IBD Alumni Conversations: Katharine Hawthorne, MBA ‘20

Katharine Hawthorne and her 2019 IBD Team

Katharine Hawthorne and her 2019 IBD Team

Congratulations to one of our IBD alumni, Katharine Hawthorne (MBA ‘20).  In addition to her many career and life accomplishments, Katharine Hawthorne can add Berkeley Haas MBA graduate to her list.  IBD met up recently with Katharine to talk about her current role with Patamar Capital, a venture capital firm with an impact investing lens and geographic focus on South and Southeast Asia. Katharine explained that “patamar” is a type of Indian Dhow. It was traditionally used in the western coast of the Indian subcontinent as a cabotage vessel between Gujarat and Ceylon, usually for the transport of rice.  Historically Patamars were very important in trade as well as transmitting culture; and as Katharine shared, this is the ethos of the firm — connecting markets. 

"Patamar” is a type of Indian Dhow

“Patamar” is a type of Indian Dhow

Please enjoy our interview with Katharine below.

Katharine:  After completing my IBD project, I started an internship at Patamar Capital.  I spent half the summer in San Francisco and the other half in Jakarta. When I returned in the fall of 2019, I came back in a consulting capacity to support Shuyin Tang, a partner who is based in Vietnam.  Through years of investing in Southeast Asia, Shuyin found that the number of women-run businesses receiving venture capital funding was extremely low. It wasn’t because the pipeline for women entrepreneurs isn’t there. In fact, there are plenty of viable women-run businesses; but for many, venture capital is not the right form of investment and it is historically harder for them to access funding.  

IBD Interviewer: Why is that?

Katharine:  Shuyin found that women-owned businesses tend to be much more focused on building sustainable business models, where they’re funding growth through their own profits.  Essentially, they’re putting cash back into the business as opposed to giving up equity ownership, which is the venture capital model.

IBD Interviewer:  How is this fund different? 

Beacon Fund Team in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Beacon Fund Team in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Katharine:  This new fund, called the Beacon Fund, is focused on women-led and women-focused businesses in South and Southeast Asia and offers debt loans primarily for working capital or to purchase equipment.  This difference allows women businesses to grow in scale in a way that is most appropriate for their goals.  

IBD Interviewer: What has your role been?

Katharine: My role has been to help Shuyin get that new fund off the ground.  I have worked on everything from writing proposals, doing research on the market, building a fund model, figuring out how economically this is going to work, structuring the investment vehicle, etc.  It’s been a pretty great opportunity, as I’m really passionate about supporting women businesses particularly in developing countries. I think that access to capital can be a form  of self determination.

IBD Interviewer:  How are you managing working across international time zones?

Katharine: I had the opportunity over the winter break to go to Vietnam and worked very intensely with Shuyin. She has been to San Francisco a few times.  Otherwise, we coordinate through email, zoom, slack, etc. I think in some ways working for Patamar, the transition for me during shelter in place has been seamless because I have already been coordinating across time zones. 

Hanoi Museum of Women's Empowermen

Hanoi Museum of Women’s Empowermen

IBD Interviewer: How many businesses will benefit from the launch of this loan?

Katharine: The goal is to go live by the end of the year.  I think the idea is within the first year to issue loans to maybe around 10-15 businesses and then grow from there.

IBD Interviewer: Did IBD have any place in helping you in this role?

Katharine:   The work that I did for our 2019 IBD project was a market entry strategy for the startup FinTech branch of an organization.  They asked us to analyse the landscape and identify opportunities for partnership and/or investment.  The IBD experience was really invaluable to understanding what are all the pieces that go into starting something from scratch, from the legal structuring aspects, building the business model, branding and identity. We’ve had a lot of conversations about how we want to position ourselves so that these women-owned businesses know that we’re a great partner for them and we’re different from other funds in the marketplace. 

IBD Interviewer:  During this time of COVID-19, how is your organization affected?  Are you able to work cross-culturally and remotely at the same time?

Katharine: I think there will continue to be firms that want to invest cross-border but for a while may not  be able to travel.  I’m confident in Patamar’s ability to adapt because they already have investors embedded in six countries across South and Southeast Asia.

I also believe there’s incredible value in connecting with people cross-culturally, learning about their experiences and the challenges that they are facing on the ground. My IBD experience was probably pretty unique in that my client project was a true market entry because they did not have operations in-country.  We weren’t on site with the client.  This is similar to what I’m doing now with Patamar, trying to assess investment opportunities overseas.  I have had to schedule many in-depth interpersonal interactions mediated by technology.  During this time of restricted travel, IBD faculty, clients and students will need to try to network and work in more conversations with their clients and stakeholders in their project country, even if it’s over zoom.  From my perspective, there’s still value in connecting cross-culturally aided by technology.

IBD Interviewer: Is there anything I didn’t ask you that you want to share with our readers?

Katharine: I worry about our world right now. We are seeing this kind of turn away from globalization. It requires real bravery and commitment to continue to connect, reach out, be vulnerable and to see things from a different perspective. My career has been focused on connecting cross-culturally; it’s one of the things that motivates me and drives me.  We are living in challenging times and it will be interesting to see how this changes business.  

