Haas Goes to China; Experiences a Fusion of Culture and Technology

Written by Nausher Cholavaram, Rohan Balwani, Tanya Gupta, Pradeep Khanal, and Edi Lim

Team Yirendai after Final Presentation

Team Yirendai after Final Presentation

We just returned from China after completing a two-week stint with Yirendai, a FinTech company based in Beijing. Our time was filled with experiences that enriched us professionally, personally, and culturally. We learned about the booming economy in China and the uncertainty that comes with it. We also talked to company leads and learned how they think about company strategy. The two weeks were also great exposure to Chinese culture both at and outside of work. We tried different types of Chinese food, watched traditional Chinese opera, and participated in some heavy bargaining when shopping.

Client and project overview

Yirendai, our client, is a leading FinTech company in China. It is a dominant player in the Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry and has recently expanded into the Online Wealth Management space. Having made a huge impact in China, Yirendai is now setting their sights on the US!  Yirendai enlisted our help to explore options for their expansion into the US market.

This ask posed a very interesting challenge for us. On one hand, China is far ahead in the world of FinTech with their ubiquitous use of technology for making payments and conducting business via mobile phones. For example, we saw panhandlers and street musicians display QR codes for WePay to facilitate donations, and we ate at a food court where no cash or credit cards were accepted. On the other hand, we learned that Chinese investors don’t possess the same level of sophisticated planning and diversification that investors in other markets do. When we synthesized all of our learnings and presented our final presentation to Yirendai, they had very incisive questions and couldn’t help themselves but become excited by the ideas we presented.

Project Details

Team Yirendai in IBD Class at Haas

Team Yirendai in IBD Class at Haas

We started the research for our project while in the US. We spent 3 weeks researching P2P Lending and Wealth Management industries in general and our client’s business in particular. We read hundreds of documents about both industries, downloaded P2P lending apps to learn their features and user experience, conducted surveys, and interviewed contacts about their investing behaviors. We had insightful exchanges with our clients where we validated our understanding from field studies with their expert knowledge. The work was intense but totally worth it.

As we arrived in China, we prepared our recommendation. We surveyed the problem-solving toolkit – financial modeling, SWOT, business model canvas, and go-to-market strategy framework – we learned at Haas and implemented them to build our recommendation. We had several discussions about customer segmentation, product differentiation, and customer acquisition strategy with our client’s CFO, Head of Online Wealth Management, Director of Investor Relations, and Head of Product Management. Their invaluable input helped mold our recommendation.

Cultural Immersion

Though China has been lauded for its recent economic advancement, it has a long history of rich culture and tradition. Besides our client, Yirendai, our team was very excited about the Great Wall. We went to the Jinshanling section, which was very scenic and less crowded. Walking 6 hours on the Great Wall didn’t feel enough. We were astonished by its grandeur and humbled by its expanse. Our day at the Great Wall was definitely one of the finest experiences of our stay in China.

Team Yirendai at the Great Wall of China

Team Yirendai at the Great Wall of China

Beijing is full of other historical and cultural sites as well. We visited the Forbidden City, a historical palace museum in Beijing. We toured the Tiananmen Square and other important sites in Beijing including the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, and the Lama Temple. We went to the popular Antique market and also playfully immersed ourselves in a  bit of haggling at Beijing’s popular Pearl and Silk markets.

It was a little disheartening to see sun only twice due to poor air quality during our 2-week stay in Beijing, but we remain hopeful the measures being implemented currently will continue to make improvements.

Following our final presentation, our client treated us to a traditional Beijing style dinner along with Beijing Opera – quite a fitting end to our 2 weeks stay in Beijing.

Team Yirendai at the Beijing Opera

Team Yirendai at the Beijing Opera

The China trip was incredible and the IBD experience, priceless. It was like opening the wardrobe and venturing into a new world, both professionally and culturally, with talented fellow Haasies! Our relationship with the client did not end with the conclusion of the project. We are still in touch through WeChat and plan to meet our client on their next visit to the US for a roadshow in the second half of 2018.

 

Using Human-Centered Design to Improve Patients’ Lives

By Melea Atkins, Kathryn Balestreri, Bree Jenkins, Ben Lauing, and Hannah Levinson

There were bright pink and orange and blue post-its everywhere. It looked just like the Innovation Lab at Haas had looked weeks before as we ran through an exercise during our Problem-Finding, Problem-Solving class. But we were 6,500 miles away from Haas, many of the post-its were written in Portuguese, and the stakes were high.

The São Paulo IBD team was facilitating a three-hour rapid ideation workshop at the major pharmaceutical company Novartis, leading a group of 16 senior-level employees through the human-centered design cycle to generate ideas about why patients don’t adhere to their medication. Our fear that directions would be lost in translation given the language barrier was immediately assuaged as people openly shared personal journeys with chronic illness and others wrote down observations. One woman shared her personal experience being treated by a physician for a chronic illness. He chose not to pursue aggressive treatment because he didn’t want to impose physical pain on his patient. She was left feeling out of control over her own life, and her emotional and physical suffering only increased over time. This led to an insight around shared decision-making and that a personal physician relationship is foundational to patient engagement and medication adherence.

Sticky notes

After the workshop, we received such a thoughtful WhatsApp message (the primary mode of communication – even for Novartis professionals!): This was so great, I’ve worked here for so long but I forgot that I’ve been the patient too.

Leading this workshop was a transformational Haas experience. When facilitating, we were pushed to command a room of people who were senior to us, whose primary language was different from ours, and who had no prior exposure to design thinking tools. The workshop also strengthened the bond of our IBD team, as we all worked together to ensure the success of the experience. Our team was especially fortunate to have Kathryn Balestreri, who brought design thinking expertise from her work as an innovation consultant and through Haas at Work. 

