IBD Blog “Dois dias no Brasil”

By Varstation Team Member, Dakota Campbell, MBA Candidate 2020

São Paulo Skyline

São Paulo Skyline

As a relatively inexperienced international traveler, I did not know what to expect when signing up for IBD other than that I’d stretch myself personally. As I was assigned to team Varstation in São Paulo, Brazil, I was excited to visit a country to which I had never been, but that my Brazilian classmates spoke highly of. After spending 3 weeks in country working with my Haas classmates and the Varstation team, I can certainly confirm that it was a transformative experience. Week days working in the office with the Varstation team and weekends exploring Brazil with my classmates both contributed immensely to the experience in unique ways. Profiling a “typical” week day and our shared weekend in Rio will paint the most complete picture of the Brazilian IBD experience.

Example of student deliverableWeek Day

The work days typically began with 6:15am alarm to rattle us out of our comfortable hotel beds. I’d fumble around the room for clothes and brush my teeth before heading upstairs to the hotel gym for a team workout! Depending on the adventures of the night before, team participation varied but was a great way to start each day. Afterwards, we’d all run downstairs to shower and hustle out the door for Starbucks on the way in to the office – a 20-minute cab ride from our hotel. Side note: we appeared the most American at Starbucks via our iced coffee or café filtrado orders as all the locals drink espresso-based drinks!

IBD/Varstation final presentation

IBD/Varstation final presentation

Our client, Varstation, is a genetic analysis software company that is in the process of spinning out of the prestigious Albert Einstein hospital in Brazil. Our office was located within an incubator that serves as a satellite office for the various companies the hospital is incubating in the Vila Mariana neighborhood. The Varstation team was gracious enough to carve out a conference room for us to set up shop for three weeks to finish all the deliverables we had been working towards over the semester.

IBD Touring Albert Einstein Hospital’s Sequencing Lab

IBD Touring Albert Einstein Hospital’s Sequencing Lab

You can’t have IBD without the work, so what did we actually work on? Our three main deliverables for the project were a spinoff playbook, market prioritization, and competitive audit. The spinoff playbook delivered best practices, case studies, and a synthesis of critical success factors across financing, governance, leadership structure, and business strategy. Market prioritization distilled down many factors including total healthcare spend, genetic analysis competition, market growth, etc. across ~26 different global markets to determine where Varstation could best expand in the near to mid term beyond Brazil. The competitive audit profiled four key competitors in the genomic space to provide Varstation with a competitive intelligence report. This report enables Varstation to more effectively compete by seeing services that are offered by everyone, what they do better or worse than others in the industry, how their value proposition stacks up, etc. Since the Varstation team is primarily comprised of computer engineers / coders working towards building their software, these higher-level business strategy documents were far beyond the scope of their daily activities and created value by more concretely guiding their business at it continues to take shape.

Our IBD team was usually in the office from ~9am to 630pm working towards these deliverables. We’d grab lunch at any one of several local eateries for lunch with many Varstation team members. This break for lunch is an integral part of Brazilian culture, as they can often take upwards of 90 minutes – a stark contrast to eating lunch at my desk as I was used to in the states. Our favorite destination was the “boteco”, a Brazilian staple that is a mix of a local café, corner store, and diner. Lunches were heavier than I was accustomed to, ranging from chicken parmigiana to a huge “corner” omelet, all served with rice, beans, and French fries.

After staving off the food-induced afternoon sleepiness, we’d finish our work for the day and depart the office back to our hotel. We stayed in the Itaim Bibi neighborhood which was a wealthier suburb, containing many stores for shopping and restaurants. We’d typically take 45 minutes upon returning to the hotel for personal tasks – tough to keep your life in order while out of the country for a month! Most nights the team would then all go to one of many local restaurants for dinner, spanning styles from Japanese, Brazilian, Mexican, American, etc. After dinner, we’d typically return to the hotel around 930pm. I’d put on the Warriors or Bruins games on the TV in the room and enjoy watching with the excitable Portuguese commentary, before going to bed around midnight to start the following day all over again!

