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.

IBD Welcomes New Faculty Mentor David Evan Harris to the Spring 2018 IBD Program

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)

This year we are thrilled to welcome David Evan Harris as the newest member of our Spring IBD Program Faculty Mentor team.  We are excited to see David join the IBD family, where he can share his international work experience and passion for social impact.  His extensive background and skills will have a positive effect on both our IBD students and our project clients.

David’s interest in international work started when he was an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, and it has continued to drive his career ever since.  Two years after graduating from Cal, while living in Brazil, David founded a nonprofit called the Global Lives Project—a video library of life experience around the world, produced by thousands of collaborating filmmakers, photographers, and translators.  The Global Lives Project was designed to spark conversations about race, religion, diversity, gender, and class. In a recent article written by UC Berkeley’s Kathleen MacLay, David shared that “Global Lives challenges audiences to reflect deeply about their place in the world and the moral and ethical responsibilities that come with that.”  (To read more from MacLay’s article, click here).  David’s work with Global Lives Project called on him to make presentations to audiences at the Smithsonian, Harvard, and United Nations University, among other institutions.  He has been supported in his work by groups including the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, the Goldman Fund and more.

David also serves as Research Director at the Institute for the Future (IFTF), where he leads research on the future of philanthropy, media, governance and social movements.  Building on this research, he has served as an advisor and consultant to dozens of foundations, government agencies, and corporations.  His writings have been published by the BBC, The Guardian, Focus on the Global South, Hivos, Alternet and Grist, and his work has been translated into dozens of languages.

David hard at work at the Institute for the Future with his coworker Sara Skvirsky and IFTF Fellows Lance Coleman and Milicent Johnson (2016)

David hard at work at the Institute for the Future with his coworker Sara Skvirsky and IFTF Fellows Lance Coleman and Milicent Johnson (2016)

In 2015, David returned to UC Berkeley and added Chancellor’s Public Scholar and Berkeley Haas Lecturer to his long list of professional roles.  We recently interviewed David to ask more about his background and what he hopes to bring to the IBD program.  

Question: What brought you to Haas?

David Evan Harris: “Whitney Hischier (current Berkeley Haas Lecturer, IBD Faculty Mentor and Faculty Director at Berkeley Executive Education) brought a couple of groups of international executive education students to IFTF in Palo Alto.  After two of those sessions, Whitney and I had a conversation about teaching a class at Haas in scenario planning and that was my first course at Haas; Scenario Planning and the Futures Thinking.  I still teach that course -which is an Evening Weekend course for MBAs.  I also teach two classes in the undergrad program; Social Movements and Social Media and Civic Technology.  Civic Technology is a freshman and sophomore seminar so I get to work with the freshest minds on campus.  I am excited to add IBD as my fourth class.”

Question:  Tell us about your career and how it relates to your business experience?

David Evan Harris: “I started a nonprofit organization which is the Global Lives Project.  It is a unique nonprofit in that, it has no employees but thousands of volunteers all over the world.  Those volunteers have produced over 500 hours of footage of 20 different people from 17 countries for 24 hours straight.  It is on exhibit right now at various Museums around Berkeley (click here for the schedule) and will be on display at Chou Hall in the spring.  The project has a big part of my life for 14 years which makes me a strange kind of entrepreneur, a nonprofit founder and a founder of a network organization.  I have also been very lucky to work with IFTF and had the opportunity to work with a lot of very large institutions, helping them do strategic planning and think about how they can be responsible players in shaping the long-term future of the world.”

Question:  How are you feeling about being a part of the IBD Program?

David with his advisor, Professor Sedi Hirano, just after completing the defense of his master's thesis at the University of São Paulo. (2008)

David with his advisor, Professor Sedi Hirano, just after completing the defense of his master’s thesis at the University of São Paulo. (2008)

David Evan Harris: I am really excited about joining the IBD program as I have been hearing great things about it from people at Haas for years now. I am also excited to be working with this team, especially with Whitney, as she was one of the first contacts I had here at Haas.  I am also very excited about the way that IBD fits into the work I have been doing with public sector and nonprofit organizations. After I graduated from Berkeley as an undergrad, where I studied Political Economy of Development and Environment, which was the focus of my major in the Interdisciplinary Studies Program, I lived in Brazil for three years.  I studied sociology at the University of São Paulo.  As an undergrad, I also studied abroad on the International Honors Program in five different countries; Tanzania, India, the Philippines, Mexico and the U.K.  I have also been very lucky through my work with the Global Lives Project and IFTF to travel to and do work in dozens of countries all over the world.  The idea of being part of this international program within Haas is really thrilling for me, especially because study abroad and international work has had such an immense influence on making me the person I am today.”

Question: Are there any specific learnings or skill sets that you bring to the program that you want MBA to take full advantage of?

David Evan Harris: “Yes, absolutely, as a student from an American university, it is very important when you work internationally that you bring a lot of humility to that work.  It is essential that you acknowledge that even though your clients are hiring you because they see you as bringing cutting-edge knowledge and experience to the work, you really need to listen very carefully and do everything you possibly can to understand the culture where you are working.  You must also understand that, as a visitor, you can’t truly understand the culture where you are working, and you must be there as a supporter and not an authoritarian consultant who acts like they know everything. That is one thing I want to bring to the program.  I also have a lot of experience working with NGOs, nonprofit organizations and with public-sector groups in other parts of the world. I am excited to work with students who are interested in working with those types of organizations. I hope to develop their skills in offering business expertise, which is very, very, much needed in those sectors, and in a way that is aligned with the public-minded missions of people and institutions doing that work.”

Question: How do you find time for everything you do?

David Evan Harris: “Over the years I have managed to juggle a lot of different relationships with different institutions.  I have different techniques but the key thing is to be part of great institutions that have really valued the work that I do and made it possible to be involved with them in ways that fit into my jigsaw puzzle of a schedule.”  

Question: Do you have time to do anything that is not work-related?  

David Evan Harris: “Most of the time when I have free time, I tend to spend it with my twin seventeen-month-old children. They are a joy and educational opportunity for me.  That takes up most of my non- working time and I also enjoy getting some sleep when I can. I also try to make time to do the other things.  I love to hike and sometimes I take my kids along in our off-road stroller. You might also hear me zipping up to campus on my electric bicycle, which is a form of transportation and also a form of recreation and exercise.”

Question: Where is your favorite place to visit in the world?

