Today’s guest entry is by MBA participant, Thales Crivelli (Brazilian). His team members from the ICP are Robert (Taiwanese), Avneet (Indian), Alex (Ukrainian) and Takumi(Japanese) with Faculty support by IMD Professor of Strategy & Governance, Paul Strebel (South African/Swiss).
Along my professional career, I have had quite a few interactions with the strategic consulting world. I always worked for the mining sector and was used to hosting or hiring consultants to help us tackle some particular issue. Coming to IMD, I had several opportunities to discuss and understand better about the consultant role. From industry analysis classes and case practices for job search purposes to interactions with alumni, there were plenty of situations where I could learn more about this profession. But in terms of learning, nothing was close to the ICP experience. This is another proof of IMD’s real learning: it is serious, it is international and it is consulting. And my journey so far has been amazing! Definitely one of the best experiences at IMD.
In the middle of the year, when the MBA class was informed about the companies that are sponsoring us this year for the ICP projects, I was very excited with the majority of them. Very interesting companies and challenges. Among all, I had one preference and was fortunate enough to be selected to work for it. It is a chemical company based in Switzerland and the challenge that was presented to us is really meaningful. We actually have the chance to propose a solution that will ultimately positively impact thousands of underserved lives in Sub-Saharan Africa.
To tackle that, I am part of a group of 5 members with very diverse backgrounds. We are from all over the world, from Japan to Brazil. We come from different sectors, like FMCG and Private Equity, and have different expertise, such as sustainability and sales. Right at the first week we found ourselves in the HQ of the client company, where we spent 3 full days interviewing a very diverse set of internal stakeholders – supply chain, technical, sales & commercial, strategy, sustainability, etc. We spent the whole second week doing field research. I went to Zambia with another member of our team and the other colleagues went to Kenya. It was my first time in Africa and I found it awesome. The support we received from the local office of the company was outstanding and I could experience the real life of those people we want to reach and better serve with our project. We gathered not only appropriate insights for our consulting work but also food for thought about this life experience.
The third week has just finished and another rollercoaster of emotions and deep learning happened. We had the opportunity to present our first deliverable to the client – what we called the eco-system analysis. A couple of high heads of the company were there and the work was highly praised, which tells us we are on the right track. We celebrated and we fought (not physically, though) over the next days, and on Friday of this third week we presented the updated work, which was again very well received by the client.
Along with that, we are getting the internal dynamics of the company and how different departments interact, where the strengths and weakness of them stand and how agendas conflict or build upon each other. Again, from a learning perspective, we may have seen and understood things that those within the company may find a hard time to realize. This is just another consequence of any real consulting job.
For sure, we are working on the real world and the stake is high. There are still 4 weeks to go and we are very committed with every new step of the project. I am confident we can make the most out of it and deliver a result that is above the expectations! Keep following this blog to see how this experience is shaping every one of us. This is IMD!