IBD 2016 Crowns Conference Winners!  Team Apsara Takes Home Best Presentation.

Every year at the Berkeley-Haas IBD Conference, the IBD faculty announces student team winners in a variety of categories to celebrate another successful year of IBD spring and summer courses.  This year’s IBD team winners were:

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After reviewing six IBD team presentations delivered during the Conference, the award of Best IBD Presentation was unanimously awarded to Team Apsara.  Team Apsara traveled to Harare, Zimbabwe, to develop and teach a two-week entrepreneurship program named ACT (Apsara Capital Trust).  The ACT program was directed to young Zimbabweans who are passionate about social change in a country that faces challenging economic and political conditions.  This was the fourth IBD team to work with Apsara, and the team’s main project objective was to develop curriculum for an online and in-person course for ACT’s Intensive Entrepreneurship Program.   During two weeks of teaching, Team Apsara worked with 21 students daily on design thinking, prototyping, brainstorming, constructing empathy maps, and developing interviewing skills.  At the end of their in-country experience, the IBD team delivered more than course materials. They also recommended how to create an ACT Ecosystem whereby students could share and help each other with entrepreneurial ideas.  In addition, the IBD team suggested possible revenue streams to help ACT become more sustainable.  IBD team member Julian Garzon shared this conclusion from his project experience: “We were impressed to find great people with great ideas everywhere, but the resources are not for them all the time.  It makes us think how privileged we are, and how we should be committed to give back and contribute to the community because these great people should have a shot to flourish with their business ideas. Finally, we can’t underestimate the power of bringing people together who are motivated and driven to work hard and achieve their dreams”.

To read Team Apsara’s blog click here.

Students Shine at 2016 IBD Conference

We officially wrapped up another amazing year of the Berkeley-Haas International Business Development (IBD) program with our final event, the 2016 IBD Conference on September 16th. The Conference started with an interactive poster session during which 22 IBD teams presented their projects, answered questions and showcased their unique experiences and wearables.  Some of the IBD students who went all out were Team Nando, who wore custom designed clothing produced by their client; Team Ashesi, who had matching pockets sewn onto their shirts; Team Inka Moss, who sported Peruvian sweaters and caps; and Team PAG, whose student team lead, Zarrah Birdie, donned a panda hoodie in honor of her team’s experience working in China. 

“All of the students were excited not only to share their adventures and the consulting work they did with their clients around the world, but also to see the huge variety of other projects and cultures that their classmates completed and experienced. Curiosity and enthusiasm were extremely high, and the noise level even higher.” Mark Coopersmith, IBD Faculty Mentor.

The energy was high for everyone at the Conference, including Haas’s CFO, Suresh Bhat, who came by the poster session to engage with IBD students and spend time learning about their projects.

“Attending the IBD conference is always a fabulous experience and seeing the enthusiasm from both FTMBA and EWMBA students as they present their findings, brings their project to life.  The students favorably commented on the experiential learning process. In addition, having to face and overcome language and cultural barriers is a mirror of what many of them will have to face as they take on new career opportunities post their MBA.” Suresh Bhat.

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Following the poster session, students and guests were treated to a lunch program that consisted of a panel presentation of IBD student team leads, overall comments from Berkeley-Haas Dean Rich Lyons, TED Talk style presentations by six IBD teams, and an acceptance speech from the 2016 IBD Alumnus of the Year, Rajiv Ball.

Rajiv, a Partner at THNK, Berkeley-Haas lecturer and host of the Design Thinking Course held recently in Amsterdam over spring break, worked previously with IBD as a project sponsor.  In his acceptance video he talked about the amazing experience that IBD provides for students:  “The notion of broadening your international horizons… and the ability to really step outside the US, and explore how business gets done there, that is a true gift that the program brings its participants.”

While there are many highlights from the IBD Conference, it was ultimately about hearing from the students their impressions of their projects and their reflections on the IBD experience.  New to the IBD Conference this year was a panel discussion with IBD student team leads.  IBD Executive Director Kristi Raube interviewed five student team leads and asked them to share their insights on serving in a team lead capacity. One student team lead, Vanessa Pau, said, “It is a rare opportunity to lead a team of peers, many of whom are much smarter than I am, and to actually work with them, learn from them and motivate them throughout times in the project.”  

In addition to the panel discussion, six IBD teams were chosen by a combination of student and faculty voting to present their projects to the Conference audience.  Videos of the lucky winners and presenting teams can be seen here.

