The Global MBA Team supported Confcommercio Reggio Emilia in defining a new idea of representation among members, while creating new tools and services to attract new members and create long-lasting relationships with them. Joseph Gaylord, Trainer and Builder of Startup Communities, worked with the team to develop an innovative business model for the Association, improving its role as a local hub, capable of giving an added value to the Community.
How would you rate your BBS React experience?
Working on a “real world” example of the kinds of work we studied has been instructive and a good experience overall, because I’ve managed to use the experience in ways that I hope will be really valuable in retrospect. Working on this project was a great opportunity to literally translate my skills, learning a range of vocabulary and building my confidence with professional work in Italian. More than that, because I’m going to be working with startups in the future, I specifically chose a client with a profile that deals with SMEs. So, it gave me hands on experience working with small businesses in the local context, something I hope I can carry over into my next work.
How was the integration of the BBS team with the association?
It’s been contentious at times but I think that’s common when doing this kind of consulting project. It has challenged us to clarify our thinking and evaluate how our proposals mesh with their needs and ideas. Again, this is a key thing to learn when translating the theoretical work from the classroom into real world consulting work.
Do you think you’ve been able to make the difference?
I hope so. We identified really fundamental issues in our client’s organization, but we were a group of volunteer consultants working on a short-term project with functionally no budget. So, we couldn’t really create the complete transformation we would have liked but we proposed a project that was a starting place and signpost toward addressing the issues we found. If our client follows through with what we’ve proposed, they’ll see a dramatic change. Again, this is a lesson of what it means to be a consultant.
What did you learn with this experience “on field” you didn’t learn in classroom?
Just getting your hands onto a real project is interesting. There’s a quote that “no plan survives first contact with the enemy” and it’s true here. Classroom projects and simulations are one thing, you can do anything in them; but, when you have to consider all the factors of a project, in real life, and deliver something your name is going to be attached to, it changes the character of the project completely. Now, I’ve done work of this kind before, so it wasn’t a complete shock, but it has put a lot of what I learned into sharper relief and context than I’d dealt with during the classroom part of my MBA.