IBD conference group photoThis year’s annual Berkeley Haas IBD Conference was held virtually on September 11th, and included spring semester FTMBA students, faculty, staff, and invited guests.  As in previous years, the 2020 IBD Conference was an opportunity to review and celebrate the project-based work performed earlier this year by our outstanding IBD student teams.

Early during the Conference, IBD faculty and students had the opportunity to listen to each IBD student team present remotely for two minutes on their respective projects, the work they accomplished for their overseas clients, and their reflections on what they learned during the process.

IBD student team reflections at the Conference:

MBA Candidate '21 Devan Courtois
IBD Team Lead for Ashesi University, ’21 Devan Courtois
  • IBD Team Lead Devan Courtois, who worked with Ashesi University in Ghana, shared that her project team learned the importance of executive communication and the ability to condense important information into succinct points.
  • IBD Team Member Steven Lee, who worked with Entrepreneurs without Borders in  Sweden, said that his team found it helpful to envision the client’s ideal state in five to ten years.  “We found that this thought exercise really helped us backwards plan to ensure the client’s actions taken today would help them realize their future tomorrow.”
  • IBD Team Lead Jorge Abreu, who worked with a Finnish software development company, used his moment at the Conference to appreciate his student team members.  “I think that was a great experience to manage such a bright team of four MBA students in a project. This probably won’t happen again in your career, so it’s a great opportunity.”

    IBD team member for EWB, Steven Lee '21 MBA
    IBD team member for EWB, Steven Lee ’21 MBA
  • Following the student project presentations, IBD Faculty Director Whitney Hischier shared what she thought was the most important take-away from this year’s IBD class. “Whether you are working on a consulting project, or any moment when you are trying to solve a problem, you always want to question the assumptions you have, especially in a rapidly changing environment. Things that may have held true in the past, don’t always stay this way in the future. This moment of COVID forced some incredible lessons learned.”

Client panel discussions were new to the IBD Conference this year:

IBD Student Moderator Thais Esteves
IBD Student Moderator Thais Esteves

For the first time, the annual Berkeley Haas IBD Conference hosted two guest panel discussions, highlighted by the remote appearance of six spring semester IBD project clients. Two IBD student Team Leads, Thais Esteves and Emily Lapham, moderated the panel discussions, exploring how both clients and students accomplished this year’s strategic projects while reacting to the onset of Covid-19.

The first guest panel focused on the topic of market entry and included the following IBD clients:

IBD Student Moderator Emily Lapham

The second panel focused on the topic of innovation and included the following IBD clients:

What 2020 IBD clients had to say about their IBD project experience:

IBD project clients Yasmin Keteku, Auli Parviainen, and Richard Blossom engaged with their IBD teams to look into new market opportunities to grow their respective businesses.  IBD student moderator Thais Esteves asked these three guests if their IBD project teams were able to get them closer to reaching “a go/no-go” decision.  In the clip below Auli Parviainen talks about how her IBD team’s work was “absolutely critical to Maston Oy’s final decision.”

IBD student moderator Emily Lapham moderated the second panel discussion with clients Donnie SC Lygonis, Henrique Tormena, and Guilherme, all of whom sponsored IBD projects that focused on innovation in their organizations.  Emily asked Henrique Toremena, who works with RD Station in Florianópolis, Brazil, what his thoughts were on collaborating with this year’s IBD team, compared to working with his own internal teams or professional consultants.  Henrique and RD Station have worked with multiple IBD teams, and he shared that it “is hard to find a more strategically thinking person (team) in Brazil or in the world.“

Also located in Florianópolis, Softplan’s Head of Marketing, Guilherme Quandt, was asked his conclusion from engaging with an IBD student project team. Guilherme was pleased to report  that the IBD team “translated into practical actions” solutions that could be applied immediately to Softplan’s strategy.

At the conclusion of the Conference panel discussions, a video montage was shown of this year’s IBD clients thanking student teams for the hard work they accomplished on their projects during an unprecedented and challenging year. IBD Faculty Director Whitney Hischier added to the sentiment with her final words of the 2020 IBD Conference: “Thank you to the IBD team for being the real rock stars.”

If you would like to enjoy both Berkeley Haas IBD Conference panel discussions in their entirety, please click here.

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