Getting started

To get a sense of the evolution of our project, one could start with the name of our team. Initially, we – Theo, Vaisakh, Josh, Asli, and myself (Cameron) – were assigned to groupelephant.com, a South African for-profit company with a  “three-zone” business model consisting of a for-profit software business as well as non-profit and impact investing activities around wildlife conservation and poverty alleviation. The client was frustrated that all of the good work it had done for conserving elephants and rhinos had gone nearly unmentioned in the press, and hired us to turn that around.

After a semester in Berkeley figuring out how to market this unique business model to a corporate audience in the U.S., we decided to refocus our efforts on just the non-profit entity of groupelephant.com, ERP – short for Elephants, Rhinos, and People. We were fortunate to work with Quintin Smith, a Haas alum himself, who embodied the passion and entrepreneurial spirit we came to recognize in all of ERP and groupelephant.com.

On The road!

The highlight of our three-week trip was without a doubt heading down two days after we arrived to a wildlife reserve in the Eastern Cape. The reserve had recently suffered a tragic rhino poaching, and we were there to discuss steps the reserve could take to protect the rest of its herd. These conversations dovetailed nicely with one of our final deliverables, developing an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign for a technology-driven rhino security solution.

Every good Indiegogo campaign has a short video to go along with it. So we had to take to the streets – er, the dusty trails – of the reserve to start shooting some film.

To get the best lighting, we woke up at the crack of dawn for some sunrise safaris…

Our director and team lead, Theo, with his cinematographer Rob (of ERP)

Our director and team lead, Theo, with his cinematographer Rob (of ERP)

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…and went back for round two as the sun set:

 

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With this trip, we really took mixing business and pleasure to new heights – we struggled to think of another time when we’d be holding team meetings around a campfire, or conducting research from the back of a safari truck.

Enjoying my fifteen minutes (seconds?) of fame as a stand-in for our interviewees.

Enjoying my fifteen minutes (seconds?) of fame as a stand-in for our interviewees.

Our crew hard at work

Our crew hard at work

As much as we loved our time on the reserve, eventually, we had to pack our bags and say goodbye.

Me, Josh, and Vaisakh on a final ride with our German-Spanish-French tour guide Pablo

Me, Josh, and Vaisakh on a final ride with our German-Spanish-French tour guide Pablo

A weekend retreat

Fortunately for us, the Quintinator was not about to let us go back to Pretoria quite yet. Instead, he and the rest of the crew took us up to Modumela, a ranch several hours north of the city.

After several days of filming and focusing exclusively on our Indiegogo campaign, we needed to step back for a moment to think through our project’s broader objectives.

Hard at work, clearly

Hard at work, clearly

But it was the weekend, and we made sure to relax:

Learning new hobbies

Learning new hobbies

Grilling full chickens!

Grilling full chickens!

Closing down the campfire at 2? 3am?

Closing down the campfire at 2? 3am?

The real work begins

When we got back to Pretoria, we buckled down in the office and got back to work. We had a gargantuan task ahead of us: taking a semester’s worth of research, conversations, and observations and coming up with a succinct yet comprehensive branding for this burgeoning non-profit. Very quickly, we realized that this work was more than just a marketing exercise; it was getting to the heart of ERP’s strategic first, figuring out how to communicate it second.

Like any good first-year Haas students, we got our PFPS on:

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The Windy City

Despite being in crunch time, we managed to find time to get away, just the five of us – the dream team. We spent the weekend in beautiful Cape Town, taking a much needed break from everything branding, marketing, and frameworks.

Asli making some new friends

Asli making some new friends

 

Blown away by Table Mountain!

Blown away by Table Mountain!

Elephants, rhinos…and sea lions?

Elephants, rhinos…and sea lions?

Wrapping up

In the end, we delivered a comprehensive branding and marketing action plan for our client. This final report provided some realistic, actionable recommendations for coordinating ERP’s communication from the inside out.