We wish Katharine and Patamar Capital all the best with the launch of the Beacon Fund.  We hope that women entrepreneurs in South and Southeast Asia benefit from this newly imagined means of supporting women-owned businesses.  

 

Spring 2020 IBD Teams Deliver!

Video

Team Maston Oy presenting their final presentation to their client

IBD Team Maston Oy presenting their final presentation to their client

As we complete this year’s demanding spring semester IBD course — unexpectedly impacted by the sudden COVID-19 pandemic — we want to highlight the outstanding work accomplished by our 80 Full Time MBA students.  Among these, 16 IBD student Team Leads in particular deserve special mention.  They willingly took on expected Team Lead responsibilities, including managing their MBA peers and project clients in the midst of a global health crisis and unforeseen shifts in project scope.  None of these IBD students were able to travel overseas to complete the complex project work they had begun in January with their clients and MBA teammates.  Despite that, they recently completed the remote delivery of final project recommendations that made a real and valuable impact on their clients’ organizations.

We would like to share below some of the comments we received from our spring semester 2020 IBD clients, following the successful delivery of final project recommendations by their student teams.  Also included below are a few impressions we recorded from this year’s IBD Faculty Mentors and Team Leads.

2020 IBD Clients:

“The benchmarking, revenue modeling and pricing structure proposal we received were excellent, and have left us with valuable tools and reference materials that we’ll use across the lifetime of the business.”  Ross McConnell​,​ Blinder Limited

 

“We sincerely appreciate the hard work, dedication and extensive collaboration of the IBD team. Despite the global widespread of the Coronavirus and consequent cancellation of the India trip, the IBD team still came out with a substantive report. We are extremely grateful for their valuable contribution.”  Gaurav Mohan, Dura-Line India

 

“The group work was very much visible and each member gave their best while preparing the implementation plan. The team efforts are commendable and contributed greatly to the final deliverable while ensuring the larger good for the hospital.”  Kuldeep Singh, Seva Foundation

 

“These months working with the IBD team were of great value to us, both for the process of building the project and for the legacy it leaves.”  Guilherme Quandt, Softplan

 

“I’m so impressed that our IBD team is managing to keep their motivation and work ethic despite the challenging pandemic environment, along with being even able to conduct the necessary research. Our team produced valuable strategic guidance for us.”  Auli Parviainen, Maston Oy

Faculty Mentors:

“The team did a lot of heavy lifting in the final weeks of the project, and it all came together well with a solid recommendation to proceed with Hilltribe Organic organic desserts. The  team’s creativity and success interviewing potential channel partners and Thai consumers was particularly impressive, and their survey results indicating how to position, price and roll out the offering will be invaluable as the client moves forward.”  Judy Hopelain, Faculty Mentor, Team Hilltribe Organics

 

“It’s been lots of hard work, and they went the extra mile more than once, but this is the kind of presentation and effort that will get you remembered (and promoted)!” Olaf Groth, Faculty Mentor,  Team SAP Ariba

Team Leads:

“I am proud of the deliverables we presented to our client. In fact, they invited a few high-ranking executives to the presentation, so they must have felt confident about our project and final recommendations.”  Eddie Consigliere, Team Lead, Team MEC

 

“I really appreciated the team’s integrity and their ability to put the team first and put the work first, and to want to produce something that we were proud to put our name on.”  Josh Raines, Team Lead, Team SAP Ariba  

 

“We had a valuable and fun experience learning how to work within an immersive cross-cultural business environment through the IBD program. We enjoyed getting to know our client and about the China-US investment environment; it was a really great opportunity for us to complete a full end-to-end international strategy engagement.”  Oriana Chu, Team Lead, Team ToJoy

Enjoy this video of IBD Team Lead Emily Lapham sharing her thoughts on the team’s final deliverable to project client Entrepreneurs Without Borders.

Congratulations to all of our spring semester 2020 IBD student teams in accomplishing so much for so many clients in such a difficult environment.  Well done!

IBD Team Hilltribe Organics enjoys an evening of baking and bonding

 

Team Hilltribe - Thais Esteves, Ana Alanis, Burton Mendonca, Marguerite de Chaumont Quitry, Santiago Correa Posada (Not in the order of the photo)

Team Hilltribe – Thais Esteves, Ana Alanis, Burton Mendonca, Marguerite de Chaumont Quitry, Santiago Correa Posada (Not listed in the order of students in the photo)

Hilltribe Organics (HTO) is an intriguing social enterprise focused on Thailand.  It was created as part of a YPO competition that aimed to foster an entrepreneurship mindset among young leaders and to define solutions to help marginalized farmers’ communities in Thailand.  Today HTO’s mission is to achieve long term sustainability for the rural farming families of the socially marginalized hill tribe communities of Northern Thailand. Since launching in 2014, HTO has become the #1 organic free range egg brand in Thailand based on the high quality of their eggs and sustainable production.

