Ilumexico

Written by: Nick Matcheck, Danielle Mayorga, Amit Shintre, Stacey King and Arpana Dhir

Iluméxico is a social enterprise that specializes in solar home systems for rural Mexicans living outside the electrical grid. The systems are small in scale. The typical unit is a 325-Watt panel able to power several light bulbs and a few small appliances. Iluméxico’s customers are at the lower end of Mexican the income range with $100 US being a typical monthly intake. 

The company began as an NGO but converted to a social enterprise to become sustainable. Recently, growth has accelerated with a big government contract to supply panels to thousands of households. Seeing their solar business accelerate, they asked themselves the natural question: what’s next?

Our IBD project began with a simple scope: how and where could Iluméxico expand its products and services to 1) increase the quality of life of its customers and 2) ensure its business sustainability so it could continue to serve current and future customers. 

We got to work in Berkeley. Our team had diverse backgrounds and skill sets: consulting, government, education, finance, startups, engineering, and supply chain, among others. Several of our team spoke Spanish, which would come in handy during research. 

Our first task was to conduct general industry and company research, which was difficult from afar. Fortunately, many of our Haasie classmates had worked for other energy access companies (including our client) and, of course, were happy to “coffee chat” with us. We spoke with several Berkeley professors with expertise in energy access and social impact metrics who provided a wealth of resources and insight. We conducted interviews with a visiting scholar conducting solar power appliance research in rural India during a Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative (BERC) workshop. And since this is the Bay Area, we talked to head the of social impact and energy access at Facebook.

Simultaneously, a huge task was to clarify our scope with the client since it was fairly broad. After a few meetings, we were able to focus on general areas of products and services that the client might be interested in instead of specific products and services. Fortunately, our client had been conducting studies and had generated specific verticals that they knew had the potential to be important areas of focus. Our task would then be to help them prioritize their initial search so they could create prototypes and pilots in the future.

Clarified scope in hand, we then turned towards creating a framework for our future analysis. With some guidance from our faculty mentor and the consulting and excel modeling skill sets on our team, we created an initial “tool” which would rate various criteria under the general categories of customer demands and company capabilities. We called this “version 1.0” of our framework. We verified we were on the right track with our client and, before we knew it, it was time to go to Mexico. 

Our time in Mexico City was an intense but enjoyable experience. Iluméxico’s entire team was great to work with. They were generous with managerial time, including their CFO and head of commercialization. They also gave us a tour of their assembly plant where we learned about their supply, assembly, and distribution systems. Iluméxico prides itself on distribution to the “last inch,” which often means the truck with batteries and panels has to stop and someone has to hike the gear up into the mountains another few hours. We heard a somber story of a donkey giving its life to get gear to customers. 

We also conducted interviews in Spanish with their field managers. They stressed that the core of the company was its close relationship with and deep understanding of its customers. 

After the first week, armed with research and insights, we started iterating our analytical tool. We found gaps and fixed them. We incorporated company feedback. We added a market section and updated our visualization to include this third dimension. Each team member pulled on their unique experience and skill set. We engaged in a lot of debate and iterated through “version 5.0” after several managerial and C-suite validation workshops. After our final presentation, our client’s CEO was pleased and said they would use the tool going forward to test different products and services. 

Overall, our lessons are many. Diverse teams are better at solving problems. Project scope needs to be clarified early. Non-linear projects are difficult, but with research, effort, and iteration, you can get a great result. 

The perfect non sequitur coda to this blog: our client took us to us to lucha libre

Team RD – Florianopolis Brazil

Written by the IBD Team RD, Perrie Briskin, Jamil Bashir, Emily Brechlin, Yenkai Huang, and Michael Kochevar

“Oh, that’s why he wasn’t talking to me,” the Brazilian man exclaimed loudly with laughter. “I thought he was a mute!”

