IBD students with IBD alumnus Mourtaza Asad-Syed
IBD students with IBD alumnus Mourtaza Asad-Syed

It’s alumni weekend at Berkeley Haas, and recently our current IBD teams were given the opportunity to hear from a number of IBD alumni.  Six alums joined us for a combined zoom and in-person panel during IBD class on April 28th to share insights from their IBD project experiences.  Their nuggets of wisdom included how IBD helped them in their current roles, what they learned from the IBD program, and how they managed particular situations with their projects and clients.  Most importantly, our alumni offered advice on how best to take advantage of today’s IBD experience.

Read more from some of our visiting IBD alumni below.

Mourtaza Asad Syed, MBA 2001, Chief Investment Officer, ODDO BHF, Geneva

“Take this opportunity to feel the freedom to innovate.  Even when you are “consulting” to the people who know their business way more than you do, they still want to hear from YOU.  Your new and innovative perspective is incredibly valuable.”

“The best situation for consulting is to focus on helping your client define the problem so the client can find their own solution… they have a better tendency for implementing the solution when they find it on their own.”

IBD alumni panel
IBD alumni panel

George James, MBA 2016, Manager, Strategic Sourcing & Partnerships, Battery, Meta

“Understand your client and their needs. Their priorities can change drastically in the middle of a project and you need the flexibility to pivot.  This is a skill you will use in your career moving forward.  Also, learn how to present and build an awesome PowerPoint.”

Emily Lapham, MBA 2021, Consultant, Prosono

“Storytelling is really important and being able to incorporate data to show your client what or how they need to look at the issue is really helpful.  This is especially essential if you are offering a perspective that is not what the client was expecting to hear.”

Sebastian Amenabar, MBA 2016, Co-Founder & CEO, Emma Cares

“Keep the goal of the project in mind as your north star even when you are being asked to pivot.”

“Know and use the language of your client and their customers as your message will resonate even if you need to deliver hard news.”

Nina Ho, MBA 2020, Director, Business Development, Equip Health

“Don’t be surprised if what you experience in-country is not what you expected.  I recommend really talking with your client and getting to understand how they make decisions.  I wish we took a more system’s thinking approach to the project as we would have been able to have a deeper, more meaningful impact.”

In conclusion, visiting IBD alumni panelists offered these final words of wisdom to our current IBD students: “Have a great time and enjoy the experience of being with your team, working on a meaningful project for a real word client.”

Previous IBD is 30 years old!