The Bee Team

Today’s guest entry is written by Manu Gupta, who is part of the BeeHelpful startup team. Other members of his team are: Sophie Auchapt, Mads Ring Damgaard, Giovanni Gazzale, Xiaomei Gu and Schuyler Weiss.

Imagine a common breakfast – an English muffin with jam, fruits on the side, almonds as a snack, and a coffee to get a quick jolt for the day. Now imagine that not only could you not have this breakfast, but also, that it no longer existed. The production of these food items, and many others, all rely on the hardworking, but threatened, population of bees. For thousands of years bees have played a critical role in the world’s ecosystem, pollinating the world’s crops and flowers. These efforts have provided a base for the world’s species to have a sustainable food source and for the ecosystem to remain in balance. Albert Einstein put it simply, “If the Bee Disappeared Off the Face of the Earth, Man Would Only Have Four Years Left To Live.”

You may be asking yourself, why is this blog post about bees and not about IMD MBA? Shouldn’t this blog cover topics like finance, industrial analysis, accounting, marketing, entrepreneurship, operations, and/or leadership? Yes, and No.

As part of IMD’s entrepreneurship stream we are split up into groups of six and paired with a real life startup here in Switzerland. Our group was lucky enough to be paired with “BeeHelpful”, a startup that is developing a hive designed to save the declining bee population. Some may question how the skills we are learning at IMD may apply to a startup like ours. How does a discounted cash flow analysis, break even analysis, or segment analysis factor in to making beehives and savings bees? The answer – a lot. BeeHelpful faces many problems common among startups and the tools and learnings provided by IMD have be instrumental in addressing each problem in a structured way. The combination of the IMD learnings and the BeeHelpful employees’ engineering capabilities have laid the groundwork for a strong product introduction.

Over the past ten years the BeeHelpful co-founders have researched, developed, and refined their flagship product. The result – an innovative beehive that drastically decreases the mortality rate of bees. And though the bee crisis has been treated as a niche concern, increasing food prices and supply concerns are starting to take shape. Our work on this project will help BeeHelpful effectively position itself in the market so that mankind can pre-empt these shocks.

We call ourselves “The BeEffective Team” and we are helping a socially conscious startup transform itself into a sustainable, revolutionary business. Although there is an awareness of the problem, little is being done about it. We are doing something about it and we believe our work has the ability to change the world. We want to thank IMD for making this opportunity possible and the BeeHelpful team for dedicating themselves to such an important cause.

Until soon,

The Bee Team

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Inspirational ideas wanted, come to Lausanne

Today’s guest entry is written by MBA participant, Alessio Orlando, from Italy. Other members of his startup team are: Mohammad Alsele (Jordanian), Abhijat Chahal (Indian), Martina Heyse (Brazilian/Italian), Qin Li (German), and Zhe Yuan (Chinese).

When you start classes at IMD, if you still do not know that Lausanne is a hub for start-ups, IMD and Entrepreneurship Professor Benoit Leleux will make sure you are fully aware very quickly. Continue reading “Inspirational ideas wanted, come to Lausanne”

CEO’s, Leadership and ICP’s

After jet-setting around Europe for 7 weeks I have finally gotten time to talk about it. So our ICP with a telecom giant took me and my team from Hungary to Ireland and everywhere in between. ICP’s are a key part of the MBA program and now that it is over, I can see why it is such a brilliant idea to wrap-up our MBA with a real project for a real client solving real problems.

I am delighted to share that our client was very happy with our work and clearly could see the value-add we brought to the company. All the leadership, finance, accounting, problem-solving and critical thinking lessons learnt throughout the year came in handy to solve the issues at hand.

Immediately, after the ICP’s we headed back to IMD and were greeted with a fantastic gathering of CEO’s of some of the top companies. IMD hosts CEO Rountable for top leaders from across different industries once a year. And this was a great opportunity for us to meet some of these top leaders and learn from them.

I had the chance to hear from Boris Collardi, CEO of Julius Baer. He is clearly an extraordinary executive who climbed up the Banking ladder pretty swiftly and so had some great first hand experiences to share from his journey. His presentation laid out the challenges facing the Wealth Management sector and also his plans to steady Julius Baer to face those challenges well and become a stronger Bank. I must say it is quite extraordinary to hear directly from these people right at the top. Their clarity of vision, simple few point plans and tremendous faith in their abilities and those of their people is quite inspiring to see. It also makes this very real, so much so that we can for the first time begin to believe that some of us can be in those positions and can be fully capable of making similar decisions.

Boris left us with three great lessons for our own careers and I will share those with all of you.

  1. “You guys are too young to do a job you don’t like”
  2. “You guys are too young to not take really big risks”
  3. “Do not over-plan. It is good to have some ideas about your future but do not try to forecast everything. At the same time develop a knack for spotting opportunities as they come”.

 

I am going to reflect on these lessons for sure and I hope you will too.

 

All the best

 

Can global business and livelihood improvement for farmers come together?

Today’s guest entry is written by Japanese participant, Maki Suzuki,who is completing her ICP project with teammates: Dustin, Parfait, Carina and Sriram, with Faculty support from IMD Professor of Economics and MBA Program Director, Ralf Boscheck

Average age: 57 years old, average monthly income: 40 USD. This is a typical Filipino farmer. If you were asked by a leading global crop science company to propose a business plan to improve their livelihood, what would you do? Continue reading “Can global business and livelihood improvement for farmers come together?”