This was the statement of a friendly Brazilian man when he encountered one of our teammates during breakfast in our hotel. Our teammate smiled and gestured to the man to go first for coffee. When the man thanked our teammate, it was met with another smile and a nod. The man only realized that our teammate spoke English when another teammate gave a heartfelt “good morning!”

This encounter sums up much of our International Business Development (IBD) experience. We were all excited for IBD, eagerly anticipating those sorts of miscommunications and disconnects. Needless to say, we were not disappointed. 

Our team of five spent a few weeks in Florianópolis Brazil (known as Floripa) with a marketing automation company. There was an inherent disconnect from the beginning, far before we set off for Floripa. While we think of ourselves as studious MBAs with diverse professional backgrounds, none of us knew much about tech, let alone marketing automation. We quickly dove in to get an understanding of our client’s operations and how they’ve come to dominate the Brazilian market. 

Although we quickly figured out the industry and our client, there remained minor disconnects around the scope of our project. Just when we thought we had it figured out, we would learn something new that would steer us in a slightly different direction. Those small redirects added up to countless hours of healthy debate and multiple white-boarding sessions. Fortunately, we remained nimble and kept in close contact with our client. It was much easier to collaborate with our client when we were finally in Floripa. Key learning – while remote collaboration can be helpful, sometimes a face-to-face meeting is necessary! (read: boss, I think I need to go to [name your favorite city] to really make this project work)  

RD Team white boarding

In Brazil, we quickly learned that English is not widely spoken. It would be a lie if we said it was easy to navigate – just ask the mute if you need proof. But, Google Translate was our friend. The few years of high school Spanish many of us took also proved surprisingly useful. When all else fails, smile and nod. 

RD Team enjoying cake

Our team of 5 had numerous internal disconnects. We had different schedules, varying preferences and unique goals. We embraced the time in Brazil to bond with one another – sharing our “life stories” as a way to get to know one another on a deeper level. We connected over Brazilian barbecue, food trucks and a 3-hour long dinner with our client (small aside – we forgot to place the order for our food…). Karaoke and juggling (our team leader brought a set of juggling balls!) during sunrise on a Floripa beach eliminated any divide that may have remained within our team. Team RD on the beach

This is IBD, it’s all about learning – it’s about stretching ourselves. Working internationally is not easy, but in the challenge lies great learning and fun! 

In the end, we ask – is there a disconnect that cannot be overcome with a bit of hard work, compromise and fun?

 

Greetings from Middle Caye in Glover’s Reef Atoll!

Written by IBD Team WCS,  Banu Nagasundaram, Lindsay Zhang, Mark Parker, Maureen Klarich, and Pathak Pankaj

Glover's Reef Marine ReserveWe are Team WCS.  Our project this summer is to work in partnership with the Belize organization of the Wildlife Conservation Society to recommend effective management practices for Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve, a World Heritage site that also serves as one of the nine designated marine protected areas in Belize.  

During our five weeks at Berkeley, we began understanding marine protected areas and started navigating the complex network that involves marine protection management within Belize.  From fishermen to government to landowners to conservationists, there are many whose livelihoods are impacted by decisions made within these marine protected areas. Each week, we met with the WCS Belize management team from Berkeley to begin building relationships and ultimately the direction in which we would take this project.

Upon arriving to Belize City, we spent a day in the WCS Belize office before heading out to the Middle Caye island which is owned by WCS.  This was truly a once in a lifetime experience, exploring and understanding the realities of marine protection management 35 miles off the coast of Dangriga, Belize. 

Follow us for a day in the life of a Berkeley Haas IBD consultant on Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve:

6AM – 9AM

Sunrise Glover's Reef Marine Reserve

Early to bed, early to rise!  Along with the WCS and Belizean Fisheries and Coast Guard staff on the reserve, we started our days with the sun. Breakfast, delivered by the cooks Ms. Annette and Ms. Brenda, began promptly at 7AM.  Fried jacks (a Belizean specialty best described by our group as “fried dough”) and coffee were essential to the start of our day along with in-depth conversations with the WCS team and their visiting guests from the St. Louis Zoo. We spent a lot of time on the dock of Middle Caye, learning about the experiences of the WCS staff – many of whom have worked for and amongst the various stakeholders throughout their careers. What valuable conversations and a beautiful environment to hold these!

