EWMBA Summer IBD draws to a close

With the last team returning home earlier this morning, the first ever IBD session for Haas EWMBA comes to a close. For the past two weeks, five teams have been busy helping for-profits and non-profits with various challenges, across three continents and five countries. Along the way all twenty of us have had an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the culture of our host nations in ways few tourists can ever dream of doing. To read more about our experiences, check out the following blog posts:

Brazil:

http://haasintheworld.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/hello-from-belo-horizonte/

http://haasintheworld.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/muito-obrigado/

Japan

http://haasintheworld.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/update-from-ibd-tokyo/

Uganda

http://haasintheworld.wordpress.com/2012/07/10/you-are-welcome-in-uganda/

http://haasintheworld.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/i-think-it-must-have-been-an-interesting-meeting/

China

http://haasintheworld.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/ibd-adventures-xie-xie-shanghai/

India

http://haasintheworld.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/updates-from-ibd-india-so-hot-right-now/

That’s all folks!!

– Shamik

IBD Summer Pilot Program

Jambo! Konichiwa! Ni-Hao! Nomoshkar! Olá!

The International Business Development program has been a cornerstone of the Haas fulltime MBA for over 20 years. It is a unique program providing students an opportunity to apply their in-class learning in real life consulting projects. IBD clients comprise of both for-profit and non-profit organizations, and IBD teams have worked in more than 70 countries.

This summer the IBD program has opened its doors for the very first time to EWMBA students. As part of a summer pilot course (EWMBA 296.11), five teams of four EWMBA students each, will be undertaking IBD consulting projects across the world. Yesterday, in our first class, we discovered our projects and countries as part of the “Big Reveal”. The projects span a mix of both for-profit and nonprofit clients.  On the for-profit side, the projects include strategic analyses for SAP (Shanghai, China) and Box.com (Tokyo, Japan) and the development of a product marketing and sales strategy for ePrimeCare (Belo Horizonte, Brazil). The development of a primary health care strategy for Amar Lata Gramin Seva Foundation (West Bengal, India) and a strategy for the deployment of solar suitcases to health facilities for We Care Solar (Uganda) round out the non-profit projects.

In yesterday’s class we had a team from CapGemini Consultants come in and train us on project scoping and project planning. For the next five weeks, the teams will be working remotely with their clients from Berkeley. On July 7th, all teams will head out on the two week long in-country phase of the project to work directly with their clients on-site. My team (ePrimeCare, Brazil) has its first client call set for 6AM tomorrow morning – such are the realities of consulting across time zones. Here’s to an adventurous and exciting summer!!

That’s all folks!!

– Shamik

Littlefield Technologies

It started as the final assignment for our EWMBA 204 – Core Operations class. It ended up as a three-day addiction and obsession. It took over all discussions on the EWMBA 2014 Facebook page. Several throwdowns, challenges and a nail biting finish later, the winner was crowned at 11:05PM yesterday night. It was over… the Littlefield Technologies simulation was complete.

Littlefield Technologies is an online simulation of a high-tech factory that brings together all the concepts from EWMBA 204. It runs for continuously for 3.5 days simulating an entire production year at the factory. In teams of four, we became the operations managers of the factory, making decisions regarding inventory purchases, factory capacity and capital investments, order sizes and contract types; all with objective of ending the simulation with the highest possible cash balance.

The simulation really brought home everything that we learnt through the semester. It also challenged us to use our core analytical skills in accurately predicting demand, supply and factory utilizations. With the simulation running continuously, it became an obsession to refresh the internet browser every few minutes to check on the status of our factory. Some of us stayed up into the wee hours of the morning just to make sure out factory stayed on track. Many strategies, regressions, moving averages and trendline analyses later, we ended up in 10th place. Oh well!! We did not end up on top, but we learnt a lot. The Littlefield simulation turned out to be one of the most exhilarating experiences in the EWMBA so far.

And now, time to head back to the non-simulated world …

That’s all folks!!

–          Shamik

Multitasking

If there is one thing you really get good at as you progress along the EWMBA road, it is multitasking; or rather, learning to switch between different tasks and make a lot of progress in short bursts. Fall B has proved to be more challenging than Fall A and things have also picked up quite a bit at my workplace. All of this has really brought out a need for thoughtful orchestration of my daily to-do list.

Financial Accounting is definitely something that becomes natural only after a fair amount of practice. Learning accounting feels somewhat like learning a new language with its own grammar, rules and non-intuitive nuances. It takes a bit of getting used to. However, it has definitely given me a fresh perspective on analyzing earnings reports and announcements. My ears perk up every time I hear about really rosy “non-GAAP” earnings or “one-time charges and write-offs”.

Marketing has been a blast – from truly understanding how customers value products, to critiquing companies tripped by the inventor’s dilemma, to learning about strategies for sustaining long-term product differentiation. To top it all – a business case on marketing and pricing contact lenses for – wait for it – chickens. For our marketing project, my team has been working on developing a market entry plan for a startup in the cosmeceutical industry. The level of access to the company, the quality of industry reports available via the Haas business library and the heated debates on strategic marketing options, have made each and every one on the team feel like a product marketing manager on the company payroll.

Well, its Friday night and time to hit the books…

That’s all folks!!

–          Shamik

One-twelfth

This is my first post as an official student blogger, and my second on this blog if you count my guest post. I am a first year student in the weekend (OSKI) cohort.

It is hard to believe that we are done with Fall A. Yesterday, as I stepped out of Andersen Auditorium after completing the EW201 finals, I realized that a twelfth of the journey was already complete. In this short span of eight weeks I already feel like I am part of an amazing new community – there is a true sense of family in each of the cohorts at Haas.

I was taking two core classes in Fall A – Microeconomics (aka“Economic Analysis for Business Decisions”) and Organizational Behavior (aka “Leading People”). The course on Microeconomics provides an introduction to competitive and non-competitive markets, optimal production and consumption theories and also touches upon game theory. For those who have taken Econ 101 in their undergrad, let me assure you that this course is way more real world, with class discussions revolving around the application of the theoretical concepts to real world firms and business scenarios. We discussed everything from the way Google models its AdWords auctions for maximizing profitability to the way Disneyland prices its entry fees.  And for all you movie buffs, we do study the theory behind this.

Want to play with Lego blocks, role play a day in the life of a NASCAR pit crew, critically analyze an hour-long movie clip in class – then Leading People is definitely the choice for you. The course truly brings organizational behavior concepts to life through engaging class discussions and a ton of in-class activities. A lot of what you learn seems obvious, but the frameworks and principles help you think about, analyze and apply these concepts on your day-to-day job. This is one course where you can apply what you learn on Saturday, at work the very next Monday.

Let me wrap up by taking a shot at answering a question that I get asked most often: “How many hours a week do you spend on your MBA?” This was also my favorite question for seniors and alumni when I was going through the application process. So, for the last few weeks, I have been keeping track of my Haas activities and here is what the data looks like…

As Kai Ryssdal would say, “Let’s do the numbers..” – Mean number of hours spent per week (excluding classes) was 7.78 hours, with a standard deviation of 3.27 hours. A week-long vacation around Labor Day would explain the lack of hours between Aug 28th and Sep 3rd. Also, you can observe the increase in time spent on the team project towards the later weeks.

So, what can you conclude from the data above? As any MBA student worth his salt would tell you, it depends. This is just a single data point out of hundreds who have been and are part of the EWMBA program. The specific amount of time spent on Haas activities vary from person to person. And yes, it looks like the numbers above do line up with what you will hear generally which is between 8-15 hours spent per week depending on the deliverables for that week.

That’s all folks!!

– Shamik