Hello Liberia! IBD’s Executive Director, Kristi Raube, Takes on a New Adventure

Kristi Teaching

Kristi Teaching

After more than 18 years dedicating herself and her career to academia, teaching, mentoring and guiding graduate students at Berkeley-Haas, IBD Executive Director Kristi Raube and her husband will depart early next year for their newest adventure — moving to Africa.  Kristi has accepted a position as the Peace Corps Country Director for the Republic of Liberia.  Before her Berkeley-Haas career, Kristi was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Togo, where she trained community groups in health and agriculture projects, and coordinated logistics for Peace Corps training and new volunteers.  During her career at Berkeley-Haas, Kristi focused on her passion for healthcare and social impact.  She is now returning full circle with her new position in Liberia.   We sat down recently with Kristi to get a better sense of how she feels about this once in a lifetime opportunity, as well as what she is leaving behind at UC Berkeley and Berkeley-Haas.

Kristi in Zaire during her time in the Peace Corps

Question: What excites you the most about your new position?

Kristi Raube: “There are so many reasons why this position is so exciting.  First, this is an opportunity for me to be closer to the problems that I have been passionate about my entire career.  In many ways, this position will allow me to keep doing the work I have been doing these last 19 years, except now I get to be embedded in the solutions, as I have never had an opportunity to stay longer than a couple weeks.

Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhukana Rugunda, Prime Minister, Republic of Uganda

Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhukana Rugunda, Prime Minister, Republic of Uganda

That’s why I really love the Peace Corps approach.  They have 3 goals:  The first is to train the Peace Corps Volunteers to meet the needs of the community.  Second, they want to promote understanding of the United States to the people that Peace Corps volunteers are serving. Finally, they want to promote understanding of the communities where the Peace Corps volunteers serve.  Their method is very grassroots as they become embedded in the communities -they don’t just parachute in to do work and leave.

Second, I will get to continue my work with young people, in fact, many of the volunteers are about the same age as Haas students.  

There have been a lot of challenges in Liberia.  The Civil War ended in 2002 and many years were lost for young adults.  There wasn’t an opportunity to focus on one’s education or professional development.  In this role, I will get the opportunity to work with 50 people on my Liberian staff.  I will get to groom and shape staff and offer them the opportunity to develop themselves in their professional lives.  

I also am very excited about doing something good in the world and perhaps making a small difference. “

Kristi on a recent trip to Tanzania to visit her oldest son, who is volunteering in the Peace Corps

Kristi in Tanzania this Nov. 2017. She was visiting her oldest son, who is volunteering in the Peace Corps.

Question:  What are you the most anxious about?

Kristi Raube:  “My decision is affecting our whole family and in some ways, it is not just me going to Liberia to follow my dream, it’s everyone.  My husband is leaving his job and home to take this leap of faith. He has never been to Sub-Sarah Africa and he is doing this because he believes in me.  It is an amazing thing to have a husband who is willing to do that. Our family will be very far away.  One of our three sons will be finishing college in May and the other just started this year.  They won’t have their “home” to go to while we are away. They will need to travel a long way to see their parents.”

Question:  What will you miss about Berkeley-Haas?

Kristi in Zaire during her time in the Peace Corp

Kristi in Zaire during her time in the Peace Corp

Kristi Raube:  “I have been at Haas for almost 19 years and I am eternally grateful for the trust and support that people have given to me to grow as a leader, manager and as a teacher.  It’s been a journey.  I have embraced the Berkeley Haas Defining Principles to always push myself to be better.

And, it’s all about the people.  I am also going to miss the students.  Every year, you get a new batch, and they are smart, curious, open, inquisitive, enthusiastic and want to make a difference in the world.  What a fantastic environment to be in!   I will miss my faculty colleagues who are always asking interesting questions.  You can go to a million interesting talks and intellectually it is a candy store playground. Last but not least, I will miss my colleagues and staff. I feel really lucky working with this very  committed, wonderful group of people.”

Kristi with the 2016 IBD Team Samai at the IBD Conference

Kristi with the 2016 IBD Team Samai at the IBD Conference

Question:  Will you take any of the Berkeley Haas Defining Principles to your new position?

Kristi Raube: “All Four! This position and work are definitely embodying the “Beyond Yourself” principle, as we are really giving of ourselves through the work.  I think at the very start, personally, I need to focus most  on “Confidence without Attitude.”  I have a lot to learn.  I don’t know that much about the Liberian culture.  I need to be humble in the way I approach my work and so I can bring understanding to the issues and background and the why and how people are.  That links to “Student Always”.  For me, part of this is the challenge and the opportunity to really learn something new and stretch myself.  That is really exciting.  I guess I am also “Questioning the Status Quo” by deciding to move across the world to take this job instead of retiring here at Haas.  In some ways, all the Haas Defining Principles are not that far away from what I will be doing even though it is a different organization and clearly a different setting.  The Defining Principles really resonate with me as they are the way I lead my life.”

Kristi in Tanzania November 2017

Question: Do you know what your position looks like on a daily basis?

Kristi Raube: “I don’t know yet, but I do know who my constituents are!  The first are the 125 Peace Corps Volunteers in Liberia.  They are in every county of the country.  A lot of my work will be understanding the work that they are doing and what are their issues and problems, and where are they having successes.  I am very excited about this part of the job.  I will be responsible for training, safety and enabling them to be able to do good work.

The second group is the Liberian staff.  I have heard over and over that the staff has this amazing energy, optimism, and hard work ethic. I also understand that the Liberian staff need to have the opportunity to grow in their skill sets and education.