Dock at Glover's Reef Marine Reserve

9AM – 11AM

Taking in the nature of Belize. Along with the guests from St. Louis, we had the opportunity to explore the reserve each morning – learning about and understanding the marine ecosystem within the reserve and clearly understanding the need for conservation of this beautiful protected area. The team had the opportunity to partake in snorkeling the reef – a big shout out to our teammate, Banu, for diving right in and exploring the open seas for the first time!  She went from joining boat rides to swimming on her own in the reserve within four days.

11AM – 12PM

We took each morning to check in with the WCS Operations Manager, Ken. We really valued this time to talk through some of our observations and understand his perspective on the region. These sessions took place in the Research Lab where we were able to get a break from the strong sun.

12PM – 2PM

Ms. Annette and Ms. Brenda were back in action for lunch, hosting for over 40 guests – the WCS staff, the St Louis visiting guests, the Fisheries staff and Coast Guard staff on-site at Middle Caye, and ourselves.  Each meal gave us an opportunity to interact with stakeholders, learning their personal histories, their path to Glover’s Reef, and their thoughts and ideas surrounding conservation of this beautiful area.

2PM – 6PM

The afternoons were spent with more snorkeling and exploration of the Glover’s Reef atoll and the islands outside of Middle Caye.  Throughout the week, we had the opportunity to visit and meet with key stakeholders in the region who sit on the Advisory Committee of Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve.  These included Jim and Kendra who own a resort in Glover’s Reef. Living in Belize for 25 years, they have a vested interest in protecting the ecosystem of the reef for their guests and sustainability of their livelihood on this atoll.  We also had a chance to speak with Warren, another landowner who was born in Glover’s Reef and continues to be an active participant in the community. One evening, our boat captain Bok took us out to meet fishers who had just come in for the day.  Hearing their perspectives and efforts to teach the younger generations of fishers about the needs for sustainability was encouraging and inspiring.

Fisher boat

7PM – 9PM

Dinners were served to the entire group – complete with rice and beans, chicken stew, and local desserts and fruits. Again, the opportunity to engage with the stakeholders on the island over meals and card games following dinner gave us the ability to build relationships and get to know the team better.

Throughout the day

Sun and mosquito protection were essential! The island’s mosquitos were no joke, and some group members survived the mosquito bites better than others. We also learned that any walk on the island needs to be accompanied with long sleeve t-shirts, long pants, and bug spray applied to any open skin.  Wish we had bought some stock in mosquito repellent and sunscreen approved sunscreen brands!

2019 IBD Team WCS Belize

2019 IBD Team WCS Belize

As we’ve headed back to Belize City, we are looking forward to the continued learning in our 2nd week – meeting with other Marine Protected Areas to discuss best practices and exploring the best of Belize.  Look out for another update in the next week! 

 

The Stories Behind the Bottles

Bottles of Samai

Bottles of Samai

By IBD Team Samai

Samai is Cambodia’s first premium rum distillery founded by Daniel Pacheco and Antonio Lopez de Haro in 2014. Samai’s mission is to lead in the craft of distilling premium Cambodian spirits that combines high-quality, locally grown ingredients, innovation, and passion. Our team of five had the opportunity to work with Samai on its marketing expansion strategy and financial model for the next round of fundraising. Samai’s hope is to deliver high- quality Cambodian rum to the world and help change the perceptions of Cambodia. 

