Updates from IBD Brazil – Team Sony PlayStation

Consoles, Caipirinhas and Coxinhas: Our Journey through Brazil

Steve Boogar, Andrew Hill, Amanda Ogus, Caitlyn Toombs

Greetings from Sao Paulo, Brazil! We have had an action-packed three weeks here working hard and playing hard for Sony PlayStation Brazil’s office. For our project, we were tasked with understanding gamer motivators and the gaming market in Brazil (vagueness of description based on our comprehensive NDA we signed prior to arrival :-).

First day at the new Sony PlayStation-Brazil offices (with a not-quite-to-scale map of South America/Brazil behind us. L to R: Caitlyn Toombs, Amanda Ogus, Andrew Hill, Steve Boogar

First day at the new Sony PlayStation-Brazil offices (with a not-quite-to-scale map of South America/Brazil behind us). L to R: Caitlyn Toombs, Amanda Ogus, Andrew Hill, Steve Boogar

Working Hard

In our first two weeks, we went to the streets (literally) to try to understand in person what we had been researching for the last 5 months. From taxes to currency issues, Brazil’s market has different problems to tackle for all economic goods. Add to that a relatively recent formal Brazil PlayStation presence (2-3 years) with a savvy Brazilian consumer used to asking many questions and researching many price points. As a result, between physical market and custom differences, it was important for us to see the stores ourselves and talk with as many people as possible.

We started with a whirlwind tour of their Retail channels. PlayStation games and consoles are sold in many different types of stores – big to small, electronics to general, malls to street kiosks – and each targets a slightly different consumer. PlayStation takes pride in making the buying experience easy and interactive, with clear descriptions of games and in-store staff properly versed on the eccentricities of all game features and sales data.

The team analyzing the PlayStation shelf with one of the Sony promoters

The team analyzing the PlayStation shelf with one of the Sony promoters

Besides just observations, we conducted many interviews with all levels of stakeholders. We chatted with store managers, Sony promoters and customers to gauge what the shopping experience really felt like and where the pain points lay. With the help of our trusty translator/guru/promoter guides Henrique and Eduardo, we got a rich understanding of the market and heard many salient insights (many of which complemented and reinforced others).

In addition to in-store visits and meetings, we also held a night of focus groups and gamer observations to dive deeper into our target market. It was fascinating to hear from Brazilian gamers and see their passion for PlayStation in person.

Focus Group of PlayStation gamers

Focus Group of PlayStation gamers

Gamer Observations with live PlayStation

Gamer Observations with live PlayStation

PlayStation loves Brazil and Brazil loves PlayStation! (L to R: Leo Zuppiroli - our fearless in-country leader; Amanda Ogus; Heber - fanatic PlayStation gamer; Andrew Hill)

PlayStation loves Brazil and Brazil loves PlayStation! (L to R: Leo Zuppiroli – our fearless in-country leader; Amanda Ogus; Heber – fanatic PlayStation gamer; Andrew Hill)

Of course, no Haas project would be complete without a PFPS post-it map, and we did plenty pulling together our final deliverable!

Clustering and name for our final report

Clustering and name for our final report

 Playing Hard

As the team lucky enough to work with PlayStation, we found that play was very important in all elements of our work. Sony Brazil’s team does a great job of mirroring the passion for the company and the product. Everyone in the office was ready to answer any and all questions we had on the interface, favorite games and other technicalities of gaming that some of our team had little to no experience in (cough Amanda and Caitlyn). Therefore, a big part of getting up to speed for us was testing out the games!

Drew, Caitlyn, and Amanda working hard to get up to speed on their product offering

Drew, Caitlyn, and Amanda working hard to get up to speed on their product offering

Of course, being in Brazil, our play was not only limited to our product. Our amazing host, Leo, gave us on a whirlwind tour of the best culture Sao Paulo had to offer! We had our fill of caipirinhas (delicious fruit cocktails usually made with cachaça, a local liquor – the team’s favorite flavor was passion fruit!), coxinhas (fried deliciousness shaped in triangles stuffed with cheese and chicken, usually) and lots of choppe (draft beer).