The Novartis Brazil team collaborates in small groups

The Novartis Brazil team collaborates in small groups

This human-centered design approach landed well with the Novartis team, and we realized how well it lent itself to the overarching goal of our project: helping patients better adhere to heart failure medication. Through our research and 71 interviews with subject matter experts, physicians, startups, and heart failure patients over the course of our project, it was abundantly clear that we wouldn’t be able to identify the root cause of non-adherence to heart failure medication without truly understanding why patients behave the way they do. Thus, when it came to generating solutions for Novartis, we generated six key insights about how we might positively impact patient behavior and improve adherence, used these insights to power ideas, and ultimately converged on one idea to create a prototype and action plan for Brazil. We called the prototype “Rede Integrade de Acolhimento” (RIA), which means “smile” in Portuguese. This is a title that a Novartis employee generated during the final prototyping stage of the ideation workshop.

In our final client call, the project manager requested materials about leading human-centered design workshops, because she wanted to replicate the workshop for Novartis teams in other Latin American countries. Hearing not only that Novartis was interested in our ideas, but also that they wanted to use some of the tools that we’d brought felt like a true success.

Bree Jenkins leads our team through our own ideation workshop

Bree Jenkins leads our team through our own ideation workshop

IBD Team Makerere, Changing the Trajectory of Uganda’s Tourism Sector

Team Makerere together in front of a lakeWritten by Elizabeth Andrada, Luca Cosentino, ​Tamara Pace-Emerson, ​

Logan Gallogly, and ​Renee Medina

Changing the trajectory of Uganda’s tourism sector

Our IBD team worked with the government of Uganda and a team focused on enhancing public and private sector partnerships at Makerere University, Uganda’s largest university, to redefine the country’s tourism strategy. Many sectors have invested a lot of time and money to improve the country’s tourism sector, however, there were a few elements missing in both the strategies and execution that prevented Uganda’s tourism sector from thriving.

Making an impact with a dedicated audience

Our team had a once in a lifetime opportunity to present our final recommendations to the Prime Minister of Uganda, Governor of the Central Bank of Uganda and Minister of Tourism of Uganda, in addition to many other members of government and private sector leaders in the country. Our three weeks in country culminated in this exciting event, which was followed by a private dinner with the mentioned stakeholders (several of whom are UC Berkeley alums!) that evening. The dinner gave us an opportunity to discuss our final presentation in a less formal environment, share more details of our findings, and highlight the key resource requirements so Uganda can successfully implement our recommendations.

Our project approach

Before heading to Kampala (the country’s capital), our team conducted secondary research on the tourism industry in Uganda and studied tourism strategy for the neighboring East African countries such as Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania. Based on the research, surveys and focus groups with classmates as well as our weekly client calls, our team developed a set of initial hypotheses related to improving the current state of tourism in Uganda.

IBD Team Makerere posingDespite our pre-work and research, we quickly discovered once we had arrived in-country that there was a lot to learn with many more nuances and local considerations to keep in mind when thinking about our final recommendations. We spent the first week conducting interviews with more than 15 stakeholders across the tourism sector, which changed our perceptions of the primary challenges facing the Uganda tourism sector. We spent the second week traveling around the country as tourists ourselves in order to understand first-hand the differentiators and challenges to a thriving tourism sector in the country.

Where we visited

Our team used Kampala, Uganda’s largest city, as our home base, but because many of the country’s key tourist sites are outside of the city, we also wanted to spend time visiting these destinations. This primary research would help inform our final recommendations related to a tourist’s experience in the country. Our team had the opportunity to visit:

  • Jinga, the source of the Nile River (where the Nile meets Lake Victoria) and to do a sunset kayaking trip on the Nile;
  • Entebbe and the Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre where we got to pet cheetahs and feed lions and baby elephants;
  • Murchison Falls National Park, where we participated in a traditional safari game drive and saw giraffes, hippos, elephants, lions, bison, buffalo, birds and countless other animals as well as hike to the top of the two waterfalls in the park;
  • Lake Bunyoni, the second deepest lake in the world and the deepest lake in Africa, where we stayed at an eco-lodge and had the opportunity to boat, swim and hike; and
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park, where we participated in a second game drive and enjoyed views of the Rwenzori mountain range while having an authentic ‘Rolex’ breakfast.

IBD Team Makerere in front of body of waterOur final recommendations and project culmination

The team developed four final recommendations for our client, focusing on marketing as well as the tourist and business experience. As mentioned, we had the unique opportunity to present our findings and final recommendations to the Prime Minister as well as other government and private sector stakeholders.

Our IBD experience was a highlight of our time thus far at Haas and is one that we will never forget. Our team created a meaningful bond as we sought to provide an actionable roadmap for the country’s leaders to make it a top tourist destination. We feel so honored to have had the opportunity to make an impact and to change the trajectory of the tourism industry in Uganda. We look forward to visiting Uganda again to see the progress that has been made in implementing our recommendations.

IBD BLOG – TEAM MAJID AL FUTTAIM

Written by: Jorge Tellez, Ryan King, Jennifer Rokosa, Daniel Clayton and Kelly Gillfillan

Entry 1: May 17, 2018

The five of us (Jenny, Daniel, Kelly, Ryan, and Jorge) touched down in Dubai five days ago and were greeted by 105-degree heat and a 4-day long sandstorm. Dubai has a giant desert in its backyard, and if the wind is blowing strong enough in the right direction, the entire city gets hit with a wall of sand. From the street, a sandstorm just looks like a foggy day (not quite San Francisco level fogginess, but close), but if you run your fingers across any outdoor surface, you can immediately see the layer of sand blanketing everything.

