Now that all the groups are finished with their presentations it is time to have a beer (or few) and relax! All of the teams were so impressive because of the professionalism, amount of work and dedication to the clients needs. It was also really interesting to see how all of the groups applied concepts learned in class.
The first group who presented was working with two pineapple farms on a feasibility study for entering into processed pineapple. We helped our clients understand the market for processed pineapple in their key markets, illustrated the competitive landscape, determined financial feasibility of entering into processed pineapples and finally provided our recommendation. Based on all of our research we found that due to numerous institutional voids, that credit for financing projects was extremely expensive with rates as high as 30-40% at commercial banks. Furthermore, the scale required for processing pineapple was too large for one individual farm to accommodate successfully, therefore we recommended a joint venture. Based on everything we learned in International Management with professor Lucea, we were able to apply the concepts very well to a real world situation. We discussed the challenges of joint ventures and also the opportunity that forming a cluster of suppliers, processors, and exporters would provide. The presentations to both clients were very well received and even the clients were pleasantly surprised to see how much work we did for them.
The other half of the class was working with CraftPro, a handicrafts company, working with individual weavers and artisans in the North of Ghana. The business model was very interesting in that the company not only managed all of the artisans, but also offered them loans in terms of money and resources. The project was split into two very distinct portions: 1) developing a marketing strategy or the company; and 2) developed performance measurement and training advice specific to microfinance. Both teams were very knowledgeable about the subject and very confident in their recommendations. The first group offered strategies for selecting the right distribution channel, provided marketing materials such as the website, brochures and product tags, offered a communication strategy, as well as ways to implement all of the recommendations. The second group provided financial and social metrics to measure the “double bottom line” as well as a progress report and training advice. It was amazing to see how many additional resources the teams provided to the client – brochures, tags, performance measurement models, and a report to record the progress of the firm. As in the pineapple teams, the link to academia was present as well. The first presentation was clearly influenced by our marketing and management classes while the second one was related to an elective i took on microfinance.
It was amazing to be able to apply what we learned in the classroom to help our clients and more importantly, see them receive it so well. Everyone seems very proud of their accomplishment (as they should be) and are getting ready to celebrate tonight!