Weekend in Rio

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Jainero

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Jainero

Our team had two weekends in Brazil where we could really cut it loose and see more of what the country had to offer. Since there were 4 separate IBD teams stationed in Brazil, we took the opportunity to plan a weekend in Rio together. Despite it being early winter in Brazil, Rio was still warm enough where we could take advantage of the nightlife, beach, and general outdoor ethos of the city. Teams from São Paulo, Florianopolis, and San Jose all assembled into two shared rental houses for a weekend full of shenanigans.

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Jainero

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Jainero

On Friday night we all grabbed quick dinners, and then headed for the street fair located in the center of the city. Here, numerous food vendors, drink carts, musicians, etc. lined the central park of the city near a major nightlife district. The streets were filled with locals and tourists celebrating, popping into the local bars and eateries before spilling back out into the central street party. Samba music mixed with contemporary American music to create a truly unique cultural immersion.

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Jainero

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Jainero

On Saturday we all rebounded from the late night Friday by heading straight to the iconic beaches of Rio. Despite it being early winter, the midday temperatures were over 70F and the water was delightful to swim in. Most of us relaxed on the beach for the day, strolling down to check out the coast line, and getting drinks from beachside vendors. When late afternoon arrived, some of us decided to hop in cabs and head to Sugar Loaf Mountain, a high mountain at the edge of Rio that has a system of cable cars to take you up top for a breathtaking vista. It was a truly expansive view of the entire city. The only issue was that we were still damp from swimming and it was unsurprisingly window at the top of the peak, which you can see from some crazy hair in the second picture below! We grabbed a glass a wine from a vendor at one of these peaks and listened to a live band before departing for a pre-planned, all group dinner.

iew from the top of SugarLoaf; Multi-team photo

Multi-team photo

View from the top of SugarLoaf;

View from the top of SugarLoaf;

As a sendoff for the broader Brazil IBD teams, we planned a nice dinner Saturday night before everyone departed at varying times on Sunday. We went to the local restaurant Bazaar, where most people indulged in seafood paired with Argentinian wines. We even squeezed all of us into one photo!

Wrap up

Overall, the IBD experience pushed me outside my comfort zone, both personally and professionally. I had never worked internationally before, and all my international clients had previously come from Europe. Getting used to the more laid-back Brazilian culture away from the comforts of home tested me over the 3+ weeks I was out of country. Personally, it brought me close with my IBD team members Stephen Collins, Erika Renson, Michael de Lyon, and Moto Takai. Whenever you’re out of your element, as we were in Brazil, the uncomfortable external environment really draws you close to those most similar to you. From that standpoint, I really appreciated IBD in that it brought me closer to my teammates. We now share a truly unique experience between us, and I hope that propagates in our relationships beyond our time at Haas. As for our client team at Varstation, they were truly gracious hosts and a fun-loving bunch, and I hope to track Varstation’s progress and keep in touch with them moving forward.

Full Brazil IBD team photo in Rio

Full Brazil IBD team photo in Rio

Haas in the World: IBD Students are currently in-country

Team Embraer in São José dos Campos at Embraer Headquarters

Team Embraer in São José dos Campos at Embraer Headquarters

“Our Embraer IBD team had an excellent first week in Brazil! After enjoying the beauty of Iguazu Falls, we’ve been well taken care of in São Jose dos Campos by Embraer, our client and the third largest aerospace manufacturer in the world. From a tour of the executive jet assembly floor on day one to numerous daily working sessions with company leaders mapping the existing situation for the company’s innovation work, the company has been deeply engaged in the project. We’ve even met some Embraer Vice Presidents and Directors! It’s a fascinating project, and a critical one for the company’s future ability to innovate and grow in a competitive industry. We’re excited to be working with Embraer, and looking forward to an exciting remaining two weeks, including an interactive multi-day workshop with senior leadership to map the future innovation strategy of the company.”  – Team Lead Brian Bell

Team Ananda

Team Ananda

“We’ve had a great time meeting with our client counterparts. Everyone on the team can agree that this past week and a half has been an incredible learning experience. We have learned so much about working in a foreign business environment, something we could not have achieved without the IBD program and actually being in-country with our clients and their stakeholders.”  – Team Lead Fay Yu

Team Seva in Nepal

Team Seva in Nepal

Berkeley Haas MBA students Alix Slosberg, Elinor Chang, Lauren Greenwood, Ryan Overcash and Ryan Adams represent one of 16 IBD teams working with IBD clients in-country for three weeks.  Alix, Elinor, Lauren, Ryan and Ryan are working with the Seva Foundation and its partner, Palpa Lions Lakaul Eye Hospital in Nepal.

