From Kenya to Kazakhstan to South Africa to Singapore, full-time MBA students crisscrossed the globe this summer on International Business Development consulting trips.
All told, 23 teams traveled to 18 countries to complete projects they had spent months preparing for.
Their projects were as diverse as the countries they visited. A sampling: introducing mom-and-pops in India to SAP’s modern retail systems; developing a go-to-market plan for a cloud encryption product, improving distribution for a leading lab equipment vendor in China, and building market strategies to combat diarrheal disease in Tanzania.
While the content of their work varied widely, all the trips had a common theme: students picked up fascinating insights on international business culture. For example, the team working with SAP Labs in India blogged about the surprises they found from start to finish:
“We walked into Bangalore anticipating another version of Silicon Valley on the other side of the globe. We were not prepared for what we came across, a city that was both developed and yet steeped in so much tradition, both modern and yet traditional, and altogether unpredictable. What we learned over the next three weeks was that this would be a theme rippling across our experiences in India.”
Another team, which stopped to meet with a strategic partner in Munich on the way to advise a startup in Moscow, found warm buttered pretzels waiting for them in a conference room. They were impressed when the CEO leading the meeting left the room, returned with a small toolkit, and repaired a malfunctioning air-conditioner knob—all without stopping the conversation.
“I guess the idea that no task is too small when you’re the CEO of a small company is cross cultural,” the students wrote.
Students found that in Thailand, clients prefer to build a relationship before getting to the task at hand, while in Moscow, it’s straight to business. Even so, Muscovites take lunch seriously, and would never eat at their desks unless it’s absolutely necessary.
To read more of the teams’ blog posts on their projects and adventures, visit Haas in the World.