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My name is Nana Zhou, and I did my GCP project with Carnegie Hall in New York City. It’s one of the oldest musical venues in New York City.
Carnegie Hall has worked with Cambridge Judge for two years in the past. So we were the third year there. And we were doing a project on their medium-sized hall. And they wanted us to look at ways that we can increase their utilisation, while adhering to their vision.
The MBA really helped me work with people from very diverse backgrounds, as well as work with more people from different types of industries. So before the MBA, I was working a lot with mining and energy clients. And Carnegie Hall, being a non-profit organisation, and working with the arts, and being a cultural organisation, I thought that would be quite challenging. But actually, the MBA prepared me for that.
I had interacted with so many people who had their pre-MBA life immersed in different industries that I became good at learning about different industries and about what matters. And reteaching myself that profit is not the assumed priority of every organisation. And that really helped me stay in line with and stay consistent with what the employee and the team at Carnegie Hall really wanted. And I made it much easier for me to see what the consumer or the customer truly needed. And I think the MBA helped me, essentially, to be more open-minded in everything and across the board.
I think my top three lessons learned from the GCP was first, that I should be better at learning from my peers faster. The beauty of the MBA is that it brings people together and especially, people that succeeded previously for different reasons. So the ability to learn from each other’s differences was so instrumental for us doing the project well.
The second lesson learned is to see the value of interdisciplinary collaboration. There’s a lot that can be learned by putting two different things together. So that was great. And then the third thing was probably, being a little bit more assertive, as well.
The main way I will use this experience is to never forget the value of investing in upfront learning when working with a new client and a new scope. The amount of time we invested at the very beginning, learning what the mission was and why everyone cared about what they cared about was critical for making sure that our solution would be adopted. When we delivered our final pitch, people really called out the fact that they feel like our solutions were very hands-on and applicable because we already answered their primary concerns for them. And that was very, very eye-opening.
Mohan Nana Zhou – Carnegie Hall, USA
“The amount of time we invested at the very beginning learning what the mission was and why everyone cared about it so much, was critical for making sure that our solution would then be adopted.”
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My name’s Tom and I’m from Cambridge, UK. Our global consulting project was with the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia, and we were assessing best practices within digital throughout performing arts organisations around the world. My background’s actually in classical music, and I was previously a French horn player. So I’ve got a real big interest in performing arts organisations.
At the start of the year, I began to reach out to various different performing arts organisations around the world, and one of them was the Sydney Opera House. I didn’t actually have a contact there, but I reached out cold to the CEO via email and began to have a conversation with their Chief Financial Officer, and across a period about two to three months or so, we agreed on the project, and the scope, and I began to source a team from the Cambridge MBA to go and take part in the project.
A lot of the skills we learned in the digital core business class, as well as some of the courses that we did around strategy. A big part of it was applying what we also did with the CVP, so the earlier project at the beginning of the year working with a team of other MBAs from students from throughout the world, and seeing how that could be applied to a much bigger scale across a project which took an entire month. I think the standout moment for me was we did a backstage tour around the Sydney Opera House, going all the way down into six stories down to their loading bay, backstage to some of the stages involved and all the way up to the lighting decks on the 10th floor or so.
And seeing kind of the breadth of the Sydney Opera House and how much scope there is on just one site, in terms of the amount of different work which takes place, and then seeing from that what impact the type of work to which we’re having or which we are doing, how we can have on the Sydney Opera House. We were doing a digital project. So assessing how all these different digital processes, from data warehousing, digital marketing, customer experience, can all have a huge impact on everything which is going on there.
And the lessons which I hope to take forward from this were really around that team, and understanding how I can apply that in even larger organisations, maybe, or in a bigger environment. My interests are really in the performing arts, so seeing how I can apply that in other organisations, learn the skills, apply the skills which I learned on the course and on the project, and working in an international setting.
Tom Wood – Sydney Opera House, Australia
“I think the standout moment for me was the backstage tour. We were doing a digital project, assessing digital processes from warehousing to marketing and the huge impact that would have on everything across this large single site.”