 Richard Blossom, Marguerite de Chaumont Quitry, Thais Esteves, Santiago Correa Posada, Burton Mendonca, Ana Alanis

Richard Blossom, Marguerite de Chaumont Quitry, Thais Esteves, Santiago Correa Posada, Burton Mendonca, Ana Alanis

The current spring semester IBD project team has been asked to develop a business strategy to allow HTO to expand beyond organic egg production into organic dessert production in Thailand and the surrounding region.  Last month the IBD team took advantage of a rare opportunity to meet their project client in person — well before the California shelter in place directive was announced. HTO Co-Founder and CEO Richard W. Blossom invited the IBD team to his home in the Bay Area soon after the entire student team was formed in late February.

Student Team Lead Thais Esteves and Team Members Ana Alanis, Burton Mendonca, Marguerite de Chaumont Quitry, and Santiago Correa Posada all joined Faculty Mentor Judy Hopelain at Richard’s home to work on baking and sampling potential organic dessert items as part of the current IBD project.  As Judy Hopelain reported afterwards, “This kind of informal interaction usually doesn’t happen until teams are in-country. It was an amazing opportunity to get to know the client and their story behind the company in a relaxed setting at the beginning of the project.”

Ana and Santiago cooking

Ana and Santiago cooking

In addition to experimenting and baking desserts with HTO organic eggs, that night the IBD team was treated to an organic pasta dinner courtesy of Perfect Earth Foods, which uses raw materials from farmers in Thailand.  As HTO CEO Richard Blossom said after the event, “The best way to think about a food project is to cook and eat the product! Plus it’s a great way to get to know about the project and one another.”

Learning more from Richard about Perfect Earth Foods and HTO

Learning more from Richard about Perfect Earth Foods and HTO

The FTMBA IBD Team Member Big Reveal – What a Fun Day!

2020 IBD Students on the Big Reveal Day

2020 IBD Students on the Big Reveal Day

The Team Member “Big Reveal” event for spring semester FTMBA students is one of the most exciting and fun days in the IBD program. IBD team projects are kept secret until this class date of February 20th, when 64 new IBD Team Members find out about their assigned IBD projects, including which MBA classmates are on their IBD team and what country they will be going to for their eventual project field experience.

Team Dura-Line- Luisa Bisinoto, Eduardo Bustamante Aramburo, Joey Parker, Kate Smith, Sebastian Ambriz (Not listed in the order of students in the photo)

What makes this day so fun is just how our incoming students learn the details of their IBD projects and teammates. Each of the 16 student Team Leads (previously assigned to their projects on January 23rd) creates a video presentation sharing details about their individual project, the project client, and the newly selected students on their team (the Team Members). The student videos are both entertaining and inspiring, usually drawing cheers and laughter from the crowd. Team Lead Luisa Gontijo Bisinot felt the Big Reveal was great: “It’s amazing to formally have the team onboard for the project, especially after having waited and prepared for this moment for a while. Additionally, learning that other people share my sense of humour and that they liked the Reveal video made the experience even better.”

Team Blinder – Victor Gorrachategui, Daniel Alston, Eduardo Guraieb, Donald Huang, Max Silva (Not listed in the order of students in the photo)

How are IBD student teams created?

Student Team Leads know their individual IBD projects well prior to February 13th, when they undertake a complex draft process to select their four Team Members. The Team Member draft is based on multiple criteria, including requested skills and experience that match the needs of the project, and the desires of incoming students for a new global experience. As these MBA candidates know, the IBD program does not assign students to project countries where they are originally from or where they have worked for some time.

How do students feel about the IBD Team Member Big Reveal?

Team SAP Ariba- Josh Raines-Teague, Augustine Santillan, Brian Traganza, Chyi-Shin Shu and Tian Wang (Not listed in the order of students in the photo)

An enormous amount of preparation and energy goes into the IBD Big Reveal — including students, faculty and staff. At the end of the day, what matters most is watching the Team Leads and Team Members react to their IBD project team coming together in person for the first time. Here below are a few of the student reactions recorded during the course of the day:

“I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity and thrilled to work with SAP Ariba in Germany — can’t wait to embark on this adventure with this amazing team!” Team Member Chyi-Shin Shu

 

“Cars, technology, Europe and amazing teammates — I could not have imagined a better pick for my IBD project.” Team Member Asif Mohammad

 

“It felt like I was in a draft with all my best friends and we were all 1st round picks!” Team Member Emanuel Ozuna Vargas

 

“The Big Reveal was an incredible experience and a highlight during my time at Haas. My team is excited about the client and project and can’t wait to start working!” Team Lead Devon Courtois

Team Ashesi University- Devan Courtois, Amy Sims, Matt Wald, Rohan D’Souza, Yuan Qu (Not listed in the order of students in the photo)

How do IBD faculty feel about the Big Reveal?

This year’s Team Member Big Reveal was the first for new IBD Faculty Mentor Olaf Groth. When asked to share his takeaways from the day, Olaf said that the atmosphere was “downright electric. Everybody knew this was the moment they’d hear where in the world they were going to make a difference, make change, grow and help others grow over the next four months of their lives.”

