The latest annual IBD Conference was held in Chou Hall at Berkeley Haas on September 13, 2019. In his concluding remarks, IBD Faculty Director Frank Schultz proclaimed that this year’s Conference was the “best IBD Conference ever.” Frank has been an IBD faculty mentor since 2012, so after experiencing years of IBD Conferences, he knows what it took to make the 2019 IBD Conference stand out: “After listening to our students’ feedback, we wanted to try a new format for the Conference. I think it really worked; and students, staff, guests and faculty had the opportunity to reflect, reconnect and learn from each other.”
In place of the poster sessions of past IBD Conferences, this year student teams were asked to bring photos, props, souvenirs and local dress to celebrate their IBD experience and their project countries. All totaled, in 2019 there were 80 Full Time MBA (FTMBA) IBD students and nine Evening & Weekend MBA (EWMBA) students, representing 18 separate IBD teams. Guests, staff, faculty and students mingled among the IBD team tables, as each IBD student team shared stories and anecdotes from their time spent living in-country and working with IBD project clients. IBD Aditya Team Member Lauren Grimanis thought the “mix and mingle” part of this year’s Conference was “a great way for all of us to come back together after spending the summer apart to hear more about our IBD in-country experiences.“
Some of the IBD student teams displayed their client’s projects openly at their tables. Team Samai showcased client-made rum from Cambodia. Team We Care Solar, which worked in Kampala, Uganda, displayed a bright yellow solar powered suitcase. This student team explained that these suitcases provided efficient solar energy systems to health facilities in areas without reliable electricity.
Berkeley Haas staff member David Moren, Associate Director for Haas Alumni Relations & Development, was one of the Conference guests who spent time talking to different IBD student teams during the mix and mingle portion of the event. After speaking with EWMBA student and We Care Solar Team Member Steven Wang, David was impressed by the work the student team performed together with their client: “Talking to Steven and hearing about their project was incredibly inspiring. Just five minutes with him gave me a great sense of the impact he and his team made in Uganda.“
The Conference event program also changed to include a two minute presentation by each IBD student team. IBD students were asked to share their own “lessons learned” from their time spent in-country working with their project clients. The presentations varied in content and message, but the new format was appreciated by IBD students. MBA ‘20 Lauren Grimanis was one of the many students who enjoyed the new format feature of peer presentations: “The highlight was each team’s two minute presentations, which included project and experience takeaways and funny team dynamics.”
One aspect of the Conference that remained the same this year was handing out awards for the best IBD in-country photo (Aesthetic and Team versions) and the best IBD in-country blogs. Each year as part of their course deliverables, IBD student teams write blogs about their time spent working in-country. IBD staff post the blogs on a weekly basis on the Haas in the World site. This year’s IBD student team blog winners were:
- FTMBA Team SAP Ariba for “Building Bridges: The Story of How Two Asians, Two South Americans, and a North Carolinian Found Each Other in Germany”
- EWMBA Team We Care Solar for “IBD Team We Care Solar in Uganda, July 2019”
Each year the IBD program also recognizes and awards winners for the best IBD team photos taken during the project in-country period. The winning photos are displayed at Berkeley Haas in the IBD hallway near Faculty Building Office 445. The best photo winners for 2019 are:
- Team Dura-Line – Best Aesthetic Photo
- Team Ananda – Best Team Photo
Finally, this year’s Conference concluded with thank you messages to the many people who make the IBD program happen, including our amazing IBD Faculty Mentors Judy Hopelain, Whitney Hischier, Jon Metzler, Arman Zand, and retiring Faculty Director Frank Schultz. The IBD program can’t thank Frank enough for all the time, expertise, passion and dedication he has given willingly to IBD during the last seven years. All of us will miss him!
Find more photos from the day and the conference here!