Enjoy more photos from IBD teams working around the world:

 

Berkeley Haas 2019 MBA Commencement, Patrick Awuah, MBA ’99

Patrick Awuah speaking at Berkeley Haas Commencement

For the MBA class of 2019, Friday, May 24th, was an exciting day of celebration as Evening & Weekend and Full-Time MBAs crossed the stage at the Greek Theatre to accept their hard earned MBA diplomas.  It was also a special day for the IBD program as former IBD student Patrick Awuah delivered the commencement address. In his remarks, Patrick spoke of his time at Berkeley Haas spent working on his business plan for Ashesi University, along with five other MBA students.  He told the audience that “Ashesi started here, and I recognize the fact that there are not many places where this could have happened. We all had hope that it was going to be a remarkable institution, but it has exceeded even our loftiest dreams.”

Team Ashesi after presentation in Uganda

Team Ashesi at a presentation in Ghana

The IBD program is pleased to acknowledge Patrick’s leadership and the growth of Ashesi University, as many of our IBD teams have benefited from the continued development of this remarkable African institution.  IBD students have worked on 13 separate consulting projects with Ashesi University since the year 2000, including a team of five MBA students who are currently in Ghana for three weeks. Check back with us as the latest IBD Ashesi team writes a blog that shares their unique experience of working with the faculty, staff and students of Ashesi University.

David Richardson and Patrick Awuah

David Richardson and Patrick Awuah

To see the Berkeley Haas 2019 MBA commencement and view the video of Patrick Awuah’s address, click here.  To read the address only, click here.

 

IBD Welcomes Arman Zand to the Summer 2019 EWMBA IBD Program

Arman Zand is a very busy person. On his LinkedIn profile, he lists four positions that he currently holds: Head of Finance at Farmstead, Advisor at Eyelevel.ai, Advisor at SkyDeck, and Lecturer at the Haas School of Business.  Arman is also a father of a three year old, and he has just been named as the summer 2019 Evening & Weekend (EWMBA) IBD program Faculty Director.  As a Berkeley Haas EWMBA alumnus and former IBD project client, Arman brings with him first hand knowledge as to what makes IBD a success for both MBA students and project clients.  He also has extensive international experience, having lived and worked in China, India, Africa, Latin America, and EMEA. Recently we interviewed Arman and discussed his new role as EWMBA IBD program Faculty Director.  Please see the results of our interview with Arman below.

Question:   What was your motivation for taking on the Faculty Director role for the summer 2019 Evening & Weekend MBA IBD program?

Arman:  I hosted IBD in China for two consecutive years when I lived there. I believe international experience is an important part of the MBA program and I wanted to help IBD continue its great success.  

2019 EWMBA SIB China class in Shanghai

2019 EWMBA SIB China class in Shanghai

Question:  What do you hope to get out of the position?  What skills or experience do you hope to bring to the position and your students?

Arman: I hope to help our students deliver great projects for IBD clients while helping provide an environment where our students can have a great experience. I bring 18 years of international business development having lived/worked in China, India, Africa, LatAm, and EMEA. I’m also a life-long student of leadership and entrepreneurship. I aim to to bring my personal experience to the class.

Question:  How will your former role as an IBD client shape you in this new role?

Arman: As a two-time IBD client, I was able to help the teams define the scope to a project that can be successful. This was proved to be very important as the project progressed and our business requirements changed mid-project. Furthermore, expectation setting can be crucial in good project management and we did that well in the projects I hosted.

Question:  You have a very busy life. How do you manage all of these priorities?