Kristi reading a letter from home during her time in Zaire volunteering for the Peace Corps

The third group of constituents are the Government, NGOs, businesses and America Embassy Communities.  I will be the representative and the face of the organization and as we think about where we will put volunteers and what they will be doing, I will need to work with the Minister of Education, Minister of Health and the President of the Country.  I will work with the other NGO’s and the businesses working in Liberia.  As you know from my work with the Berkeley Haas Institute for Business and Social Impact, I am passionate about the role of business and creating social good.  I will look to see if there are interesting opportunities.”

Question: What one thing do you think the individual who will steps into the role of Executive Director at IBD should know?

Kristi Raube:  “When I took over IBD it was all about rebuilding, but now, the Staff, Students, and Faculty components are all there and super strong. There is such great work being done and students are having great experiences.  Does that mean that there is no opportunity for improvements?  No, absolutely not.  The great thing about me leaving is there is an opportunity for someone to come in with fresh eyes and to look at these issues and figure out better ways to do organize IBD.  I feel really happy and proud of the work that we have collectively done and the foundation that has been left behind.”

Kristi and IBD's David Richardson in 2017 with Monica Wiese and Pablo Seminaro Butrich - IBD Alumni '05 and '04

Kristi and IBD’s David Richardson in 2017 with Monica Wiese and Pablo Seminaro Butrich – Alumni ’05 and ’04

End of Interview

The impact Kristi Raube has made on the IBD program is deep and invaluable.  Her passion and dedication to the mission of IBD — helping clients redefine how they do business globally, and providing MBA students with the opportunity to build their international consulting skills — has shown in all of her work.   Over her long career at Berkeley-Haas, Kristi has touched in the most positive of ways the lives of hundreds of students, clients, and colleagues.   As we say goodbye, we have no doubt that Kristi’s new Peace Corps and Liberian colleagues will get to know her as we have and come to appreciate all that she will bring to her new position. Please join us in congratulating Kristi on her new move to Liberia at ibd@haas.berkeley.edu.

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Meet the 2018 International Business Development Full-Time MBA Team Leads

Every year we in the IBD program become more impressed with the quality of applicants for the IBD Team Lead position.  This year was no exception, and we are proud to announce the 16 Full-Time MBA Student Team Leads for the 2018 IBD program.  Below you will find a little bit about each of their backgrounds, as well as what excites them about the IBD program and their new Team Lead role.

2018 IBD Team Leads in Alphabetical Order by Last Name:  

Libby Andrada in Sicily

Libby Andrada in Sicily

Elizabeth (Libby) Andrada:  Libby’s last position before coming to Berkeley Haas was Director of Strategic Communications and Healthcare and Life Sciences at FTI Consulting, a global advisory firm, located in New York.  She keeps her ties to New York as she is currently a writing buddy at the High School of Economics and Finance.

“I’m most excited about the opportunity to work with Haas classmates to make a real impact at an organization. I’m looking forward to building something tangible with our team and also to learning about what it’s like to work in an international context with teammates from all different backgrounds and with different experiences and passions.” – Libby

Melea Atkins:

Although Melea’s most recent role was as a consultant at MedStar Health Institute for Innovation, she spent the majority of her career in politics.  She served as a Legislative Aide for the Office of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Regional Field Director for Warren for U.S. Senate.  Malea is a Forté Foundation Fellow and loves swimming.

“I can’t wait to identify and start working with my team! Leading a group of diverse, multi-talented, Haas MBAs to complete a meaningful project is exactly the type of leadership learning experience I was hoping to get as a student at Haas.” – Melea

Mölln, Germany. The statue is of Till Eulenspeigel, a local trickster known for exposing people's vices. His toe and thumb are good luck!

Mölln, Germany. The statue is of Till Eulenspeigel, a local trickster known for exposing people’s vices. His toe and thumb are good luck!

Emily Atwood:  Before attending Haas, Emily spent her career in Buenos Aires, working as a consultant at EY.  In her first year at EY, she started weekly English- only lunches to help Argentine teammates practice language conversation skills.  

“I’m most looking forward to being at the client as a team — getting to put in practice everything we’re learning at Haas and will have worked towards together.” – Emily

Natalie Bauman:  Natalie hiking

Before coming to Berkeley Haas, Natalie started working at AlphaSights as an intern while she attended Colgate University, ending her long tenor there as a Manager of the Consulting Practice.  AlphaSights is a global knowledge search firm that connects institutional investors with industry experts.  Natalie was also the President of the Women’s Initiative Network at AlphaSights, which looked at diversity within the organization.

“I’m most excited about getting to work and bond with my team! I love how IBD gives us the opportunity to step outside of our comfort zones together.” – Natalie

Paola travelingPaola Blanco:  Trained as an industrial engineer at the University of Puerto Rico, Paola’s career at Abbott Diabetes Care and Abbott Laboratories focused on medical devices and manufacturing.  Paula was also the Team Lead for Abbott’s UPRM recruitment, ensuring that Hispanic talent was part of the pipeline to participate in internship and leadership programs.

“What excites me the most about IBD is the combination of creating great relationships with my team, having a meaningful impact on our client’s organization and having fun! As an IBD lead, I’m hoping to contribute to the success of our team and project, by keeping a positive working environment, leveraging each team member strengths, and listening to feedback.” – Paola

Michelle BoydMichelle Boyd: Michelle’s most recent job was as a consultant with The Bridgespan Group, a social sector strategy consulting and research firm.  She also worked as a consultant with Kiva and worked in India. An avid backpacker, Michelle has completed multiple 200+ mile backpacking trips, including the 210-mile John Muir Trail.

“I am most excited about working with an awesome group of Haasies in another country, and having a blast!” – Michelle

Jocelyn Brown:  Jocelyn’s career focus has been global health.  She has worked for two organizations: 3rd Stone Design, which is a medical device design company that focuses on development; and Rice 360 Institute for Global Health.  In 2014 Jocelyn was named in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in the Science and Healthcare category.