Leo and the team enjoying caipirinhas and coxinhas at Veloso Bar, one of our favorite places in Sao Paulo

Leo and the team enjoying caipirinhas and coxinhas at Veloso Bar, one of our favorite places in Sao Paulo

We also took time to explore the city by walking to parks, visiting museums and shopping for Havainas, Brazil’s popular sandal maker!

A view from a run through scenic Ibirapuera Park - a hidden oasis in the big city

A view from a run through scenic Ibirapuera Park – a hidden oasis in the big city

We also explored outside of Sao Paulo for a weekend in Rio! Rio was just as great as everyone described – beachy, bustling and colorful. From site-seeing at the Corcovado to enjoying feijoada with some locals (thanks to a fellow business school classmate, Grace, for the intro!), relaxing at the beach to running up the Escaderia Selaron stairs in a brief rain shower, Rio did not disappoint on our last weekend in Brazil.

The amazing Corcovado in person - apparently we weren't the only people interested!

The amazing Corcovado in person – apparently we weren’t the only people interested!

Escadario Selaron stairs – just as beautiful and colorful in person, even on a rainy day

Escadario Selaron stairs – just as beautiful and colorful in person, even on a rainy day

Our combined Haas IBD teams together in Rio!

Our combined Haas IBD teams together in Rio!

Overall, our team had a very enriching and enjoyable three weeks in Brazil, and we thank the IBD staff and our friends at Sony for all they did to make this happen!

#brahaasil

#brahaasil

Updates from EWMBA IBD – Team KIDU in Brazil

Renata Bell, Milan Lee, Roger Pai, and Paul Roberts are part-time Berkeley-Haas MBA students who had the opportunity to advise KIDU, a Brazilian Education Technology startup in Sao Paulo, on potential go-to-market strategies. Combining their diverse professional experiences, the four MBA team members proposed a solid recommendation for KIDU, through insights generated from seven weeks of interview, research, and design thinking.

Despite lost luggage and sleep deprivation, our first day in Brazil was amazing. We went straight to the market to sample the food and coffee, and were immediately welcomed by the warm Brazilian helpfulness. Before the trip, we had been warned of robbery, violence, and kidnappings in the surrounding São Paulo area, but that was not our reality. Although our hotel and KIDU office were in a nice neighborhood, we never had any trouble venturing out of the neighborhood.

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Our first meeting with KIDU over delicious Brazilian style pizza

We were greeted by our hosts on the first evening. They were incredibly nice people and took every opportunity to share their favorite places to go and best places to eat with us. Brazilians love their food, and Paulistanos (San Paulo residents) regularly flock to their favorite restaurants. On the subsequent work days, we had the opportunity to meet the rest of the KIDU staff and interviewed them regarding their teaching experiences in Brazil. The KIDU staff had an infectious enthusiasm for life and teaching that we’ve never seen before.

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Meeting with other KIDU staff and teachers

During our first week, our hosts arranged a series of K-12 school visits and cultural activities for us. One of the most impactful experiences was when we visited Jardim Angela, located near São Paulo.  During the 90’s, this area was considered one of the most dangerous places in the world by the United Nations.  The area is much safer now and currently has 400,000 residents. We met up with our NGO contact at A Banca who generously showed us around the favela. Our impromptu interviews with a group elementary school aged students, who were playing soccer barefoot, allowed us to realize how the underprivileged kids share the same curiosity as kids coming from better socio-economic background.

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Kids at Jardim Angela sharing their stories with a KIDU staff; the favela is in the background 

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The Haas team with NGO A Banca

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Another cultural visit: Haas team at one of the Sao Paulo stadiums

In the weekend between our two-week project engagement, we were fortunate to visit Rio de Janeiro for sightseeing. Coincidentally our trip aligned with the World Cup final between Argentina and Germany that was being played in Rio. The whole scene was chaotically filled with Argentinean fans chanting the rivalry song, Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising”.  We almost lost one of our team members to a group of Argentinians; as we were leaving the restaurant after a dinner, Roger was hoisted above the Argentinian fans to be transported to the next bar for party. Despite the craziness, the fans released Roger, and we were able to proceed with the rest of the itinerary to visit Lapa (the nightlife district), Sugarloaf Mountain and Copacabana beach.