Now that the FTMBA spring semester IBD project teams are officially assembled, it’s time for them to meet their clients as a team and get to work on the problems their clients have asked them to solve. IBD Faculty Director Whitney Hischier stands ready to help get the teams focused on their projects: “We’re so excited to launch this new set of IBD teams. We’ve got some fantastic high impact projects with clients who will use the team findings to drive strategic change in their organizations.”

Conclusion

Welcome to our 64 new student Team Members, and congratulations on joining the IBD program at Berkeley Haas! We look forward to hearing more about each of this semester’s 16 IBD projects in the months ahead.

Honoring Retired IBD Faculty Director Frank Schultz 

Written by Danner Doud-Martin

Frank speaking to the 2020 IBD students on the Big Reveal

Frank speaking to the 2020 IBD students on the Big Reveal

Our beloved IBD Faculty Director Frank Schultz has officially retired as of January 2020 from the IBD program, in addition to his other Berkeley Haas undergraduate and MBA teaching positions.  Frank came to the IBD program 14 years ago as a Faculty Mentor, and took over the role of Faculty Director two years ago after Kristi Raube retired. He has worked with countless IBD clients and students over the years, continuing the long tradition of IBD program excellence in and out of the classroom. Frank was the first Faculty Mentor to work with Evening and Weekend MBAs (EWMBAs) on a summer version of the IBD program when it began in May 2012.  Recent EWMBA graduate Nik Reddy ‘19 shared that “Frank was excellent at bridging the gap between what we learned in the classroom with what was needed in the ‘real world.’ His teaching approach encouraged his students to think with a client-centric mindset, and I think that’s what made IBD with Frank such an enriching experience for me.”

Frank traveled and taught throughout the world, bringing his global perspective to his work with the IBD program and other Berkeley Haas courses.  Arman Zand has a unique perspective on Frank’s tenure, as he was a former EWMBA student of Frank’s, an IBD project client in 2013 and 2014, and he now serves as Frank’s replacement as the IBD EWMBA Faculty Mentor.  Arman feels that “Frank’s career as a Haas professor may be best remembered by his classes in leadership or perhaps even his many trips around the world. But for certain students, like myself, Frank was not only a professor, but also a mentor, a coach, a business partner, and for many years, just someone I could have a beer with and share ideas.”  

Frank’s impact went beyond his students and the IBD program to benefit Berkeley Haas overall. Jay Stowsky, Senior Assistant Dean for Instruction at Berkeley Haas, said this of Frank: “Frank Schultz has been not only an award-winning teacher, but one of the most service-minded faculty members I’ve had the privilege to work with during my 17 years at Haas.  When he came to Haas nearly 15 years ago, Frank quickly made a strong impact on the School’s teaching mission as a thoughtful, highly skilled, and versatile teacher and as a dedicated and effective leader outside the classroom.” 

Faculty Mentors for IBD

2019 IBD Conference Faculty Mentors

Frank touched many lives at Berkeley Haas, including the IBD team past and present.  Former IBD Executive Director Kristi Raube said that “Frank was a stellar example of what it means to be a great colleague. He was thoughtful, supportive, collaborative, and easy to work with. He left an impression not only on his many, many students but also on his grateful colleagues. He can leave Berkeley Haas proud of the work he has done.”

We are all proud of the outstanding work Frank has done on behalf of the IBD program.  In a small gathering recently to celebrate his dedication to IBD, we had a moment to talk with Frank about his new life in retirement.  Please see the results of our interview with Frank below.

 

Danner Doud-Martin:  What have you been doing with your free time? 

Frank Schultz talking at the 2019 IBD Conference

Frank Schultz talking at the 2019 IBD Conference

Frank Schultz:  I have been watching Tesla stock go up and down.  I have been doing some traveling around California to destinations that I haven’t seen before, like Pismo Beach and Paso Robles.  We also went to the iconic Madonna Inn and stayed in the William Tell Room.  

 I spent some time in a very cool monarch butterfly grove.  It was also sad because the numbers of butterflies are plummeting.  Now that both my wife and I are retired, we are able to take dancing lessons five days a week.  We have been learning salsa, fox trot, rumba, bachata. I also have an upcoming trip to Hawaii.  

I have also been taking a class at Code Academy to learn building financial models and Java Script.  I am enjoying it as it is very logical and fits me well. I hope it will help me to make better investment decisions.

Danner Doud-Martin: Are you going to share this new financial model once you are done building it?

Frank Schultz:  Sure? There are no good tools available that successfully track individual financial decisions. Ha, I am thinking like Haas professor Terry Odean.  My father was a stock broker back in the day, so it’s always been part of my leadership and strategy style.  

Frank Schultz talking at the 2019 IBD Conference

Danner Doud-Martin:  What have you missed most about teaching since retirement?

Frank Schultz:  I miss the IBD staff. I miss the students, but I don’t miss the grading.  

Danner Doud-Martin:  Are you dabbling in any work or volunteer opportunities?

Frank Schultz:   Once a month I get the opportunity to engage with the Berkeley Executive Education program.  This allows me to stay active in teaching with more flexible scheduling, and the best part is that there is no grading requirement.  