“In the IBD experience, I’m most excited about the opportunity to lead and work with a small team of amazing Haasies, to place ourselves in our clients’ shoes for a brief period and help solve a challenge they face, and to have a lot of fun working in an international setting!” – Jocelyn

Stan Cataldo:  Stan’s career has been in wealth and asset management.  He has worked for Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, and RBC Capital Markets in Venezuela, Colombia, New York, and Miami.   Stan has dual Italian-Venezuelan citizenship and was a violinist in the Arcos Juveniles de Caracas and Florida Youth Orchestras.

“ Whatever I decide to do after Haas will focus on bridging global barriers and bringing the world closer together; being an IBD Team Lead will allow me to hone the leadership skills needed to get there!” – Stan

Colin driving a boat Colin Dunn: Colin has worked in the retail management space since graduation from Notre Dame.  He has been a buyer, merchant, and divisional merchandise manager for Guess?, Inc. and Abercrombie & Fitch. Colin was selected as one of 13 “young company leaders” and invited to complete the Guess Leadership Program.  He is also an accomplished swimmer.

“I applied to be a team lead to get challenging, real-world consulting experience while leading some of the smartest people I know—my fellow Haasies!” – Colin

Sara Sara Farsio:  Sara is a MBA/MPH student with a background in biotech.  She has worked at Genentech, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and most recently at Theranos Inc. as a Global Supply Manager.  Sara enjoys Vinyasa yoga and completed the 2016 San Francisco Half Marathon.

“I’m thrilled to take on this experience alongside four of my Haasome classmates! I’m looking forward to putting our newly developed business skills to practice as we collaborate with our client to help them better realize their mission. Making an impact while creating unforgettable memories is what the MBA experience is all about!” – Sara

Francesca with her niece

Francesca with her niece

Francesca LeBaron: Francesca’s consulting career has led her to work in Turkey, India, and Africa.  Most recently she worked at Accenture Strategy.  Francesca has also volunteered all over the world, including in Greece, Tanzania, and Botswana.

“I am most excited about experiencing a different culture and business environment with my Haas team. Working in another country together is not only an incredible learning experience, but it is also an invaluable bonding experience.”  – Francesca

Daniel with - KangarooDaniel Mombiedro:  Daniel’s background is in private equity as an investment manager, and in corporate finance consulting.  He has worked in London and Madrid.  Daniel is passionate about soccer.  He is the Founder of Independiente Football Club in Madrid, and was a member of the college soccer team at European Business School of London.

“IBD is a great opportunity to learn about global challenges and work together with local communities on real projects. I am excited to travel abroad, share the experience with my classmates, immerse ourselves into a new culture and contribute a positive impact.”

Michael in Kazakhstan

Michael in Kazakhstan

Michael Sahm: Michael’s background has been in consulting.  He worked at Deloitte Consulting and Triage Consulting Group; most recently he worked as a director of managed care operations at Tenet Healthcare.  Michael has also been a Big brother for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, as well as an assistant varsity basketball coach.

“I am most excited to learn how to work across borders and cultures! I can’t wait to team up with my awesome classmates and deliver an excellent project for our client.” – Michael

Catherine Solar by boatsCatherine Soler: Catherine’s passion is social impact and her career has been focused on organizations working towards these same goals. Before coming to Berkeley Haas, Catherine worked in New York as a freelance social impact consultant for global NGOs and social enterprises.  She is a One World Ambassador and a Board member for Education Africa, a South African NGO.

“The year before Haas, I embarked on what I love to call “purposeful travel.” It was about having those awe-inspiring, perspective-shifting moments while discovering a new place, but also engaging with a community and with people in a way that creates shared value. When I look forward to IBD, I am humbled to be leading my peers and new client on a journey of exploration and contribution. To be able to help create purposeful and meaningful experiences for others will be both challenging and deeply rewarding!” – Catherine

Jorge Climbing Mount Rainier

Jorge Climbing Mount Rainier

Jorge Tellez:  Jorge is a US Naval Officer and recently held a position in Washington, DC at the Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals Washington.  He has served on two aircraft carriers, including the USS MOMSEN and USS CURTIS WILBUR. Jorge is an avid runner and has completed the Kyoto, Seattle, and Marine Corps marathons.

“My classmates are some of the most interesting and impressive people I’ve ever met, so I’m most excited about being able to tackle a real-world problem with them. It’s an honor to lead a team of Haasies, and I hope we make a significant impact for our global client.” – Jorge

James Westhafer pictureJames Westhafer: James has a background in business strategy and management, focusing on start-up companies — especially in the energy industry.  His last position was with 24M Technologies, a lithium battery start-up.  James is also a pledging member of Toastmasters International and loves baking bread.

“When I was going through the application process for business school and talking to current students and alums, every single Haasie mentioned their IBD experience and how unbelievably memorable it was.  It is so uniquely Haas and something I knew coming to Berkeley that I was not going to miss.  The opportunity to consult on a real problem, outside my comfort zone of the United States and on a team with my fellow Haas classmates will be an experience that stays with me for years to come.  I can’t wait to get started! “ – James

We know our IBD Team leads are anxious to learn about their IBD clients, their projects, and where they are going to spend their project time in-country.  Stay tuned as we look forward to sharing more of these details in our February newsletter.  For now, we in the IBD program feel confident that these 16 phenomenal MBAs will wow us next semester in their new Team Lead roles.