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So my name is Chuka Madubunyi. I did my GCP for Diageo PLC, one of the world’s largest alcoholic beverage manufacturers. A lot of the work that we did was here in Cambridge, and we shuttled between Cambridge and London, where we did the final presentation. Extremely exciting project. It was truly one of the highlights of my MBA experience so far.
I think one of the things that you have to do when you want to source your project is you have to have a clear objective about what you want to do, and then you have to approach the right people. So once you have the objective, and then you can start to figure out the type of people you need to approach.
And in my case, I found out that Jennifer Howard-Grenville was the Diageo Professor of Sustainability. And obviously, knowing what Diageo does and the work they do in Africa, I thought it was a great opportunity for the SIG, and that’s why I approached her.
Diageo has operations in about 118 different countries in the world. A lot of the operations are done in Africa. Africa is a very big market for them. So the focus of our project was to look at the sustainability programmes of the Diageo in Uganda and assess how aligned these programmes were with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and to make recommendations to Diageo on how to improve alignment to create greater impact and greater value for the farmers, which we were working with in Uganda.
Working in the GCP was a great opportunity to apply some of the skills. First of all, it was a diverse team. We had someone from Australia, someone from Mexico, someone from Thailand. So it was me coming from Nigeria, obviously, I’m mixing with these people from diverse backgrounds, one of the skills and the most important skill that I actually learned during the MBA was how to see things from other people’s perspective.
I think one of the other things that I learned from the MBA was leadership, really. I consider myself more of an introverted person, so I saw this as an opportunity to really push myself in that respect. For me, the biggest thing going forward is learning to work in a corporate culture which might be new to me. I am from a private equity background. I worked in a small company in Nigeria for the past four years before I came to the MBA.
So I haven’t really worked in a big corporate organisation. Diageo, obviously, is one of the biggest organisations in the alcoholic beverage industry. So just learning their culture and learning how to present within that culture and learning the intricacies of working within that sort of environment, I think, is very important for me as I move on in my career after the MBA.
Chuka Madubunyi – Diageo, UK
“When you source your own project you have to have a clear objective about what you want to do. The standout moment was going to Diageo’s office and understanding the size of the company and the importance of the project to them.”
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My name is Diana. I did my GCP in Oslo for a company called The Oslo Cancer Cluster. Basically, they’re an oncology research centre, so they formed by startups, other organisations. And they are dedicated to finding new ways of curing cancer.
I felt that the MBA was incredibly valuable, and not only for me but for my team. One of the classes that I felt was most relevant was their strategy class. We could really break down the problem. We used consulting frameworks. We made sure that our framework covered the entire problem, and that we could really identify what was happening in Norway.
Another skill that I felt was very relevant was more interpersonal skills. And we interviewed people across the entire value chain in terms of clinical research, so ranging from patient association groups to people in the Ministry of Health. And so we had to be very specific in what we were asking, but I felt that our entire MBA has prepared us for this moment.
We were very surprised to see that during our final presentation, everyone was in attendance. So we had around 30 people there, and it was great. We got great feedback. We made really good connections. So overall, it was an excellent experience.
My first lesson that I learned was the importance of working in a diverse team. I feel that since I was a medical GCP, we had two doctors as part of the team, a former consultant. I was a project manager at a financial institution and someone that has a lot of startup experience. And that diverse mixture of skills really allow us to come up with something really good for the client.
You can apply consulting skills and MBA skills in industries, where you may not think they’re necessarily needed. So for example, in the health care industry, it’s not as obvious, where in the cancer space, where you could apply consulting skills. What this GCP brought to me, I think, was the fact that it solidified my interest in the industry, so I come from a finance background.
And I knew that I wanted to explore other industries. For me, this was a great opportunity to know that I actually– I’m very interested in the health care industry, to get some exposure, to talk to not only business people, but also people on the ground, doctors, patient association groups, investors, and find out, what are the things happening in the industry? So for me, going forward, I’m probably going to continue down that path. Because I’ve realise that it’s something that really interests me, and that I can apply my consulting skills in many different ways.