David Evan Harris: “I have a long-standing special relationship with Brazil. It is such a big country that every time I go there, I see new and learn new things.  After living there for three years, Brazil became a part of me and part of my identity.  Whenever I have a chance or the option of where I want to go, I go back to Brazil.”

Question: Is there a place you would like to visit in the world that you haven’t been to yet?

David Evan Harris: “I have been trying to get to Cuba.  I am fascinated by Cuba, Cuban culture, economy, politics and I am very interested in going at some point.”   

Question:  Do you have a defining principle that you are working on right now and plan to apply to your role at IBD?

David Evan Harris:  “Beyond Yourself” is definitely my favorite defining principle. In my teaching work at Berkeley Haas, I constantly strive to surface the ways in which movements for social change are so deeply enmeshed in economic relationships and business challenges. Non-profit organizations that have sprung up parallel to grassroots movements like #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter are critically important to understand as management challenges. Fundraising is almost always a struggle for these organizations, as are management and measurement of outcomes. The specifics of these challenges are often distinct from those faced by for-profit companies and merit systematic study, analysis and engagement from faculty and students at Haas. In my work this semester with IBD, coaching teams working with non-profit and for-benefit corporations, I intend to bring the “Beyond Yourself” ethos together with rigorous applied scholarship and consulting. I hope that this experience will fit into a lifelong engagement on the part of my students with the businesses—both non-profit, for-profit, and the many shades of gray emerging in-between—that are guided not by the pursuit of self-enrichment of their own leaders, but on the world beyond.”

This concludes our interview with our newest IBD Faculty Mentor, David Evan Harris.  Thank you, David, for going “Beyond Yourself” in all the work you do at the IFTF, at the Global Lives Project, and at Berkeley Haas.  We look forward to the impact you will make on the Spring 2018 IBD program over the course of the next few months.

Hello Liberia! IBD’s Executive Director, Kristi Raube, Takes on a New Adventure

Kristi Teaching

Kristi Teaching

After more than 18 years dedicating herself and her career to academia, teaching, mentoring and guiding graduate students at Berkeley-Haas, IBD Executive Director Kristi Raube and her husband will depart early next year for their newest adventure — moving to Africa.  Kristi has accepted a position as the Peace Corps Country Director for the Republic of Liberia.  Before her Berkeley-Haas career, Kristi was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Togo, where she trained community groups in health and agriculture projects, and coordinated logistics for Peace Corps training and new volunteers.  During her career at Berkeley-Haas, Kristi focused on her passion for healthcare and social impact.  She is now returning full circle with her new position in Liberia.   We sat down recently with Kristi to get a better sense of how she feels about this once in a lifetime opportunity, as well as what she is leaving behind at UC Berkeley and Berkeley-Haas.

Kristi in Zaire during her time in the Peace Corps

Question: What excites you the most about your new position?

Kristi Raube: “There are so many reasons why this position is so exciting.  First, this is an opportunity for me to be closer to the problems that I have been passionate about my entire career.  In many ways, this position will allow me to keep doing the work I have been doing these last 19 years, except now I get to be embedded in the solutions, as I have never had an opportunity to stay longer than a couple weeks.

Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhukana Rugunda, Prime Minister, Republic of Uganda

Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhukana Rugunda, Prime Minister, Republic of Uganda

That’s why I really love the Peace Corps approach.  They have 3 goals:  The first is to train the Peace Corps Volunteers to meet the needs of the community.  Second, they want to promote understanding of the United States to the people that Peace Corps volunteers are serving. Finally, they want to promote understanding of the communities where the Peace Corps volunteers serve.  Their method is very grassroots as they become embedded in the communities -they don’t just parachute in to do work and leave.

Second, I will get to continue my work with young people, in fact, many of the volunteers are about the same age as Haas students.  

There have been a lot of challenges in Liberia.  The Civil War ended in 2002 and many years were lost for young adults.  There wasn’t an opportunity to focus on one’s education or professional development.  In this role, I will get the opportunity to work with 50 people on my Liberian staff.  I will get to groom and shape staff and offer them the opportunity to develop themselves in their professional lives.  

I also am very excited about doing something good in the world and perhaps making a small difference. “

Kristi on a recent trip to Tanzania to visit her oldest son, who is volunteering in the Peace Corps

Kristi in Tanzania this Nov. 2017. She was visiting her oldest son, who is volunteering in the Peace Corps.

Question:  What are you the most anxious about?

Kristi Raube:  “My decision is affecting our whole family and in some ways, it is not just me going to Liberia to follow my dream, it’s everyone.  My husband is leaving his job and home to take this leap of faith. He has never been to Sub-Sarah Africa and he is doing this because he believes in me.  It is an amazing thing to have a husband who is willing to do that. Our family will be very far away.  One of our three sons will be finishing college in May and the other just started this year.  They won’t have their “home” to go to while we are away. They will need to travel a long way to see their parents.”

Question:  What will you miss about Berkeley-Haas?

Kristi in Zaire during her time in the Peace Corp

Kristi in Zaire during her time in the Peace Corp

Kristi Raube:  “I have been at Haas for almost 19 years and I am eternally grateful for the trust and support that people have given to me to grow as a leader, manager and as a teacher.  It’s been a journey.  I have embraced the Berkeley Haas Defining Principles to always push myself to be better.

And, it’s all about the people.  I am also going to miss the students.  Every year, you get a new batch, and they are smart, curious, open, inquisitive, enthusiastic and want to make a difference in the world.  What a fantastic environment to be in!   I will miss my faculty colleagues who are always asking interesting questions.  You can go to a million interesting talks and intellectually it is a candy store playground. Last but not least, I will miss my colleagues and staff. I feel really lucky working with this very  committed, wonderful group of people.”

Kristi with the 2016 IBD Team Samai at the IBD Conference

Kristi with the 2016 IBD Team Samai at the IBD Conference

Question:  Will you take any of the Berkeley Haas Defining Principles to your new position?

Kristi Raube: “All Four! This position and work are definitely embodying the “Beyond Yourself” principle, as we are really giving of ourselves through the work.  I think at the very start, personally, I need to focus most  on “Confidence without Attitude.”  I have a lot to learn.  I don’t know that much about the Liberian culture.  I need to be humble in the way I approach my work and so I can bring understanding to the issues and background and the why and how people are.  That links to “Student Always”.  For me, part of this is the challenge and the opportunity to really learn something new and stretch myself.  That is really exciting.  I guess I am also “Questioning the Status Quo” by deciding to move across the world to take this job instead of retiring here at Haas.  In some ways, all the Haas Defining Principles are not that far away from what I will be doing even though it is a different organization and clearly a different setting.  The Defining Principles really resonate with me as they are the way I lead my life.”