IBD conference participants cheering for Frank

IBD conference participants cheering for Frank

Danner Doud-Martin:  What are you looking forward to doing in your retirement?

Frank Schultz:  A lot more of the above activities plus more reading and more traveling.  I have offered to help with BOOST, Haas Zero Waste efforts and IBD, but no calls yet. 

Danner Doud-Martin:  Wait a second.  We called! You are helping us with the first day of IBD class and the Big Reveal.

Frank Schultz:  That’s true.  I am returning to help with the team building exercise on February 20th.  That’s going to be a great day, seeing all the IBD Team Members finding out their projects.  I do love that day in the IBD program.  

Danner Doud-Martin:  How has retirement been for you and your wife Jennifer (also a former Berkeley Haas staff person)?

Frank Schultz:  It’s been really good.  We don’t have over packed schedules any more.  Having time in the schedule has been really good for stress. I recommend it for you all. 

Danner Doud-Martin:  Do you have any advice to give to IBD students?

IBD Faculty Mentors with former Dean Lyons

IBD Faculty Mentors with former Dean Lyons

Frank Schultz:  I always tell this story about how I tend towards being conservative when sharing my thoughts and ideas in groups of people.  I have wanted to make sure that I had all the right answers and I wouldn’t say anything unless I was sure it was correct. One time I was with former IBD Faculty Mentor Jo Mackness (now Assistant Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer, Student Affairs at UC Berkeley), and I finally shared something and Jo responds, “that was epic.”  I waited 30 years to speak up and have this brilliant idea and finally when I just said something, I got “epic.” I tell students, don’t wait. Speak up, even if you don’t think it’s “brilliant.”

Danner Doud-Martin: Do you have any advice for all us IBD staff and faculty that you left behind?

Frank Schultz:  It is hard to fully appreciate the impact you are having on students in a course like IBD.  The feedback is all over the place and at times it is really tough. But you ARE having more of an impact on a student’s learning than you realize.  Remember that.

Now that we have launched the spring 2020 FTMBA IBD program, all of us in the IBD staff miss Frank.  We are excited for him as he embraces his newly retired life, and we hope he will return to say hello and show us some of his newly practiced dance moves.  Congratulations, Frank Schultz!

Uganda Come to Africa!

Team Makerere is comprised of five Masters in Business Administration (MBA) students from the University of California, Berkeley, USA: April Zhu, Samuel O’Reilly, Juliana Pugliese, Pat Hyde and Nina Ho (who served as the Team Lead).

Team Makerere descends on Zimbabwe and Botswana!

From the moment the team was formed, plans had already begun to make the most of our long flight over to Africa by traveling together. After much deliberation, the team decided that Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and the Chobe National Park in Botswana would be our destination. And as a lovely surprise, Partners would be joining the team as well. 

First Official Team Meeting

The Team then flew together to Johannesburg, South Africa where they officially kicked off their in-country experience with the first official Team Meeting in Africa. Team Lead Nina Ho led the first official meeting by discussing our first day’s schedule and team norms. The team expressed joy and excitement as the moment they had been working on for the past 4 months had finally arrived. The next morning, the team boarded flights headed for Uganda!

How might we equip Makerere with the right people, process, and technology to enable them to develop and iterate their own solution that addresses students’ needs?  

Makerere University Private Sector Forum approached us to develop a non-conventional approach to internships that improves the quality of Makerere University graduates through enhanced hands-on experience with professional practice.

Makerere University students face significant challenges in securing internship positions, as well as participating in meaningful professional development during their attachments. Students are rarely given consequential work, and subsequently meaningful feedback, because they often enter their internships lacking essential workplace skills around communication, professionalism, and teamwork. 

Therefore, our time in Uganda was spent by meeting with each primary stakeholder: the students, faculty and employer partners. These meetings allowed us to validate our prior research, learn the ground truth and use the information we gathered to help us adapt our vision for a non conventional approach to internships. 

One day in Kampala

Anyone who has lived in Kampala will tell you how frustrating traffic can be. To only go 2 miles can take up to 1 hour, but the blistering heat and humidity will make you think twice before walking. On our second day in Kampala, we had meetings arranged with Umeme Power and the Bank of Uganda. The map said that it was only 7 minutes away by car, but we knew that could mean anything. We woke up much earlier than usual and planned to go to a coffee shop down the street so that if it did in fact take only 7 minutes, we would have somewhere to wait. The drive did indeed take 10 minutes and we were able to enjoy a nice cup of Ugandan coffee while we waited for the meeting to start. Our day was looking up. When we finished our last meeting at about 1pm, our blind optimism from that morning led us to say, why not, let’s take an uber back to the hotel. As the wait for the uber ticked past 30 minutes and the blistering heat was starting to take its toll, our uber pulled up. The Toyota Wish had seen better days, but we were optimistic that it would get us there in record time. As sweat was dripping down my face, and countless boda boda’s (motorbikes) passed us in traffic, I regretted our decision not to walk the 2 miles. I looked down at my watch and yes, it took us 75 minutes to go 2 miles. 