The jetlag is finally starting to wear off for most of us. Dubai is 11 hours ahead of Berkeley, meaning we’ve been hitting the coffee pretty hard. However, starting today, we’ll be drinking those coffees in a large closet at Majid Al Futtaim’s (our host company) headquarters. Let me explain…

Team Majid Al Futtaim at the Cultural Center

Team Majid Al Futtaim

Today is the first day of Ramadan in the UAE, meaning most Muslims are fasting for the whole month. Between the hours of 4am and 7pm, it’s is not permitted (whether Muslim or not) to eat or drink in public, including in the office. So while we’re on-site, we’ve been instructed to keep any eating or drinking restricted to a small pantry area on the fourth floor—don’t worry, they have an espresso machine in there.

We head to the UAE cultural center later today where we’ll learn a little bit more about the history of the country, the traditional dress, food and customs. This weekend, we’re heading out to the desert on a guided tour, and then to Abu Dhabi to check out the sights there. Pictures to follow!

 

Entry 2: May 24, 2018

Somewhere between hanging out with two dozen penguins at the foot of an indoor ski slope and watching tourists scuba dive with sharks inside a three story aquarium, you realize the words “shopping mall” in Dubai mean something very different than they do back in the states.

Penguins

Penguins

For us, five millennial Americans dropped into the Middle East for the first time, the word “mall” evokes imagery of angsty loitering teens, sticky movie theater floors, and CDs with the parental advisory warning peeled halfway off (I don’t know about you, but that’s the only way my parents would let me listen to Eminem). Conversely, malls in Dubai have less to do with shopping and more to do with mind-blowing art installations, architecture, five-star restaurants and hotels, movie theaters where you’re served three-course meals, and did I mention, PENGUINS!

This is all to say that while malls in the US have been dead for nearly two decades (thanks, Bezos), they’re thriving here in Dubai. Why? A couple reasons:

  1. E-commerce hasn’t had nearly the same impact here as it has had in the states. Online sales penetration stands at just 2% of total retail sales in the Middle East and Africa, compared to over 10% worldwide.
  2. It hot. Really, really hot. Six months out of the year its too hot to go outside, so heavily airconditioned malls are absolutely the place to be.
  3. The folks at Majid Al Futtaim (our host company) and Emaar (their primary regional competitor) realized a long time ago that experiences would be the way forward for brick and mortar retail. Hence why malls here are built around incredible, experiential attractions.

That last point, which doesn’t really sink in until you’re watching a fountain show at the base of the tallest building in the world, left the five of us asking “How are we going to add value here when this company is so far ahead of mall operators in the US?”

Sitting in Silicon Valley, its sometimes easy to think the US is at the forefront of virtually every industry, but our ignorance was made abundantly clear with just one lap around the Mall of the Emirates. Our recommendation to Majid Al Futtaim was not going to be as simple as relaying what mall operators in the US are doing. Instead, we’d have to figure out how a company that is performing quite well can continue to innovate in the retail space, and how they can even better prepare to defend against e-commerce, which we’d be naïve to think Dubai is immune from.

More next time from Team Majid Al Futtaim!

Entry 3: May 31, 2018

We presented our final project today! The last week and a half was filled with almost a complete overhaul of our presentation, as we homed in on some key recommendations for the company and what we envision the mall of the future will look like. If you had asked me a month ago, my vision of the mall of the future would have been precisely the malls we saw on this trip, but there are some really interesting regional dynamics that lead us to believe a lot may change behind the scenes for malls in the Middle East.

A good example is everything happening in Saudi Arabia today, where the crown prince is loosening up a lot of restrictions, allowing women to drive for the first time and allowing movie theaters to reopen after a more than 30-year ban. Majid Al Futtaim, who manages Vox Cinemas, has plans to open 300+ screens in Saudi Arabia in the next year.

From the dozens of conversations we had with Majid Al Futtaim employees over the last three weeks (including the CEO), it seems absolutely key for malls to position themselves as “experience centers” going forward, as opposed to shopping-only centers. This means more movie theaters, gourmet restaurants, and leisure activities—like an indoor ski resort, for example, or a giant aquarium full of sharks! (Those last two already exist.)

We also believe that the relationship between mall operator and tenant (retail stores) will change in the coming years. We’ve seen a ton of direct-to-consumer brands realize that their e-commerce presence isn’t quite enough, and that they actually need a brick and mortar presence to round out an “omnichannel” offering (e.g. Warby Parker, Everlane, Casper, and dozens more). We think this will be one of the primary retail models going forward, meaning that there will be a host of online-only retailers looking to move into the brick and mortar space through pop-up shops and showroom-style stores.

Mall operators can take advantage of this trend by pioneering what we’re calling a “store-as-a-service” model, whereby the mall operator provides everything required to build and run a store, making it very easy for brands that do not have a physical retail presence to create one quickly. This would also have the benefit of attracting fresh, new retailers to the UAE by offering a de-risked and less capital-intensive entry to the country.

We’ve also been really impressed with Majid Al Futtaim’s commitment to sustainability. Most of their buildings and hotels are LEED gold or platinum certified, which is no small feat. Further, they have a goal to be “net positive” in carbon and water by 2040. Jenny absolutely nailed her piece of the presentation, which focused on how the company can make progress towards achieving that goal by partnering with clean building technologies (at Berkeley, for instance) and helping them through the commercialization phase, which is often known as the “valley of death” for cleantech given the number of companies that fail at that stage.

Team MAJ enjoying dinner after their presentation

Team MAJ enjoying dinner after their presentation

Our presentation was very well received, and we’re thrilled to hear they’re interested in many of our suggestions. We look forward to being in touch with the team in the future and we’re incredibly thankful for the opportunity to work with them all.

We went out on the town to celebrate the end of our project and this journey last night. We shared highlights over pizza and drinks and then packed up for the 15 hour flight I’m currently on now. I think we’re all excited to get back stateside and start our internships, but sad at the same time that this amazing journey has come to an end.

That’s it from us (Jenny, Dan, Kelly, Ryan and Jorge)! Thanks for reading!