Kristi in Tanzania November 2017

Question: Do you know what your position looks like on a daily basis?

Kristi Raube: “I don’t know yet, but I do know who my constituents are!  The first are the 125 Peace Corps Volunteers in Liberia.  They are in every county of the country.  A lot of my work will be understanding the work that they are doing and what are their issues and problems, and where are they having successes.  I am very excited about this part of the job.  I will be responsible for training, safety and enabling them to be able to do good work.

The second group is the Liberian staff.  I have heard over and over that the staff has this amazing energy, optimism, and hard work ethic. I also understand that the Liberian staff need to have the opportunity to grow in their skill sets and education.

Kristi reading a letter from home during her time in Zaire volunteering for the Peace Corps

The third group of constituents are the Government, NGOs, businesses and America Embassy Communities.  I will be the representative and the face of the organization and as we think about where we will put volunteers and what they will be doing, I will need to work with the Minister of Education, Minister of Health and the President of the Country.  I will work with the other NGO’s and the businesses working in Liberia.  As you know from my work with the Berkeley Haas Institute for Business and Social Impact, I am passionate about the role of business and creating social good.  I will look to see if there are interesting opportunities.”

Question: What one thing do you think the individual who will steps into the role of Executive Director at IBD should know?

Kristi Raube:  “When I took over IBD it was all about rebuilding, but now, the Staff, Students, and Faculty components are all there and super strong. There is such great work being done and students are having great experiences.  Does that mean that there is no opportunity for improvements?  No, absolutely not.  The great thing about me leaving is there is an opportunity for someone to come in with fresh eyes and to look at these issues and figure out better ways to do organize IBD.  I feel really happy and proud of the work that we have collectively done and the foundation that has been left behind.”

Kristi and IBD's David Richardson in 2017 with Monica Wiese and Pablo Seminaro Butrich - IBD Alumni '05 and '04

Kristi and IBD’s David Richardson in 2017 with Monica Wiese and Pablo Seminaro Butrich – Alumni ’05 and ’04

End of Interview

The impact Kristi Raube has made on the IBD program is deep and invaluable.  Her passion and dedication to the mission of IBD — helping clients redefine how they do business globally, and providing MBA students with the opportunity to build their international consulting skills — has shown in all of her work.   Over her long career at Berkeley-Haas, Kristi has touched in the most positive of ways the lives of hundreds of students, clients, and colleagues.   As we say goodbye, we have no doubt that Kristi’s new Peace Corps and Liberian colleagues will get to know her as we have and come to appreciate all that she will bring to her new position. Please join us in congratulating Kristi on her new move to Liberia at ibd@haas.berkeley.edu.

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Meet the 2018 International Business Development Full-Time MBA Team Leads

Every year we in the IBD program become more impressed with the quality of applicants for the IBD Team Lead position.  This year was no exception, and we are proud to announce the 16 Full-Time MBA Student Team Leads for the 2018 IBD program.  Below you will find a little bit about each of their backgrounds, as well as what excites them about the IBD program and their new Team Lead role.

2018 IBD Team Leads in Alphabetical Order by Last Name:  

Libby Andrada in Sicily

Libby Andrada in Sicily

Elizabeth (Libby) Andrada:  Libby’s last position before coming to Berkeley Haas was Director of Strategic Communications and Healthcare and Life Sciences at FTI Consulting, a global advisory firm, located in New York.  She keeps her ties to New York as she is currently a writing buddy at the High School of Economics and Finance.

“I’m most excited about the opportunity to work with Haas classmates to make a real impact at an organization. I’m looking forward to building something tangible with our team and also to learning about what it’s like to work in an international context with teammates from all different backgrounds and with different experiences and passions.” – Libby

Melea Atkins:

Although Melea’s most recent role was as a consultant at MedStar Health Institute for Innovation, she spent the majority of her career in politics.  She served as a Legislative Aide for the Office of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Regional Field Director for Warren for U.S. Senate.  Malea is a Forté Foundation Fellow and loves swimming.

“I can’t wait to identify and start working with my team! Leading a group of diverse, multi-talented, Haas MBAs to complete a meaningful project is exactly the type of leadership learning experience I was hoping to get as a student at Haas.” – Melea

Mölln, Germany. The statue is of Till Eulenspeigel, a local trickster known for exposing people's vices. His toe and thumb are good luck!

Mölln, Germany. The statue is of Till Eulenspeigel, a local trickster known for exposing people’s vices. His toe and thumb are good luck!

Emily Atwood:  Before attending Haas, Emily spent her career in Buenos Aires, working as a consultant at EY.  In her first year at EY, she started weekly English- only lunches to help Argentine teammates practice language conversation skills.  

“I’m most looking forward to being at the client as a team — getting to put in practice everything we’re learning at Haas and will have worked towards together.” – Emily

Natalie Bauman:  Natalie hiking

Before coming to Berkeley Haas, Natalie started working at AlphaSights as an intern while she attended Colgate University, ending her long tenor there as a Manager of the Consulting Practice.  AlphaSights is a global knowledge search firm that connects institutional investors with industry experts.  Natalie was also the President of the Women’s Initiative Network at AlphaSights, which looked at diversity within the organization.

“I’m most excited about getting to work and bond with my team! I love how IBD gives us the opportunity to step outside of our comfort zones together.” – Natalie

Paola travelingPaola Blanco:  Trained as an industrial engineer at the University of Puerto Rico, Paola’s career at Abbott Diabetes Care and Abbott Laboratories focused on medical devices and manufacturing.  Paula was also the Team Lead for Abbott’s UPRM recruitment, ensuring that Hispanic talent was part of the pipeline to participate in internship and leadership programs.

“What excites me the most about IBD is the combination of creating great relationships with my team, having a meaningful impact on our client’s organization and having fun! As an IBD lead, I’m hoping to contribute to the success of our team and project, by keeping a positive working environment, leveraging each team member strengths, and listening to feedback.” – Paola

Michelle BoydMichelle Boyd: Michelle’s most recent job was as a consultant with The Bridgespan Group, a social sector strategy consulting and research firm.  She also worked as a consultant with Kiva and worked in India. An avid backpacker, Michelle has completed multiple 200+ mile backpacking trips, including the 210-mile John Muir Trail.

