.

This ask posed a very interesting challenge for us. On one hand, China is far ahead in the world of FinTech with their ubiquitous use of technology for making payments and conducting business via mobile phones. For example, we saw panhandlers and street musicians display QR codes for WePay to facilitate donations, and we ate at a food court where no cash or credit cards were accepted. On the other hand, we learned that Chinese investors don’t possess the same level of sophisticated planning and diversification that investors in other markets do. When we synthesized all of our learnings and presented our final presentation to Yirendai, they had very incisive questions and couldn’t help themselves but become excited by the ideas we presented.

Project Details

Team Yirendai in IBD Class at Haas

Team Yirendai in IBD Class at Haas

We started the research for our project while in the US. We spent 3 weeks researching P2P Lending and Wealth Management industries in general and our client’s business in particular. We read hundreds of documents about both industries, downloaded P2P lending apps to learn their features and user experience, conducted surveys, and interviewed contacts about their investing behaviors. We had insightful exchanges with our clients where we validated our understanding from field studies with their expert knowledge. The work was intense but totally worth it.

As we arrived in China, we prepared our recommendation. We surveyed the problem-solving toolkit – financial modeling, SWOT, business model canvas, and go-to-market strategy framework – we learned at Haas and implemented them to build our recommendation. We had several discussions about customer segmentation, product differentiation, and customer acquisition strategy with our client’s CFO, Head of Online Wealth Management, Director of Investor Relations, and Head of Product Management. Their invaluable input helped mold our recommendation.

Cultural Immersion

Though China has been lauded for its recent economic advancement, it has a long history of rich culture and tradition. Besides our client, Yirendai, our team was very excited about the Great Wall. We went to the Jinshanling section, which was very scenic and less crowded. Walking 6 hours on the Great Wall didn’t feel enough. We were astonished by its grandeur and humbled by its expanse. Our day at the Great Wall was definitely one of the finest experiences of our stay in China.

Team Yirendai at the Great Wall of China

Team Yirendai at the Great Wall of China

Beijing is full of other historical and cultural sites as well. We visited the Forbidden City, a historical palace museum in Beijing. We toured the Tiananmen Square and other important sites in Beijing including the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, and the Lama Temple. We went to the popular Antique market and also playfully immersed ourselves in a  bit of haggling at Beijing’s popular Pearl and Silk markets.

It was a little disheartening to see sun only twice due to poor air quality during our 2-week stay in Beijing, but we remain hopeful the measures being implemented currently will continue to make improvements.

Following our final presentation, our client treated us to a traditional Beijing style dinner along with Beijing Opera – quite a fitting end to our 2 weeks stay in Beijing.

Team Yirendai at the Beijing Opera

Team Yirendai at the Beijing Opera

The China trip was incredible and the IBD experience, priceless. It was like opening the wardrobe and venturing into a new world, both professionally and culturally, with talented fellow Haasies! Our relationship with the client did not end with the conclusion of the project. We are still in touch through WeChat and plan to meet our client on their next visit to the US for a roadshow in the second half of 2018.

 

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!