Introduction and Guided Tour

On the first day to Samai, Daniel gave the team a thorough tour on the production process, which ranged from fermentation to bottling. To gain an understanding of what the rum production process looked like before arriving on-site, the team attended private distillery tours and conducted several interviews with individuals who worked in the spirits industry. Being able to visualize the production steps allowed us to make more informed and strategic recommendations. In addition, we were able to have more insightful conversations when speaking face to face with Daniel and learn more in depth about business.

Team Samai sitting around a table talkingDay of Arrival Brief

Prior to arriving on site, the team held weekly conference calls with Samai to discuss the scope and details of the project. For the Day of Arrival Brief, we presented to Antonio and Julie, their marketing manager, on our findings on the global go-to-market strategy, focusing on the Spain, UK, Hong Kong and Japan markets. 

Given that Samai is a growing start up, our project scope fluctuated quite a bit. After we presented our global expansion plan, we found it more opportunistic to help Samai redefine their mission and values and provide them with strategic marketing plans and tactics for implementation. 

Samai bar

Samai bar

Events on Thursday Night

Rum Tastings and Cocktail Competition

Every week, the Samai Distillery opens its doors to the public so that new and devoted Samai customers can enjoy hand-crafted cocktail beverages prepared by Samai’s bartenders. The most popular cocktail on the menu is the infamous 21 Points, cheekily named by co-owner Antonio. Original cocktail 21 Points presents a classic version of a rum and coke, while the 21 Points features the Samai Rum, cola, lime, bitters, and fresh sugarcane. We can attest that it is as delicious as it sounds! We spent our evening talking with customers, bartenders, and expats to gain deeper insight into their perspective of Samai. These insights were an invaluable contribution to our formulation of marketing and expansion strategies. Glasses lined up

One of the traditions started by a prior IBD team is to  host a Thursday night cocktail competition. This year, the girls and boys battled it out for curating the best cocktail on the tiki bar menu.  The girls’ cocktail were so popular that there were a few moments where we couldn’t keep up with the demand. We did our best to act like seasoned bartenders who knew how to accommodate a packed bar. 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.IBD Team in front of the rum barrels

As much fun as Samai nights may be, its purpose is to produce rum. Venezuelan co-owner Daniel Pacheco hopes to improve the reputation of rum as a high-end alcohol worthy of appreciation.

 

Samai bottle next to a beachWeekend Adventure #1

Beach in Koh Rong Sanloem

 

The team had a great, relaxing time on the Koh Rong Sanloem, a well-known island off the coast of Cambodia. We continued to work on our marketing efforts, even during our vacation weekend. During our resort stay, we asked if the resort had Samai rum at their bar. To our surprise, the resort said that they had already ordered Samai rum, or we would have never given up our marketing efforts.

 

Angkor Wat in Siem ReapWeekend Adventure #2

Angkor Wat in Siem Reap

The team rose at 4am to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat. Though exhausted from the early wake up call, it was truly worthwhile experience to have see this exceptional view. The team also enjoyed visiting multiple temples in Angkor Wat and learning about the history of the Kingdom of Cambodia.  

 

Team Sega Sammy: Tokyo 2019 #samuraibd

Written by Sega Sammy Team Member, Mina Matsumoto, ’20 MBA Candidate 

When people think of Sega Sammy, most picture Sonic the Hedgehog. However, Sega Sammy Holdings is more than a cartoon- it’s a multi-billion dollar conglomerate that merged Japan’s biggest pachinko manufacturer with one of the leading arcade and video game makers. They invited a Haas team to help them create a sustainable investment strategy for their corporate venture capital team. As a mature company, they want to invest in the future. 

Team IBD Sega Sammy

Day 1 – VR 

Mina: Holding a laser gun, I stood on the edge of a high tower. I shot a grappling hook through the air, jerked the gun back, and flew through the air to another tower. My teammates were across the field, shooting at the opposing team. This was Tower Tag, a multi-player VR game in the Sega Arcade in Shinjuku. 

