I briefly mentioned that I was accepted into Haas' IBD Program in an earlier post. Now that all teams have received their project assignments after an early morning kick-off session back in January.
Each year around 70-80 students are selected to work on consulting projects with clients across the world. Traditionally most clients have been in developing countries and have included large for-profit companies, small startups, not-for-profits and international organizations. In addition, IBD teams have also worked on engagements for for-profit companies in developed economies.
Over the course of the spring semester, teams familiarize themselves with the country they are going to and get started working on their assigned project, getting an understanding of the target company, the competitive landscape, the industry and the target country's economic situation. Teams then spend three weeks on-site with the client in May and June to complete their project work and after returning to Haas go through a thorough debrief, presenting their work and the challenges faced working in a different country.
The project work is complemented by a weekly class meeting that brings in speakers talking about issues related to international business and development. Over the last two weeks, we had the opportunity to talk to Lutz Goedde and Kannan Pashupathy. Lutz is currently a senior program manager for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He is a McKinsey alumnus and the former CEO and President of Alta Genetics. He talked about the challenges of development work on a global level and engaged in an exciting debate about the work of the foundation. Kannan is a director at Google, responsible for international operations. He spoke about his experience taking Google's operations to a global level, opening up engineering centers and sales operations in a large number of countries across the world, and shares his experience doing business in a number of different cultures.
My team is going to work on a go-to-market strategy for a large mobile handset manufacturer. While the project is confidential, I will use this space to talk more about our work over the coming months. For now, we are conducting an analysis of a niche market in the wireless industry that we think has the potential to become a significant source of revenue in the future. We are also talking to the team that worked for the same client on a different project last year, to better understand the client's organization, their work style and their view on the industry and are in touch with the client to understand their needs.
If you plan to come to Haas, IBD is definitely an exciting opportunity to gain additional international experience, while in many cases helping to make the world a better place.
For more information on IBD, international development in general and to get a better understanding of the countries IBD teams are working in, I can also recommend Sebastian Teunissen's Blog at http://haasglobal.blogspot.com/. Sebastian is the Executive Director of the Clausen Center for International Business & Policy. He runs IBD and uses his blog to share his experiences with IBD and other international activities.