IBD Blog “Dois dias no Brasil”

By Varstation Team Member, Dakota Campbell, MBA Candidate 2020

São Paulo Skyline

São Paulo Skyline

As a relatively inexperienced international traveler, I did not know what to expect when signing up for IBD other than that I’d stretch myself personally. As I was assigned to team Varstation in São Paulo, Brazil, I was excited to visit a country to which I had never been, but that my Brazilian classmates spoke highly of. After spending 3 weeks in country working with my Haas classmates and the Varstation team, I can certainly confirm that it was a transformative experience. Week days working in the office with the Varstation team and weekends exploring Brazil with my classmates both contributed immensely to the experience in unique ways. Profiling a “typical” week day and our shared weekend in Rio will paint the most complete picture of the Brazilian IBD experience.

Example of student deliverableWeek Day

The work days typically began with 6:15am alarm to rattle us out of our comfortable hotel beds. I’d fumble around the room for clothes and brush my teeth before heading upstairs to the hotel gym for a team workout! Depending on the adventures of the night before, team participation varied but was a great way to start each day. Afterwards, we’d all run downstairs to shower and hustle out the door for Starbucks on the way in to the office – a 20-minute cab ride from our hotel. Side note: we appeared the most American at Starbucks via our iced coffee or café filtrado orders as all the locals drink espresso-based drinks!

IBD/Varstation final presentation

IBD/Varstation final presentation

Our client, Varstation, is a genetic analysis software company that is in the process of spinning out of the prestigious Albert Einstein hospital in Brazil. Our office was located within an incubator that serves as a satellite office for the various companies the hospital is incubating in the Vila Mariana neighborhood. The Varstation team was gracious enough to carve out a conference room for us to set up shop for three weeks to finish all the deliverables we had been working towards over the semester.

IBD Touring Albert Einstein Hospital’s Sequencing Lab

IBD Touring Albert Einstein Hospital’s Sequencing Lab

You can’t have IBD without the work, so what did we actually work on? Our three main deliverables for the project were a spinoff playbook, market prioritization, and competitive audit. The spinoff playbook delivered best practices, case studies, and a synthesis of critical success factors across financing, governance, leadership structure, and business strategy. Market prioritization distilled down many factors including total healthcare spend, genetic analysis competition, market growth, etc. across ~26 different global markets to determine where Varstation could best expand in the near to mid term beyond Brazil. The competitive audit profiled four key competitors in the genomic space to provide Varstation with a competitive intelligence report. This report enables Varstation to more effectively compete by seeing services that are offered by everyone, what they do better or worse than others in the industry, how their value proposition stacks up, etc. Since the Varstation team is primarily comprised of computer engineers / coders working towards building their software, these higher-level business strategy documents were far beyond the scope of their daily activities and created value by more concretely guiding their business at it continues to take shape.

Our IBD team was usually in the office from ~9am to 630pm working towards these deliverables. We’d grab lunch at any one of several local eateries for lunch with many Varstation team members. This break for lunch is an integral part of Brazilian culture, as they can often take upwards of 90 minutes – a stark contrast to eating lunch at my desk as I was used to in the states. Our favorite destination was the “boteco”, a Brazilian staple that is a mix of a local café, corner store, and diner. Lunches were heavier than I was accustomed to, ranging from chicken parmigiana to a huge “corner” omelet, all served with rice, beans, and French fries.

After staving off the food-induced afternoon sleepiness, we’d finish our work for the day and depart the office back to our hotel. We stayed in the Itaim Bibi neighborhood which was a wealthier suburb, containing many stores for shopping and restaurants. We’d typically take 45 minutes upon returning to the hotel for personal tasks – tough to keep your life in order while out of the country for a month! Most nights the team would then all go to one of many local restaurants for dinner, spanning styles from Japanese, Brazilian, Mexican, American, etc. After dinner, we’d typically return to the hotel around 930pm. I’d put on the Warriors or Bruins games on the TV in the room and enjoy watching with the excitable Portuguese commentary, before going to bed around midnight to start the following day all over again!

Weekend in Rio

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Jainero

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Jainero

Our team had two weekends in Brazil where we could really cut it loose and see more of what the country had to offer. Since there were 4 separate IBD teams stationed in Brazil, we took the opportunity to plan a weekend in Rio together. Despite it being early winter in Brazil, Rio was still warm enough where we could take advantage of the nightlife, beach, and general outdoor ethos of the city. Teams from São Paulo, Florianopolis, and San Jose all assembled into two shared rental houses for a weekend full of shenanigans.