Next to us, there were other VR games where you can ride a horse through a western, or fight off a ghost (I didn’t dare try that one). To a passerby, all of the sudden movements wouldn’t make any sense. But until the staff comes to help you out of your headgear, you’re in another world. What a way to end our first day of work- by the end, we were ready for a traditional izakaya dinner with the clients. 

Fearless Team Lead, Julian Florez, along with team members Andrew Blute and Aanchal Kawatra, take their shot in Tower Tag

Fearless Team Lead, Julian Florez, along with team members Andrew Blute and Aanchal Kawatra, take their shot in Tower Tag

Day 5 – COO

Upon entering a large circular boardroom, with memorabilia of Sonic the Hedgehog and gaming history along the walls, we were greeted by President and CEO Haruki Satomi wearing a Haas jacket. Mr. Satomi (EWMBA ‘12) has been in leadership roles at Sega Sammy for over a decade, and has been president and CEO since 2017. It was a great opportunity to chat with a fellow Haasie about his experiences as CEO, and about the futures of corporate venture capital and gaming. How to use new technology in their current business, and how to source good talent that can partner with the business units to identify promising startups earlier are both key priorities. 

Haruki Satomi (MBA 2012), President, Sega Sammy Holdings; CEO, Sega Holdings; President, Sammy Corporation.

Haruki Satomi (MBA 2012), President, Sega Sammy Holdings; CEO, Sega Holdings; President, Sammy Corporation

Day 9 – Pitch Night

In Tunnel Tokyo, the area of the office we worked out of, startup events happen multiple times per week. We were invited to attend a Startup Pitch Night, where five early stage startups presented their ideas. 

Startup Pitch Night with screen of game

Day 10 – Baseball Game 

A different kind of pitch: to kick off our final weekend, we caught a Giants game (yeah, different black-and-orange Giants) at the Tokyo Dome. Japanese baseball games are quite a bit more intense than MLB games; we enjoyed watching the passionate fans sing chants for each of their players, and cheer wildly on their feet. 

Giants game at the Tokyo Dome

Giants game at the Tokyo Dome

Final Presentation

Following our final presentation to the executive committee, we celebrated an amazing trip AND Andrew’s birthday with the clients out in Tokyo. かんぱい!

IBD Team Sega Sammy

 

A Week in the Life of an IBD Team – Team Ananda

Written by Igor Borges, Stan Cataldo, Ryan Dingler, Elaine Leong, and Mila Pires, of the Ananda Development team in Thailand.

It was May 13th at 6pm and our team had just arrived in Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok’s main airport. Ryan (one of our team members) hailed us a Grab, Thailand’s Uber, and we were on our way to the hotel. In the hot and humid Thai weather, we passed two of our clients real estate developments. During our research, we found Ananda Development (our client) had a strong real estate presence in Bangkok and were already finding that to be true!

Ananda1

The next day we met Lloyd, our main employee contact and the best host we could have asked for. He introduced us to his staff and gave us a tour of the office, which looked more like a high-tech company office in the Bay Area than a real estate company.

Ananda2

Ananda3

After showing our initial research and framework to Dr. John, Ananda’s Chief Development Officer, we rebuilt our deck to dive deeper into the solutions we identified as strongest in preparation for our field research the following day. To decompress, back at the hotel we began a tradition, which continued for the full three weeks, where we would all play foosball but only Elaine would win. Then we managed to get through the intense Bangkok traffic to Beer Belly, a restaurant recommended by an employee at Ananda, where played some pool, air hockey and ping pong along with eating fried pork skin and some (very) spicy food.

Ananda4

Tuesday during the day, Lloyd and his team setup tours of three of Ananda’s real estate developments, from pre-construction to fully sold-out and transferred properties, including an amazing 4D projection for the Ashton brand (Ananda’s most luxurious sub-brand). The three developments were all different Ananda sub-brands (these brands vary by target resident income and style) which gave us a good perspective of the various types of customers Ananda attracts.