PSI Team in Nairobi, Kenya

PSI in front of hospitalWritten by Sara Farsio, Kamellia Saroop, Jennifer Richard, Nick Greczyna, Deitrich Davidheiser

May 29th, 2018

Writing to you from my Westlands Apartment in Nairobi, Kenya. We just completed our final presentation with our client yesterday! Let me share a little about our time in country.

PSI IBD team visiting a national distributor, MEDS, and learning about how they control the quality of drugs

PSI IBD team visiting a national distributor, MEDS, and learning about how they control the quality of drugs

Our IBD team arrived in Nairobi 3 weeks ago to meet our client, Population Services International, face to face for the first time. Population Services International (PSI) is a U.S. based NGO that is working to make it easier for people in the developing world, work to lead healthier lives and plan the families they desire. PSI does this by carrying out Social Franchise Networks. While the organization works globally, our team has been partnering with the Franchise Networks in East Africa (over 500 clinics in the network!), looking to bring solutions to not only those in Kenya, but also Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Burundi and Somaliand.

In-Country – Week 1

It was great to get our feet on the ground when we arrived. We had meetings set up for us all week! I’ll share some highlights from our experience.

  • Visiting the Tunza Franchise Network clinics in Kenya. We went to 6 clinics and met with the owners and staff. Everyone was incredible friendly and willing to answer our questions even though they had a lot on their plates serving patients.
  • We met with the CEO of a new Group Purchasing Organization, MedSource. Incredible to hear about the platform they just launched to help clinics like the ones in the Tunza network.
  • Spending the day with the PS Kenya team was great. They drove us to the various clinics and shared their insights about working with clinics. We had a pit spot for lunch which was a perfect setting to get to know them better. We ate freshly fried Tilapia caught in Lake Victoria – delicious and so much bigger than what we see in the States.
Diani-Beach,-Kenya

Diani-Beach,-Kenya

We finished Week 1 with a weekend trip to Diani Beach! One of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Water was clear and sand was as white as it gets! Such a rewarding getaway for our team. We had a fun bonding experience going scuba diving along a coral reef! Deitrich was certified but for the rest of us, it was our first time. We saw starfish, sea turtles, eel, shrimp, and so much more.

Scuba-time

Scuba-time

In-Country – Week 2

Crunch time! Week 1 was a whole week of new information for us all to intake. This week we spent incorporating new insights into our strategy, then refining and validating our deliverables. This meant a lot of heads down time on our computers. Luckily, our apartments and the client office are really close by, so we had a good setup for getting a lot of work done. Each morning, our apartment complex offers us free breakfast. Kenyan tea is always a treat – comes with hot milk and is delicious– an influence from when the British colonialized Kenya.

Masai Mara

Masai Mara

Thursday of this week we did a practice dry run through of our final presentation to one person at PSI. This was a great chance to get feedback and prepare for next week.

A male lion!

A male lion!

We finished off Week 2 with a long awaited Safari! 6 hour drive from Nairobi and we were close to the Tanzanian border, in the middle of the Masai Mara. We did two game drives and saw tons of animals: lions, cheetah, leopard, wildebeest, gazelle, impalas, elephants, giraffes…the list goes on! Had a great time here and also got to meet the Masai villagers – and incredible and humbling experience.

PSI IBD Team with Carlos, our Safari Tour Guide.

PSI IBD Team with Carlos, our Safari Tour Guide.

In-Country – Week 3

Our last week! It felt so good to have worked so hard on the deck, practiced the presentation using our Lead Comm skills and presented to over 20 people from PSI. It was great to hear their feedback and excitement about our strategies. They appreciated how realistic our ideas were and it felt great to deliver! Enjoyed the rest of this week by finalizing our deliverables and enjoying Nairobi!

Team PSI enjoying dinner

Team PSI enjoying dinner

Team Seedlink- Lives and Learns in Shanghai with Dynamic Clients and Colleagues

Written by Paola Blanco, Nanor Asadorian, Ralph Boyajian, Conor Farese, and Dean Guo

The Seedlink team on our first day of work.

The Seedlink team on our first day of work.

Only a week in, and the hustle and bustle of Shanghai is slowly seeping into our lives. We wake up at 8am every morning, and our team breaks into a myriad of mobility tools to get to work. Conor and Paola on the MoBikes – a local bikeshare service. Dean, Ralph, and Nanor grab a Didi – the local equivalent to Uber. We head into the coworking space where our company, Seedlink, is based. Grab coffees, crack open our computers, and turn on the VPNs (even in China, we are never far from gmail). And we get to work. 

Seedlink, our client, is a Human Resources Tech company based here in Shanghai, with offices in Amsterdam as well. They build an artificial intelligence tool that uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand the science of human behavior. In a nutshell, they can use their tool to predict how well incoming job candidates will perform when compared to the talent a company already has in their organization. They have a strong foothold in China and Europe, and are working with IBD to establish their approach to the U.S. market. We have our hands full, to say the least. Our seven weeks in the U.S. prior to travel was jam-packed with interviews and insights, while our time here in China has been primarily about turning those insights into clear suggestions and tactics that the Seedlink team can use immediately.

Our team hard at work, with the Shanghai sunset behind us.

Our team hard at work, with the Shanghai sunset behind us.

Professionally, this has been a tremendous opportunity for all of us. In our push to build a business strategy, we’ve incorporated bit and pieces from almost every class from our core this year. Marketing lessons have influenced how we think about Seedlink’s value proposition and branding. Strategy frameworks have encouraged us to consider the incumbent response to Seedlink’s entrance. From Problem-Finding Problem-Solving, our Haas design course, we borrowed the Business Model Canvas and the insight session tactics. And of course, we lean on our diverse backgrounds to bring it all together: between the five of us, we cover Operations, Finance, Consulting, Tech and Design. Almost perfectly, our project with Seedlink has called on us to weave the lessons from these courses and experiences together into a carefully crafted plan for our client.