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Jainero

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Jainero

On Friday night we all grabbed quick dinners, and then headed for the street fair located in the center of the city. Here, numerous food vendors, drink carts, musicians, etc. lined the central park of the city near a major nightlife district. The streets were filled with locals and tourists celebrating, popping into the local bars and eateries before spilling back out into the central street party. Samba music mixed with contemporary American music to create a truly unique cultural immersion.

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Jainero

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Jainero

On Saturday we all rebounded from the late night Friday by heading straight to the iconic beaches of Rio. Despite it being early winter, the midday temperatures were over 70F and the water was delightful to swim in. Most of us relaxed on the beach for the day, strolling down to check out the coast line, and getting drinks from beachside vendors. When late afternoon arrived, some of us decided to hop in cabs and head to Sugar Loaf Mountain, a high mountain at the edge of Rio that has a system of cable cars to take you up top for a breathtaking vista. It was a truly expansive view of the entire city. The only issue was that we were still damp from swimming and it was unsurprisingly window at the top of the peak, which you can see from some crazy hair in the second picture below! We grabbed a glass a wine from a vendor at one of these peaks and listened to a live band before departing for a pre-planned, all group dinner.

iew from the top of SugarLoaf; Multi-team photo

Multi-team photo

View from the top of SugarLoaf;

View from the top of SugarLoaf;

As a sendoff for the broader Brazil IBD teams, we planned a nice dinner Saturday night before everyone departed at varying times on Sunday. We went to the local restaurant Bazaar, where most people indulged in seafood paired with Argentinian wines. We even squeezed all of us into one photo!

Wrap up

Overall, the IBD experience pushed me outside my comfort zone, both personally and professionally. I had never worked internationally before, and all my international clients had previously come from Europe. Getting used to the more laid-back Brazilian culture away from the comforts of home tested me over the 3+ weeks I was out of country. Personally, it brought me close with my IBD team members Stephen Collins, Erika Renson, Michael de Lyon, and Moto Takai. Whenever you’re out of your element, as we were in Brazil, the uncomfortable external environment really draws you close to those most similar to you. From that standpoint, I really appreciated IBD in that it brought me closer to my teammates. We now share a truly unique experience between us, and I hope that propagates in our relationships beyond our time at Haas. As for our client team at Varstation, they were truly gracious hosts and a fun-loving bunch, and I hope to track Varstation’s progress and keep in touch with them moving forward.

Full Brazil IBD team photo in Rio

Full Brazil IBD team photo in Rio

The IBD Big Reveal for Team Members

Elinor Chang finding out she is working with Seva Foundation

Elinor Chang finding out she is working with Seva Foundation

IBD Team Members Find Out Their IBD Projects:

A significant day in the IBD spring program took place on February 14, 2019: “The Big Reveal”.  This is the day during which all IBD students (Team Leads and Team Members) come together for the first time in their IBD class.  It is also the day during which the Team Members learn for the first time the nature of their IBD projects, their clients, their teammates, and where they will travel in May for their in-country experience.

Team Dura-Line gives hugs

Team Dura-Line hugs

Video Reveal:

In continuation of a recently established IBD tradition, our sixteen student Team Leads created short videos to show during the IBD Big Reveal, introducing their respective IBD projects to the newly announced Team Members on their team. IBD Executive Director David Richardson had this to say about the event: “Each video was thoughtfully crafted, and it was so much fun to see the newly identified Team Members jumping up to greet their new Team Lead and other Team Members. There were hugs, high fives and the occasional handshakes, as some Team Members and Leads were meeting each other for the first time.” 

Team Makerere's Pat and Nick give high fives

Team Makerere’s Pat and Nick give high fives

What’s Next?

Now that the IBD student teams have come together for the first time, there is a lot of work to be done.  IBD teams will immediately arrange to meet with their global clients via video conference, beginning the process of learning about the organization and the project problem they are being asked to solve.  A great deal of teamwork, team building, and analysis of different countries and industries still needs to be done before each IBD student team can travel to their respective project destinations.

