IBD is 30 years old!
On January 20th the IBD program kicked off its 30th year with the first day of its 2022 spring semester course, including the “Big Reveal” of this year’s overseas consulting projects. Sixteen intrepid FTMBA and EWMBA students gathered remotely to meet each other, IBD faculty and staff, and to learn about their assigned projects. As always, the excitement of beginning the IBD course and hearing about the carefully selected international projects colored the first day of class. One of our IBD students, Monica Stephens, MBA ‘23 candidate, was pleased to be introduced to her assigned project: “I am extremely excited about the scope of the project my team is working on, and also the opportunity to (hopefully) experience Singaporean culture firsthand. I got my top choice for the project, and I am eager to get the chance to experience the Lion City in such a personal and intimate way!”
For the first time in two years, IBD is planning for a return to student project travel, subject to any travel restrictions and the approval of UC campus authorities. Current plans include four student consulting teams traveling to locations in Finland, Singapore and Guatemala for two weeks in May in order to validate project research and present final recommendations to overseas clients.
How are teams feeling about their IBD projects?
After the Big Reveal class event on January 20th, it’s now time for IBD student teams to dig into their projects. Teams start out by working carefully with IBD Faculty Director Whitney Hischier to get to know their clients and finalize the scope of their projects.
For example, IBD student Jason Park, MBA ‘23 candidate, is working on a project with an entrepreneurial company based in Helsinki, Finland. Jason shared that after being introduced to the client, it took the student team a couple of weeks to better understand the client’s industry. Now, after multiple calls with the client and industry experts, combined with secondary research, Jason says that “we have a better understanding about our client’s customers, team, and the project. Our client meetings were especially helpful for our team to sync in the objective and the scope of the project.”
Another current IBD student team is consulting with a local eye care organization based in Guatemala City that provides critical eye care to underserved communities, restoring sight and preventing blindness. When asked how they feel about their project now, students from this IBD team answered that “truthfully, at this early stage, we feel a little anxious about getting up to speed on all we need to know about the problem we have been asked to solve….However, each one of us also feels a connection to the work that (the organization) does in the eye care industry, and this makes us very excited to learn and work on this project.”
In every IBD program, it takes time and effort for Berkeley Haas MBA student teams to get to know the clients they serve and to provide valuable consulting advice to deserving organizations around the world. By the end of the spring semester, however, we expect that all of our student teams will make a real difference in the lives of these organizations and managers through the quality and depth of their strategic insights and recommendations.
IBD returns to in-person instruction
After two years of remote instruction, the IBD class returned to meeting in-person on February 3rd. Meeting face to face is an exciting development for all Berkeley Haas MBA courses, but it is especially important for IBD because of the relative importance of the project team dynamics that occur in this applied innovation class. Each of this year’s IBD teams is composed of four MBA students who work together on their projects for an average of 8-10 hours weekly.
This year’s plan is for our IBD student teams to work even more closely together when they travel to their project countries for two weeks in May. One of our current IBD teams is working with a Northern European company based in Joensuu, Finland. Drew Silverman, MBA ‘23 candidate, is enthusiastic in her appreciation of this team: “We are an energetic group with really diverse work experiences, so we learn from each other every time we meet. I can’t wait to explore Finland with them!”
In celebration of the 30th year of the IBD program, we wish our newest students the best and fullest of IBD experiences in 2022. Stay tuned for more on this year’s IBD student teams!