An Interview with IBD’s Program Coordinator, Dara McKenzie

Dara McKenzie, IBD Program Coordinator, has been an integral part of the IBD Team for over four years. Dara is responsible for coordinating all international travel and accommodations for over 100 MBA candidates.  She also supports the IBD Team, managing client contracts, and accounting for both clients and students.    Executive Director Kristi Raube reports that Dara’s “upbeat, can-do attitude makes (her) a great member of the IBD team.”  We wanted to share a little more about Dara with the IBD community.  Please enjoy the following interview with Dara

Dara visits the Louvre Museum in Paris, Summer of 2017

Dara visits the Louvre Museum in Paris, Summer of 2017

Question:  Where are you from and how did you end up in the Bay Area?

Dara: I am from Boston, born and raised. Four years ago, I decided to move to California on a whim. I had visited only once before, but I knew I wanted a change — so I packed my bags and bought a one-way ticket.

Question: Tell us about your career here at Berkeley-Haas. Why did you want to work here? What do you do here at Berkeley-Haas?

Dara: I first saw a posting for this position while I was working in Engineering as an admission specialist. I was immediately intrigued at the international component of the job, so I jumped at the chance to apply. Luckily, I got the job, and it’s been one of the best choices I’ve made. I’m the program coordinator, and I work with students, clients and staff on everything ranging from travel and contracting to accounting and much, much more.

Question: What is your favorite part of IBD?

Dara: My favorite part of IBD is interacting with students and hearing about their in-country experiences. I also love the Big Reveal—it’s the first class of the semester when they learn who’ll be on their team, what project they’ll be working on, and what country they’ll be working in for three weeks at the end of the project.

Dara in the Louvre Museum, Summer 2017

Dara in the Louvre Museum, Summer 2017

Question: What is the hardest part of your job?

Dara: The hardest part of my job is contracting. I have no legal background, and often times I’m the intermediary between two different organizations and their legal teams trying to come to an agreement on a contract. Although it’s a long and tedious process, I have to admit I’ve learned a lot from the contracting experience.

Question: If you could pick one Berkeley-Haas principal that is your favorite right now, which one and why?

Dara: My favorite Berkeley-Haas principle is Student Always — I strongly believe there’s always something new to be learned, and I’m grateful to be in an environment that not only encourages this but gives me the opportunity to pursue this principle every day.

Question: You travel a ton, tell me about your favorite place. Where would you like to go next?

Dara: This is a very hard question, because I’ve visited so many wonderful places. If I have to choose just one place, I would have to say Jamaica. My family is from Jamaica, and I’ve been visiting there since before I could walk. I’ve been to Jamaica a number of times, and it’s always been a blast, from the culture and people to the weather and nightlife — it’s never a dull moment. Jamaica is very laid back and everyone is always happy. My second choice would have to be Paris.

I have yet to visit Asia, and I’m hoping my next trip will be to Hong Kong or somewhere in Southeast Asia — maybe to Singapore or Indonesia.

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Question: What is one thing on your bucket list that you have crossed off and one that you still have to accomplish?

Dara: One thing I have crossed off my bucket list is snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef.

That was an incredible experience and one that I’ll never forget. One item on my bucket list I have yet to cross off is to visit all 7 Wonders of the World. Although there are many different versions of this list, I can say that so far I’ve visited two of them (the Colosseum in Rome and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia)

Dunns River Fall, Jamaica

 

 

IBD’s David Richardson Travels to India and Singapore to Meet with Friends of the IBD Program

Berkeley-Haas alumni event in Bangalore

Berkeley-Haas alumni event in Bangalore

During the month of October, IBD Director of Business Development David Richardson traveled to India and Singapore to meet with Berkeley-Haas alumni and friends of the IBD program.

David’s travels included a few days in Bangalore, where he met with local alumni gathered together by Aditya Gokarn of Triton Valves Ltd.  He also visited with managers from Lucep, Housejoy, and Hotelogix.

After Bangalore, David flew to Pune, where he met with the management team of ElectroMech Material Handling Systems, and visited their factory floor.  He also paid a visit to Divgi TorqTransfer Systems and Lend-A-Hand India (a local NGO).

Meeting with Freedom English Academy class in New Delhi

Next up was New Delhi, where David met with USAID at the U.S. Embassy, toured a Freedom English Academy classroom, and co-hosted a Berkeley-Haas alumni event along with Abhishek Khemka of Nandini Impex.  The next day included a visit to World Health Partners.

After New Delhi, David traveled to Singapore, where he met with the startups Banff Cyber Technologies and Lucep.  He also met with the Counsellor, Innovation and Trade Affairs, for the Embassy of Finland in Singapore.  

Check out some of David’s India and Singapore trip photos here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm4VfjW9

Berkeley-Haas alumni event in Delhi

Berkeley-Haas alumni event in Delhi

 

Team Flowers: A Flower Market Tour of China

Written by Leah Finn, Mary Harty, Anne Kramer, Laura Smith, and George Panagiotakapoulos

A hydrangea greenhouse at Kunming Hasfarms

A hydrangea greenhouse at Kunming Hasfarms

Agripacific Holdings is a holding company that owns a number of cut flower farms and distribution centers across Asia, including its two main growing sites, Kunming Hasfarm in Yunnan, China, and Dalat Hasfarm in Dalat, Vietnam. For our IBD project, our team (a.k.a, Team Flowers) partnered with Kunming Hasfarm (KMH) to develop a marketing strategy for selling cut flower crops throughout China – at the moment, most of KMH’s flowers are exported to Japan, while the domestic market is primarily served through a small scale of imports from Dalat Hasfarms. As Chinese incomes rise, a growing middle class is spending more money on luxury home products like flowers, creating a promising market. KMH tasked our team with helping them strategically scale their domestic sales of cut flowers by considering the optimal target customers and sales channels.