“I am most excited about working with an awesome group of Haasies in another country, and having a blast!” – Michelle

Jocelyn Brown:  Jocelyn’s career focus has been global health.  She has worked for two organizations: 3rd Stone Design, which is a medical device design company that focuses on development; and Rice 360 Institute for Global Health.  In 2014 Jocelyn was named in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in the Science and Healthcare category.

“In the IBD experience, I’m most excited about the opportunity to lead and work with a small team of amazing Haasies, to place ourselves in our clients’ shoes for a brief period and help solve a challenge they face, and to have a lot of fun working in an international setting!” – Jocelyn

Stan Cataldo:  Stan’s career has been in wealth and asset management.  He has worked for Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, and RBC Capital Markets in Venezuela, Colombia, New York, and Miami.   Stan has dual Italian-Venezuelan citizenship and was a violinist in the Arcos Juveniles de Caracas and Florida Youth Orchestras.

“ Whatever I decide to do after Haas will focus on bridging global barriers and bringing the world closer together; being an IBD Team Lead will allow me to hone the leadership skills needed to get there!” – Stan

Colin driving a boat Colin Dunn: Colin has worked in the retail management space since graduation from Notre Dame.  He has been a buyer, merchant, and divisional merchandise manager for Guess?, Inc. and Abercrombie & Fitch. Colin was selected as one of 13 “young company leaders” and invited to complete the Guess Leadership Program.  He is also an accomplished swimmer.

“I applied to be a team lead to get challenging, real-world consulting experience while leading some of the smartest people I know—my fellow Haasies!” – Colin

Sara Sara Farsio:  Sara is a MBA/MPH student with a background in biotech.  She has worked at Genentech, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and most recently at Theranos Inc. as a Global Supply Manager.  Sara enjoys Vinyasa yoga and completed the 2016 San Francisco Half Marathon.

“I’m thrilled to take on this experience alongside four of my Haasome classmates! I’m looking forward to putting our newly developed business skills to practice as we collaborate with our client to help them better realize their mission. Making an impact while creating unforgettable memories is what the MBA experience is all about!” – Sara

Francesca with her niece

Francesca with her niece

Francesca LeBaron: Francesca’s consulting career has led her to work in Turkey, India, and Africa.  Most recently she worked at Accenture Strategy.  Francesca has also volunteered all over the world, including in Greece, Tanzania, and Botswana.

“I am most excited about experiencing a different culture and business environment with my Haas team. Working in another country together is not only an incredible learning experience, but it is also an invaluable bonding experience.”  – Francesca

Daniel with - KangarooDaniel Mombiedro:  Daniel’s background is in private equity as an investment manager, and in corporate finance consulting.  He has worked in London and Madrid.  Daniel is passionate about soccer.  He is the Founder of Independiente Football Club in Madrid, and was a member of the college soccer team at European Business School of London.

“IBD is a great opportunity to learn about global challenges and work together with local communities on real projects. I am excited to travel abroad, share the experience with my classmates, immerse ourselves into a new culture and contribute a positive impact.”

Michael in Kazakhstan

Michael in Kazakhstan

Michael Sahm: Michael’s background has been in consulting.  He worked at Deloitte Consulting and Triage Consulting Group; most recently he worked as a director of managed care operations at Tenet Healthcare.  Michael has also been a Big brother for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, as well as an assistant varsity basketball coach.

“I am most excited to learn how to work across borders and cultures! I can’t wait to team up with my awesome classmates and deliver an excellent project for our client.” – Michael

Catherine Solar by boatsCatherine Soler: Catherine’s passion is social impact and her career has been focused on organizations working towards these same goals. Before coming to Berkeley Haas, Catherine worked in New York as a freelance social impact consultant for global NGOs and social enterprises.  She is a One World Ambassador and a Board member for Education Africa, a South African NGO.

“The year before Haas, I embarked on what I love to call “purposeful travel.” It was about having those awe-inspiring, perspective-shifting moments while discovering a new place, but also engaging with a community and with people in a way that creates shared value. When I look forward to IBD, I am humbled to be leading my peers and new client on a journey of exploration and contribution. To be able to help create purposeful and meaningful experiences for others will be both challenging and deeply rewarding!” – Catherine

Jorge Climbing Mount Rainier

Jorge Climbing Mount Rainier

Jorge Tellez:  Jorge is a US Naval Officer and recently held a position in Washington, DC at the Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals Washington.  He has served on two aircraft carriers, including the USS MOMSEN and USS CURTIS WILBUR. Jorge is an avid runner and has completed the Kyoto, Seattle, and Marine Corps marathons.

“My classmates are some of the most interesting and impressive people I’ve ever met, so I’m most excited about being able to tackle a real-world problem with them. It’s an honor to lead a team of Haasies, and I hope we make a significant impact for our global client.” – Jorge

James Westhafer pictureJames Westhafer: James has a background in business strategy and management, focusing on start-up companies — especially in the energy industry.  His last position was with 24M Technologies, a lithium battery start-up.  James is also a pledging member of Toastmasters International and loves baking bread.

“When I was going through the application process for business school and talking to current students and alums, every single Haasie mentioned their IBD experience and how unbelievably memorable it was.  It is so uniquely Haas and something I knew coming to Berkeley that I was not going to miss.  The opportunity to consult on a real problem, outside my comfort zone of the United States and on a team with my fellow Haas classmates will be an experience that stays with me for years to come.  I can’t wait to get started! “ – James

We know our IBD Team leads are anxious to learn about their IBD clients, their projects, and where they are going to spend their project time in-country.  Stay tuned as we look forward to sharing more of these details in our February newsletter.  For now, we in the IBD program feel confident that these 16 phenomenal MBAs will wow us next semester in their new Team Lead roles.

An Interview with IBD’s Program Coordinator, Dara McKenzie

Dara McKenzie, IBD Program Coordinator, has been an integral part of the IBD Team for over four years. Dara is responsible for coordinating all international travel and accommodations for over 100 MBA candidates.  She also supports the IBD Team, managing client contracts, and accounting for both clients and students.    Executive Director Kristi Raube reports that Dara’s “upbeat, can-do attitude makes (her) a great member of the IBD team.”  We wanted to share a little more about Dara with the IBD community.  Please enjoy the following interview with Dara

Dara visits the Louvre Museum in Paris, Summer of 2017

Dara visits the Louvre Museum in Paris, Summer of 2017

Question:  Where are you from and how did you end up in the Bay Area?