IBD 2019 MBA Students

IBD 2019 MBA Students

Clients and Destinations:

Every year, IBD is fortunate to work with phenomenal international project clients, and this year is no exception.  This year’s client organizations are diverse in size and industry, and represent a mix of for-profit, non-profit, education, and social enterprises.  Each IBD project is important to each client, and is fully expected to add a great deal of value to the organization. In fact, in one of the introduction videos to her new Team Members, the IBD Team Lead tells her new team that the work they will do for their client is “intended to scale globally and will affect every company in the corporate world.”  What an amazing opportunity this is for our MBA students!

Out of the sixteen project clients working with IBD this year, eight are returning from past IBD projects — including five who have had projects during each of the last three years.  This coming May, 80 IBD students will travel to 15 different countries during their three weeks of in-country project experience.

Hugs all around

Hugs all around

The entire IBD team at Berkeley Haas, including faculty and staff, is excited to be a part of our students’ unique and challenging project experience. We look forward to sharing more with our readers during the next three months, leading up to the IBD students’  and especially time in-country. Stay tuned; there is a lot of fun ahead! To check out more photos from the IBD Big Reveal class, click here.

 

“Big Reveal” Day for the Spring 2019 IBD Student Team Leads

Student Team Leads' First Day of IBD

Student Team Leads’ First Day of IBD

Every year the IBD Faculty Director and staff spend hours looking over student Team Lead resumes and interview notes, as well as client project applications, with the goal of matching 16 student Team Leads to the right IBD projects and clients.  It’s a painstaking puzzle that includes many iterations before the final assignments are confirmed.

Team Lead Perrie Briskin

Team Lead Perrie Briskin

On January 24th, the Spring 2019 IBD student Team Lead “Big Reveal” event took place, during which the Team Leads learned for the first time the identity of their projects, clients, and country locations.  There was excitement and anticipation in the classroom as individual projects were announced. Team Lead Joseph Bird (MBA 2020) felt the energy in the room, and described it this way: “Sitting amongst my fellow IBD Team Leads, the tension as

Team Lead Joseph BIrd

Team Lead Joseph BIrd

our first ever IBD session drew closer to the big project reveal was palpable. Pre-reveal nerves quickly subsided as one by one my peers stood up and learned of fascinating projects working in some incredible cultures with such broad range of clients. Whilst every project was unique, a common thread of important, meaningful, challenging work ran through them. I can’t wait to get started!” 

The way the IBD program works, carefully selected student Team Leads have no knowledge of their projects before the “Big Reveal” first day of class.  The IBD program assigns them to projects that fit with their career and course objectives, while accommodating the nature of the IBD project itself. IBD Faculty Director Frank Schultz put this into perspective for the student Team Leads:  “We are asking them to put their trust in us to match them with their dream project. They are leading a team of four other MBAs on this consulting experience, and they want to feel completely engaged in the project, the client, and the solutions they need to come up with.  They also want to have unique international experiences. We are balancing that with the needs of our client and the project. We want everyone to be happy, successful, and learn a lot.”

Team Lead Adriana Bonifaz

Team Lead Adriana Bonifaz

Watching the students’ expressions and reactions as they learned for the first time the names of their project clients and the countries they will be visiting made the first day one of the best of the entire IBD program.  Team Lead Adriana Bonifaz (MBA 2020) reacted this way to the event: “For me the reveal was very exciting and emotional.  We were all so happy, bonding together, and getting to know all the wonderful places in the world that we are going to.  Being able to go to Finland is like a dream come true, and the project is going to be an amazing challenge! I can’t wait to meet the client and my fellow teammates and start working together!”

Team Lead Julian Florez (MBA 2020) had this to say about the experience:  “I think for me it was the perfect combination: a country that I dreamed to visit and a well known client. I couldn’t believe I am so lucky to have this amazing opportunity.”  Team Lead Perrie Briskin (MBA 2020) contributed this comment as well:  “The big reveal was what we had been waiting for. In all honesty, any IBD project is amazing, but I am particularly excited for mine. The client is in an industry that is new and intriguing to me, and they just happen to be in an incredible location. I can’t wait to dive in!”

Team Lead Julian Florez

Team Lead Julian Florez

Now that the first day of class and the “Big Reveal” event have informed Team Leads what they will focus on in our IBD class for the next 17 weeks, they will all most likely “dive in” to their respective projects in a meaningful way.  The next steps for the Team Leads include introducing themselves to their project clients on calls, followed by working with their Faculty Mentors to select a group of four Team Members to join their projects. There remains a lot of exciting work ahead for IBD students, faculty, and staff, as our exceptional Team Leads connect with our IBD project clients and embark on the international consulting experience ahead.  Stay tuned for more! 