The Seedlink team on a lunchtime stroll through the Jing’An gardens.

The Seedlink team on a lunchtime stroll through the Jing’An gardens.

But so much of this experience has also existed beyond the workplace. Our first week here was a huge learning opportunity for all of us. We struggled through the four tones of Mandarin, thankful to our teammate Dean who patiently instructs us (still) each time we stumble. We’ve tried countless food options: Dumpling (x3), Hunan, Yunnan, Hot Pot (x2), Xinjiang, Japanese, Korean… the list goes on and our bellies are full. 

A happy Dean, ready for the first soup dumplings of the trip.

A happy Dean, ready for the first soup dumplings of the trip.

The weekends have included a trip to Guilin to see the fabled mountains and Hangzhou for the storied West Lake.

Even today, we’re just back from a weekend on the beautiful Jeju island, one of Korea’s most famous spots. We stuffed ourselves full of Korean BBQ, took a trip through a 7km underground lava tube, climbed the side of the volcano, and hit the town at night to see K-Pop in action.

1km into the lava tubes of Jeju, Korea.

1km into the lava tubes of Jeju, Korea.

The Seedlink and 51Jobs teams take a boat cruise in Hangzhou, China.

The Seedlink and 51Jobs teams take a boat cruise in Hangzhou, China.

Shanghai, in other words, has served us well: we are working in an urban hotspot, and are eager to take advantage of the proximity to beautiful places and of the melting pot of ideas, cuisines, and cultures that happens here.

It should go without saying that this upcoming last week will pass by all-too-quickly. We much more learning in store, and are preparing our final pitch to our client encapsulating the output of 10 weeks of research and energy. And beyond that, we are focused on spending time with each other, and with the other IBD teams in our Shang-Haas family. We know this time is precious, and that this rare moment in our lives – when we can live and learn abroad with dynamic clients and colleagues – will come to an end before we know it.

On the Bund, a river walk in Shanghai.

On the Bund, a river walk in Shanghai.

Dean Rich Lyons, Forever an International Ambassador

Dean Lyons at IBD class

Dean Lyons at IBD class

Dean Rich Lyons is in the last months of his tenure at Berkeley Haas, and last week we were honored to have him address the Full-Time MBA IBD class for the last time. He has been an enthusiastic supporter of international course offerings at Berkeley Haas, as well as an active ambassador for the IBD program. 

Dean Lyons had this to share with IBD:  “I was hired here on the faculty in 1993, in a very different slot. I don’t think it had ever happened before and I don’t think it’s happened since.  They allocated an ”international” slot and my field is international finance and business. So when I got here, it is safe to say that the only course that we would refer to as experiential learning, today, was IBD.  It was an important part of the global footprint of the business school even way back then…It is really the kernel of a starting point to our whole experiential learning curriculum.”

Dean Lyons expressed that his own international experiences were transformative, and formed the basis for why he pursued a Ph.D. in international economics.  He commended our IBD students for their hard work to date and deemed them “worthy ambassadors” of the Berkeley Haas brand. With an eye to the future, Dean Lyons asked current IBD students to think about their work with IBD clients as a path to more opportunities for the next generation of IBD students.  He told us that “when you say Berkeley in Sao Paulo or Shanghai, or wherever you are going, it just has incredible resonance and you’re part of that resonance.” He encouraged our IBD students to revel in the 150 years of Berkeley tradition, and to “keep the global star rising” at Berkeley Haas.

In conclusion, he reminded us all to “do good work.”  

Dean Lyons and IBD Faculty Mentors

Dean Lyons and IBD Faculty Mentors

Dean Lyons has been doing exceptional work for years on behalf of many departments at Berkeley Haas and UC Berkeley.  The faculty, staff, alumni, and students at IBD are grateful to him for keeping the IBD program top of mind when he travels internationally.  Dean Lyons has always been considered an extension of our own team, as well as our best advocate at home and abroad. As a small token of our appreciation, the IBD team presented Dean Lyons with an award that fits the profile of the IBD program as well as the Dean’s love of all things international: a commemorative globe.  We hope that after Dean Lyons returns from his much-deserved sabbatical, he will continue to be an advocate for the IBD program and other course opportunities that offer MBAs transformative international experiences.

Global Lives Project – Building Understanding and Empathy Across Cultures

Example of a Globe Smart Country Comparison

Example of a Globe Smart Country Comparison

On the first day of the spring 2018 IBD class, Faculty Director Frank Schultz told 80 IBD students that they were going to learn a number of skills, including how to solve strategic problems in a business setting across cultures.  Not surprisingly, this is one of the main reasons that Berkeley Haas MBAs want to be a part of the IBD program. While it is common for many of our MBAs to be have lived and traveled extensively outside the US, not all of them have worked internationally.  IBD provides a great opportunity to work on this lifelong skill set.

What are the ways that IBD Faculty Mentors prepare students for challenging international work experiences?  For years, IBD students have had access to the online tool, GlobeSmart, an online platform that offers extensive information on how individuals in different countries conduct themselves in a professional setting.  In addition to being a resource for cross-cultural understanding, it is also a tool used by our IBD students to understand how they conduct themselves overall in business. After completing a diagnostic survey, each IBD team is asked to compare and discuss their differences and similarities on how they prefer to work.  The IBD students are also asked to compare their individual and team results to the specific project country in which they will work for the remainder of their IBD project.

In our most recent IBD class, our newest Faculty Mentor, David Evan Harris, expanded on the GlobeSmart cross-cultural

David at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive exhibit of the Global Lives Project (2017)

David at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive exhibit of the Global Lives Project (2017)

assignment and asked students to visit one of the Global Lives Project exhibits on UC Berkeley campus.  Global Lives Project is a nonprofit that David started after he graduated from UC Berkeley in 2003.  