It wasn’t always the easiest process – we took the liberty of proposing some bold new ideas, and the clients didn’t always pick up what we were putting down, sending us back to the drawing board. This entire experience was undoubtedly a valuable learning process. If anything, we learned that, for all of the immense value of the Haas core curriculum, what works in a business setting isn’t always the most feasible for a young non-profit. We didn’t realize it at the time, but our challenge was adapting what we had learned in Marketing (and in Strategy, Leading People, Leadership Communications…) and adapting it for an untraditional setting. Three weeks and many Post-Its later, we can confidently say that we “cracked the code” on non-profit marketing.

All done!

All done!

As for me, I learned that, when you have the right crew by your side, getting around the South African bush on crutches isn’t so hard. I wasn’t sure what three weeks abroad while unable to walk properly would be like, but with help and support from my awesome team, I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. It was, as Josh would say, truly something special.

The Big Five

The Big Five

Alumni Spotlight: Angela Dorsey-Kockler – Dual Degrees and a Delicious Career

Angela Dorsey-Kockler EWMBA 06, RD, a native of Lacon, Illinois, first came to California to complete her dietetic internship, which would allow her to become a registered dietitian.  Since she was passionate about her work and her independence, and wanted to stand out in her field  she came to Berkeley to continue her education.

Working full-time and attending Berkeley-Haas at night, Angela was driven to complete her MBA.  During her tenure at Berkeley, Angela worked as an Infant Nutrition Representative for Nestle, USA, educating physicians and nurses about infant nutrition products. Once graduated, Nestle promoted Angela to a Marketing Associate.  She says her Haas experience taught her to be competitive and confident and gave her the essential business skills she needed to take on this new role.

Though grateful for the exposure and experience she received at Nestle, Angela was happy to move on to a smaller, more entrepreneurial firm called Promax (an energy bar company).  There she was able to have her “hand in many pots,” which made the work more demanding, but also more interesting and fulfilling,.

Angela found success, – not shocking given her determination to “do [her] own thing,” and consequently, all those pretty letters after her name.

Currently Angela works as a stay at home mother, yet still gives back to her field and community by volunteering as the President of Portland Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The organization aims to promote the success of RDs in their communities as well to improve the health of local citizens through food and nutrition.

In her current volunteer role Angela applies her Haas foundation to the great work she does. Managing volunteers to maintain focus on the common vision presents challenges, but she is excited to be learning more about non-profit work.

Angela is taking steps toward her ultimate dream job, which would be to own and run a non-profit restaurant for low-income, high-obesity families in her community.  The idea would be to provide an affordable alternative to people in need of a fast food option due to time constraints. Angela is thrilled about this “next phase” in her life, and the entrepreneurial dream really does suit her reality.

In her free time, Angela works on edible landscaping, and even envisions a chicken coop in her backyard to further promote ecologically and financially sustainable foods in her own home. Her work and her goals are truly inspiring, and she advises that Haas grads be open minded to all opportunities they may come across.  This “wavy curvy road” can lead to many places you wouldn’t predict, she says, and indeed it can. Admittedly, “it’s scary to go out and try something new,” but Angela is proof that it is well worth the risk.

In the Eyes of a Mexican Ophthalmologist

Team salaUno is working in Mexico City with salaUno, a for-profit social enterprise that seeks to eliminate needless blindness by providing low-cost cataract surgeries. EWMBA students Thomas Chuang, Stephanie Lai, Aarti Shetty, and Shailendra Srivastava are developing salaUno’s value proposition for ophthalmologists. 

Hola amigos! Although none of us have medical backgrounds, we now better understand the point of view of a Mexican ophthalmologist after spending 2 weeks at salaUno. We conducted 9 individual interviews and 2 focus groups with salaUno ophthalmologists. Drawing from our PFPS and Leading People courses, we engaged the doctors in a Post-It idea generation exercise and dot-voting to brainstorm ways in which salaUno can retain and recruit doctors.

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Shailendra, Thomas, and Aarti with the doctors

The doctors commented that the focus group was a great exercise that helped them come together as a team to discuss issues of concerns and brainstorm solutions.  We discussed some potential solutions that we had developed, and their feedback gave us useful insights.