Meet the 2019 IBD Team Leads!

By Danner Doud-Martin

The fall semester is in full swing at Berkeley Haas — and so is IBD as we prepare for the approaching new year and the 2019 Full-Time MBA IBD program that launches in January.  IBD Executive Director David Richardson has been traveling the world, talking to potential IBD clients about projects.  IBD Faculty Director Frank Schultz and Associate Director Danner Doud-Martin recently spent a week interviewing IBD student Team Lead applicants.  

Beginning with a list of 60 Team Lead applicants, we ended up interviewing 28 MBA candidates, then selecting a final list of 16 Team Leads.  We are very excited about this new group of diverse and remarkable students and what they bring to the IBD program. They all have incredible stories that influenced their interest in being part of IBD.  

Per our tradition of wanting to give the IBD community a chance to know them, we asked the newly selected Team Leads to share something about themselves and why they applied to be a Team Lead.  Below you will find their answers, as well as a little bit about the amazing careers they have experienced before coming to Berkeley Haas. Enjoy!

2019 IBD Team Leads:

 

Adriana Bonifaz

Adriana Bonifaz

Adriana Bonifaz, MBA Candidate ’20

Adriana has spent the majority of her career in Lima, Peru working for the Banco de Credito del Peru as a Program Manager in the Innovation Center.   When she isn’t working or leading events fostering camaraderie among her colleagues, you might find her singing.

“I think being in IBD will give me more than one good lesson that I will take forever.  I believe that having the opportunity to work with people from a different culture, with different ways of looking at the world, and also with a diverse team of students, is going to help me open my mind to new ideas. In a global world it is really important to be open and to understand there are many different faces to the same coin. One must have the willingness and mindset to embrace them all and take the best of each version, so we all become better. Finally, and also very important, I want to build long-lasting relationship with my teammates and clients.” – Adriana

Alix Slosberg in front of the Taj Mahal

Alix Slosberg in front of the Taj Mahal

Alix Slosberg, MBA/MPH Candidate ‘20

Prior to Haas, Alix worked for Social Finance Inc., a nonprofit impact investing firm specializing in pay for success projects. Prior to working for Social Finance, Alix spent a year working for the Clinton Health Access Initiative in Swaziland.  In her free time, Alix has taught herself how to play the guitar.

“The opportunity to be an IBD Team Lead is a significant reason I came to Haas. I am really excited to apply the management concepts we’ve been learning in class to a real-world client project, and to have the experience of leading an international engagement from beginning to end – starting with team selection and concluding with an in-country presentation with company leadership.” – Alix

 

Brian Bell

Brian Bell

Brian Bell, MBA Candidate ’20

After spending four years working at the Acara Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, Brian lived and worked in South and Central America as the Director of Programs at Agora Partnerships.  Agora is an entrepreneurship organization serving growing ventures in Latin America.  Brian also enjoys running marathons and cycling.

“From leadership experience to emerging market travel, from collaborative teamwork to new shared experiences, the opportunity for IBD lead was a reason I came to Haas and I’m excited to take on the challenge! For me IBD is a real opportunity to work closely with passionate Haasies and a committed management team, while having a big impact on a real world growth challenge.” – Brian

 

Fay Yu

Fay Yu

Fay Yu, MBA Candidate ’20

Throughout her career Fay has worked on multiple projects as a consultant with Deloitte including a two year stint in San José, Costa Rica.  She also coordinated logistics for Deloitte’s international pro bono consulting trip to Darién, Panamá, where she and her colleagues delivered sustainable technology based solutions at 5 local organizations.  

“When I think about the IBD experience, I am most excited about the opportunity to learn about the unique business problems faced by our client and deep-dive into the culture that influences them this coming summer!” – Fay

 

Felix Schadeck

Felix Schadeck

Felix Schadeck, MBA Candidate ’20

When Felix is not working for INNPACT, an Impact Investing-focused Consulting firm located in Luxembourg City, he serves as the Founder and President of MPG Responsibility Now, a non-profit that builds and operates schools for refugee children from Myanmar.  