When asked why he tasked IBD Teams with going to on-campus exhibit, David said,  

“I think the Global Lives Project and GlobeSmart are complimentary.  I hoped by experiencing Global Lives, students would have the chance to really think about people around the world, and especially in the countries that they will be traveling to; just as people and not as customers, clients or a target audience.  I wanted them to really think about these individuals, as people who have complex lives and go home to a family each day. I want them to really empathize and think about how people’s lives around the world are different and similar to our own.  GlobeSmart is very much looking at a macro level, looking at statistics and trying to use numbers to break down billions of people into certain types.  Global Lives Project is the exact opposite of that.  It’s about looking at people as individuals that are really unique and that we have to take the time to study and observe carefully.  There are no single answers about what you can learn from a Global Lives Project visit. The student responses were extremely thoughtful and I was really happy about that.”

What were the reactions from IBD students after viewing the Global Lives Project exhibits and getting a look into the lives of 20 people from around the globe?  Here are some of their representative comments:

'19 MBA Gagan Dhaliwal in front of the Global Lives Project

’19 MBA Gagan Dhaliwal in front of the Global Lives Project

“As the son of immigrants, I cannot help but reflect upon the immigrant experience—the challenges and virtues of cross-cultural experiences. Some of the most transformational growth I’ve experienced has come when I was in another country; when I was immersed in a language and culture so foreign to me I did not even know how to call for a taxi. This exhibit reminds me to always seek new experiences—and pay homage to those that have done the same before me.  – Gagan Dhaliwal, MBA Candidate 2019

“I liked this installation a lot. Very cool project. It’s nice that the footage was not overly edited or stylized—clearly an effort to provide as clear and unbiased a depiction of what each of these individuals’ daily lives are like. Kind of like a “presented without comment” type of approach, which I appreciated. Of course, the earnings-per-day figures listed in each description were startling, especially those in South Korea and Canada, which are largely developed nations. What went through my mind was a reaffirmation of just how privileged I am, something I don’t even need to leave the country (let alone our campus) to feel. My privilege abounds.”  Daniel Clayton, MBA Candidate 2019

“Watching the Global Lives Project made me feel closer to these people who live so far away. I was able to see how we are similar and what it might be like for me to live in their situation. I love that this project will serve as a time capsule on daily life around the world for future generations to appreciate as well.” – Rachel Green, MBA Candidate 2019 

MBA '19 Jack Anderson in front of the Global Lives Project

MBA ’19 Jack Anderson in front of the Global Lives Project

“Ivan Montaño from Colombia helped remind me that all kinds of work and lives look different but can have meaning. He showed that the mentality of the person can weigh more than any other part and embodied my understanding of traditional Colombian culture.”  – Tam Pace-Emerson, MBA Candidate 2019

“As I observed the exhibit, the thought that most resonated with me was how big the world is outside my little bubble of existence, but how infrequently I truly think about and empathize with people outside of this narrow view (despite my best efforts). It was a good reminder to build awareness, be curious, and keep perspective – something that can be hard at a top MBA Program.”  – Jack Anderson, MBA Candidate 2019

'19 MBA Rachel Green in front of Global Lives Project Video Exhibit

’19 MBA Rachel Green in front of Global Lives Project Video Exhibit

“Going to the exhibit made me think about how personal and complicated each person’s life is. It made me want to hear more from these individuals to learn why they were doing what they were doing or going where they were going.” – Breona Jenkins, MBA Candidate 2019

“The Global Lives Project was really eye-opening to see the different ways that people across the world lived. While some things were incredibly different (people motor-biking long distances to work, etc.), we found that we could relate to every exhibit in small ways. One thing our group noticed was that for most people, there was way less dependence on phones or electronic devices. More people seemed to be “in the moment” than we see in our daily lives at Berkeley.” – Natalie Bauman, MBA Candidate 2019

Team Thailand: MBA students, Stan Cataldo, Elaine Leong, Ryan Dingler, Igor Borges, Mila Pires

Team Thailand: MBA students, Stan Cataldo, Elaine Leong, Ryan Dingler, Igor Borges, Mila Pires

“I enjoyed my visit to the Global Lives Project and seeing all the ways that people live out their lives. It is amazing how different our lives are in what we eat and how we structure our days, and yet the overarching structures of work, family, and friends is always prevalent.” – Ryan Dingler, MBA Candidate 2019

“I went to the CITRIS Tech Museum and immediately thought about how the people that we are going to be marketing to for our public health client have daily lives that are so completely different from our own. As my team jumps into thinking about potential tactics for our marketing plan, I’m hoping we can step back and view interviewing patients as a really critical process to our project.”  – Rachel Lee, MBA Candidate 2019

'19 MBA Rachel Lee in front of the Global Lives Project Video Exhibit

’19 MBA Rachel Lee in front of the Global Lives Project Video Exhibit

Cross-cultural tools like GlobeSmart and Global Lives Project are important starting points to open up cultural awareness and empathy among students and viewer.  Rachel’s comment above sums up some of the most important priorities for being successful at working across cultures: Talk to people; interview them; spend time listening and learning how they feel and think.  This is critical to the success of the project, and at its essence, it is what makes the IBD experience so rewarding.

The Global Lives Project exhibit runs through the end of May at the CITRIS Tech Museum in Sutardja Dai Hall on the UC Berkeley Campus.

The Spring IBD Program is Off and Running….

A lot has happened this past month in the life of the 2018 Spring FTMBA IBD program. On February 1st, we held the first day of Spring IBD class, revealing the names of IBD clients, their projects and country destinations to an excited group of 16 IBD Student Team Leads. The Team Leads then introduced themselves online to their project clients for the first time. Following that, IBD Team Leads and Faculty Mentors collaborated and successfully executed an IBD Team Member draft —  selecting up to four MBA Team Members for each project team.

