On Sunday morning, something extraordinary happened. My entire house was up at 8am. Eating a communal breakfast. And yawning in concert. What provoked this sudden burst of weekend energy... IBD.
For those who don't know IBD stands for international business development. It's a flagship program here at Haas (which has even been exported to other schools) whereby groups of Haas students consult on a business challenge in a developing country, from El Salvador to Cambodia. there is a particular focus on conservation projects. Students spend the Spring term preparing, then from May 24th to June 14th, we're in the country, putting into practice all that we have learned in business school.
But none of that happens until the teams have been formed. part of the way IBD works is that you do not choose your team or your country, but get placed where your skills will work best. On Sunday we were to find out who are new team was. Which is why we were in hiking boots in Tilden Park, just up the road, at 083o on a rainy Sunday. Here's my team in full gear. looking much drier than we felt.
It ended up being a fantastic day. I won't go into mechanics as i don't want to spoil it for those of you who may do something similar next year. But I will say at the end of the day we were ready to be a proper team and work together. And eat pizza.
Sadly we ahd to wait 24 hours before we learned what country we are all going too. The tension was palable as we went into the classroom session. Everyone was wondering where they would go, trying to match language skills with projects we knew of. Would it be Brazil, working with a medical devices startup? Or Ghana, working with a hunger relief program?
Ultimately, my team and I are off to Zambia to work on a conservation project. I've been to Zambia before (in 2000) and couldn't be more excited to go back and help a country I know a little of, and love a lot. I'll be sure to let you know how we do.
Potential applicants - not everyone can do IBD, you have to be selected based on your skills and motivations for taking part. I would definitely say though, when you get here, go for it. This year we have nearly 80 people involved. This truly looks like it will be one of the most amazing experiences here at Haas.