It’s Time to Celebrate IBD!

Frank and conference

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

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

Team Ford with Ford Client, Sam Smith

Team Ford with Ford Client, Sam Smith

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

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

Team Seva with their poster

Team Seva with their poster

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

Team Novartis after presentation

Team Novartis after presentation

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

Team YGA with poster

Team YGA with poster

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

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

To see the photos from the IBD Conference click here.

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.