Written by: Krittanat Ratanachai, Jash Padhiar, Sarah Intoccia & Shilpa Gopal

Week 1: The Groundwork Begins

If we had to describe our IBD trip to Florianópolis, a lush tropical island in southern Brazil, in one word, we would likely land on “unforgettable”. No wonder it’s known as the Magic Island!

Each of our trips began as a long flight itinerary from SFO (one of us even had a 9-hour layover in Sao Paulo). We reached Floripa (Florianópolis), a day ahead of our first client meeting, feeling tired, weary, and honestly sleep deprived.

However, the moment we stepped into Softplan’s well-lit office, with its panoramic view of lush rolling hills, and were greeted by our delightful clients, Guilherme and Tania, whom we had solely interacted with through Zoom and email, our fatigue dissipated.

We had a fantastic yet notably rainy first week in Brazil. We met all our stakeholders, scheduled workshops for the following week, conducted customer surveys, and adjusted our project plan as additional information and context were revealed. Most of the work we did that first week was internal such as updating our materials for the workshops and preparing our final deliverable.

Since our client was a large construction technology company in Brazil, a standout moment from our first week was visiting an active construction site, complete with hard hats, to talk to a key supplier. We took this opportunity to listen to feedback, pain points, needs, and validated many of our assumptions that were made during the semester.


At the construction site. From L to R, the IBD team (Shilpa, Sarah, Krit and Jash), and our clients

We wrapped up the first week over a memorable dinner with the other IBD team from Floripa, where we shared some creative food and learnt how to ask for still water in Portuguese (Água sem gás)!


Bonding over Caipirinhas and Doritos pizzas!

Week 2: From Foundation to Function

Fortunately, the sunshine returned the following week, allowing us to experience the breathtaking beauty of Floripa firsthand. Here’s a glimpse from the office windows.


Stunning scenery from the office / View from our hotel overlooking the beach (a 3-minute drive from the office)

Week two was go-time! After a semester of research, interviews, and meticulous planning, the pressure was on! We spent a huge chunk of our time planning for our workshops, discussion, validating our recommendations with the client and of course, improving our slides. Our final presentation loomed on Thursday, leaving us just three days to finalize everything.

Monday and Tuesday were dedicated to workshops on Financial services and Supply Chain (the two parts of our project) – having a fantastic client team made a world of difference! We kicked off both sessions with a lighthearted quiz about Berkeley and Brazil to inject some energy into the day’s activities. This work-related icebreaker became a surprise hit! The workshops themselves ran smoothly, yielding valuable insights that helped directly inform our final recommendations for senior management.


Financial Services Workshop / Supply Chain Workshop

Following a successful workshop session, our clients hosted us for a delightful lunch. They generously shared fascinating stories and cultural insights from their experiences in Brazil. We also enjoyed a delicious sampling of local seafood, including the regional specialty moqueca.


Lunch with our clients

Wednesday pushed us all, requiring intense focus as we merged everything into the final deck.  But that’s the beauty of IBD – your team is always in your corner.  We tackled the challenge together, and had a truly rewarding experience finalizing and delivering the presentation.

   
Adding finishing touches to the final presentation
/ Krit and Sarah working on the financial services slides / Jash attempting to explain a key concept to us

Our Thursday presentation culminated in a resounding success. Our client treated us to a celebratory farewell lunch on Friday. Our two weeks in-country flew by, but it was an incredibly enriching experience.


After the final presentation

Bidding farewell to Floripa left us with a bittersweet mix of emotions. We were exhausted but happy, reflecting on the whirlwind of the past two weeks. The friendships we built with each other and the lessons we learned were priceless. We boarded our planes back home with a sense of accomplishment and a collective sigh of “we did it!”


The last lunch with our client

 

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