After spending Wednesday and Thursday preparing for our final presentation for the co-CEOs and HR Director of salaUno, we felt privileged to have a professional photographer, Val Torres, come to salaUno to take photos of the clinic and our presentation. A few select pictures are included below, and here is the entire gallery for your viewing pleasure: http://valtorres.jalbum.net/SalaUno/

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Thomas, Shailendra, Stephanie, and Aarti with patients in the waiting room

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Team salaUno with 2 ophthalmologists, Omar Honerlage and Flor Reyes

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Team salaUno with Co-CEOs Javier Okhuysen and Carlos Orellana (Haas MBA/MPH ’10)

Our presentation became a 3-hour meaningful and constructive dialogue with salaUno’s co-CEOs. Reflecting on the past month, we’ve learned about the complexities of scaling a health care business, as well as leading and motivating people effectively. Muchos gracias for an amazing IBD experience!

Team Habanero Spices it up for EPI-USE!

Team Habanero (we’ll explain later) was recently in the United Kingdom, Australia, and South Africa working with EPI-USE on a project to build a forward-looking operational model to help senior leaders better understand regional performance and share best practices across EPI-USE, globally.

Our team was thrilled to learn that our International Business Development experience would be supporting a Haas alum, Quintin Smith.  Working with an alum was a privilege. Quintin went above and beyond to show us how important this project, and our professional development, was to him. Quintin is a 2008 FTMBA alum from Haas and joined EPI-USE upon graduating. This brought him back to his native South Africa, and more specifically, to his hometown of Pretoria which is also home to EPI-USE Global HQ.

A bit more on EPI-USE:  a technology solutions provider traditionally focused on SAP Human Capital Management products and implementations.  In additional to South Africa, EPI-USE has 3 other major Territories of operation: Australia, United Kingdom and the U.S. Luckily enough for our team, this meant we would have the unique opportunity to travel to multiple countries during our in-country stint.

Early on, the team realized that we had something big on our hands. Every week, we spent time with Quintin via telephone, bouncing ideas off of him and reporting on our progress.  Not only that, we held bi-weekly calls with Jonathan Tager, Group CEO of EPI-USE.  Jonathan was extremely engaged throughout our project, making sure that we had all the resources and access needed to build or model and understand the operations in each of the four regions.

The team spent a considerable amount of time scoping the project, making sure that our expectations were challenging, yet manageable.  This time proved to be crucial as we began to delve deeper into the nuances and differences in operations among the regions. Before traveling to the regions, we scoured their financial statements and held in-depth interviews with the leaders and head accountants in each region.  Our goal was to have a good understanding of the business before arriving in-country.  One key milestone we wanted to achieve was to have a working excel prototype of the model ready before our travel – and we did!

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Berkeley > London & Sydney > Pretoria

As we mentioned before, in order to build our model with the level of accuracy required, we had to travel to each of the regions and uncover the drivers of revenues and costs.  Stephen and Kevin traveled to the UK while Rodrigo and I headed off to Sydney.  What we found there was no surprise: amazing people! An overarching theme of our IBD experience was the generosity, hospitality and kindness of each and every EPI-USE employee we encountered. Our team was taken aback by the level of caring showed by our hosts.  When we needed their time, they were there, no questions asked.  We cannot say enough about the unique culture at EPI-USE, where we learned ‘management’ is a verb, not a noun (thanks, Jonathan!).

So what did we do? After building a solid understanding of the EPI-USE business, including how the company earned and invested money, we iterated on our excel-based model.  These iterations made for some long days…

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We worked long days…

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…and long nights (Julio was the resident photographer. He actually did do some work)

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Sleep? We got it however we could!

We certainly do not want to portray our IBD experience as all work. We played…a LOT! It was our first time in these countries, and we took full advantage thanks to our extraordinary hosts.

