Classified: The International Business Development Course

This article is the second installment in a new series called “Classified,” in which we spotlight some of the more powerful lessons that faculty are teaching in classrooms around Haas.

The winning IBD photo, taken in Bihar, India, by students who evaluated motorcycle courier pharmaceutical delivery and medical sample pickup for patients that lack access to centralized and sophisticated health care.

Berkeley MBA students pack two stately hallways at the International House, roaming from installation to installation, as through an art gallery. At this exhibit, they admire each other’s handiwork, appreciating not just artistry but insights.

Welcome to the annual conference for the International Business Development (IBD) course for full-time and evening-and-weekend MBA students. The conference starts with a poster session, when students report on consulting engagements begun last spring and capped off with two (EWMBA) or three (FTMBA) weeks in country with clients.

Posters show students talking with doctors in rustic eye clinics, walking through lush green jungles, and of course sampling a wide variety of local cuisine, all reflecting the breadth and depth of their projects.

This year’s teams delivered strategies and solutions on boosting team performance and fan engagement in European soccer leagues, improving access to eye surgeries in India and Mexico, developing emerging market strategies for a global asset management company, and much more.

Lauren Fernandez, MBA 14, went to Johannesburg to create a marketing strategy for Africa’s first massive, open, online course (MOOC). The African Management Initiative’s ambitious goal is to reach 1 million people with the management course.

“I came to Haas to transition to marketing and this was an opportunity to get hands-on experience both develop and executing a marketing strategy,” says Fernandez.

Students at the annual IBD Conference last week also share more detail on their projects through presentations, but first there are well-deserved awards to give out—to students and to an IBD alumnus of the year. Student awards are given for IBD posters, photographs (see the winning shot in Bihar below), blog posts, and presentations.

One winner, Team Silicon Valley Bank: Shanghai, Week 2, wrote their tongue-and-cheek blog post from the perspective of a “hypothetical local”: “They are writing a paper for us but are not doing much writing. They spend all day sitting in a dark conference room with the lights off, writing on poster paper, scrawling on post-it-notes, and bickering loudly. … The white guy walks around trying to smile and nod, the Indian guy is always saying “mayo ro?” (no meat), and the Chinese foreigner does not seem to speak a word of Mandarin or Shanghainese at all. It is a miracle these guys find their way to our office every day.”

The team of part-time students—Garrick Zhu, Pawan Nrisimha, William Frymann, and Edmund Choi, all MBA 14—advised Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) on market expansion into East Asia. On a more serious note, they also detailed their hard work, including conducting 50 interviews with experts in such fields as venture capital, technology, and operations and working until midnight three nights in a row before their deadline. “We hope this project will help SVB’s growth strategy and planning in extending its mission to help entrepreneurs around the world succeed,” they wrote.

Read the winning blog posts, Team Silicon Valley Bank: Shanghai, Week 2 and Nakanjani – No Matter What from FTMBA Team loveLife in South Africa on the Haas in the World blog.

Dwayne Florenzie, MBA 98, is named the 2013 IBD Alumnus of the Year for exemplary engagement with the Berkeley-Haas IBD Program. “IBD was an integral part of Dwayne’s MBA experience and he has served as a fantastic spokesperson for IBD and the school,” says IBD Executive Director Kristi Raube. “As an alum he continues to ‘pay it forward’ by hiring IBD teams for projects. Dwayne is a wonderful friend and supporter and we are honored to recognize him as our 2013 Alumnus of the Year.”

Florenzie, who works on mobile Internet strategy and business development at Cisco Systems, was featured on the cover of Forbes in 1998, along with two classmates—Ann Hsu and Adriana Zabarkes, both MBA 98—following his IBD experience investigating the cell phone market in Vietnam and Cambodia for Motorola.

At the International House last week, he told the audience that that IBD experience led to the telecom sales and business development focus of his career. “The IBD experience makes you ideally equipped to be the dynamic change agent wherever you are or wherever you go,” he told students, encouraging them to “take the first step. It is the path to changing you, your company, and, I think most importantly, the people around you.”

Dwayne Florenzie (center), MBA 98, IBD Alumnus of the Year, with Adriana Zabarkes (l.) and Ann Hsu (r.), both MBA 98.