I am most excited about the opportunity of being placed in a business and cultural environment that will be new to our whole team. I’ve always found that tackling a steep learning curve with like-minded people makes for exceptional bonding opportunities and has the potential to create friendships that last a lifetime.” – Felix

 

Jennifer Nixon in Peru

Jennifer Nixon in Peru

Jennifer Nixon, MBA Candidate ’20

Before joining her peers at Haas, Jennifer was a Deputy Chief Operations Officer in the U.S. Army.  Jennifer has received numerous awards for her service, including the Bronze Star Medal, a wartime award given for exceptionally commendable service affecting a large scale of responsibility.  She is also a dedicated Godmother.

“I am excited to jump into the unknown. A team I’ve never worked with, an industry I’ve never experienced, and a culture and country I’ve likely never been to! The whole point of business school for me is to pivot into the corporate world – one that is altogether unfamiliar to me – prepared to be an effective leader. Being an IBD Team Lead will allow me to do exactly that. Doing this job in the safety of the school environment will help to build my confidence in the skills I bring to the table and allow me to see how those skills work in a corporate environment.” – Jennifer

 

Joseph Bird, MBA Candidate ’20

Joseph Bird running a marathon

Joseph Bird running a marathon

Most of Joseph career has been in India working for various NGO’s, social enterprises and most recently as the CEO of Reality Tours & Travel, in Mumbai, India. When he has free time, Joseph is climbing mountains, cycling across countries and running half, full and ultra marathons to raise funds for various causes.

“I’m really excited to take of the role of IBD team lead as it represents a great opportunity to take my experience leading teams across the social impact spear in India and apply those skills to new cultures and industries. To me, IBD represents a unique opportunity to take what I’m learning here in the classroom and apply it to create positive change with our program partners.” – Joseph Bird

 

Joshua Summer, MBA Candidate ’20

Josh joins Haas as U.S. Army Veteran, where he was Captain and served all over the world, specifically in Afghanistan and South Korea.  Like Jennifer, he has received many honors and awards for his service. Josh is also a Service to School ambassador and mentors veterans applying to graduate programs.  Josh speaks conversational German.

Joshua Summer

Joshua Summer

“I applied to be a Team Lead to challenge myself in a global setting. Knowing that business is increasingly global, I was excited at the opportunity to step outside of the classroom and gain first-hand experience working with international clients. Also, as a veteran, I have a lot of experience with formal leadership.  With IBD, I am excited to practice more informal leadership with classmates from diverse backgrounds. Finally, IBD will provide an invaluable opportunity for me to learn about and practice consulting, managing clients, and working remotely. I am excited to not just develop personally but to make Haas proud by leading a team to solve an important business problem for an organization in need.” – Josh

Julian Florez, MBA Candidate ’20

Julian has spent his career working as a consultant for StratCo Consultores S.A. located in Bogata, Colombia.  StratCo is a spinoff of McKinsey by two partners who started McKinsey’s Colombian operation.  Julian focus is in the financial sector. As a student at Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá,  Julian went abroad as an exchange student in both Portugal and France.

Julian Florez in Chicago

Julian Florez in Chicago

“Being part of IBD was one of my goals while being at Haas. I wanted to be exposed to work with people from different backgrounds, build a relationship with an international client and get to know a different culture in a work environment. This is why I did not doubt when I had the opportunity to apply to be a Team Lead. I am sure we are going to build a close-knit working environment and that we are going to learn from each other past experiences, which will help us do a great job for our client!” – Julian

 

Katharine Hawthorne

Katharine Hawthorne

Katharine Hawthorne, MBA Candidate ’20

Until last December 2017, Katharine was a professional dancer and founder of Katharine Hawthorne Dance.  Concurrently, she worked at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco, as a senior contract manager.  Jennifer speaks conversational Mandarin and French.

“I value creativity and collaboration, and working in a global business context requires these skills in spades.  As an IBD team lead, I am excited to facilitate a group of my peers, question my own cultural assumptions, and make a meaningful contribution to an organization.” – Katharine

 

Kyle Rolnick

Kyle Rolnick

Kyle Rolnick, MBA Candidate ’20

Prior to attending Haas and working for Epic Systems, a medical records software company, Kyle lived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  For three years he taught ESL and created English language courses for students preparing them for a public service exam. He left Rio a Brazilian music lover and karaoke enthusiast.  