Ananda5

In the afternoon, we went to dinner with Ananda and a USC-Marshall team that was also doing a project with Ananda. It was a great opportunity to mingle and try several typical Thai dishes that our Ananda team ordered for us. This was also the point where Ryan was introduced to mango sticky rice – a true love story in the making.

Ananda6

Wednesday we spent the day incorporating our initial feedback from Dr. John and additional information and insights we gathered during our field tours into our deck before our presentation to the CEO on Thursday. We also got to participate in a Singularity University event on the development of “fake meat” delivered by a professor from Japan.

Ananda7

Thursday, was our big day to present to Ananda’s CEO, Khun Chanond Ruangkritya. Khun Chanond is a young Berkeley alum that is at the forefront of rewriting how real estate is done in Bangkok. During the meeting, he gave us the go-ahead and said we were heading in the right direction and gave us a lesson on how to be a successful but humble leader – a true Haasie! To close the day, we were invited to the presentation of USC’s project and networked with professors and other USC teams that were also in Thailand.

On Friday we visited another Ananda building to learn about their Property Management division and how they manage existing developments. Also, Ananda had a TGIF event, where we were able to hear an amazing Adele performance by one of our close Ananda contacts, who used to be a professional singer before joining Ananda.

Ananda8

After the performance, we headed to our flights to Chiang Mai (a city in the north of Thailand) where we spent the weekend visiting temples, caring for our “own” elephants at a sanctuary and driving rented motorcycles.

It was an amazing pleasure and privilege to be in this project and we hope the next classes are as lucky as we were in getting such a heartwarming, exciting and eye-opening experience as ours. Lloyd and the team were wonderful hosts, every week they planned multiple events for us to network with CEOs, academics, and Berkeley alums.

Thank you Ananda for this unique experience and for the invaluable lessons!

Ford Shanghai – 2018 IBD

Members: James Westhafer (team lead), Sandra Tamer, Alyssa Warren, John Sheffield, Joe Akoni

Figure : The Ford Asia-Pacific headquarters in the Shanghai neighborhood of Pudong

Figure : The Ford Asia-Pacific headquarters in the Shanghai neighborhood of Pudong

The Ford-Shanghai team was tasked with a very unique problem in their IBD project: How can Ford improve their customer experience in the “pre-drive” space (before a journey starts) and the”post-drive” space (after the journey ends).  It was a relevant problem for multi-national company because so much of Ford’s internal effort is spent on the “in-flight” (during the journey) customer experience. We spent the spring semester at Berkeley researching customer use cases, benchmarking the competitive landscape, and speaking with as many Ford employees as possible to better educate ourselves on this unique problem.  We knew that our in-country experience in China at the end of the spring semester would be immersive and we came in with high expectations. Our time in Shanghai exceeded these expectations and gave us a level of exposure and experience that none of us thought was possible when we were sitting at our gate ready to board our flight to China on May 11.

After registering at the front desk of the Shanghai Information Center in the skyscraper-laden Shanghai neighborhood of Pudong and passing through the facial-recognition security checkpoint, we arrived on the 36th floor of Ford’s Shanghai office.  Our first day was filled with meetings of Ford executives, in groups ranging from strategy to Ford Smart Mobility to their Autonomous/Electric vehicle division.  It was the epitome of “drinking from the firehose” as we continued to educate ourselves on a very complex topic. We soon realized that talking and listening is only one component, and to fully understand the travel woes in urban China, our team had to experience it for ourselves.  We spent the entire second day of our project moving through Shanghai: subways at rush hour, the bus during non-peak hours, the dock-less bike share program, Didi (Uber equivalent in China), and even more.  