Diana Murguia Barrios – Oslo Cancer Cluster, Norway
“My GCP helped solidify my interest in the industry. I come from a finance background and I knew that I wanted to explore other industries.”
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My name is Charles, and I did my GCP at Google in their London office. And Google, as you know, is one of the biggest tech companies out there. They specialise in online advertising, but they also have a variety of different products and services.
The project content that we received was basically asking us to evaluate the team’s efforts in collecting and reviewing their metrics. I think the most important skill that each of us utilised during the GCP was communication. So it started from the beginning of the project, where we tried to narrow down the scope of the project. We talked to our clients directly. We talked to various stakeholders.
We learned about what they care about, what they don’t care about. And then we tried to narrow down the scope bit by bit. The moment that really struck me the most was when we had our second meeting with our client context. And I realised that actually, even though we went to the same meeting, all of us had different interpretation of what a client wanted, and what the client’s goal was. And that’s exactly why it’s important to take minutes from the meeting in order to make sure we are all aligned with each other in terms of the final objective and goal of the project.
I think it’s very essential to distribute work according to each person’s skill set. So for example, I was more of like a strategy person. So I was able to understand from point A to point B to point C, what are the necessary steps that we need to take in order to reach the final destination?
And some of my teammates might be better at coding or like building data dashboard. And then my other team might be better at building a presentation using PowerPoints or Google Slides, for example. So then we need to utilise our different skill sets in order to achieve a good outcome in a very short amount of time.
The more we talked to our clients, the more we understood that, actually, the client was looking for something quite different from what we expected to deliver in the beginning. Listening was a very key skill to have. I think I would use the experience to make sure, number one, I understood what the client’s objective was.
We adapted our approach, and then we find new and more efficient way to achieve the final outcome. I also learned that it’s quite important to provide a future roadmap for the clients, so that they can continue to improve their process. They can wish a better outcome, even after we leave the company.
Jiajie Charles Su – Google, UK
“It was essential to distribute work according to each person’s skill set. We applied our different skill sets across the project to achieve a good outcome in a very short amount of time.”
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My name is Vishal Jain, I worked at YOOX Net-a-Porter, and the company is a luxury e-commerce platform. So our group was brought in to solve a very specific problem. We were brought in to make a case for multi-touch attribution, which is a new type of data attribution done for online marketing. During the MBA we managed to learn a lot about teamwork, especially. There was a class called Management Praxis, which came in very handy, because we had to work in a multicultural team, and I think our team was composed of one Korean person, one American– two Americans actually, and myself, who’s from Singapore.
So it was definitely a very diverse team, very different working styles. So learning what I did from Management Praxis, we all managed to work together very efficiently and very correctly, so that we could all understand how each other works, and that really made the whole process much easier. The biggest skill that I learned was more of a hard skill. We learned how to use SQL, which is a data processing language. So for us, we were brought in to do a very heavy data analytics project, and it was really difficult. Because none of us knew the language before going into the project, and we had to literally go online, learn from each other, learn from the people who are hosting us, and just try it out. And by the process of doing, we managed to get that skill.
And I think moving forward, especially for me because I want to work in a tech company, having this skill is really important. So that was really useful for us. So that’s skill number one. Skill number two for us was in terms of working with a different team. As I mentioned before, it’s hard to work with a multicultural team sometimes. Because some people have very different communication styles, some people have very different working styles, some people like to work together all the time, whereas some people like to work separately. So having a better understanding of how to work with a multicultural team really helped a lot.
For me, particularly, this experience is really useful, because I want to work in a tech company. This experience really gave me insight into how an internet company works. I don’t come from an internet company background. So moving into a company like Google or Facebook or Net-a-Porter, even it’s really good to have visibility on how these companies work or what they consider important, what they don’t, and to be able to speak their language, in a way.
Vishal Jain – Yoox Net-a-Porter, UK
“We were brought in to solve a very specific problem and we were able to apply a lot of the MBA skills like Management Praxis to the diversity of team members across the project.”