“I applied to be a Team Lead because I’m excited about the IBD program and wanted to lead a team of very talented students to make a positive impact on an international organization. I love hands-on learning and see this opportunity as a great way to help leverage everyone’s existing skills while building on them by tackling unique problems in unique cross-cultural settings. I have high expectations for our experience and want everyone to walk away from it not only proud of the work we did, but also proud of their personal growth through it.” – Kyle

Nicholas Matcheck

Nicholas Matcheck

 

Nicholas Matcheck, MBA Candidate ’20

After departing the Navy in 2016, Nick went on a language learning sabbatical in Latin America and Spain.  He then became an Economic Development Specialist/NGO Advisor in the Peace Corps in Capiibary, Paraguay.  Before coming to Haas, Nick earned his Certificate in Project Management from University of California, Los Angeles.

“I love working with great people on important projects and I know IBD at Haas will be that kind of experience. Working overseas will be even more exciting. I can’t wait to find out my project and team and get started!” – Nick

 

Nina Ho

Nina Ho

Nina Ho, MBA Candidate ’20

Nina spent the last year before coming to Haas as a senior consultant at Clerestory Consulting, a boutique consulting firm specializing in change management, technology adoption, and process improvement. Nina has numerous certifications; including Project Management Professional (PMP), Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and HCI Talent Acquisition Specialist.

“There are two things I am hoping to get out IBD.  First, I want to make a lasting impact; as a lead, I see my role as a facilitator, ensuring that both my team can thrive and our client feels supported.  Secondly, I am excited to travel and experience a new culture. Much of my personal learning has come from spending time with people who have lived very differently than I have.” – Nina

 

Perrie Briskin – MBA/MPH Candidate ’20

Perrie Briskin

Perrie Briskin

Prior to Haas, Perrie worked for Population Services International (PSI) in Washington and Yangon, Myanmar.  Her super fun job was as an Associate Producer working in New York with clients like The Notorious B.I.G. Estate, Wiffle Ball, and Kobayashi, ESPN, Kellogg’s, and the Billie Jean King’s Foundation.

Working internationally prior to Haas was one of the most formative experiences of my life. I applied to be an IBD Team Lead for the opportunity to guide my peers in an experience that I hope will be just as meaningful.” – Perrie

 

Roland Ekop

Roland Ekop

Roland Ekop, MBA Candidate ’20

Roland has spent the majority of his career as Management Consulting Senior Analyst for Accenture in Nigeria.  Roland is a dedicated volunteer and has offered his services pro bono for nonprofit organizations through the Accenture Corporate Citizenship Volunteer program and to the Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG) Nigeria.  

Beyond my interests in consulting projects, I applied for a Team Lead role because I wanted to work at the heart of a project – at the intersection of the interests of the client, the project and team members. In addition, leading a team of MBA classmates, providing and receiving feedback, and working towards a common project goal is certainly the prototypical experiential learning opportunity.” – Roland

 

Stephen Collins, MBA Candidate ’20

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins

Stephen career has been at Prophet, a management consulting firm headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. As a senior associate, Stephen worked on multiple consulting projects both in Atlanta and around the globe.  He also volunteered his time and expertise for the non-profit arm of Prophet and led the Atlanta office team in organizing service days and pro bono projects.  

I can’t wait to get to know my client and immerse myself fully in their industry, customer base, and challenges. Working with a new team, in a new industry, in a new geography is always a thrill and I can’t wait to see what IBD has in store for me!” – Stephen

~

Our newest Team Leads will start their IBD journey in January 2019, on the first day of spring semester at the “Big Reveal” IBD class.  Until then, they will have to wait patiently until they find out more about their IBD project, their project client, and where they will travel for their in-country project destinations.  Stay tuned for more on the IBD student Team Leads and their projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PSI Team in Nairobi, Kenya

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

May 29th, 2018

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

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

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

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

In-Country – Week 1

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

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

Diani-Beach,-Kenya

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

Scuba-time

Scuba-time

In-Country – Week 2

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

Masai Mara

Masai Mara

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

A male lion!

A male lion!

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

PSI IBD Team with Carlos, our Safari Tour Guide.

PSI IBD Team with Carlos, our Safari Tour Guide.

In-Country – Week 3

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

Team PSI enjoying dinner

Team PSI enjoying dinner

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

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

The Seedlink team on our first day of work.