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Rodrigo (left) and Julio (right) in Sydney

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Kevin in London

South Africa was unbelievable. We saved rhinos! In South Africa today, rhinoceros poaching has reached an all-time high, threatening the species. They are poached for their horns, which can fetch upwards of $250,000 USD on the black market. We had the extremely rare opportunity to participate in the transport of a number rhinos, which were being moved to platinum mine, where they would be heavily guarded against poachers.

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Kevin (left) and Rodrigo (right) on safari

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Stephen getting up close and personal with the rhinos.

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This was basically dinner each night.

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In the end, our project was a success.  Our model was well received and is being piloted in the UK.  We have memories to last a life time.  Thank you EPI-USE and a special thanks to Quintin!

Oh, and we were dubbed Team Habanero because Quintin always wanted us to go the extra mile in our analysis.  He encouraged us to be creative and think outside of the box.  He called it “making things spicy”!

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The guys found some time to play a few holes before hopping on their flights back home.

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Discovering electronic identity in Hong Kong – defining a global strategy

Team 2 checking in from Hong Kong, where we just finished up our project for an international security and systems integration company.  We used many of the tools from our strategy class to provide the company with recommendations on how they should attack the electronic identification market and to assess their internal and external fit.

Arriving very excited for our three weeks of work, we were in for a couple surprises on our first day.  After walking a few blocks from the MTR station in what may have been the most humid weather I’ve experienced, we arrived early at our office only to find that the facial recognition system was down.  We mingled with a handful of company employees in the lobby, which felt more like a sauna, until someone with a key finally arrived.  Soaked in sweat wasn’t how I imagined starting the first day.

When lunchtime rolled around, the company invited us to join them for dim sum.  Chicken feet weren’t something I had planned on eating in my life, but when in Rome… This video more or less sums up our cultural experience at lunch – check it out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_WAmt3cMdk – though our food was delicious!

Our final surprise of the day came when we learned part of the team may be going to a biometrics conference in Sydney – question was, who would go?  We ended the day by dodging a massive thunderstorm at The Pawn with the other IBD team working in Hong Kong for some cold beers.

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(view of Kowloon from our hotel)

Our accommodations were a little bit further away from Central Hong Kong, but the compromise was size and quality.  Real estate is very expensive in Hong Kong, and as we saw from the other group’s rooms (maybe 6’x6′ with a bathroom and shower included), it’s very tough to find space.  Here’s a quick peak at our place:

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(we shared a couple of 2-bedroom suites for our stay – we were quite comfortable)

As I eluded to earlier, this was an adventure that included many surprises, one of which was the weather.  Our first taste of Hong Kong was particularly rainy – thanks monsoon season!  After peering out our office windows at the dark and ominous skies, we heard that many people in Hong Kong hope for “black rain” – an advisory from the weather service to stay home and off the roads, which happens every few years and people run to the shopping malls and movie theaters.  Nobody goes to work.  You can guess what happened next.

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(weather advisory warning >70mm of rain per hour – advised to take shelter)

Another theme for our trip is FOOD – and a lot of it.  We’re pretty sure as a group that we tacked on something like 30 pounds while we’ve been here.  Our experiences have varied from traditional Cantonese all the way back to the unforgettable taste of a bacon cheeseburger.  You’ll see below just a selection of the impressive feats Team 2 was able to accomplish.

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(Michael enjoying not one, but two dinners – he’s a growing boy)

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(Richard discovering the difference between a 1/2 lb burger and 1/2 kilo burger in Sydney – and why i love the metric system)

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(demonstrating western culture – Richard inexplicably clears his plate)

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(incredible sushi spread at dragon-i, where we met up again with our classmates and our Berkeley alumni project sponsors.  sadly i was only able to capture one of the seven courses of our dinner)

We want to say a special thank you to our friends in Hong Kong – for all the lunches, dinners and guidance you gave us while we were here, and for your patience and willingness to help as we navigated the uncertain waters of the identity document market.  There were many twists and turns along the way, and we asked a lot a questions.  I hope we were able to provide you with some answers that will be valuable to you in the future.