For our in-country visit, KMH planned an itinerary that would give us a thorough look at the flower industry in China by visiting six cities – Kunming, Beijing, Shanghai, Hungzhou, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong – to tour flower markets, interview wholesaler customers, and even visit the farms of several of their competitors. Luckily for us, this meant we got to experience a diverse range of Chinese cultures, food, and sights as we learned about some of the nuances of each local market.

We began the trip in Kunming, a small (by China standards) city of 6 million in the western Yunnan province. We spent two days touring KMH’s greenhouses and learning about the processes of growing carnations, green wicky (a fuzzy green flower described to us as “soft, like a panda’s face), and hydrangeas. We also visited the Dounnan Flower Market, one of the largest flower wholesaler markets in China. The coolest part about this was the flower auction: an enormous warehouse full of lower-quality flowers (mostly roses) and a huge room to the side where wholesalers gathered to bid on them, Dutch auction style while smoking heavily and doing business on cell phones. It was quite a sight!

Flower auction in Kunming

In Beijing, Shanghai, Hungzhou, and Guangzhou, we visited KMH’s largest wholesaler customers and the Shanghai-based distribution center for the import business. Through our many interviews, we learned that KMH has a strong reputation as a high-quality grower; most of their wholesaler customers would buy more flowers from them if not restricted by supply. Since the China-based farm already had plans to expand growing, we saw an opportunity to organize their Shanghai- and Beijing-based sales teams to begin selling domestic product in those regions, rather than solely managing the import business.

Another powerful opportunity we recognized for KMH is the meteoric rise of e-commerce that has taken place in the past few years, impacting all industries. In many ways, China has surpassed the US in its use of technology in commerce: for example, rather than credit cards, nearly everyone pays for things by scanning a QR code on the item with an app on their phone called WeChat. In the flower industry, many startups have innovated by offering weekly flower delivery services through a subscription model, and several wholesalers have shifted all of their operations online. We had the chance to interview several contacts from these companies to learn about their innovative models. A key question we investigated for KMH was how they could incorporate technology into their business model, and how far down the value chain they should reach to implement it – that is, whether to switch from B2B (selling to wholesalers) to B2C.

Team looking over Beijing with 2 of KMH’s staff acting as our tour guides

The trip concluded with a trip to Hong Kong, where we delivered our final presentation at Hasfarm’s office there. In addition to recommendations about reorganizing their sales force and adopting a technology platform to track customer data, we discussed the trend we observed of new flower companies, particularly in the eCommerce model, shortening the value chain (typically grower to wholesaler to retailer to customer) to increase margins and lower prices beyond the offerings of their more traditional competitors. We encouraged KMH to pay attention to competitors adopting this model as the market grows.

Overall, we were incredibly impressed by the hospitality provided to us by our clients and associates in the industry. After nearly every interview or market visit, we were taken to an elaborate meal, treated to a tea ceremony, or toured around sights like Tianenmen Square by members of the KMH staff or their wholesaler clients. We feel lucky that this experience introduced us to the warmth, beauty, and diversity of China.

IBD Team Travels to Stockholm to Help Civil Rights Defenders to Implement a New Innovation Program

Written by Carol Macavilca Paredes, Elizabeth Miller, Ingrid Monroy, Beth Williams and Blakey Larsen

Our IBD Project took us to Stockholm to help our client, Civil Right Defenders (CRD), a nonprofit organization devoted to human rights founded in 1982, to implement a new Innovation Program that will foster the development and launch of innovations. We started with one simple question, how can we apply innovation to human rights? Easy to answer, right? To be honest, none of us knew the answer four months ago.

Work hard, travel hard was definitely the motto of our team. We worked 3 weeks in Sweden and visited 2 countries, Finland and Norway.

It was hard work, but we also had a lot of fun in beautiful Stockholm, a city with 14 islands and, in the summer, 18 hours of daylight.

Our first week in the CRD office was a whirlwind: We started by introducing our project to the entire CRD staff, who gave us a warm welcome. In the days that followed, we had a lovely meal at Communications Manager’s house with Swedish pizza…

…and participated in the Stockholm Internet Forum 2017, focused on the Internet Freedom for Global Development, in order to interview innovation experts for our project.

During our second week, the most memorable highlight was to be in the CRD office when it was revealed that the organization had won a court case in which they had been working for four years. Representing 11 of about 4,700 people included in the police registry of Roma population, CRD won the court case against the Swedish state in the Svea Court of Appeal. The state was found guilty of ethnic registration and discrimination and was ordered to pay 30,000 SEK in damages to each of the 11 Roma plaintiffs. We were moved by the words of Robert Hardh, Executive Director of CRD to all the staff the day they received the news, that these are the days they live for.

Also, we had an unexpected but happy news for us: two and a half days of holidays. We decided to visit the IBD Finland team in Helsinki. At the recommendation of our client, we went to Finland by boat. The ferry ride was 15 hours of fun!

We also went to Bergen, during that holiday. We took a full day tour to see some of Norway’s most beautiful fjord scenery. We experienced the scenic Bergen Railway, the breathtaking Flåm Railway, and the narrow and dramatic UNESCO-protected Nærøyfjord.

Our team was surprised to experience a uniquely Swedish challenge: doing laundry. In Stockholm apartments, washers and dryers must be booked weeks ahead of time in order to wash your clothes. With limited options, our team had to cancel plans one evening to get our laundry done. The team at CRD said we were real Swedes now!

One fun fact is that in Sweden, purchasing alcoholic beverages isn’t a simple matter. There are no privately owned liquor stores nor do grocery stores sell wine or any liquor. Sweden has a state-run chain of liquor stores called Systembolaget, the only retail stores allowed to sell alcohol. Problems arise due to their opening hours (especially for unaware visitors like us). The stores generally close at 6pm on weekdays, at 3pm on Saturdays and all Systembolaget are closed, without exceptions, on Sundays and holidays! So you need to keep this in mind and don’t wait (like us) until 2:50 pm on Saturday to run to the store.