Many IBD teams shared how their journeys changed once they were in country, including shifts in their perspectives, relationships, and overall project recommendations.  The student team lead for Team groupelephant.com, Theo Grzegorczk, said of his team’s time in South Africa, “It gave us a real reason to care, and we made this transition by actually getting involved with their company…we learned by really getting into their business.  We went through this process of understanding how they work…and by living the way they do business…we came to understand a little bit more of their company and that is the first step in the design thinking process.”

Team Samai’s Bruno Vargas said, “We had all kinds of backgrounds, not just nationally, but professional backgrounds…We were hands on, we were rolling (up) our sleeves, working hand in hand with them…We were actually giving them to tools to manage their business and in the end, we built strong relationships.”

IBD Faculty Mentor Whitney Hischier summed it up best when she shared the following comment: “The students were really energized and proud of their work and the relationships they built with their clients.  A few told me it was the best experience they had at Haas, and specifically the best team experience.  Exciting to see we are having such an impact!”

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Spurring Innovation in Nairobi’s ‘Silicon Savannah’

 Team Juhudi Kilimo is in Nairobi, Kenya working with Juhudi Kilimo to develop a strategy for structuring, financing and operating a new innovation lab, dubbed “Juhudi Labs”, which will support the continual development of Juhudi Kilimo services to rural smallholder farmers.

Before our trip, we knew that Nairobi is one of the most prominent and fast growing cities in East Africa. Yet, I don’t know if we were fully prepared for the culture of innovation that Nairobi breeds. Also, we didn’t quite realize the impact that we would have as we developed the business model for Juhudi Labs, an innovation lab that would partner with outside entrepreneurs and streamline internal resources to develop micro finance solutions.

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Week one started off at our client’s headquarters: a brand spanking new second floor location in the posh Kilimani area – boasting reliable Internet, a generator, and security guards.  From our balcony, we interviewed local entrepreneurs and Juhudi’s team to delve more into the structure that Juhudi Labs would undertake.

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 That first week we also ventured to iHub, a co-working space and business incubator for local entrepreneurs, designers, and developers. iHub is heavily funded by big players such as Microsoft, Samsung, and Google; and is the heart of Nairobi’s Silicon Savannah.  And although locals deride the term “Silicon Savannah” since there is no real manufacturing capability here, the bigger picture is that Nairobi is abuzz with innovation and entrepreneurship, and our project with Juhudi Labs is positioned to be right at the center of it. GrowthHub, our next stop on the Nairobi tech movement discovery and as equally impressive, offers mentorship, access to capital, and training.

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 Week two took us into rural Kenya, our client’s satellite stronghold. Juhudi offers micro financing to rural farmers, and Ned our strategy professor would say, that is their internal fit. And what a fit it is – we spent about 48 hours over 5 days in a rented matatu, a Kenyan minibus, on Dramamine-required dirt “roads”, visiting farmers throughout El Doret, Bungoma and Masaii Mara (okay that last town was for a safari trip but I digress). We came face to face with the Kenyan spirit of kazi ngumu (hard work), from the farmers who worked tirelessly tending their dairy cows, the cooling plant operators who collected and distributed the milk to brokers, and Joseph our matatu driver who never seemed tired while we uncomfortably slept through most of the ride.

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A lot of us came to business school and chose Berkeley specifically for its proximity to Silicon Valley and the Bay Areas’s ecosystem of entrepreneurship. What we IBD’ers at Juhudi were privileged to experience was not just Mother Africa and the best she has to offer (oh yeah safaris and beach houses!!) but the ability to spur innovation and this ecosystem through Juhudi Labs in the ever-growing Silicon Savannah.

 We are very grateful to IBD and Juhudi Kilimo for the opportunity to meet, work with and learn from such an amazing group of people!

Asante Sana!

Thank you! Merci! Gracias!

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Haas Alum Carlos Orellana Named a 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year in Mexico

Mexico’s Entrepreneurs of the Year include Carlos Orellana, MBA 10 (l.)

Haas alum Carlos Orellana, co-founder of a network of low-cost, high quality eye-care clinics in Mexico, was named an Entrepreneur of the Year by CNN Expansión–and made its cover (see right).

Orellana, MBA/MPH 10, and co-founder Javier Okhuysen are co-CEOs of salaUno, which delivers eye care, such as cataract surgery, to patients on the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid. The duo aims to make salaUno (which has also been an IBD client for two years) the leading health-care provider for Latin America.

CNN Expansión, a magazine covering business and entrepreneurship in Mexico and Latin America, awarded two companies with the Entrepreneur of the Year honor, selecting salaUno in the High Potential category for its rapid growth and social impact.

