IBD Project Client Interview: Auli Parviainen, Maston Oy
This past spring semester, five Berkeley Haas MBA candidates (Cassandra Salcedo, David Brown-Dawson, Jennifer Lopez Ramirez, Fletch Vynne, and Saurav Ray) undertook an IBD consulting project with the Finnish company Maston Oy. Founded in 1968, Maston is a family owned company headquartered outside Helsinki that manufactures aerosol spray productions. The IBD students were asked to create a global go-to-market strategy for the company’s innovative water-based spray and custom tinting solution. Despite not being able to travel to Finland at the project’s conclusion due to the current pandemic, the IBD student team exceeded the expectations of Auli Parviainen, the principal project contact at Maston.
Recently IBD had the opportunity to talk with Auli to get her insights and impressions of working with the student team and the overall IBD project experience. Her comments are recorded below.
IBD Interviewer: Did you feel that your IBD team had a successful project?
Auli: We did! At first we were a touch unsure but as soon as we received our first project plan, we were like, wow! This is really great. We really appreciate the final deliverables. We think that there’s a lot of work that went into it, and especially that they were able to actually get that done during the circumstances with the pandemic. It was very difficult to track people down, if you can’t get into the stores, to actually talk to potential customers who may not be focused on these things. I was really impressed by how much information they managed to get from merchants in particular. That’s very valuable with any project.
IBD Interviewer: Please tell us more about the students’ research and how this was beneficial to the project?
Auli: We were really pleased with how they conducted research with not only merchants, potential buyers and large chains, but then it was tied in with the consumer research. They managed to marry the two concepts and what we should be looking at doing.
We had done some branding for the product right when the (IBD) program started because we have a potential client in a large chain of hardware stores. We gave that branding (concept) to them (the IBD team), and it contained some messaging as to what we thought would resonate. There was some very helpful sharpening of that message that came out of the consumer research that was done. Now we’re looking at how to take the (IBD team’s) deliverables and what we need to change in the branding. The information is being presented to our marketing department.
IBD Interviewer: Did you get any surprising insights from the IBD team’s research?
Auli: Yes, what was really surprising to hear was that the target market is split 50-50 between men and women. It (the marketing and design of the product) has to appeal more universally.
IBD Interviewer: How did you feel about your IBD team?
Auli: The team lead, Cassandra, was very good at following through on everything that she agreed to do, and everything was done exactly how the plan was laid out…which was very impressive because I know that there are different things that happen during the process. I think she’s a very good leader and I think she has very good communication skills. Similarly, all team members clearly invested themselves in our project. I could see how the diversity of the team was a benefit; it brought a variety of perspectives and skills which made for a successful result. I was particularly impressed by the committed effort and tenacity to get the research needed completed in the challenging circumstances.
IBD Interviewer: Do you have any advice for potential project clients who might be interested in working with the IBD program?
Auli: The very first thing I would say is that no one should even consider doing the IBD program if it’s going to be an afterthought, because the value you receive from these types of projects is directly related to how much we invest in it. That investment, in this case, is time and giving the proper tools to the team. Don’t start it unless you’re prepared to really make it work for yourself, and then make sure that the right people are involved. You have to have someone who has enough authority but also enough interest in whatever the project goals are.
IBD Interviewer: Do you think you will work with the IBD program again in the future?
Auli: If we have another product, I know who I’ll be calling!
The IBD program at Berkeley Haas would like to thank Auli Parviainen and Maston Oy for collaborating with us on a project during our spring 2020 semester.