Last week. We had our first fika in the office and our final presentation. Fika is a tradition in Sweden, is the moment that you take a break, often with a cup of coffee, but alternatively with tea, and find a baked good to pair with it.

IBD Team Works with La Clinica Oftalmologica Divino Nino Jesus, a Non-Profit Eye Clinic

Written by Mark Angel, Robert Gutierrez, Megha Kansra, Tyler Saltiel and Sarah Evans

As soon as we landed, the humidity knocked us out. Walking off the airplane, we immediately felt our clothes stick to our bodies and walked through the still, thick air toward the open-air baggage claim. We had heard the Amazon was humid, but we were not expecting its immediacy. Despite the unprecedented heat and humidity, we couldn’t contain our excitement to begin the in-country portion of our project.

Our team is working with La Clinica Oftalmologica Divino Nino Jesus (DNJ), a non-profit eye clinic based in Lima, Peru, dedicated to eradicating curable blindness. We had just landed in Iquitos, the largest city in the world not connected by a road and the “gateway to the Amazon,” where DNJ had recently expanded. We were to spend the next three weeks working with DNJ’s team to provide strategic marketing recommendations: one week in Iquitos and two in Lima.

Alberto, the executive director of the clinic and our main client, picked us up the next morning in DNJ’s van to drive us to its clinic, 40 minutes outside of central Iquitos. After a brief pit stop to push the van out of wet sand, we arrived at the clinic.

We spent the morning with Diego, the Outreach Coordinator in Iquitos, touring the clinic and learning more about the operations of the Iquitos facility. We even got to see the inside of the operating room where DNJ ophthalmologists perform their life-changing surgeries.

Hot, sweaty, but extremely inspired by the facility, we returned to our hotel to prepare for a meeting with Alberto held in our conference room for the week – the outdoor hotel restaurant and bar. After a productive meeting with Alberto discussing the financial performance of DNJ, we returned to the clinic the next day. Diego and Alberto were eager to have us interview patients and family members accompanying them on their visits. We stationed ourselves in an unused triage room in the clinic, and two by two, patients and their companions sat down to chat with us (en español) about their experiences with the clinic. We were immediately struck by patients’ gratitude and openness. One older woman excitedly told us about her beloved garden, and how grateful she was for the free cataract surgery that would enable her to tend to her garden once again. She and her daughter talked about the excellent service they had received, noted some areas for improvement at the clinic, and finally – to our surprise – gave us an invitation to their home. Another older gentleman, stylishly dressed with a Canon camera slung around his neck, waxed poetic about how eager he was to photograph the people and traditions of the beautiful Loreto region again.

As we spent more days in Iquitos interviewing patients, we continued to hear similar stories. Patients described DNJ as a “gift” and “blessing,” praising the personal attention of the staff. In Iquitos, a city accustomed to seeing NGOs shuttle in and out on a temporary basis, DNJ’s gleaming new Iquitos facility and world class staff, seemingly here to stay and providing services for free, prompted awe and surprise. By the end of the week, we were all deeply moved by the immense difference DNJ was making, and we felt doubly determined to provide impactful recommendations.

After a final day in Iquitos – spent boating down the Amazon (the world’s widest river) and feeding piranhas, alligators, and adorable baby monkeys – we headed back to Lima. In Lima, we extensively interviewed DNJ staff members, collecting their stories, recommendations, and perspectives on patient experience and marketing. A highlight was getting the opportunity to scrub in and watch a live cataract surgery conducted by one of the top ophthalmologists in Latin America. The head nurse patiently explained each step of the process, from the medical checkups of patients just before surgery to the steady incisions and movements of the surgeon to the final, triumphant moment – a mere 10-20 minutes after the surgery began – when patients were helped up off their bed and walked out of the clinic. We were amazed that in under an hour, we had watched a man get back his sight…for free.

After a final push to crystallize our recommendations, we made a presentation to the DNJ board and senior management. We were touched that the board attentively and eagerly listened to our recommendations, and even brought us gifts – delicious alfajores! They were excited about the opportunities ahead and the path forward we charted for them.

Que Alegre! Updates from Guatemala City

Written by Peter Wasserman, Ian Collazo, Kevin Schuster, Michelle Hernandez and Rachel Garrison

FTMBA students Peter Wasserman, Ian Collazo, Kevin Schuster, Michelle Hernandez and Rachel Garrison traveled to Guatemala City during May 2017 to work with the fourth-largest, family-owned, home goods, hardware, toy, and baby retailer in Guate mala: Cemaco.

Guatemala City

Our team arrived in Guatemala City during an exciting time for retail. Last year, the retail industry grew 13%, with growth driven by middle/high-end of the market in Guatemala City. Our client Cemaco benefited from these demographic trends, increasing revenue despite growing competition, doubling the number of stores, and receiving recognition as one of Guatemala’s most recognized brands.

Cemaco came to IBD looking for big ideas to meet aggressive revenue and profitability goals.  Among the five pillars for growth highlighted in the 2020 vision, our team was tasked to develop strategy and implementation roadmap to become the dominant e-commerce retail player in Guatemala.

The Initial Research

E-commerce is nascent but growing in Guatemala City. In 2016, e-commerce grew by 20%, mainly used by the young, urban, upper class.  Cemaco launched their beta e-commerce site in April of this year, allowing us to work in parallel with the team and project.

Prior to arriving in Guatemala City, our team conducted secondary research on the industry, competition, company, and customers to make the most of our time in-country. We sent a survey to 600 active and 250 lapsed Cemaco customers and received 80% response rate. This amazing level of loyalty and commitment from the customer base was incredible – we were excited to meet the team and customers during the coming weeks!