Dara: I am from Boston, born and raised. Four years ago, I decided to move to California on a whim. I had visited only once before, but I knew I wanted a change — so I packed my bags and bought a one-way ticket.

Question: Tell us about your career here at Berkeley-Haas. Why did you want to work here? What do you do here at Berkeley-Haas?

Dara: I first saw a posting for this position while I was working in Engineering as an admission specialist. I was immediately intrigued at the international component of the job, so I jumped at the chance to apply. Luckily, I got the job, and it’s been one of the best choices I’ve made. I’m the program coordinator, and I work with students, clients and staff on everything ranging from travel and contracting to accounting and much, much more.

Question: What is your favorite part of IBD?

Dara: My favorite part of IBD is interacting with students and hearing about their in-country experiences. I also love the Big Reveal—it’s the first class of the semester when they learn who’ll be on their team, what project they’ll be working on, and what country they’ll be working in for three weeks at the end of the project.

Dara in the Louvre Museum, Summer 2017

Dara in the Louvre Museum, Summer 2017

Question: What is the hardest part of your job?

Dara: The hardest part of my job is contracting. I have no legal background, and often times I’m the intermediary between two different organizations and their legal teams trying to come to an agreement on a contract. Although it’s a long and tedious process, I have to admit I’ve learned a lot from the contracting experience.

Question: If you could pick one Berkeley-Haas principal that is your favorite right now, which one and why?

Dara: My favorite Berkeley-Haas principle is Student Always — I strongly believe there’s always something new to be learned, and I’m grateful to be in an environment that not only encourages this but gives me the opportunity to pursue this principle every day.

Question: You travel a ton, tell me about your favorite place. Where would you like to go next?

Dara: This is a very hard question, because I’ve visited so many wonderful places. If I have to choose just one place, I would have to say Jamaica. My family is from Jamaica, and I’ve been visiting there since before I could walk. I’ve been to Jamaica a number of times, and it’s always been a blast, from the culture and people to the weather and nightlife — it’s never a dull moment. Jamaica is very laid back and everyone is always happy. My second choice would have to be Paris.

I have yet to visit Asia, and I’m hoping my next trip will be to Hong Kong or somewhere in Southeast Asia — maybe to Singapore or Indonesia.

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Question: What is one thing on your bucket list that you have crossed off and one that you still have to accomplish?

Dara: One thing I have crossed off my bucket list is snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef.

That was an incredible experience and one that I’ll never forget. One item on my bucket list I have yet to cross off is to visit all 7 Wonders of the World. Although there are many different versions of this list, I can say that so far I’ve visited two of them (the Colosseum in Rome and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia)

Dunns River Fall, Jamaica

 

 

IBD Team Travels to Stockholm to Help Civil Rights Defenders to Implement a New Innovation Program

Written by Carol Macavilca Paredes, Elizabeth Miller, Ingrid Monroy, Beth Williams and Blakey Larsen

Our IBD Project took us to Stockholm to help our client, Civil Right Defenders (CRD), a nonprofit organization devoted to human rights founded in 1982, to implement a new Innovation Program that will foster the development and launch of innovations. We started with one simple question, how can we apply innovation to human rights? Easy to answer, right? To be honest, none of us knew the answer four months ago.

Work hard, travel hard was definitely the motto of our team. We worked 3 weeks in Sweden and visited 2 countries, Finland and Norway.

It was hard work, but we also had a lot of fun in beautiful Stockholm, a city with 14 islands and, in the summer, 18 hours of daylight.

Our first week in the CRD office was a whirlwind: We started by introducing our project to the entire CRD staff, who gave us a warm welcome. In the days that followed, we had a lovely meal at Communications Manager’s house with Swedish pizza…

…and participated in the Stockholm Internet Forum 2017, focused on the Internet Freedom for Global Development, in order to interview innovation experts for our project.

During our second week, the most memorable highlight was to be in the CRD office when it was revealed that the organization had won a court case in which they had been working for four years. Representing 11 of about 4,700 people included in the police registry of Roma population, CRD won the court case against the Swedish state in the Svea Court of Appeal. The state was found guilty of ethnic registration and discrimination and was ordered to pay 30,000 SEK in damages to each of the 11 Roma plaintiffs. We were moved by the words of Robert Hardh, Executive Director of CRD to all the staff the day they received the news, that these are the days they live for.

Also, we had an unexpected but happy news for us: two and a half days of holidays. We decided to visit the IBD Finland team in Helsinki. At the recommendation of our client, we went to Finland by boat. The ferry ride was 15 hours of fun!

We also went to Bergen, during that holiday. We took a full day tour to see some of Norway’s most beautiful fjord scenery. We experienced the scenic Bergen Railway, the breathtaking Flåm Railway, and the narrow and dramatic UNESCO-protected Nærøyfjord.

Our team was surprised to experience a uniquely Swedish challenge: doing laundry. In Stockholm apartments, washers and dryers must be booked weeks ahead of time in order to wash your clothes. With limited options, our team had to cancel plans one evening to get our laundry done. The team at CRD said we were real Swedes now!

One fun fact is that in Sweden, purchasing alcoholic beverages isn’t a simple matter. There are no privately owned liquor stores nor do grocery stores sell wine or any liquor. Sweden has a state-run chain of liquor stores called Systembolaget, the only retail stores allowed to sell alcohol. Problems arise due to their opening hours (especially for unaware visitors like us). The stores generally close at 6pm on weekdays, at 3pm on Saturdays and all Systembolaget are closed, without exceptions, on Sundays and holidays! So you need to keep this in mind and don’t wait (like us) until 2:50 pm on Saturday to run to the store.

Last week. We had our first fika in the office and our final presentation. Fika is a tradition in Sweden, is the moment that you take a break, often with a cup of coffee, but alternatively with tea, and find a baked good to pair with it.

Que Alegre! Updates from Guatemala City

Written by Peter Wasserman, Ian Collazo, Kevin Schuster, Michelle Hernandez and Rachel Garrison

FTMBA students Peter Wasserman, Ian Collazo, Kevin Schuster, Michelle Hernandez and Rachel Garrison traveled to Guatemala City during May 2017 to work with the fourth-largest, family-owned, home goods, hardware, toy, and baby retailer in Guate mala: Cemaco.