Team Lead Reveal on Feb 1st

Team Lead Reveal on Feb 1st

This spring we are partnering with 16 client organizations in 12 different countries, spread across four continents.  Six clients from last year’s spring and summer programs, as well as three organizations from past IBD project years, have returned to work with our IBD FTMBAs on a project this spring. Our 16 Team Leads have certainly hit the ground running with their IBD projects, and they are looking forward to the first day of the full IBD class (March 15th), when incoming IBD Team Members officially join their project teams. 

We asked each of our Team Leads and Faculty Mentors to describe their impressions of their IBD projects, the “Big Reveal” of projects to the students, and what excites them about this stage of the IBD program.  Here is what they had to share:

“I am excited about the European expansion plans of Piri. It is such an ambitious and interesting project, that if it is successful it will have a big impact within YGA. So far it has been a great experience getting to know the team and the unique culture of YGA.” Team Lead Daniel Mombiedro

Catherine, Jocelyn, Daniel and Sara

“My Team Leads are in the throes of work planning and are really getting their arms around the client issues and available information. It’s so great to see them taking charge of the client relationship, and bouncing hypotheses off their client teams. I can tell their clients are excited about it, too. Keep up the good work, everyone!” Faculty Mentor Judy Hopelain

“’I’m incredibly excited about both the scope of my project as well as returning to explore Latin America after many years away! Although the amount of work in front of us is daunting, my (TBD) team is amazing and I’m highly confident in our ability to deliver a great set of insights for our client.” Team Lead Colin Dunn

“I only wish I could go on these​ trips with all the students as our clients are doing incredibly important and impactful work in fascinating places.” Faculty Mentor David Evan Harris

Jorge Tellez

Jorge Tellez

“I can’t wait for the Big Reveal tomorrow. I have seen so many IBD students walking around, and I just want to shout with excitement about where they will be going and what cool project they will be on. I’m looking forward to meeting members of my team (some for the first time!) and getting them excited about our work together!” Team Lead

Catherine Soler

“I could not be more excited to be working for Ford in Shanghai this semester. Having accepted an offer to work as a consultant this summer, I’m anxious to begin developing my consulting toolkit during IBD and deliver a great project to our client.  It’s going to be an amazing experience and I’m excited to onboard my team and get things going!” Team Lead James Westhafer

Tech Team Drafting Team Members

Tech Team Drafting Team Members

“I’m very excited about my project, and I’m thrilled to be leading the first IBD team to work with Majid Al Futtaim

James Westhafer

Holding. I am confident that this project will be the beginning of a long and meaningful relationship between Majid Al Futtaim and Berkeley Haas.” Team Lead Jorge Tellez

“Being a Team Lead is a big responsibility, but I’m comfortable with the great support we have from our Faculty Mentors and the executive coaching program.” Team Lead Melea Atkins

Team Lead Reveal

Team Lead Reveal

“Our Team Leads are fantastic: full of enthusiasm and undaunted by somewhat ambiguous and ambitious client project scopes!” Faculty Mentor Whitney Hischier

 

“I’m excited for the opportunity to develop my team leadership style with a group of all-star MBAs. I also can’t wait to develop a team experience that supports all of our professional and personal development.” Team Lead Michelle Boyd

“I’m really looking forward to the Big Reveal and introducing my team to the Seva Foundation project. My team has a strong and diverse set of healthcare experiences, and I can’t wait to see how we can tackle our project together.” Team Lead Jocelyn Brown

Natalie Bauman

Natalie Bauman

“I originally wanted to a be a Team Lead to push myself outside of my comfort zone and gain experience leading peers. Choosing the team and realizing how impressive and awesome my teammates are has made me even more excited/nervous about the opportunity to be a Team Lead!” Team Lead Natalie Bauman

“I’m excited about the project and client! Working with a repeat client sets a high bar, but also makes it a little easier since the client knows what to expect from a project like IBD. This was one of the top projects last year, and I’m happy to have the opportunity to work with this client.” Team Lead Stan Cataldo

“I continue to be impressed by the talent pool at Berkeley Haas.  It really was an embarrassment of riches that we could draw upon for our IBD teams.” Faculty Mentor Frank Schultz

The IBD program is indeed very fortunate to have these talented MBA Team Leads working with our international clients.  We are looking forward to expanding the energy and talent of this group with an additional 64 MBAs, when we welcome them into the IBD fold on March 1st for the “Big Reveal.”

 

 

Kristi Raube, Former IBD Executive Director, Made An Impact At Berkeley Haas and Beyond

Kristi Raube speaking at the annual IBD Conference

Kristi Raube speaking at the annual IBD Conference

It has now been a month since former IBD Executive Director, Kristi Raube, left for her new position as the Peace Corps Country Director in Liberia, West Africa.  During her 19 years at UC Berkeley, Kristi took on a variety of roles at Berkeley Haas and across the UC campus.  She left behind a legacy of hard work, dedication, passionate enthusiasm, and the ability to manage efficiently the different priorities and moving parts of our institution.  Kristi accomplished all this while traveling the world, looking for ways that Berkeley Haas could make an impact globally.  In the wake of her departure, we in the IBD team want to offer a tribute to Kristi’s distinguished career by highlighting comments made recently by IBD clients, colleagues and students.  

Peace Corps - Liberia Facebook Page post about Kristi Raube

During her tenure as Executive Director, Kristi rebuilt IBD to become the cornerstone experiential learning program it is today.  She aligned the course to highlight real-world strategic problems and their solutions, providing MBAs with the opportunity to learn consulting tools and skill sets while working overseas.  “She added structure and accountability to the program, which benefited both the students and the clients,” said David Richardson, now the Interim Executive Director for IBD.  2017 IBD Team Lead Carolyn Chuong (MBA ‘18) spoke of Kristi as “a fantastic mentor throughout the engagement with Makerere University (a 2017 IBD Client).  One thing I really admire about Kristi is her ability to find the balance between providing guidance to students and being hands-off. She was clearly invested in helping our client succeed, but she also wanted our team to truly own the client relationship and project scope. As the Team Lead, I felt like I had her full trust and support.”