We learned how difficult it is trying to converge on a single strategic direction when faced with so many options.  We dipped into our post-it note collection and wore out a few dry-erase markers before arriving at our conclusions, and now come back to Berkeley looking forward to the next time Ned asks us to disagree with him. We’ve master the fit, in and out!

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(happy birthday Alex!  we popped in on another Haas IBD team in Sydney to celebrate)

As we reflect on our time here in Hong Kong, we can definitely say it’s been quite a ride.  We’ve demonstrated what fun you can have when you send a group of Haasies out into the world – and that no matter where you go, you don’t have to go too far to find another.  You’ll never meet a more welcoming group of people – regardless of graduation date.

We leave you with views of Hong Kong from Victoria’s Peak, as the city transforms from day to night. We will miss it!

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Sincerely, Team 2

Disrupting the Education Technology Industry in Brazil

Team Starline is in Belo Horizonte, Brazil looking to help our client, Starline Tecnologia, an education tech start-up, evaluate the opportunities in the Brazilian Education B2C market and define an appropriate business model for entry.

As our project is winding down and we work on our final deliverables we have had a chance to reflect on our wonderful experience in Brazil thus far. We spent the first weekend in Rio, where we visited with Team Funio, enjoyed the picturesque scenery and lively nightlife, and made sure that before we left we became experts in Samba.

View from Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf), Rio de Janeiro

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Team Starline enjoying Pão de Açúcar, Rio de Janeiro

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Enjoying Samba at Carioca de Gema in Lapa, Rio de Janeiro

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Our second weekend we stayed in Belo Horizonte; the holiday weekend promised a fun-filled two days. We took in an outdoor music festival, experienced the Mercado Central where we not only purchased souvenirs like Cachaça and Havaiana flip-flops, but also enjoyed sipping beers squeezed between locals that heckled every time someone wearing an opposing team’s soccer jersey walked by. We also had a chance to visit Ouro Preto, the picturesque former capital of Brazil from when the Portuguese reigned, that is surrounded by gold mines.

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 Amy and Stephanie with our Host/Company Liaison, Marcelo, Ouro Preto

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Our project has come together very well in the last two weeks. While we had completed a lot of market research at home in Berkeley, we were lacking in ethnographic data and really wanted to get a deep and thorough understanding of what the day-to-day teaching life was like for both private and public secondary school teachers, our potential consumer targets. Thus, our first week consisted of visits to public and private schools.

Our first school visit was to Milton Campos, a public high school. In many ways it reminded us more of a prison—metal gates and high walls that are covered in graffiti surround the school.

Entrance to Milton Campos

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We were greeted by the Assistant Principal who gave us a tour of the school, which consisted mainly of dark halls and classrooms filled with nothing but old desks and a chalkboard.  

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Vivek shows some Haas love

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The library had one computer, which was close to 10 years old and looked as though it had not been turn on or used in years

Ancient computer in the library at Milton Campos

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The public school kids were required to wear t-shirts as uniforms and go to school in shifts. At this school the 11th and 12th graders attend school in the mornings from 8-12 and the 10th graders came in the afternoons from 1-5. Others who work during the day attend evening classes from 6-10. We observed a chemistry class where on that day the kids were lucky enough to have a lab that they get access to only once a month. The students were very excited to show us the experiment they were conducting and shouted out the few English words that they knew.

We were told that many of the kids drop out by 10th grade and of the ones who graduate only a few will go on to private universities. The public high school students do not even attempt to apply to public universities, which are considered the elite colleges in Brazil, because they are too hard to get into and the students have not had the resources available to them to compete with private high school students. The irony is that one has attend a private high school, which is very expensive and elite in its own right, in order to be accepted into the free public universities.

Students from the chemistry class we observed

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The public school teachers that we spoke to were tired. They spoke to us about teaching more than 1500 students at any given time, and explained that they typically worked at two or three different schools per day in order to make enough money to live on. The school provides them with no resources and often times they have to pay out-of-pocket to provide paper or other materials for their students to use. They show up to work and struggle to connect with their students, frustrated by a lack of pay and the lofty expectations of the school administration. They all spoke of not having the time to track student progress or come up with new lesson plans.

