USC IBEAR MBA
To understand the IBEAR MBA International Business Consulting Project (IBCP), instead of thinking "University class," think "International consulting team." Like any consulting engagement, it starts with a client. The client has a problem, a project, a question. It's then the contracted goal of the IBCP team to deliver data, concepts and answers.
IBCP projects happen with companies around the globe. In the past year, students completed consulting projects for companies as diverse as Hitachi in Tokyo, Saratoga in Jakarta and Warner Brothers in Burbank. The companies are global. The problems are genuine. The solutions are embraced.
"This feels like business. This is real life."
IBCP starts on Team Day when students are assigned to their team and client. The work begins right away. They start fast because they only have four months to research, create and deliver A-level solutions for powerful global brands.
The Warner IBCP team is assigned to Doug Montgomery, VP of Category Management. It's the Warner Brothers of Batman, Wonder Woman, Harry Potter, The Matrix, The Exorcist, Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock, and yes, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. This is a household name across the globe.
"We are meant to bring new and fresh ideas to Warner Brothers."
Their task: scope the project, create a Statement of Work (SOW), set a timeline, complete the necessary research, build and present a focused proposal that would help Warner decide if Category Management, spread to a new product sector, would benefit the company.
The first big steps: work out the schedule and the SOW. Once this structure was negotiated between the team and the client, the students ate and slept Warner Brothers. The stakes are high. This is a real consulting engagement and the client is expecting a real result.
"Specifically what we'd like to see with this project is how Warner can make a better use of data."
IBCP teams are designed to bring the right skills to the project. On this team: Anita Wang of Taiwan brought direct Category management skills from her work at Nike; Carlos Navarra Ceja of Mexico brought an entertainment background from Televisa; Jae Yong Jang and Jonginn Lee of Korea brought management skills from their work at Korean Air; Babak Biglari of the USA brought finance skills from his work at Bank of America. As IBCP teams set out around the world, their individual skill sets are called into play to help deliver results.
On meeting the challenge, Anita Wang said, “I am optimistic for success because we have a great team. We have such great chemistry and we have the expertise needed.” Anita felt comfortable working on the Warner Brothers project as it matched what she knew from Nike. She pointed out, "Nike and Warner Brothers are very similar as they are both big names. Everyone knows them. They own their reputation and know how to build their brands." She felt the goal for this kind of highly visible company is to catch their customers on the first touch.
"They are building a pitch to the Consumer Products Division for Category Management."
Broken down simply, the project flowed through three steps.
Step 1 - Get to know one another's strengths and begin to work as a team.
Step 2 - Work to understand how Category Management works at Warner and set the direction for the project.
Step 3 - Use the research and data to create and present a dynamic “big picture” solution.
"The client needs to leave the presentation with inspiration!"
When the Warner team was asked to look back at their IBCP results, they said the client valued their recommendations and the findings would provide excellent insight for future Category Management expansion.