    

Experiencing the true urban China mobility experience first-hand was essential for our understanding of the true pains of residents and Ford customers.  It’s these pain points that drive Ford’s strategy in product development and partnership selection and an area that we believed to be a key area of focus in our project.  We didn’t have much time to debrief after our mobility outing because we were scheduled to travel to Beijing on Thursday for all-day meetings on Friday. We wanted to meet with other key Chinese mobility players to better understand their strategies for addressing customer pain points in the pre and post-drive space.  The partners we visited—Didi (Uber equivalent in China), Mobike (China’s most promising and successful dock-less bike company) and Shouqi (Didi competitor)—would be a great data point on how other companies in China were thinking about similar mobility problems.

 

After a marathon day of meetings, we were able to unwind a bit and take in the local flavors of northern China.  There was an eventful Beijing night that included the local favorite dish of Peking duck and a Chinese alcohol specialty, Bijou.  The next day, the team made a memorable trip to the Great Wall of China that far-exceeded everyone’s expectations. We had a great tour guide that educated us on all-things Chinese history and helped put the grandeur of the Great Wall into perspective.  It was a highlight of our trip and certainly a lifetime memory for all of us.

An amazing day trip to Huanghugcheng, north of Beijing, to visit a relatively tourist-less portion of the Great Wall

An amazing day trip to Huanghugcheng, north of Beijing, to visit a relatively tourist-less portion of the Great Wall

We got back to work the following Monday and began designing and creating a comprehensive interview guide that would help to validate (or disprove) some of our customer painpoint takeaways from our mobility outing and various meetings from the week before.  We lined up a number of Ford employees and other Shanghai residents that ranged from ages 23 to 60 in order to help our team better understand mobility trends and personal travel pain points in urban China. We had some very interesting and thought-provoking conversations that validated some of our personal painpoint takeaways, but also some unique nuggets that we used to develop some preliminary recommendations.  

As the week progressed, we had more meetings and team brainstorms to start landing on what our final recommendations would be to the Ford team.  There were many long nights as our team sifted through the massive amounts of data and information that we had in front of us from the 2 weeks of immersive meetings and interviews.  We left the Ford office on Friday on the second week of our in-country visit with a clear (yet ambitious) presentation outline that we would delve into during our last week.

Figure 7: The Ford team working through some slides in “CR-9 War Room”, the designated space for the team during their stay in Shanghai.  Lots of snacks, coffee and water were needed.

Figure 7: The Ford team working through some slides in “CR-9 War Room”, the designated space for the team during their stay in Shanghai. Lots of snacks, coffee and water were needed.

The final week in Shanghai consisted of long working sessions to perfect the slide deck that would be presented to senior Ford leadership at 8am on Thursday May 31st, the last day of the project.  The climax of the in-country experience came on Wednesday May 30th when the team worked from 7:30am until 10:30pm at night, which included a final run through of the presentation in our hotel room while eating one last meal of Shanghai’s famous “soup dumplings”.  

The final presentation on Thursday morning was a wild success.  We presented to the head of Asia Pacific Ford Smart Mobility and the head of Asia Pacific Strategy for Ford along with a number of other Ford executives.  After presenting our findings and making final recommendations on Ford’s strategy in China, the VP of Strategy for Asia Pacific (formerly a partner at Bain Consulting in Shanghai) said that the presentation “exceeded his expectations” and that he saw really tangible ideas that could make a difference in China.  He even started brainstorming with Ford’s lead on Connected Services on how some of our recommendations could be piloted in China! It was a very rewarding ending to the project and validated the hard work that we put in throughout the spring semester. It was an absolutely amazing experience for all 5 members of the team and will certainly be a highlight of our two years at Haas.  We want to publicly thank the Ford team for their help and support throughout the project. It was a joy working with the Shanghai team and we are happy that our recommendations could have a lasting impact for the company. From the entire team, xiè xie for everything, Ford!

The Ford team on the 36th floor of the Shanghai Information Tower in Pudong on the last day of their project.  Thanks for everything Ford!

The Ford team on the 36th floor of the Shanghai Information Tower in Pudong on the last day of their project. Thanks for everything Ford!