Guatemala City

Our team arrived in Guatemala City during an exciting time for retail. Last year, the retail industry grew 13%, with growth driven by middle/high-end of the market in Guatemala City. Our client Cemaco benefited from these demographic trends, increasing revenue despite growing competition, doubling the number of stores, and receiving recognition as one of Guatemala’s most recognized brands.

Cemaco came to IBD looking for big ideas to meet aggressive revenue and profitability goals.  Among the five pillars for growth highlighted in the 2020 vision, our team was tasked to develop strategy and implementation roadmap to become the dominant e-commerce retail player in Guatemala.

The Initial Research

E-commerce is nascent but growing in Guatemala City. In 2016, e-commerce grew by 20%, mainly used by the young, urban, upper class.  Cemaco launched their beta e-commerce site in April of this year, allowing us to work in parallel with the team and project.

Prior to arriving in Guatemala City, our team conducted secondary research on the industry, competition, company, and customers to make the most of our time in-country. We sent a survey to 600 active and 250 lapsed Cemaco customers and received 80% response rate. This amazing level of loyalty and commitment from the customer base was incredible – we were excited to meet the team and customers during the coming weeks!

Arrival in Guatemala City

Arriving on Saturday, May 13th, we were greeted by the Cemaco team for a tour of the city.  We stopped by a local market, picked up groceries, and of course visited a Cemaco store.

First Days at the Office

Our day of arrival presentation gave us helpful feedback to move forward with our proposal. Meeting with the team, we felt incredibly welcome. Not to mention, it was Peter’s birthday! The team took us out to lunch and we celebrated over cake!

Learning about the market

To learn about the market, we focused our time visiting Cemaco and competitor stores, going to the warehouse to see the e-commerce logistics firsthand (and ride a forklift together!), and conducting in person interviews at Cemaco stores. These experiences helped us understand

  • What obstacles/profitability challenges Cemaco will face: Labor is very cheap in Guatemala. From a logistics perspective, Cemaco has been very flexible and fast, figuring out how to package and deliver e-commerce orders in 1-2 days
  • How Cemaco sets itself apart from the competition: Cemaco is a customer first company that puts its stores at the center of its experience. Cemaco stores are welcoming, bright, and customers enjoy spending time browsing the wide variety of products
  • Why customers love Cemaco: As an established, family owned company with Guatemalan roots, customers are extremely loyal. They feel that they can find everything they need for their homes at Cemaco, and expect to find high-quality products.

Weekend trips 

As our classmates pointed out to us, our team didn’t just work…our client Cemaco planned amazing weekend trips for us. First, we went to Lake Atitlan, where we enjoyed an amazing view of the lake, mountains, and volcanoes went on a nature hike with swinging bridges and saw ancient Mayan ruins.

On our second weekend, we hiked the Pacaya volcano where we roasted marshmallows on top and visited the beautiful, historic Antigua.  Walking down the cobbled roads, we took in the architecture and culture of the city – from carrot ice cream to a speakeasy bar called “No Se,” we tried to find all the hidden gems that Antigua had to offer.

Final Presentation

Back at work, in our final presentation, we recommended that Cemaco prioritize its growing B2B business through an e-commerce platform, and developed a customer-first omnichannel experience plan for both existing and new customers. We were especially excited about our plan to partner with apartment buildings in the nearby Zone 4, known as the “Silicon Valley of Guatemala City,” where first time renters were moving out of their parents’ home before getting married. The team took us out to drinks to celebrate!

In Conclusion

Guatemala is an amazing country and the people are incredibly warm and welcoming. We were so impressed by the culture that Cemaco has created and kept strong over the past 40 years, encouraging their employees to move across functions, pursue continuing education, push for corporate social responsibility, and experiment with new business strategies. We are excited to see what’s next for Cemaco!

Updates from IBD Shanghai – ARM Accelerator

Written by Harsh Thusu, Jennifer Hoss, Justin Wedell, Chris Roberts, and Amanda Eller

FTMBA students Harsh Thusu, Jennifer Hoss, Justin Wedell, Chris Roberts, and Amanda Eller traveled to Shanghai, China during summer 2017 to work with ARM Accelerator.

IBD team in the ARM Accelerator Shanghai office

The Internet of Things (IoT) involves embedding objects in our surroundings with sensors, which capture data and make decisions without the need for human intervention. IoT is poised to change the world, and our client, ARM, is playing a major role in the IoT revolution. ARM is a multinational semiconductor company that designs architecture for the chips that power our smartphones and tablets. Over the next 20 years, ARM expects to deliver 1 trillion chips for IoT devices.

Two years ago, ARM China launched the ARM Accelerator to support IoT startups. Our five-person IBD team traveled to Shanghai to work with ARM Accelerator, helping them develop a strategy to attract Silicon Valley startups, and crafting a plan to diversify their revenue sources.

Initial Research: Bringing Silicon Valley to China

IBD team members Jen, Harsh, and Chris presenting our recommendations to ARM leadership

Our initial challenge was to advise ARM Accelerator on a strategy for attracting U.S. startups. We hypothesized that U.S.-based startups would not want to travel to China for the program, and anticipated recommending a Silicon Valley office. To test our hypothesis, we spoke with founders from 12 different IoT startups in the U.C. Berkeley ecosystem.

We were surprised to learn that virtually all of the founders had either already spent time in China, or anticipated going in the near future. The primary reason for Chinese travel was to connect with manufacturers, but several startups were also interested in meeting Chinese investors and customers.

IBD students with ARM Accelerator leadership, including Allan Wu (center), President of ARM China and Haas MBA ‘96

We also discovered that most startups learn about accelerators through their networks. The ARM brand is strong, but few startups had heard of ARM’s accelerator, underscoring the need for business development efforts and localized marketing content in Silicon Valley.

Evaluating the Accelerator Business Model

In the weeks leading up to our trip, we expanded our focus. At two years old, ARM Accelerator is still a startup, and they wanted insights into how other accelerators achieve financial sustainability. We analyzed successful accelerators from around the world, and compiled preliminary recommendations to test in-country.

IBD team member Jen Hoss at the TechCode Shanghai Accelerator, testing an Augmented Reality windshield

 

Day of Arrival

On May 12, we flew to Shanghai. None of us had ever visited mainland China, and we were eager to meet the ARM Accelerator team and learn more about the Chinese startup ecosystem.