Arman: Great question. I’m also a father to a 3-year old with whom I really enjoy spending my free time. I’m not known to be super organized. But I’m really good at compartmentalizing. I’ve trained myself to multi-task and prioritize really well. I have very little time for hobbies (no TV in our house). But I truly enjoy my work.

Featured is the Haas Alumni News: Ted Hartnell, MBA 99, Arman Zand, MBA 09, and Ann Hsu, MBA 98, in a Kazakh yurt while visiting uibek Dairy Products in Xinjiang

Featured is the Haas Alumni News: Ted Hartnell, MBA 99, Arman Zand, MBA 09, and Ann Hsu, MBA 98, in a Kazakh yurt while visiting uibek Dairy Products in Xinjiang

Question:  What do you want your students to know about you?

Arman: I’m super passionate about my work and I don’t hold back. I’m very transparent and I speak my mind. I’m super committed to my class and I sacrifice a lot to be present both physically and mentally. I expect the same from students.  

Question:  You also lead Seminar in Business (SIB) trips for Berkeley Haas.  How are these experiences different or similar in your mind?

Arman: SIB is a great class but it’s very intense. We only have 3-4 hour classes at Haas and then a week on the ground. That leaves very little time for content but a lot of time for the immersed experience. IBD has more class time and the immersion is less intense. But the workload is a lot more demanding.  (Editor’s note: the current EWMBA IBD program includes two weeks of in-country teamwork and the presentation of a final deliverable to the project client.)

Question:  As a Berkeley Haas MBA alumnus, do you take your experience as a student into your teaching philosophy?

Arman: Absolutely. I’ve made it well known that I didn’t have a great SIB experience as

Arman Zand Skiing

a student (11 years ago) so I have a good sense for what to avoid and what to focus on. I also know that many of our students are working full-time and have families. I try to be as flexible as possible while being fair to everyone.

Question:  What is your favorite country to visit and what country is on your bucket list?

Arman: My favorite country to visit is Japan.  I can never eat enough Omakase. My bucket list is Cuba.  

Question:  What do you do for fun outside of work?

Arman:  I try to exercise when I have free time. As a teacher, I also like being a student. I  have a tennis coach, a basketball coach, and a ski instructor. I learn quickly and I’m very coachable.

Interview with ‘19 MBA Libby Andrada; IBD Alum and now 2019 IBD Graduate Student Instructor

Team Makerere in Kampala with the Prime Minister of Uganda

Team Makerere in Kampala with the Prime Minister of Uganda

IBD is fortunate to have former ‘18 IBD Team Lead, Libby Andrada, join this year’s IBD program as a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI).  Her role is to offer the IBD Staff and Faculty Mentors insights into the current student perspective on the IBD program. IBD interviewed Libby about her experience as an IBD student last year, as well as her role as a GSI this year.

IBD 2018 Team Makerere- Renee Medina, Luca Cosentino, Tamara Pace-Emerson, Logan Gallogly, Libby Andrada

IBD 2018 Team Makerere- Renee Medina, Luca Cosentino, Tamara Pace-Emerson, Logan Gallogly, Libby Andrada

IBD:  As a Team Lead for the Spring 2018 IBD Program with Makerere University.  Tell us a bit about the project you worked on while in Kampala?

Libby:  We worked with Makerere University and the government of Uganda to develop a strategy to grow the country’s tourism sector. Our time in Uganda was spent interviewing tourism industry stakeholders and exploring the country as tourists ourselves.

To read a blog written by Libby and her IBD Team about their experience in Uganda, click here.

IBD:  What surprised you most about what you got out of the IBD program?

Libby: What surprised me most about the IBD program was the access and responsibility our team was given. Our project was focused on growing one of Uganda’s most promising industries. We presented our final recommendations to the Prime Minister and various Ministers and members of government, including the Minister of Tourism.

IBD:  Why did you decide you wanted to return this year as a GSI for the IBD program?  

Libby:  I had such a positive experience with IBD last year and learned so much that I wanted to give back to the program. Additionally, thinking back on my experience, I thought I would have benefited from knowing more about the student experience before our time in country with the team and the client – and wanted to share my learnings and experiences with this year’s IBD class.