Arrival in Guatemala City

Arriving on Saturday, May 13th, we were greeted by the Cemaco team for a tour of the city.  We stopped by a local market, picked up groceries, and of course visited a Cemaco store.

First Days at the Office

Our day of arrival presentation gave us helpful feedback to move forward with our proposal. Meeting with the team, we felt incredibly welcome. Not to mention, it was Peter’s birthday! The team took us out to lunch and we celebrated over cake!

Learning about the market

To learn about the market, we focused our time visiting Cemaco and competitor stores, going to the warehouse to see the e-commerce logistics firsthand (and ride a forklift together!), and conducting in person interviews at Cemaco stores. These experiences helped us understand

  • What obstacles/profitability challenges Cemaco will face: Labor is very cheap in Guatemala. From a logistics perspective, Cemaco has been very flexible and fast, figuring out how to package and deliver e-commerce orders in 1-2 days
  • How Cemaco sets itself apart from the competition: Cemaco is a customer first company that puts its stores at the center of its experience. Cemaco stores are welcoming, bright, and customers enjoy spending time browsing the wide variety of products
  • Why customers love Cemaco: As an established, family owned company with Guatemalan roots, customers are extremely loyal. They feel that they can find everything they need for their homes at Cemaco, and expect to find high-quality products.

Weekend trips 

As our classmates pointed out to us, our team didn’t just work…our client Cemaco planned amazing weekend trips for us. First, we went to Lake Atitlan, where we enjoyed an amazing view of the lake, mountains, and volcanoes went on a nature hike with swinging bridges and saw ancient Mayan ruins.

On our second weekend, we hiked the Pacaya volcano where we roasted marshmallows on top and visited the beautiful, historic Antigua.  Walking down the cobbled roads, we took in the architecture and culture of the city – from carrot ice cream to a speakeasy bar called “No Se,” we tried to find all the hidden gems that Antigua had to offer.

Final Presentation

Back at work, in our final presentation, we recommended that Cemaco prioritize its growing B2B business through an e-commerce platform, and developed a customer-first omnichannel experience plan for both existing and new customers. We were especially excited about our plan to partner with apartment buildings in the nearby Zone 4, known as the “Silicon Valley of Guatemala City,” where first time renters were moving out of their parents’ home before getting married. The team took us out to drinks to celebrate!

In Conclusion

Guatemala is an amazing country and the people are incredibly warm and welcoming. We were so impressed by the culture that Cemaco has created and kept strong over the past 40 years, encouraging their employees to move across functions, pursue continuing education, push for corporate social responsibility, and experiment with new business strategies. We are excited to see what’s next for Cemaco!

Updates from IBD Shanghai – ARM Accelerator

Written by Harsh Thusu, Jennifer Hoss, Justin Wedell, Chris Roberts, and Amanda Eller

FTMBA students Harsh Thusu, Jennifer Hoss, Justin Wedell, Chris Roberts, and Amanda Eller traveled to Shanghai, China during summer 2017 to work with ARM Accelerator.

IBD team in the ARM Accelerator Shanghai office

The Internet of Things (IoT) involves embedding objects in our surroundings with sensors, which capture data and make decisions without the need for human intervention. IoT is poised to change the world, and our client, ARM, is playing a major role in the IoT revolution. ARM is a multinational semiconductor company that designs architecture for the chips that power our smartphones and tablets. Over the next 20 years, ARM expects to deliver 1 trillion chips for IoT devices.

Two years ago, ARM China launched the ARM Accelerator to support IoT startups. Our five-person IBD team traveled to Shanghai to work with ARM Accelerator, helping them develop a strategy to attract Silicon Valley startups, and crafting a plan to diversify their revenue sources.

Initial Research: Bringing Silicon Valley to China

IBD team members Jen, Harsh, and Chris presenting our recommendations to ARM leadership

Our initial challenge was to advise ARM Accelerator on a strategy for attracting U.S. startups. We hypothesized that U.S.-based startups would not want to travel to China for the program, and anticipated recommending a Silicon Valley office. To test our hypothesis, we spoke with founders from 12 different IoT startups in the U.C. Berkeley ecosystem.

We were surprised to learn that virtually all of the founders had either already spent time in China, or anticipated going in the near future. The primary reason for Chinese travel was to connect with manufacturers, but several startups were also interested in meeting Chinese investors and customers.

IBD students with ARM Accelerator leadership, including Allan Wu (center), President of ARM China and Haas MBA ‘96

We also discovered that most startups learn about accelerators through their networks. The ARM brand is strong, but few startups had heard of ARM’s accelerator, underscoring the need for business development efforts and localized marketing content in Silicon Valley.

Evaluating the Accelerator Business Model

In the weeks leading up to our trip, we expanded our focus. At two years old, ARM Accelerator is still a startup, and they wanted insights into how other accelerators achieve financial sustainability. We analyzed successful accelerators from around the world, and compiled preliminary recommendations to test in-country.

IBD team member Jen Hoss at the TechCode Shanghai Accelerator, testing an Augmented Reality windshield

 

Day of Arrival

On May 12, we flew to Shanghai. None of us had ever visited mainland China, and we were eager to meet the ARM Accelerator team and learn more about the Chinese startup ecosystem.

ARM Accelerator founder Andy Chen and head engineer Shi Lei gave us a warm welcome, and briefed us on an itinerary packed with interviews. Over the following days, we met with ARM Accelerator graduates, venture capital investors, other accelerators, and the local government. We even attended a presentation in which ARM Accelerator companies pitched their autonomous vehicle technologies to representatives from BMW.