The Seedlink team on our first day of work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1km into the lava tubes of Jeju, Korea.

1km into the lava tubes of Jeju, Korea.

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

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

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

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

On the Bund, a river walk in Shanghai.

On the Bund, a river walk in Shanghai.

IBD Team YGA Travels to Istanbul to Work with Young Guru Academy (YGA) for a Second Year

Written by Team YGA: Joanne Lee, Clara Jiang, Enrique San Martin Petit and Daniel Mombiedro

After a successful inaugural engagement between Young Guru Academy (YGA) and IBD in 2017, the two partnered again this year to send a team of four MBA students to Istanbul, Turkey. The IBD team was tasked with assessing the potential of virtual reality tours to develop a go-to-market strategy and revenue model. Piri – one of YGA’s most promising startups – wants to expand beyond its current travel app which offers only GPS-based tracking audio tours. The value that the Berkeley Haas IBD team would be able to deliver was unique – situated in the hotbed of innovation with VR companies like Oculus, YGA understood this advantage. I had the privilege of being a member of this IBD team and embarked on my first international work experience.

A day in the life:

My alarm goes off at 7:30AM. I quickly get ready and head over to the dining hall for breakfast. Dining hall? Yes, that’s right – my team members and I are staying at Özyeğin university where one of YGA’s offices are located. I assemble on my tray a typical Turkish breakfast – eggs, cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese, and simit, a circular bread encrusted with sesame seeds. I pour myself a cup of hot tea and join my team members in the discussion of today’s agenda.

An elaborate traditional Turksih breakfast spread at a café

An elaborate traditional Turkish breakfast spread at a café

Today’s agenda: a Piri tour of Karakoy, a brief 30-minute meeting with the CEO of Turkcell (the largest tech company in Turkey), self-study time for our team to get some work done, and wrap-up with a dinner party hosted by Sezin, a YGA colleague. I am excited to do a little sight-seeing of Istanbul which qualifies as product testing – perks of working with a travel tech startup.

We arrive at the starting point of the Karakoy tour, a beautiful mosque with two minaret towers, and are promptly greeted by Çağlar, one of Piri’s co-founders. We all plug in our earphones and begin following the instructions from the audio tour. The experience is seamless – as I stare up the intricate details on the dome ceiling, I hear about the rich story behind the mosque. The tour concludes with us reaching the harbor with a spectacular view of the glistening Bosphorus river. After snapping some photos, we stop in a café. Over baklava, we provide feedback to Çağlar on our experience with the tour. Eventually, it is time for us to meet with Kaan Terzioğlu, Turkcell’s CEO – we don’t want to be late and Istanbul’s traffic is unpredictable.

IBD Team on the Karakoy Harbor with Çağlar, one of Piri’s co-founders

IBD Team on the Karakoy Harbor with Çağlar, one of Piri’s co-founders

Again with an unobstructed view of the Bosphorus River, I am sitting next to Kaan in a large conference room. My team members and I are presenting our research on the VR industry and getting a rare look at how the CEO of a major tech company conducts himself. Kaan is engaged, nodding, and occasionally interjecting with an insightful comment. After the meeting, we collect our notes and head back to the YGA office.

We settle into an empty conference room and get to work. Daniel Mombiedro, our team lead, starts going through our slide deck and proposing changes to be made. We all offer our thoughts on how to best reflect the new information from today. We are a collaborative team – discovering, discussing, and delivering together. After several hours of tweaking models in Excel and putting together slides, we’ve made good progress. A YGA colleague swings by to offer us a ride to Sezin’s dinner party. We pack up and prepare to sit through more traffic.

Upon arrival at Sezin’s apartment, I kiss cheeks one-by-one with everyone there. As an Asian-American raised in New York, cheek kissing is uncommon. Through these warm embraces, I feel a strong sense of the close-knit family that YGA has formed. Sezin has prepared a bountiful feast with a variety of meze (similar to tapas). With full plates, we sit around the living room and chat with YGA members to learn about what drew them to YGA. I am particularly inspired by Küşat’s story – Küşat, who is visually impaired, is working on the world’s most advanced smart-cane, WeWalk, that detects obstacles above the waist and integrates third-party apps through voice-activation to lessen the everyday challenges of the blind. At the end of the night, my team packs into a van to return to our dormitories – it’s been a long but eventful day and I’m excited about what tomorrow holds.