2018 IBD Team Makerere

2018 IBD Team Makerere

IBD: It’s early in the semester, but have you gotten what you wanted out of the experience?

Libby: My favorite part so far has been brainstorming and problem solving with the different teams. The projects are all so different and I’ve enjoyed learning about the projects and trying to provide insights or examples from my own experience where I can.

IBD: How does it feel to be on the other side now, working with the staff and Faculty on the program verses being a student in the program?

Libby:  I have so much more insight into all the behind the scenes work that takes place in order to make the program possible! I’m also realizing how, despite the differences in projects, there are a lot of learnings and experiences that can be shared across groups.

IBD: Do you have any advice for MBA students in IBD now?  How about for prospective students looking at Berkeley Haas and IBD?

IBD Big Reveal Day - 2018 IBD Team Makerere

IBD Big Reveal Day – 2018 IBD Team Makerere

Libby: For current IBD students, my advice is to enjoy it! It goes by so fast and it’s one of the most unique experiences you can have at Haas. For prospective students looking at Berkeley Haas and IBD, I’ve learned that IBD is very unique to Haas. It allows students to not only gain consulting experience, but experience working in a different country with a different culture, which is extremely valuable.

IBD: What was the most memorable thing about IBD or traveling to Kampala?

Libby: The most memorable thing was presenting to the Prime Minister and then sitting next to him at a dinner that was hosted in our honor – that was a ‘pinch myself’ moment. Our team also got to go on safaris in Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison Falls National Parks, which was a definite highlight.

IBD: After you graduate, what will you be doing?  Will you bring any of the skills or experiences learned in IBD to your new role?

Libby: After graduation I’ll be at Parthenon in San Francisco, so the skills I gained through IBD are very relevant! One of my biggest takeaways is the importance of expectation setting and being open and comfortable with ambiguity.

The IBD staff and Faculty Mentors are thrilled to have Libby on the team, and we look forward to her continued insights and contributions to the 2019 IBD program.  

IBD Helps EWMBA Student Pivot to New Role: Interview with Shaun Hundle, ‘19

Shaun Hundle, Haas MBA '19

Shaun Hundle, Haas ’19

Evening & Weekend MBA (EWMBA) student Shaun Hundle, ‘19, is graduating in May.  Shortly after that he will start a new role as the Manager in Consulting & Analytics division at Visa.  Shaun was a 2018 Summer IBD student who spent two months working on a project with a financial services company located in Mexico City.  We interviewed Shaun about his IBD experience and how it helped him pivot to his new career position.

IBD:  What is your current position now?  

Shaun: I am a Project Manager at the Swedish Trade and Invest Council, a go-to-market consultancy affiliated with the government of Sweden to assist Swedish companies to expand globally. As Team Lead of our Healthcare and Life Science practice, I’ve spent most of my time with small to mid-size Swedish companies looking to enter and grow in the U.S.

IBD:  Tell us a little about your new upcoming role at Visa as a Manager in Consulting & Analytics division?

Shaun and his team in Mexico during 2018 IBD Summer program

Shaun and his team in Mexico during 2018 IBD Summer program

Shaun: I will take on a Manager role on the Consulting & Analytics team. I will still be client facing (although focusing on only one or two clients at the same time, unlike at my current company) and leading the internal delivery. At Visa I will be working more with quantitative data than the qualitative consulting I’ve focused on to date, so I see this as an excellent opportunity to gain a new skill set and transition to the fin-tech industry with a globally recognized company.

IBD:  You worked for a large financial company in Mexico City last summer for the 2018 IBD program. Did this experience offer you new skills or insights that helped identify this new opportunity for a career shift?

Absolutely! The work we did was very similar to the type of work I will be doing with Visa’s clients, including data analysis. Having this type of hands on consulting experience gave me very relevant experience to talk about in my interviews with Visa, as well as strong knowledge in the retail banking and payments industry ecosystem.

IBD: What did you take away from the IBD experience that you plan to apply to this new role?

Shaun:  I learned quite a bit about how to leverage influence in a larger organization, as well as understanding how to manage various stakeholders from different divisions who we were responsible for delivering to. My big take-a-way was that it’s important to listen and build trust with various stakeholders before doing the more complicated work of presenting and recommending solutions that some stakeholders may not like.