The Haas Global Alumni Network is Strong 

One of the reasons many of us chose to attend Haas was that we wanted to join a community that doesn’t end with graduating business school. Early on in the project we were researching Uganda’s economy and realized that Makerere University Private Sector Forum had established partnerships with many traditional employer partners such as banks, but none with fast growing sectors in the country. During our research, we came across Fenix International, a solar energy company based in Kampala. The CTO happened to be a Haas 2008 Alum and he immediately responded to our cold linkedin message while he was on vacation offering to meet us in San Francisco and link us up with Fenix’s human resources team in Kampala to help us gain feedback on our project and learn more about what students need to be successful in the fast growing Uganda economy. 

The Development Fellowship Scheme

The Development Fellowship Scheme (DFS) is a solution-based career preparation fellowship that includes a dynamic two-part training program for Makerere University’s third-year students. The DFS is structured into a nine workshop Development Fellowship Scheme Skills Course and the 10-12 weeks Development Fellowship Graduate Training Program. The goal of the DFS is to provide Makerere University students with the opportunity to work in teams on real life business problems, while simultaneously developing the analytical, interpersonal, and practical workplace skills necessary to thrive in the formal sector.  The Team presented the DFS to the Executive Director of the Makerere University Private Sector Forum and received positive feedback for the program with hopes of it’s implementation this fall for the 2019-2020 academic year. 

Team RD – Florianopolis Brazil

Written by the IBD Team RD, Perrie Briskin, Jamil Bashir, Emily Brechlin, Yenkai Huang, and Michael Kochevar

“Oh, that’s why he wasn’t talking to me,” the Brazilian man exclaimed loudly with laughter. “I thought he was a mute!”

This was the statement of a friendly Brazilian man when he encountered one of our teammates during breakfast in our hotel. Our teammate smiled and gestured to the man to go first for coffee. When the man thanked our teammate, it was met with another smile and a nod. The man only realized that our teammate spoke English when another teammate gave a heartfelt “good morning!”

This encounter sums up much of our International Business Development (IBD) experience. We were all excited for IBD, eagerly anticipating those sorts of miscommunications and disconnects. Needless to say, we were not disappointed. 

Our team of five spent a few weeks in Florianópolis Brazil (known as Floripa) with a marketing automation company. There was an inherent disconnect from the beginning, far before we set off for Floripa. While we think of ourselves as studious MBAs with diverse professional backgrounds, none of us knew much about tech, let alone marketing automation. We quickly dove in to get an understanding of our client’s operations and how they’ve come to dominate the Brazilian market. 

Although we quickly figured out the industry and our client, there remained minor disconnects around the scope of our project. Just when we thought we had it figured out, we would learn something new that would steer us in a slightly different direction. Those small redirects added up to countless hours of healthy debate and multiple white-boarding sessions. Fortunately, we remained nimble and kept in close contact with our client. It was much easier to collaborate with our client when we were finally in Floripa. Key learning – while remote collaboration can be helpful, sometimes a face-to-face meeting is necessary! (read: boss, I think I need to go to [name your favorite city] to really make this project work)  

RD Team white boarding

In Brazil, we quickly learned that English is not widely spoken. It would be a lie if we said it was easy to navigate – just ask the mute if you need proof. But, Google Translate was our friend. The few years of high school Spanish many of us took also proved surprisingly useful. When all else fails, smile and nod. 

RD Team enjoying cake

Our team of 5 had numerous internal disconnects. We had different schedules, varying preferences and unique goals. We embraced the time in Brazil to bond with one another – sharing our “life stories” as a way to get to know one another on a deeper level. We connected over Brazilian barbecue, food trucks and a 3-hour long dinner with our client (small aside – we forgot to place the order for our food…). Karaoke and juggling (our team leader brought a set of juggling balls!) during sunrise on a Floripa beach eliminated any divide that may have remained within our team. Team RD on the beach

This is IBD, it’s all about learning – it’s about stretching ourselves. Working internationally is not easy, but in the challenge lies great learning and fun! 

In the end, we ask – is there a disconnect that cannot be overcome with a bit of hard work, compromise and fun?

 

Building Bridges: The Story of How Two Asians, Two South Americans, and a North Carolinian Found Each Other in Germany

Written by Team SAP Ariba: Jennifer Nixon, Antonio Ciudad Casafranca, Ka Wing Lo, Rodrigo Morelli and Boyu Zhang

More than just data integration… 

SAP’s CEOs’ words marked us from the beginning when we got to SAP headquarters in Walldorf, Germany. SAP’s core business is more than just data integration; it is about creating “bridges” within an organization so that communication can flow freely, and thus, better decisions are made. 

Experiencing this project with IBD consulting eyes resulted in a similar realization to each of us. From visiting the offices in Palo Alto, to the headquarters in Walldorf, Germany, to the Apphaus in Heidelberg, we were able to see first hand what makes this giant tech company tick. It was not just that we had not seen so many bridges, literally connecting all buildings in the headquarters like a giant above- and below-ground maze. These bridges weren’t just to shield employees from the harsh German winters. The concept of bridges was embedded in this company’s DNA. The key to success for them was collaboration, which led to the best possible solution for the client. We knew that this was what this big tech company did differently. 