 The next day we visited a private school, Isabela Hendrix, which houses not only grades K-12 but a university as well. Many of the students spend their entire educational upbringing at this school. One girl we met has attended the school since kindergarten and is finishing up her law degree this year. We were given a tour of the facilities by the program director, which included well-lit, clean classrooms with modern computers, projectors and white boards. The school had numerous science labs, kitchens to teach the younger kids how to cook, computer labs containing more than 30 modern computers and university caliber auditoriums. The contrast to the public school is like night and day. 

A computer lab at Isabela Hendrix

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Auditorium

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We sat in on an English class with graduating seniors. The teacher was excited to have us there and asked that we each sit with small groups of 6-7 students. We proceeded to tell them about ourselves, our project, and discussed what the students like to do on a daily basis. Some of the kids spoke very well, while others were just beginning to learn the basics of English—however, it was clear that these students have been given opportunities and a foundation for success.

 Amy telling the students about Taiwan

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Our new friends 

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Teachers at this school were much more optimistic. They all emphasized their love of teaching and were clearly much less stressed out. They don’t have to worry about resources for the students as the school covers their expenses– it also does not hurt that they are paid 3-4 times more than public school teachers. They work at only one school and are in charge of somewhere close to 100 students at a given time as opposed to the 1500 students that public school teachers are responsible for. The overall environment leads to both happier students and more satisfied teachers.

With our ethnographic research done, it is now up to Team Starline to come up with a suitable product for the potential B2C market. We will continue to contemplate our recommendations over Caipirinhas, Brazil’s national cocktail. Saúde!

 

Nurturing a Start-Up in a Megalopolis – May 29, 2013

Team Hipos.com is just south of the border in the world’s 6th largest metropolitan area, ImageMexico City. We’re working furiously with Hipos.com, a small Internet start-up, to help define their business model and maximize revenue. But the problem we’re facing is how can Hipos earn pesos if their potential consumers and customers don’t immediately recognize the need for their service? 

 

Hipos.com seeks to educate Mexicans—the 11th largest population and 12th highest GDP in Imagethe world—to gain significant knowledge about financial services products.  Hipos’ website will allow consumers to find the ideal financial products to meet their individual needs. Ultimately, the business will save consumers money and will help drive revenue (and increased profits) to financial institutions and other types of businesses.

 

The beauty of working for a start-up is the profound impact we can have on the business in such a short amount of time.  Every stone we turn, industry trend we discover, and gap in the market lead to new strategic insights.  In addition to significant Internet research, we’ve been interviewing successful businesspeople all over Mexico City—most of which have ivy league educations or graduate degrees from top ranked institutions.  We met with numerous consultants that specialize in financial services, successful entrepreneurs, and other members of the financial services community. Their knowledge of the Mexican market and economy is helping us to create valuable insights for Hipos. Over the next week and a half we’ll continue to conduct interviews, ideate, complete a comprehensive financial model, and strategic recommendations. 

 

Enough talking about work! We’re in Mexico: the home of tequila, Mariachis, and delicious Image(albeit unhealthy) cuisine. Since the first day we entered this sprawling city, we’ve immersed ourselves in their culture.  Even though none of us can speak Spanish at a level beyond preschool, we’ve managed to navigate this sprawling city and take in the sights and sounds.

 

Some Highlights include: Porter Hall facing his fear and chomping on the chewy worm at the bottom of the Mezcal (a variant of tequila) bottle; climbing the Aztec pyramids at Tiotihuacan; watching Mariachis and dancing (a little bit) in Garibaldi Plaza; exploring the tourist attractions around Zocalo; and discovering how many different ways and names Mexicans can come up with to describe the combinations of tortillas, meat, cheese, beans, and different color sauces. 

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Update from IBD Tokyo – What time is the next train?