IBD team members from left to right, Jen Hoss, Justin Wedell, Amanda Eller, Chris Roberts, and Harsh Thusu, meeting with bike-sharing startup MoBike.

Interview Highlights: TechCode, Shanghai government, and MoBike

TechCode is an accelerator and incubator started in China, with locations all over the world. Daphne Han provided insights into the benefits of the accelerator for TechCode’s corporate sponsor. She also gave us a tour of their co-working office space, and IBD team member Jen got to test a TechCode company’s “Smart Windshield,” which uses Augmented Reality to provide real-time information to drivers.

Another highlight was our meeting with Zhang Lan from the Shanghai government’s Development and Reform Committee. Mr. Lan shared fascinating insights about the government’s role in supporting entrepreneurship, and the incentives available to ARM Accelerator companies.

Mr. Lan then brought us to the MoBike headquarters. MoBike is a bike sharing startup that has taken

IBD team at the MoBike Shanghai office, with Shanghai government official Mr. Zhang Lan and our ARM colleague Allan Zhong

China by storm, with support from the government. 25 years ago, Shanghai was full of bicycles, but their replacement with motorcycles and cars has exacerbated pollution. MoBike is reversing the trend, and we were impressed by the number of Chinese taking advantage of MoBike. MoBikes can be parked anywhere, and locked or unlocked with a smartphone app; each morning the bikes pile up in front of office buildings, and by evening rows of MoBikes surround the metro stations.

Our ARM Accelerator hosts took us for a traditional Chinese business dinner, which meant plenty of baiju, or Chinese spirits

Eating our way across China

The team made the most of our free time by trying every dumpling we could find. We learned about the art of handpulled noodles, sampled Uigher-style barbecue, and tasted Schizuan Province’s spicy mala peppercorns.  We even contemplated opening a Berkeley franchise of China’s popular Yang’s Dumplings chain.

Between meals, we climbed the Great Wall, explored Beijing’s Forbidden City, and hiked the mountains surrounding Hangzhou’s famous West Lake.

And throughout our trip, we were greeted by local Haasies. Alan Wu, President of ARM China and Haas MBA ‘97 provided valuable feedback throughout our project and shared his visions for China’s technological future.

Making new friends over a Beijing-style hotpot dinner

And the Haas Shanghai Alumni group welcomed us with a happy hour, where we met two incoming classmates to the class of 2019.

After a successful three weeks in China, we are excited to continue following ARM Accelerator’s progress as they help build companies shaping the future of IoT.

Phnomenal Times

Written by Sushant Barave, William Conry, Daniel Conti and Joe Layton

For our IBD project, we’re working with Cambodia’s first and only rum distillery, Samai, based in Phnom Penh. Our team is partnering with Samai’s founders, Antonio and Daniel, on expansion strategy, new market pricing, operational improvement and accounting guidance.

Prior to arriving in Phnom Penh we had been corresponding with Samai to finalize the scope of the project and complete as much pre-work as possible. While our team was productive across those six weeks, it was remarkable how much more effective we became on location with the client. For instance, we had an idea of what the rum production process looked like, however being able to visualize the steps enhanced our understanding to the level required to make recommendations.  Additionally, speaking face to face with Daniel, Antonio and Champich, the master distiller, we were able to have more insightful conversations and gain a better feel for the business and its needs.

Dan and Sushant review the production steps with Daniel in order to calculate COGS

Dan and Sushant review the production steps with Daniel in order to calculate COGS

Another byproduct of live meetings is shifting priorities. While the project work streams had been determined in advance of our arrival, it became clear our first-day additional challenges that require support will surface. Our team recognized the importance of prioritization as a guiding principle – we need to invest our time and resources into the projects that are most vital to Samai and also ensure our deliverables are actionable.

 

Cocktail Competition

Samai’s distillery is open to the public on Thursday nights, when it serves up Samai rum-based cocktails to a lively, mostly expat, clientele. During our required rum tasting our first day on the job I suggested –  somewhat jokingly –  that we have a competition on Thursday to determine which Haas team member can create the best cocktail. Antonio sounded intrigued and within a day we had teams decided, menus set, ingredients purchased and a professional flyer posted on social media. That escalated quickly!

Dan and I settled on a variation of a Dark and Stormy entitled Ann’s Arbor, an homage to our undergraduate institution. Leveraging Joe’s advanced rum knowledge, he and Sushant crafted a more complex, boozy concoction, a Queens Park Swizzle.

We met at the distillery early to pour practice drinks and tweak the recipes until we had it right. This was not just a fun experiment; patrons would be paying for these cocktails! Once we had the proportions, preparations, and presentations down, it was game time.

It could have been the Berkeley-Haas name on the flyer, perhaps it was the sophisticated drink selection or maybe it was our rugged good looks and charm behind the back bar, but the orders flowed in like Trump tweets after a New York Times bombshell report.

Bill and Joe try to keep up with demand behind the bar

Bill and Joe try to keep up with demand behind the bar

At a few points we couldn’t keep up with the demand – we were forced to act like seasoned bartenders who knew how to accommodate a packed bar.

For the competition piece, believe it or not, according to the official tally the contest ended in a tie! The Ann’s Arbor team will point out that our drink had a higher volume of orders, which should be the tie breaker. The Queen Park Swizzle duo will remind us that more orders led to more misinformed votes from those who only sampled one beverage.

Regardless of who deserves the crown, overall the cocktail competition was a win. We learned useful skills that aren’t often taught in the classroom, had fun, brought in incremental sales for Samai and met some interesting people.

After shaking and stirring as celebrity bartenders for the night, it was back to our real lives Excel modeling and PowerPoint-ing as consultants at the Samai office the next morning. It was fun while it lasted, but there’s still work to do!

Back to work

Back to work