I am on my way back to Boston after an exciting 3.5 weeks in “Hella” for my GLAB project. For those of you are like me, I found out that Greece is also called Hella. And Greek is called Hellena. GLAB was a unique and fascinating experience in many ways. I experienced working in a non-US environment and in a completely untraditional industry for an MBA – the fish industry.
I formed my GLAB team way back in April and included those Sloanies that I always felt like getting to know better but didn’t have a chance until now. Emi from Hong Kong, Akane from Japan along with Chris, a Chinese American and myself, an Indian formed the all-Asian power team.
Our client was Nireus, a leading fish company in Greece, which was a new addition to GLAB’s long list of clients. Although it was a fairly large company, our project focused on an entirely new business and therefore had a startup feel to it. I landed in Athens on Jan 10th and had little idea what the next few weeks would be like.
Having done the ground work before getting to Greece, in the very first week we were communicating our proposed solution to the client. The client liked our idea and we focused on substantiating our hypothesis. Within a week, after numerous phone calls to fish industry experts, US groceries and supermarkets and detailed analysis, we came up with rather useful results and pinpointed recommendations. After a couple of weeks we presented our findings to the top management who were so ecstatic with our recommendation that one of the execs offered contract based assignments to continue working for them! We truly put our marketing, finance and other Sloan classes in action at Nireus
But work was only a small part of all the fun we had. We saw so many places – Athens (and Akropolis), Meteora, Pilio, Sounio, Arachova, Delphi (remember the Oracle!), Galaxidi (see below, this was my favorite with its colorful houses and a beautiful view of the sea) and Aegina.
We had tons of great food, enjoyed authentic Greek music, danced with many Greeks and smoked cigars along with them. We were also lucky to network with Alba, an up and coming Greek B-school.
Our main host, Nondas, is a generous and kind person who truly made our “Hellenic” stay one of the most memorable ones for me. He is a top class photographer and made canvas snapshots of one of his pictures for each one of us! And I am sure he is the only host who has gone the extra mile to join us for a day trip along with his son to show us around Greece. Truly, Nondas is a perfect gentleman.
It was certainly one “Hella”-of an experience. Great location, wonderful people, networking opportunities and a wonderful three weeks to make 3 best friends for life. Truly, GLAB is one of the highlights of my Sloan experience.
Here are some quick tips for future GLAB-ers.
‒ pick your team early
‒ make sure you have similar goals
‒ pick an exotic location which none of your teammates have ever visited
‒ don’t be afraid to pick an industry you don’t plan to build a career in
‒ communicate often with your client
‒ make sure you over deliver for your client!
And the rest will be fun…
I am organizing a trek in March for two weeks to East Africa (Tanzania, Rwanda and Zanzibar). Can’t wait to get there! Before that I am excited about the final Sloan semester – great classes with Rebecca Henderson (Advanced Strategy) and Managing in Adversity (where students role play CEOs who faced adverse situations). But most importantly I can’t wait to spend the next few months with my Sloan buddies and get to know them even better.