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View from Sugar Loaf Mountain at sunset

The second week was intensive as the Haas team worked in “Brazilian hours” to converge all insights and finalize project recommendation. Brazilians generally work long hours and dinner often takes place around 9pm. The Brazilian stereotype for their love of beef is no exaggeration, but they also have excellent seafood, cheese, finger food, and juices. It is typical to have coffee after lunch and sometimes after dinner; however coffee is usually in the form of an espresso shot rather than the large cup of coffee that Americans are used to.  We enjoyed fresh squeezed juices every opportunity we got—our very favorite was the superfood Acai.

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Delicious meal of Bahia (South of Brazil) cuisine

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Haas team working on a late night to prepare for final presentation

On a final closing note: The four Haas team members were from different cohorts, classes, and backgrounds that interacted mainly only over the phone prior to this trip. Being thrown together day-and-night for two weeks is a crash course in learning how to compromise and work effectively together. We each quickly learned to be patient with each other’s eccentricities but also discovered new things about each other that brought us closer together. We ended this trip genuinely caring for each other not only as classmates, but close friends who experienced a unique experience together.

 

Team São Paulo!

EWMBA IBD “São Paulo” is Archana Prasad, Sanat Kamal Bahl, Sireesh Potireddy, and Eileen Treanor. The group was paired with a public Brazilian Software Company to help with an M&A project.  We were based in São Paulo for the two weeks.

Bon gia, Bon gia! First there were four, then there were three and at the last-minute due to the unfortunate events at SFO there were nearly two.  The Team lost Archana to unfortunate Visa issues, meaning she wasn’t able to travel to Brazil and Sanat was delayed with the events at SFO, but thankfully made it in time for Team São Paulo’s first day and presentation to the CFO and direct reports.

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The presentation went well even when the CFO asked us to do additional analysis and provide an updated presentation within 30 mins. It was interesting exploring the office, work environment, and culture.  They work long hours here, and there are banks of coffee machines to keep everybody going. Our client didn’t have a cafeteria so everyday we got to sample a different flavor of local Brazilian cuisine.  What was surprising was the availability of Japanese Cuisine in São Paulo, apparently the largest Japanese community outside of Japan is based here, which explained the availability of really high quality Japanese food.

That evening we took a walk along the famed Paulista Avenue, it feels like the center of  São Paulo, a lively Avenue bristling with shops, restaurants, high-rise office buildings, and locals.  One high-rise building was completely covered in a neon version of the Brazilian Flag.

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Our second day in São Paulo coincided with the city’s national holiday, July 9th, the anniversary of the Constitutionalist Revolution, where there was a large parade of military and police vehicles in the main park in the city that went on for a couple of hours, it was really exciting to see and catch a glimpse of the locals relaxing and enjoying themselves.

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We also got to see another side of Brazilian life when a union protest was scheduled in downtown São Paulo during our first week.  Recent protests had turned violent so our client recommended we work from our hotel, we caught a glimpse of the protests, which had an almost parade like atmosphere, and thankfully the biggest disruption was to rush hour traffic.

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The middle weekend we took a well earned break and the team split up into two groups, Eileen went to Iguazu Falls while the others headed to Rio de Janeiro for the weekend.  Iguazu was truly amazing and a recommended stop for anyone visiting Brazil.  It is truly one of the natural wonders of the world.  Rio was stunningly beautiful with phenomenal views from the top of the Corocovado and the Sugar Loaf.