While at Haas, Orellana co-founded the Latin American and Hispanic Business Conference with classmate Pedro Kudrnac, MBA 10. Though he and Okhuysen had the idea for salaUno before earning his MBA, Orellana says, “It was during my time at Haas that the project really took shape.”

Note: Read about the experiences of IBD teams working with salaUno this summer in these Haas in the World posts.

As part of a summer 2012 IBD project, Sarah Fisher, MBA 13, helps out at a salaUno outreach eye camp in a remote area outside of Mexico City

Ready, Set, Innovate! Autodesk Tournament Tests Students’ Left and Right Brains

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“You’ve just described the Holy Grail for designers…but how will you crack it open?” Next!

 “Great idea. In fact, it’s so great we’re already doing it.” Next!

 “You’re really onto something. Now be like James Cameron—make us believe it’s the next Titanic.” Go!

It was like American Idol for elevator pitches as about 45 students in Haas’ Design, Innovation & Strategy Club (DISC) raced against the clock—and each other—to impress some of Autodesk’s most strategic thinkers at the club’s first innovation tournament March 9 in San Francisco. They sketched teddy bears, scribbled flow charts, and even flapped their arms and shrieked like hawks as they wrestled with the question: How can Autodesk use the cloud and the crowd to help far-flung teams work better together?

Teams of students, paired with “innovation sages” from leading design firms, had just 30 seconds for each pitch, but could return for multiple rounds. Each time, the judges prodded them to go further, pulling out the most promising nuggets and displaying their ratings on screens to stoke the fires of competition.

“We’re hard to impress. We think about this stuff all the time, we hear a lot of new ideas, and they’re under pressure to do it fast,” said judge Mark Davis, Autodesk’s senior director of user experience, midway through the tournament. “But things are popping up—new ideas, new ways of looking at things.”

The competition was part of the daylong event Life in 4D: Discover, Define, Design, Develop, held at Autodesk’s San Francisco Gallery and organized by DISC to give students inspiration and practice with the process of innovation.

The tournament format was developed by InnoCoop, a company formed by Haas visiting scholars from Finland’s University of Oulu, who credited Haas Adjunct Professor Henry Chesbrough’s work on open innovation and Senior Lecturer Sara Beckman for inspiration. “We were looking for a way to get people excited about being innovative in short sessions, and to turn it into a game,” said PhD student Petri Morko, who has run more than a dozen tournaments in Finland with fellow visiting PhD students Mikko Jarvilehto and Tomi Huttula.

Corinna Kester, MBA12, said her team used techniques from Beckman’s Problem Finding, Problem Solving course as they hashed out their concept, which won high praise from judges. “The ideas of converging and diverging played out as we went through the process,” she said. “We get this in the curriculum, but we also need to practice it on real-world problems to get better.”

This mashup of cultures, methods, and competition led to quite a few “a-ha” moments. Jill Schweitzer, MBA13, pitched a concept for a collaborative voice- and touch-controlled system for designers to discuss and manipulate their work, catching the attention of judge Karen Brewer, Autodesk’s vice president of marketing. “We thought it was a big idea, so congratulations,” Brewer said.

Schweitzer said the judges’ “what if” questions spurred her group on. “Pitching to the judges multiple times and within such a condensed timeframe was an interesting experience—we had to make quick changes and produce concise, illustrative explanations of our idea without much prep time,” she said. “The initial idea rapidly transformed into something far more robust and colorful than the original. Our team really enjoyed thinking big and further into the future.”

Ultimately, it was the team that took to heart the advice about James Cameron—given by Autodesk Director of Strategic Initiatives Jonathan Knowles—that won over the crowd and the judges.

Running out of time to create a visual aid, they decided to act out their concept for an application called Photohawk, which would crowdsource 3D models. Gabe Cohen, MBA 12, played the part of a designer who submitted the request to “hawk” Evan Atherton, an engineering student who flapped enthusiastically as he collected images from Cohen’s social network: full-time student Eileen Chang, MBA 12; evening-and-weekend student Deepti Gottipati, MBA 13, and coaches Cheryn Flanagan of Sequence and Adam Menter of Autodesk. 

For their performance, the group took home the tournament’s Oscar—actually Autodesk’s Oscar-winning special effects software. Perhaps more valuable was the praise from the hard-to-impress judges: Knowles even tweeted a photo of the winners along with the post, “I have a new positive perspective on MBAs after being a judge @BerkeleyHaas Innovation Tournament today.”