Ever imagined fitting 3000 or so people on a street crossing? At Shibuya crossing (pictured below) this probably happens every 3 minutes with surprising ease making it the world’s busiest crossing.  We landed in Tokyo some 9 days ago with the idea that it is a city where people are always on the go, love to shop, eat sushi and drink sake before they go home.

Shibuya Crossing

But our work here has taught us that this city is much more than that and given us a glimpse of the true spirit of Japanese culture. In Tokyo, people at first may appear aloof – not willing to talk to each other on subways or even make eye contact on streets but a closer look reveals that Japanese people will go to any extent to “silently” help others. In one such experience, Japanese people showed us the Haas defining principle of “Beyond Yourself” when the same people who never talked to each other on the subways came forward to help a lady needing urgent help for her child. In the end, all was fine but the lady probably would never know who all silently helped her and later selflessly moved on to catch their next train.

Before we landed, we were told that Japan would be hot and humid during our visit but apparently all of us had forgotten what hot and humid can do to our bodies with their combined forces. Having acclimatized ourselves very quickly, we immediately got down to business and have interviewed numerous business leaders across different industries to test our hypotheses. These leaders represented a few Haas alums and business executives in companies such as Kyocera, NTT Docomo, DFJ-JAIC, Bank of America Japan, Salesforce, Hitachi Solutions Ltd, Evernote, BellSystems 24, and JGC Corporation. We felt that the Haas network was extremely helpful by getting us interviews at their own companies and graciously opening their own network to help us especially Prof. Toshiro Kita (visiting Haas from Doshisha Business School). Pictured below is one such alum (Morikuni Hasegawa MBA 2003, 2nd from left) who helped us get a very crucial interview at Hitachi Solutions Ltd.

Outside Hitachi Solutions Ltd.

Another highlight of our visit has been a weekend trip to Kyoto where in addition to conducting interviews at Doshisho University we attended one of the biggest festivals of Japan, Gion Matsuri. Originating some 1100 years ago people lit up Yamaboko floats across downtown. Kyoto also has some of the most beautiful temples in Japan and we would strongly recommend making a visit to at least the Ryoanji Temple (pictured below),  Fushimi Inari Shrine (with beautiful red pillars), Kinkakuji Temple, and Kiyomizu Temple on your next trip to Japan. Back in Tokyo, we have explored various areas of the city including Tsukiji fish market, Ginza, Roppongi, Shinjuku and Shibuya and now started advising other tourists on which subway train to catch. The city has impressed some of us so much that when in a good mood we end up claiming that we should have taken birth in Tokyo.

Ryoanji Temple, Kyoto

For the remaining part of our trip we plan to assimilate all the information we have gathered from our meetings and PFPS influence of using post-it notes is beginning to show up in our hotel room. Of course, there is always some amazing ramen place open at 2am for a late night food run.

Fushimi Inari Shrine                                                           Room 2502: The PFPS Wall

Updates from IBD: India

Namaste from the World Health Partners team!  It’s been almost two weeks since Ken, Jason, Samantha, and I arrived in New Delhi, and we’re eager to share our adventures in this vibrant, diverse, and surprising country.

We arrived a few days early to take in some sights before diving head first into our project for a telemedicine NGO.  Our client had warned us that India would be an assault on our senses, but we were still unprepared for the chaos and clamor that descended upon us as we walked out of the subway station into Old Delhi.  The cacophony of auto rickshaw horns as drivers ducked around the cows in the road, the colorful saris of women balancing impossibly large bundles on their heads, the smell of fried street food mingling with the odor of sewers in the stifling heat – Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Berkeley any more.

Our ambitious plan of visiting all of the main attractions was quickly derailed after we got hopelessly lost among the maze of twisty streets lacking in signage and an auto rickshaw driver dropped us off in the wrong place.  But all was well once we came across Moti Mahal, a famous restaurant chain credited with inventing butter chicken.  Of course we ordered the signature dish, which was excellent, and got some Family Naan to go along with it.