2017 Team YGA

2017 Team YGA

Kristi firmly believed that regardless of their career path, MBAs needed to experience working across different cultures–something that would prepare them better for developments in their personal and professional lives.  Former Berkeley Haas Dean and current Faculty Director for the Institute for Business and Social Impact (IBSI), Laura Tyson said of Kristi, “I am in awe of your energy and leadership on behalf of the Haas community.  Also awed by your intrepid travel–a true road warrior on behalf of IBSI and the IBD course that you nurtured over many years. You literally went to the ends of the earth to find challenging and transformative projects for several generations of Haas students. You have changed their lives forever in meaningful ways.”  2017 IBD student Mark Angel (MBA ‘18) is one of many who agreed with this sentiment in writing that Kristi “helped shaped one of the most formidable experiences I had at Haas.”

Kristi has provided mentorship and coaching to countless students through the years.  Sarah Evans (MBA ‘18), IBD Team

Dean Lyons and Kristi Raube at the IBD Conference

Dean Lyons and Kristi Raube at the IBD Conference

Lead for the Seva Foundation, was one of many students to benefit from Kristi’s mentorship.  She said that it “was absolutely instrumental to my positive IBD experience and frankly my positive experience at Haas. As a woman interested in global health, it was amazing to have a female mentor who has had such success in that particular field. Kristi was always happy to give me frank advice on everything from career choices to client management. I feel lucky to have worked with her. “

Kristi advocated for multiple ways that MBA students could experience international experiences at Berkeley Haas, expanding the scope of our school’s global reach.  Dean Rich Lyons praised Kristi for “carrying the global banner,” during a speech he gave recently in Kristi’s honor.  In talking about Kristi, he added, “your commitment to everything international is authentic and powerful.  We’ve learned from you and we’re going to continue to advance our international and global offerings.“

Kristi Raube and David Richardson in Bogota with Berkeley Haas Alumni

Kristi Raube and David Richardson in Bogota with Berkeley Haas Alumni

Kristi’s influence also went far beyond the walls of Berkeley Haas.  Heidi Chase, Director of Innovation & Sight for the Seva Foundation, has been a long time client of IBD.  Heidi said on behalf of Seva that, “Kristi has been an inspiration to many Seva staff and international partners dating back to the decade before her appointment with IBD.  Kristi’s excellence in strategic thinking, training, and building teams have benefited sight programs in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.  The legacy of Kristi’s service with Seva will live on through sustainable eye care services for years to come.”

Laura Stachel, MD, Kristi’s former MPH student at UC Berkeley School of Public Health and now Co-Founder and Executive Director of the international nonprofit We Care Solar, would often turn to Kristi for mentorship.  Ultimately, she asked Kristi to join her organization’s board of directors.   Stachel said that in “addition to everything Kristi did here (at Haas), she has been an amazing board member for our nonprofit and brought so much of her passion and insight.  She also enabled us to connect with IBD projects for two years in Uganda and the Philippines.  These projects strengthened our organization tremendously.” 

Kristi visiting PHI clinic in Kampala for her own research, she was delighted to find a We Care Solar Solar Suitcases brightening up the delivery room!

Kristi visiting PHI clinic in Kampala for her own research, she was delighted to find a We Care Solar Solar Suitcases brightening up the delivery room!

Kristi meeting with YGA in Istanbul

Kristi meeting with YGA in Istanbul

The IBD program, together with Kristi’s partnership, has left lasting impressions on many of our clients.  In the spring 2017 IBD course, Young Guru Academy (YGA) collaborated carefully with Kristi to ensure that an IBD student team could work safely for three weeks in Istanbul and areas nearby in Turkey. YGA’s Director of International Affairs, Sezin Aydın, expressed gratitude to Kristi for “being wholeheartedly courageous and hopeful” throughout the long process of making this project in Turkey a reality.  “The value of having such a trusting relationship with your partner is priceless,” said Sezin of her experience of working with Kristi and the IBD program.   

Kristi Raube and Laura Tyson

Kristi Raube and Laura Tyson

Partnerships, leadership, mentorship, and friendship: all these are part of the legacy that Kristi leaves behind.  Since 2010, Berkeley Haas Instructor Frank Schultz has been a part of the IBD program as a Faculty Mentor.  Now, in the wake of Kristi’s departure, he has been tasked to take on the role of IBD Faculty Director.  When asked to share his feelings about her leaving, Frank wrote that ”Kristi was an inspiring colleague, mentor and friend to me during my entire career at Haas.  I feel honored that I will be taking on her role as Faculty Director of IBD.  I always tell my Leadership students that one of the biggest compliments you can pay to a leader is that you will not miss them when they are gone.  Outstanding leaders set their organizations up to succeed well after they are gone.  This is so true of Kristi – IBD is amazingly well positioned for the future.  I realize though I have been terribly wrong in my aseptic statement about not missing leaders when they are gone.  On a personal level, Kristi will be deeply missed by me and all of her colleagues here at Haas.”    

IBD Faculty Mentors

IBD Faculty Mentors

Team Makerere 2017

Team Makerere 2017

In summary, we learned through these interviews and conversations that IBD was just one of the many programs at Berkeley Haas that benefited from Kristi’s leadership and inspired work.  Because of Kristi and the outstanding legacy she left behind, IBD is now ready to launch another inspiring year of connecting MBA students with international consulting challenges.   And yes, Frank Schultz was right: we already miss Kristi here at Berkeley Haas.