ARM Accelerator founder Andy Chen and head engineer Shi Lei gave us a warm welcome, and briefed us on an itinerary packed with interviews. Over the following days, we met with ARM Accelerator graduates, venture capital investors, other accelerators, and the local government. We even attended a presentation in which ARM Accelerator companies pitched their autonomous vehicle technologies to representatives from BMW.

IBD team members from left to right, Jen Hoss, Justin Wedell, Amanda Eller, Chris Roberts, and Harsh Thusu, meeting with bike-sharing startup MoBike.

Interview Highlights: TechCode, Shanghai government, and MoBike

TechCode is an accelerator and incubator started in China, with locations all over the world. Daphne Han provided insights into the benefits of the accelerator for TechCode’s corporate sponsor. She also gave us a tour of their co-working office space, and IBD team member Jen got to test a TechCode company’s “Smart Windshield,” which uses Augmented Reality to provide real-time information to drivers.

Another highlight was our meeting with Zhang Lan from the Shanghai government’s Development and Reform Committee. Mr. Lan shared fascinating insights about the government’s role in supporting entrepreneurship, and the incentives available to ARM Accelerator companies.

Mr. Lan then brought us to the MoBike headquarters. MoBike is a bike sharing startup that has taken

IBD team at the MoBike Shanghai office, with Shanghai government official Mr. Zhang Lan and our ARM colleague Allan Zhong

China by storm, with support from the government. 25 years ago, Shanghai was full of bicycles, but their replacement with motorcycles and cars has exacerbated pollution. MoBike is reversing the trend, and we were impressed by the number of Chinese taking advantage of MoBike. MoBikes can be parked anywhere, and locked or unlocked with a smartphone app; each morning the bikes pile up in front of office buildings, and by evening rows of MoBikes surround the metro stations.

Our ARM Accelerator hosts took us for a traditional Chinese business dinner, which meant plenty of baiju, or Chinese spirits

Eating our way across China

The team made the most of our free time by trying every dumpling we could find. We learned about the art of handpulled noodles, sampled Uigher-style barbecue, and tasted Schizuan Province’s spicy mala peppercorns.  We even contemplated opening a Berkeley franchise of China’s popular Yang’s Dumplings chain.

Between meals, we climbed the Great Wall, explored Beijing’s Forbidden City, and hiked the mountains surrounding Hangzhou’s famous West Lake.

And throughout our trip, we were greeted by local Haasies. Alan Wu, President of ARM China and Haas MBA ‘97 provided valuable feedback throughout our project and shared his visions for China’s technological future.

Making new friends over a Beijing-style hotpot dinner

And the Haas Shanghai Alumni group welcomed us with a happy hour, where we met two incoming classmates to the class of 2019.

After a successful three weeks in China, we are excited to continue following ARM Accelerator’s progress as they help build companies shaping the future of IoT.

Phnomenal Times

Written by Sushant Barave, William Conry, Daniel Conti and Joe Layton

For our IBD project, we’re working with Cambodia’s first and only rum distillery, Samai, based in Phnom Penh. Our team is partnering with Samai’s founders, Antonio and Daniel, on expansion strategy, new market pricing, operational improvement and accounting guidance.

Prior to arriving in Phnom Penh we had been corresponding with Samai to finalize the scope of the project and complete as much pre-work as possible. While our team was productive across those six weeks, it was remarkable how much more effective we became on location with the client. For instance, we had an idea of what the rum production process looked like, however being able to visualize the steps enhanced our understanding to the level required to make recommendations.  Additionally, speaking face to face with Daniel, Antonio and Champich, the master distiller, we were able to have more insightful conversations and gain a better feel for the business and its needs.

Dan and Sushant review the production steps with Daniel in order to calculate COGS

Dan and Sushant review the production steps with Daniel in order to calculate COGS

Another byproduct of live meetings is shifting priorities. While the project work streams had been determined in advance of our arrival, it became clear our first-day additional challenges that require support will surface. Our team recognized the importance of prioritization as a guiding principle – we need to invest our time and resources into the projects that are most vital to Samai and also ensure our deliverables are actionable.

 

Cocktail Competition

Samai’s distillery is open to the public on Thursday nights, when it serves up Samai rum-based cocktails to a lively, mostly expat, clientele. During our required rum tasting our first day on the job I suggested –  somewhat jokingly –  that we have a competition on Thursday to determine which Haas team member can create the best cocktail. Antonio sounded intrigued and within a day we had teams decided, menus set, ingredients purchased and a professional flyer posted on social media. That escalated quickly!

Dan and I settled on a variation of a Dark and Stormy entitled Ann’s Arbor, an homage to our undergraduate institution. Leveraging Joe’s advanced rum knowledge, he and Sushant crafted a more complex, boozy concoction, a Queens Park Swizzle.

We met at the distillery early to pour practice drinks and tweak the recipes until we had it right. This was not just a fun experiment; patrons would be paying for these cocktails! Once we had the proportions, preparations, and presentations down, it was game time.

It could have been the Berkeley-Haas name on the flyer, perhaps it was the sophisticated drink selection or maybe it was our rugged good looks and charm behind the back bar, but the orders flowed in like Trump tweets after a New York Times bombshell report.

Bill and Joe try to keep up with demand behind the bar

Bill and Joe try to keep up with demand behind the bar

At a few points we couldn’t keep up with the demand – we were forced to act like seasoned bartenders who knew how to accommodate a packed bar.

For the competition piece, believe it or not, according to the official tally the contest ended in a tie! The Ann’s Arbor team will point out that our drink had a higher volume of orders, which should be the tie breaker. The Queen Park Swizzle duo will remind us that more orders led to more misinformed votes from those who only sampled one beverage.

Regardless of who deserves the crown, overall the cocktail competition was a win. We learned useful skills that aren’t often taught in the classroom, had fun, brought in incremental sales for Samai and met some interesting people.

After shaking and stirring as celebrity bartenders for the night, it was back to our real lives Excel modeling and PowerPoint-ing as consultants at the Samai office the next morning. It was fun while it lasted, but there’s still work to do!

Back to work

Back to work

Berkeley Haas IBD 2017 – Aramis Menswear, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Written by Diane Chiang, Barun Mazumdar, Abhishek Mishra, Kalyan Pentapalli and Priya Vijayakumar

Weekend before in-country: Foz de Iguaçu

Five happy and excited Cal bears arrived at the Iguaçu airport on late Friday evening after spending almost a day in air and in connecting airports. We checked in at the beautiful Belmond hotel (which overlooks a small portion of the falls) and had our introduction to authentic Brazilian cuisine and Caipirinhas. It was love at first sight! The Iguaçu falls were absolutely breathtaking – on Saturday, we took a short walk along the waterfall trail and a boat ride on the Iguaçu River before flying to Sao Paulo.