At the end of the day, we finally made it to the majestic Lal Qila, also known as the Red Fort, constructed by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century.  Many of the elegant buildings in this sprawling complex are slowly falling into disrepair, giving the place a haunting, nostalgic feel. But the calm of the gardens was a welcome respite from the bustling street life outside its massive walls.

Just as we were making our way back to the main gate, the skies opened up to a torrential downpour, and we rushed to join the rest of the visitors in a mad scramble for auto rickshaws.  We got home that night drenched, exhausted, but newly exhilarated for more adventures to come.

And in fact our next adventure began at 3 am the next day, when we set out to Agra in the hopes of beating the midday heat and seeing the Taj Mahal bathed in early morning light.  Along the way, we got our fist glimpse of rural life.  From the windows of our climate-conrolled SUV, we saw villagers sleeping on wooden cots just off the highway, likely because it was too hot inside their small mud huts, then getting up with the first rays of the sun to pump water from the nearby well and toil in the dusty fields.  It was a striking contrast to the posh neighborhood in South Delhi where we were staying and to our magnificent destination.  We had expected the Taj to be beautiful from the many photos we had seen, but the timeless elegance of its spender and symmetry was simply breathtaking in person.  Inspired by its quiet grace, we took a moment to find our inner om.

The following week our project work began in earnest. We met with the key leaders from World Health Partners to understand their need for a more efficient process in the telemedicine center and for a reliable way to collect diagnostic laboratory samples from remote rural villages. After months of Skype calls and research stateside, it was very rewarding to meet our contacts face to face and really get an insider’s view of the organization. We also observed doctors in the telemedicine center connecting with rural patients via webcam, even getting remote temperature and blood pressure readings.

After gaining a solid understanding of how the consultation process worked from the Delhi side, it was time to get into the field and see the patient’s perspective. We traveled east to Bihar, the poorest and most rural of the 28 Indian states, where WHP launched its telemedicine program just last year. We spent six days driving from village to village, experiencing first hand the terrible roads, traffic jams, electricity shortages, inconsistent Internet connectivity, and unbearable heat (45° C / 115° F) that make it so difficult to deliver healthcare to these “last mile” areas. Along the way, the WHP field team made sure that we got to sample all of the local delicacies: miniature bananas, curly cucumbers, green mangos, and sweet lychees. The rural telemedicine providers we visited welcomed us into their centers, offering chai and sweets, while we observed consultations from the other end of the webcam.

The week’s research yielded a lot of insights to analyze.

We also had a chance to visit Bodhgaya, where Gautama Buddha is said to have found enlightenment under the Bodhi tree.

Now that we’re back in Delhi, only one week in India remains, but there are still adventures to be had. Will I resist bringing home an adorable baby goat? Will Jason ever get enough mangos? Will Ken find some relief from the heat on our trip to the Himalayan foothills this weekend? Will Sam realize her dream of riding an elephant in Jaipur? Stay tuned to find out!

Haas Will Launch UC’s Summer Institute to Diversify Leadership Pipeline

Berkeley-Haas will inaugurate a new University of California career-building fellowship program this summer for students from historically black colleges and universities. The UC Summer Institute for Emerging Managers and Leaders (SIEML) will bring 25 of these undergraduate students to Haas this summer, with the location rotating to five other UC campuses in subsequent years. Students will receive all-expenses paid fellowships for the intensive program, which they attend for two weeks a year, for two consecutive years.

The news was announced this morning at a press conference in Pasadena, Calif., with Dean Rich Lyons as one of the speakers. “Bottom line: greater diversity of people means greater diversity of thinking and experiences,” said Lyons of the program. “This translates into leaders who are better able to produce the kind of innovation that is creating what’s next,” said Lyons.

Application deadline for the program is March 30. For more info, see the SIEML story in Haas Newswire or visit the SIEML website.

Other Haas initiatives aimed at expanding the leadership pipeline have included the school’s rejoining of The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management and the hiring of Eric Abrams as the school’s first diversity director.