The purpose of our project itself was to create a concept and strategy for a new product in Northern Europe. And for that reason, we had not only to understand our potential Northern European client, but also get a better understanding of one another. 

Coming from 5 different regions in the world: Brazil, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Peru and the US, the “data integration” had to start with us. One morning, as we entered the SAP headquarters building, a symbol struck us from an SAP sign welcoming a distinguished Chinese client delegation. The symbol depicted below means team – the

The Chinese symbol for team

inner symbol means talent, and the outside 4 walls mean group, which we saw as a great representation of the four nations from which we came. We realized that this symbol represented what we have become: a talented, multifaceted group that came together as one team, on the other side of the world, to solve a complex problem.

Our Journey to the Bridges:

Living in Heidelberg for three weeks, we were exposed to the oldest university city in Europe. Being surrounded by centuries of pursuit of knowledge, exemplified by the willingness of SAP people to talk to us and share their experiences with us, helped to open our eyes to a new understanding of the client, but most importantly to the company integration project that we had to help accomplish.

SAP Ariba is itself in an undergoing process to integrate with SAP, and our proposal had to take those aspects into consideration. 

We were also able to explore Germany, and understand centuries of division, but also reunification and integration of a new Germany. This nation does not forget its past, but builds “bridges” to connect its future.

It is about abandoning the silos and understanding our client’s client, our client, and each other. The pain points of one were not the pain points for everyone, so we had to bridge the gap to find a common ground, and work from there to find a comprehensive solution. 

It has been a journey to create bridges around the world and between us. After this experience, it is safe to say that we will always search for ways to connect people, build trust, and team up! 

IBD Team We Care Solar in Uganda, July 2019

Written by Ana Quirino Simões

“Not only lights, it provides warmth…”  – midwife in Kyannamukaaka, Uganda

Roughly seven weeks ago, our team was introduced to We Care Solar, a non-profit based in Berkeley that aims to reduce maternal mortality rates in the developing world by providing the most essential resource for successful nighttime deliveries … LIGHT.

We Care Solar offers a simple concept – a ruggedized suitcase with up to four bright LED lights, fetal heart monitor, and basic USB charging that draws power from the sun and stores in a reliable battery. With a solution that is simple, low-maintenance, and user-friendly, locals describe this suitcase as “Light in a Box.” Proper lighting has an incredible impact at healthcare facilities where the only alternate source is the tiny LED in a smartphone and enables staff to perform procedures otherwise avoided when surrounded by absolute darkness. Assurance of available lighting enables facilities to care for more patients, contributing to positive performance metrics, eligibility for more public funding, and increased healthcare service options. Network effects of the Solar Suitcase have the power to elevate the life of an entire community.  

Given the successful impact with their simple and ruggedized design, it is not surprising that they want to branch out beyond maternity to support other areas of healthcare that are similarly challenged with scarce and unreliable power, such as vaccination, lab services, and surgical operations.

We Care Solar asked the IBD team to assess the next opportunity to grow their impact.

A “direct” connection from San Francisco to Kampala takes about 28 hours and has 2-3 stops/layovers. Steven would tell you that the 28-hour hub to Kampala is a myth. A combination of airport delays, severe weather issues, and lack of alternate flight options led to a total travel time of 52 hours for Steven. As for his luggage, he found out that it was still stuck in Newark by the time he landed in Uganda. Fortunately, Chinmay helped by sharing his clothes (no further details) until Steven could go clothes shopping at the fancy Acacia Mall. That’s how one starts a great journey as a team!

For our first days on the ground, we met with the local We Care Solar team, who gave us incredible perspective into their work and the realities they have to deal with. IBD is truly hands-on and we were immersed in the problems of unreliable electricity. On the second night of the week, we experienced a full 12-hour black-out in our Airbnb: no lights, no hot water, no cell phones, no internet, no computers, no TV. And no fans!

On the bright side, days start early in Kampala. Ana was the team’s early morning person and enjoyed peaceful morning sunshine on the balcony of our Airbnb in Ntinda.

Our early mornings would start with breakfast in the apartment before we commuted around the city to where many of our stakeholders were based. Because of the severe traffic, almost every trip took an hour despite Uber claiming an optimistic 15 minutes. The roads are filled with cars, people, and boda bodas (motorcycle taxis), and one driver joked that sometimes he has to close his eyes and pray when he drives through Kampala.

By the end of the first week, we had visited a variety of healthcare facilities and learned about their challenges, including those in more remote areas in the Masaka region. We visited mid-size healthcare facilities that served a wide local population range between 5000-20000 patients per year. Beyond maternity, these facilities also offer out-patient treatments, vaccination, diagnostics, and treatment for wide-spread diseases such as HIV, TB, and malaria; one of the facilities also had an “operating theater” (OR). They were all connected to the main electricity grid, but all reported outages 2-8 times a month, lasting anywhere from a few hours to two whole days.