The beauty and grandeur of the waterfalls made this short detour to Iguaçu totally worthwhile.

We arrived at Sao Paulo (SP) on Saturday evening and to kick off our 2-week stay at SP, we went to the acclaimed chef Alex Atala’s restaurant – D.O.M for an amazing fine dining experience. We spent the rest of the weekend exploring Sao Paulo and fine-tuning our Day of Arrival presentation.

First Week at the client site in Sao Paulo

We had an early start on our first day at Aramis’ office – Fabio Davidovici and Luan Silva with whom we had been collaborating since the start of our project greeted us. We presented our “Day of Arrival” presentation to Richard Stad (CEO) and Fabio. It was a very interactive session peppered with questions and interesting discussions around retail trends, brands, and competition.

Because of the high level of engagement, our meeting that was initially scheduled for an hour ran for over two hours. Richard appreciated the groundwork we had done while at Berkeley, it was also a great opportunity for us to learn more about the company and its challenges directly from the CEO. At the end of the first day, Fabio gave us a tour of one of the stores to round out the day.

On Tuesday, we spent the entire day visiting Aramis’ stores at various malls in Sao Paulo. This was an amazing way for us to get to better understand their products, store layouts, and store employees. We interviewed many store managers and sales people to understand the challenges and processes within the stores. We also visited many of Aramis’ competitor’s stores. We shared our initial feedback, observations, and ideas with Fabio, many of them centered on visual merchandising in the store.

Throughout the course of the week, we met with directors and managers across different functions – Marketing, CRM, Inventory planning, Warehousing, E-Commerce, Store Supervisors, Retail, HR and Customer Service. We also got a chance to have lunch on one of the days with the Founder, Henri Stad. Although we experienced a language barrier, Fabio attended all the meetings with us and helped with translation and provided more context.

We also scheduled meetings with stakeholders outside Aramis. We had a very insightful discussion with Fabio Matsui from Cypress Capital (HAAS ‘03) where he walked us through the Brazilian apparel retail industry and the various participants.

We also met with Daniel Maladrin (HAAS ‘05) from 2BCapital/Bradesco – the PE firm that invested in Aramis few years ago. Daniel introduced us to Leonardo Santos from Semantix, which was another company that the PE firm had invested in. We invited Fabio to join us for our meeting with Leo, where he walked us through the omni-channel strategy he had implemented at an American retailer and the challenges he faced launching in Brazil. We identified many synergies between Aramis’ omni channel implementation and the current work that Semantix is doing, and the two companies plan to start some initial discussions to collaborate.

By the end of week one, we learnt a lot about the Brazilian people – their food, culture, and working styles.  Fabio spent a generous amount of time to ensure we were comfortable, got enough face time with Aramis employees and explored Sao Paulo the way locals do.

 

Splendid Salvador and Refreshing Recife

We took a late flight on Friday to Salvador to experience the northeastern part of Brazil. We spent Saturday at Salvador exploring the churches, beaches and the colorful Pelorinho neighborhood. The highlight of the day was the amazing Bahian cuisine we had at Pariso Tropical. This restaurant won our top vote among twenty other strong contenders for the best food of our entire trip! Later that night, we flew to Recife and spent our Sunday exploring Recife and nearby Olinda. We returned to Sao Paulo on Sunday night.

Monday started with a series of previously scheduled meetings.

Talia from Visual Merchandising was the first meeting; she travels around the country for store openings and renovations. She has been re-working the store layouts to make them look fresh and cater to younger demographic. The major challenge she faces is convincing the store managers that the new layouts will lead to increased sales. We then met with Felipe from Store Sales Management who manages all store managers across the country and was able to share how sales strategy has changed over the years and lately with the advent of new POS technology.

 

At the end of each day, we debriefed and communicated our findings till date and next steps with Fabio. We had dinner with Fabio and his wife Fernanda, who took us out to Don Veridiana, which many locals claim to have better pizza than in Italy.

On Tuesday, the team interviewed Mariana, Director of Product, the final scheduled interview and learnt more about how Aramis designs and sources its products. With interviews now over, we focused on consolidating our findings and clarifying any remaining questions we had. After a full day working session, the team agreed to expand the scope beyond assortment planning and omni-channel to include other functional areas and do a 360 analysis.

On Wednesday, the team marched towards the converge phase and began to build on the final business plan to the client. We separated our recommendations into multiple functions including: Inventory Planning (Assortment and Replenishment), Customer Relationship management (CRM), Customer Service, Data/IT Integration, Store Experience, Multi-channel, and Internal Communication. Throughout the day, we had multiple calls for clarifications, and by the end of the day, we had an initial draft that we shared with Fabio before we headed out for some excitements! In the evening, we went to watch football match between two bitter rivals: Palmeras and Colinhas, accompanied by Fabio and Luan.

Thursday being the final day, the team had an early start. We received feedback from Fabio on the initial draft, and decided to move forward with additional deep dive into assortment models. We had dinner at the CEO Richard’s house, along with his wife and son. We learned about Richard’s travel experiences, and discussed his vision about emerging technologies in retail. After dinner, the team headed back to the hotel for the final home stretch of our business plan and wrapped up around 4am.

Friday, the last day at Aramis, was quite a bittersweet experience. We started the day with our presentation with Richard (CEO), Fabio and other executives. Richard showed strong interest and agreed with most of our findings and recommendations. He showed special interests in the assortment models that we recommended and believed it could be quickly implemented. Richard appreciated the fact that we had dug deep into the entire organization, and that we understood the sentiment and culture of Aramis in such a short timeframe. Though rewarding and relieved, it was quite a bittersweet moment when we finally had to say good bye to everyone at Aramis.

Brazil Finale

For the final weekend in Brazil, we headed to Rio de Janeiro. Over the next two days, we experienced the landmarks, nightlife, shopping, and cuisine. The experience of the IBD program has been beyond our expectations and cannot be expressed in words. We appreciated the opportunity to work with Aramis while experiencing the incredible country of Brazil. The five of us also built such strong bonds during the trip that we know we can rely on each other.