Shaun Hundle and Team- 2018 IBD summer final presentation for client

Shaun Hundle and Team- 2018 IBD summer final presentation for client

IBD:  Do you have advice for other MBA students who are thinking of a career change? How can they utilize the IBD experience to test this hypothesis?

Shaun: IBD gave me the opportunity to have an “internship-like” summer project that became invaluable to speak about in my interviews and conversations when I was recruiting in the Fall, so I think this is a great opportunity for Evening & Weekend MBA students especially. It definitely allowed me to pivot towards tech, fintech, and consulting roles a bit easier than previously, since I had direct experience I could point to. Although I had previous consulting experience, I didn’t have much experience working in fintech, retail banking, or payments, but the exposure to the industry I received through IBD was great in helping me decide where I wanted to focus for Fall recruiting. There is a high level of diversity in the types of IBD clients and industries which makes it a bit of an adventure, but there is a lot one can gain out of the experience, especially if you are still a career or industry explorer.

End of Interview:

We in the IBD program love hearing from our IBD students about their experience working on international consulting projects, and we especially love it when the experience contributes to making valuable career choices.  Shaun’s experience is not unlike many MBA students who participate in the IBD program. If you are a Berkeley Haas MBA student, and would like more information about IBD, click here or contact the IBD program office.

The IBD Big Reveal for Team Members

Elinor Chang finding out she is working with Seva Foundation

Elinor Chang finding out she is working with Seva Foundation

IBD Team Members Find Out Their IBD Projects:

A significant day in the IBD spring program took place on February 14, 2019: “The Big Reveal”.  This is the day during which all IBD students (Team Leads and Team Members) come together for the first time in their IBD class.  It is also the day during which the Team Members learn for the first time the nature of their IBD projects, their clients, their teammates, and where they will travel in May for their in-country experience.

Team Dura-Line gives hugs

Team Dura-Line hugs

Video Reveal:

In continuation of a recently established IBD tradition, our sixteen student Team Leads created short videos to show during the IBD Big Reveal, introducing their respective IBD projects to the newly announced Team Members on their team. IBD Executive Director David Richardson had this to say about the event: “Each video was thoughtfully crafted, and it was so much fun to see the newly identified Team Members jumping up to greet their new Team Lead and other Team Members. There were hugs, high fives and the occasional handshakes, as some Team Members and Leads were meeting each other for the first time.” 

Team Makerere's Pat and Nick give high fives

Team Makerere’s Pat and Nick give high fives

What’s Next?

Now that the IBD student teams have come together for the first time, there is a lot of work to be done.  IBD teams will immediately arrange to meet with their global clients via video conference, beginning the process of learning about the organization and the project problem they are being asked to solve.  A great deal of teamwork, team building, and analysis of different countries and industries still needs to be done before each IBD student team can travel to their respective project destinations.

IBD 2019 MBA Students

IBD 2019 MBA Students

Clients and Destinations:

Every year, IBD is fortunate to work with phenomenal international project clients, and this year is no exception.  This year’s client organizations are diverse in size and industry, and represent a mix of for-profit, non-profit, education, and social enterprises.  Each IBD project is important to each client, and is fully expected to add a great deal of value to the organization. In fact, in one of the introduction videos to her new Team Members, the IBD Team Lead tells her new team that the work they will do for their client is “intended to scale globally and will affect every company in the corporate world.”  What an amazing opportunity this is for our MBA students!

Out of the sixteen project clients working with IBD this year, eight are returning from past IBD projects — including five who have had projects during each of the last three years.  This coming May, 80 IBD students will travel to 15 different countries during their three weeks of in-country project experience.

Hugs all around

Hugs all around

The entire IBD team at Berkeley Haas, including faculty and staff, is excited to be a part of our students’ unique and challenging project experience. We look forward to sharing more with our readers during the next three months, leading up to the IBD students’  and especially time in-country. Stay tuned; there is a lot of fun ahead! To check out more photos from the IBD Big Reveal class, click here.