Written by: Danner Doud-Martin, Assistant Director, Operations for the IBD Program
When I introduced myself to the Full-Time MBAs on their first day of class for the Spring IBD program, I told them I wanted to either be the sixth member of their team or be stowed in their suitcases. There wasn’t a team I didn’t want to join as all 16 were going to work with great clients, on impactful projects, and in amazing destinations. Now that our IBD students are scattered all over the world and sending photos and updates from their first weeks in-country, I am of course envious, but also proud to be a part of a program like IBD. I am living vicariously through our Haas students as they have experiences that perhaps will change their lives, or at least make these next three weeks incredibly exciting.
Teams tell us that they have been welcomed by their clients and the other members of the organizations with warmth, appreciation, and support. They have enjoyed delicious local cuisine, been invited to people’s homes and seen the local sites. They have toured crane factories, hospitals, warehouses, and flower markets. Teams have scrubbed up and witnessed eye surgeries in Peru, been included in their client’s internal pitch meetings in Shanghai, and invited to lunch by the Prime Minister of Uganda. They have been featured on local Turkish television and have conducted 3-hour design workshops for university students in Uganda.
Importantly, they have learned more about their client’s needs: “One interesting thing that we have realised in our first 2 days is how much more we know of the business and the internal politics behind our client by just being here; which is something not very clear when you are sitting that far away,” shared one Team Lead. There is an opportunity now to “fill in our gaps in knowledge through the interviews, market visits, and retail store visits we have scheduled over the next several weeks. We look forward to the rest of the trip!” shared the Agripacific Team. IBD Teams also feel more connection to the client’s objective and how important the project outcome is to their client. “It is most exciting to be on the ground here and feel the immensity and importance of the work that our client does,” shared Blakey Larson, IBD Team Lead for Civil Right Defenders. IBD teams also see where and how they can add value. Team Lead, Harsh Thusu said of his project, “we are most excited about helping the accelerator in this interesting journey as they are at a crucial stage of their operations and our recommendations could bring great value to them to tap into the US market with a sustainable business model.”
On their first day in-country, IBD Teams gave a day-of-arrival presentation, updating their clients on their findings to date and outlining their 3-week work plan leading up to their final presentations. Teams felt good about their presentations and expressed how “engaged their clients were.” They appreciated the collaboration, feedback, and lively discussions. Carolyn Chuong, Team Lead for Team Makerere said that their clients were “very enthusiastic and also helped us refine our Theory of Change for the Center and think through private sector needs.”
Client’s have already shared accolades about their Haas IBD team members. Khamisi Masanje, from Makerere University, said:
“This team is exceptional. They are very innovative, articulate, friendly and professional. The team has the right blend of skills because everyone is so good at what he or she does while at the same time, everyone is working as a team. The testimony from our Makerere students, who attended today’s design workshop led by the IBD Team, were so amusing. I like the natural blend they are having with our students, staff and the general population of Makerere. We shall surely miss our Haas students when they leave”.
YGA’s Sezin AYDIN said of Team Lead Chelsea Harris’s performance at their press conference, “Chelsea has done a great job, you
can see how clearly she conveyed her messages, in a calm yet positively energizing way. We are very happy that we had a chance to offer this kind of experience to our team and very glad that we represented YGA & Berkeley and the mission we serve together in science center project the most beautiful way possible”.
My favorite compliment was from Makerere’s Charles Baguma who said, “I think we got a high-flying team from Berkeley”. In my opinion, Mr. Baguma’s comment resonates with me because Team Makerere and all of the other 15 Full-Time IBD teams are exceptional. Based on their photos and comments, all the teams feel they are flying high right now. Is it because of the incredible opportunity to work internationally on a consulting project? Is it because of the impact that our students are making on the company and the region or the bonds that are being formed between team members as they share this incredible journey? Is it the beautiful places they are visiting and the culture that they are experiencing? It is all of the above and more!
You can enjoy their adventures by friending us on Facebook at bit.ly/facebookibd. Each week we will post a blog written by each IBD team highlighting their experiences, and our first one written by Team Makerere can be found here. You can also subscribe to our blog by going to bit.ly/ibdblog.