D'Amore-McKim School of Business Full-Time MBA students recently completed their Global Projects Course, a three-credit experiential learning opportunity spanning four countries on four continents. 77 students were connected with diverse multinational companies for two months, working both at home and abroad on a business issue or opportunity.
Students were split into five groups, working with the TJX Company in Watford, England, IBM in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Deloitte Consulting in Hamburg, Germany, Walon in Lima, Peru, and Jack Morton in London, England. Each group completed extensive research on the company's proposed issue in Boston before leaving for their global offices, notes in tow.
“Our objective for the course is to provide the students an opportunity to gain additional real-world experience by applying the knowledge they have learned in the class room to a ‘messy' live project with a corporate partner. The students not only get to practice the classroom knowledge, but they also strengthen critical managerial skills, such as teamwork, managing client interactions, and project management,” said Todd Alessandri, Associate Professor of Strategy at the D'Amore-McKim School of Business and trip leader.
Brittany Lanteri, MBA'19, traveled to Lima, Peru, to work at Walon, a family business that specializes in athletic wear such as soccer jerseys.
Students had the ability to spend time in their local manufacturing facility, as well as their corporate headquarters, enabling them to see the business process from idea to final product.
“What appealed to me most about the project was that it involved a retail company. My background is in retail management, and I was excited to use my expertise to add value and come up with business solutions for a company. The experience truly enhanced my leadership and teamwork skills and allowed me to gain more awareness of the business culture in South America. It was also a chance for me to utilize skills and knowledge that I learned in my classes during my first year of the MBA program,” said Lanteri.
Bradley Shepherd, MBA'19, also traveled to Peru and worked with Walon. Shepherd believes the consulting project enhanced his business skills and gave him the opportunity to explore a different culture's ancient sites. Lanteri and Shepherd visited Machu Picchu, one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. At the end of their experience, the D'Amore-McKim students offered Walon short, medium, and long – term suggestions to reach their goals.
“The Global Project Course provides an international learning experience, an environment to build relationships with your classmates, an opportunity to travel and it also enhances your resume. Not only were we able to learn, we made a true difference in the company,” said Shepherd.
Sarah Hall Weaver, MBA'19, completed her project in Hamburg, Germany, working with Deloitte.
At Deloitte, students were tasked with coming up with new and innovative ways in which the company could do business. Students were separated into groups focused on exponential growth technology for the innovation division.
Hall Weaver was interested in consulting before the trip, but her work with Deloitte reinforced her passion for it.
“It was so exciting to present to the Deloitte Germany team in Hamburg; their coaching and final presentation feedback was so in depth and constructive… we learned so much in such a short time and I ended up walking away with a completely new interest in AI business applications that I never would have anticipated prior to the trip,” said Hall Weaver.
Hall Weaver is currently on corporate residency at Schneider Electric in their process automation division. She credits her experience in Germany as eye opening to technology content, something she now references all the time.
Outside of her time working for Deloitte, Hall Weaver and her classmate Bader AlAsfoor visited Hamburg Kunsthalle, an art museum. It was an especially important trip for Hall Weaver, as she previously worked in the arts and non-profit industries.
“It meant a lot to walk through the Kunsthalle's galleries with Bader while explaining my background in the art/museum/nonprofit industries, and what I knew of the collections displayed in front of us. Bader gave me the privilege of introducing him to modern and contemporary art for the first time, (which he claimed to really have enjoyed!) but our visit to the Kunsthalle also offered me a very unique consideration of my previous career, my first year at D'Amore-McKim, and where I hope to go from here,” said Hall Weaver.
At the end of the consulting project, students presented a pitch deck at the Hamburg offices.
Natalia Diaz, MBA'19, was also in Hamburg. As a career changer, Diaz went on the consulting trip with an open mind and a willingness to learn new things.
“I started the project knowing that innovation and consulting intrigued me but, as a career changer, I had no idea whether or not I had what it took to do the job well, or if I would even like it,” said Diaz. “It was challenging to pitch innovative ideas to people who do this for a living at the highest level (globally!) and of course, we fared well enough but, being our first time doing this, there was significant room for improvement.”
Deloitte listened to the students' pitch deck and delivered honest feedback, strengthening the MBA's understanding of what they did right and what needed more work.
“Working with new groups of people, seeing new cities and experiencing that type of workload/learning curve together was very interesting. You had to juggle getting to know each other, finding a groove and producing at a high level all within a short span of time. Fortunately, I walked away with new close friends and a new set of skills on managing team dynamics,” said Diaz.
Although students presented to the companies while they were abroad, upon their return to Boston, they continued to consult and then shared a final report.
Orna Feighery, MBA'19, worked with IBM in Dubai. “Working for IBM Dubai was very authentic, there were real executives with high expectations. At the same time all the staff we worked with were extremely appreciative of our work, supportive, and welcoming,” she said.
“As a faculty member, this is one of the highlights of my year. The opportunity to work closely with students outside of the classroom, watching them stretch their abilities and see the sense of accomplishment—it is great to observe,” said Alessandri.