Their top wishlist items for We Care Solar? More lights. Brighter lights. Security lights. Treating patients in darkness is a difficult business. Non-preventable yet treatable conditions such as obstetric hemorrhage (massive bleeding from childbirth), obstructive labor, eclampsia, and sepsis can go undiagnosed and become fatal just because there are no lights.

Driving through rural Uganda gave us a good sense of the impact that the Solar Suitcase has had in the communities and ideas about how to expand it to other areas of healthcare and reach a broader population.

During our second week in Kampala, we met with multiple stakeholders in the healthcare and solar solutions space: the Ministry of Health, solar distributors and installers, healthcare experts, and other NGO representatives. The potential for partnerships to amplify WCS’s reach became very clear. We started to get a glimpse into the intricate network of stakeholders and factors that need to work in harmony to influence and transform the condition of healthcare in places like Uganda. 

It was not all work! During the weekend, we squeezed in a safari visit at Lake Mburo National Park and experienced the amazing local nature. The park is beautiful and amazing, even with challenges such as bugs, especially mosquitoes. If you see Neha, ask about the feline friend she made at the lodge.

A walking safari allowed us to get really close up to the animals. The zoom lens on Ana’s camera also helped.

For seven weeks, we were challenged with tackling one of the world’s biggest problems. Each one of us has collected new experiences, gained a new perspective of the world and our own realities, and made new amazing friends. We finished our journey with a deeper understanding of Uganda’s challenges in healthcare and in everyday life. And after we finished our final recommendations report to We Care Solar, we celebrated in the best way possible – with an African Night at the Kampala Cultural Center.

The narrator at the Cultural Center explained: “If you get stressed, relax and shake your sitting facilities – and you will be happy!”

A big shout out to the We Care Solar team and all of their support with information and logistics! We hope to see them again soon. Weebale!

Pictured left to right: Ana, Steven, Chinmay, Neha

Team We Care Solar

IBD – Uganda 2019

Chinmay Gaikwad, Ana Quirino Simões, Neha Shah, Steven Wang

Team Sega Sammy: Tokyo 2019 #samuraibd

Written by Sega Sammy Team Member, Mina Matsumoto, ’20 MBA Candidate 

When people think of Sega Sammy, most picture Sonic the Hedgehog. However, Sega Sammy Holdings is more than a cartoon- it’s a multi-billion dollar conglomerate that merged Japan’s biggest pachinko manufacturer with one of the leading arcade and video game makers. They invited a Haas team to help them create a sustainable investment strategy for their corporate venture capital team. As a mature company, they want to invest in the future. 

Team IBD Sega Sammy

Day 1 – VR 

Mina: Holding a laser gun, I stood on the edge of a high tower. I shot a grappling hook through the air, jerked the gun back, and flew through the air to another tower. My teammates were across the field, shooting at the opposing team. This was Tower Tag, a multi-player VR game in the Sega Arcade in Shinjuku. 

Next to us, there were other VR games where you can ride a horse through a western, or fight off a ghost (I didn’t dare try that one). To a passerby, all of the sudden movements wouldn’t make any sense. But until the staff comes to help you out of your headgear, you’re in another world. What a way to end our first day of work- by the end, we were ready for a traditional izakaya dinner with the clients. 

Fearless Team Lead, Julian Florez, along with team members Andrew Blute and Aanchal Kawatra, take their shot in Tower Tag

Fearless Team Lead, Julian Florez, along with team members Andrew Blute and Aanchal Kawatra, take their shot in Tower Tag

Day 5 – COO

Upon entering a large circular boardroom, with memorabilia of Sonic the Hedgehog and gaming history along the walls, we were greeted by President and CEO Haruki Satomi wearing a Haas jacket. Mr. Satomi (EWMBA ‘12) has been in leadership roles at Sega Sammy for over a decade, and has been president and CEO since 2017. It was a great opportunity to chat with a fellow Haasie about his experiences as CEO, and about the futures of corporate venture capital and gaming. How to use new technology in their current business, and how to source good talent that can partner with the business units to identify promising startups earlier are both key priorities. 

Haruki Satomi (MBA 2012), President, Sega Sammy Holdings; CEO, Sega Holdings; President, Sammy Corporation.

Haruki Satomi (MBA 2012), President, Sega Sammy Holdings; CEO, Sega Holdings; President, Sammy Corporation

Day 9 – Pitch Night

In Tunnel Tokyo, the area of the office we worked out of, startup events happen multiple times per week. We were invited to attend a Startup Pitch Night, where five early stage startups presented their ideas. 

Startup Pitch Night with screen of game

Day 10 – Baseball Game 

A different kind of pitch: to kick off our final weekend, we caught a Giants game (yeah, different black-and-orange Giants) at the Tokyo Dome. Japanese baseball games are quite a bit more intense than MLB games; we enjoyed watching the passionate fans sing chants for each of their players, and cheer wildly on their feet. 

Giants game at the Tokyo Dome

Giants game at the Tokyo Dome

Final Presentation

Following our final presentation to the executive committee, we celebrated an amazing trip AND Andrew’s birthday with the clients out in Tokyo. かんぱい!

IBD Team Sega Sammy