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After our weekend of adventuring it was back to São Paulo for our last week, we had our big final presentation to the CFO on Friday and it was time to start putting everything together, although there were some late nights we took a break to catch a local soccer derby match where the winners would be crowned Copa Sudamerica, even the atmosphere on the way to the stadium was electric as these two titans of Latin American soccer prepared to face each other.  The famed Pacembu was the venue for the game, it was truly an amazing and thoroughly enjoyable experience.  We had never seen such loyal and enthusiastic support and when Corinthians won in their home ground the stadium erupted in a blaze of fireworks.

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Back to work, and with only two days left the team was burning the midnight oil to get the presentation ready for the CFO on Friday afternoon.

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Nothing could rattle this Berkeley team, even when the client asked us to start the presentation early, we were ready.  Job done, and our IBD experience is almost over, such a fun and unique experience.  Time to get back to reality.

Haas Emerging Initiatives: Dar Um Jeito in Brasil

Our IBD team – Anand Lakhotia, Kartik Shah and Raju Kankipati – is working with Berkeley-Haas emerging initiatives to explore digital opportunities for Haas in business education. Our project started with a global macroeconomic analysis to identify the right initial target market – which came out to be Brazil. It then continued into an in-depth market research in Berkeley, Sao Paulo and Rio Di Janeiro to understand the business education landscape in Brazil and explore the opportunities for Haas there.

Dar Um Jeito: A popular slang in Brazil which means “Find a way to get things done”

Stepping in

Our team arrived in Sao Paulo separately. Raju arrived on 6th July and two other team members – Anand & Kartik arrived on 5th July hoping to do some sightseeing. But alas, there was no sightseeing on day 1. We spent an entire day on getting a prepaid sim card using our passport as an id proof. When we finally found a suitable store, it took us 2 hours to get the documentation done. We had to use google translate on the operator’s computer throughout our entire conversation as she didn’t speak a word of English. Dar Um Jeito!

That first day made us wonder if things would continue to be so slow without the support structure of an on-site client that many other IBD teams had. But we also learnt a few things there. We saw how incredibly helpful the people in Brazil were. We also developed a keen eye of spotting people who could speak some English in the crowd. Moreover, we got a good practice of the dumb charades game we used to play as kids

Our weekend went smoother after that and it included watching a soccer game between Sao Paulo and Santos sitting in the cheapest seats next to some of the craziest soccer fans in the world (Did someone say risk level 5?)

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Sao Paulo vs Santos FC @ Estadio Morumbi

Executing

We had an action packed week lined up before us where we spoke to 25 people through interviews and focus groups. These meetings had to be conducted in the interviewee’s premises the farthest ends of the city, which ensured that we were always on the run.

To make things more interesting, Tuesday was a public holiday in Sao Paulo and most people were on a vacation. But we still managed to get enough candidates for a focus group that day. And since we had no private office space, we did it in one of the participant’s office space at Itau Bank. Dar Um Jeito!

Focus Group @ Bain

Focus Group @ Bain

Conducted interviews with students, alums, recruiters, industry experts in various settings

Conducted interviews with students, alums, recruiters, industry experts in various settings

The data we got from our week 1 of market research was a setback to us. We realized that our initial hypothesis had no market in Brazil. We needed to find a new direction and find it fast. We had a few ideas but just 1 week of field work left to be done in Rio. Oh, we had a week in Rio coming up!

Rio!

Rio  is beautiful! Beaches, mountains, restaurants, bars – it’s a paradise.

At the end of week 1, the project seemed to have gone down the cliff and that’s what we did in Rio too.  Jump off the cliff.

No, seriously!

Ok, we were tied to a hang glider.

Hang gliding in Rio

Hang gliding in Rio

After a fun weekend in Rio, we went back to work. Only, this time the interviews started Sunday evening. We were eager to validate some of the ideas we had with the alums, recruiters, students, professors and experts that we were meeting. Slowly, the ideas began to take shape and we were able to see some real interest in our new hypothesis from the key stakeholders. We have so far met 22 people here in Rio through interviews and focus groups.

Today, as we prepare our final presentation we feel very confident in our recommendations and analysis. We feel much better than what we felt a week ago and have come a long way during our two weeks here in Brazil.

Dar Um Jeito!