Saturday, April 08, 2006

GCP week

We have just passed the "GCP forming week". This has proved to be one of the richest learning experiences so far, and I think that future applicants to CEIBS will have to put a lot of attention on this.

The GCP (Group Consulting Project) is, as its own name indicates, a consulting project for a company, done by groups. Both sponsors and non-sponsors of the school propose consulting projects for the students to choose, and there is a short period for classmates to form groups and decide on which project to bid. Highlights of this year's process:
§ Examples of companies: LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy), ABN Amro, Bayer, Pepsico, Adidas, Philips, General Motors, Grupo Santander, GE, Honewell, Emerson...
§ Examples of fields: finance, marketing, strategy, start-up…
§ Try to form a team based on affinity, i.e. people you feel comfortable working with. The project is secondary, the important thing is the people you work with.
§ Start developing your team early in advance. Interact with locals, you will need Chinese peers to work on any project, but they won’t need you. So make friends with them, not just for the GCP, but because they are great people, even though most of them won’t join you when you go to the bar (bars are not part of the Chinese culture).
§ Don’t trust anybody. With this year’s GCP week, we’ve seen that any group will try to steal your members (and viceversa). If a team lacks someone with banking background, they will search for anybody with this, and offer him/her whatever. That is why the point about creating a team where members are close friends is important. This has been known as “PK” (player killing in videogame slang) and it has been the most stressing part of the process. But I’ve learn so many useful things for the future! (the most important one: take care of your people, motivate them with every thing you can).
§ There are projects for everyone, and most of them are pretty interesting. So try to find one with little or no competitors to bid for. This will save you problems and confrontations.

In our case, the group has been formed: Hector Zeng, Tina Ding, Elphie Yang, and me. Three Chinese and one laowai. Two guys and two girls. One Spanish native speaking and two Spanish learners (Hector and Elphie). Hector going to IESE (Barcelona) in September for exchange. We are strong in marketing (me and Tina), analytical skills (Hector), branch opening (Elphie), finance (Hector), and relations with the government (Hector). The group was formed like this:
1. Elphie and me start looking for people to work with us. Interested in Adidas.
2. I ask Hector with little confidence (since he is one of the top students, and highly respected by all Chinese classmates). He has another team of 3 (Steven Jiang, Tina and him) but want to work with us and we melt. Interested in Adidas, Bayer, Degussa.
3. Steven leaves to bid for LVHM.
4. The Group de Santander project comes out (the last one). I convince them that it is one of the most interesting projects, and we go for it.
5. Tina leaves when she is offered an internship at Johnson & Johnson.
6. We are now only 3 people, we need to find at least one more member to form the group. We lack banking background so we start asking classmates with that background. David is very close to join us (he is one of our best friends, we all four go for lunch ofter and he is Hector’s language exchange partner), but his commitment to his other team goes first. We press Serene, Joicey, Jason Xu… they already committed to other teams. Time is running up.
7. Eduardo also wants to bid for this project, despite having been publictly interested in GM and others. He has no team but my team does not want him (different working way) and plus he does not have banking background. He joins another team and convinces them to bid for the Santander project.
8. We need a 4th member and there seems to be no people left. Kathy is an option, I’d love her in our team, but Elphie and her are not in good terms, so I am not going to risk losing Elphie.
9. In the last moment, 5 minutes before meeting with Eduardo’s team to discuss, Steven comes back to the team. We are four members!!
10. Tina also comes back, since J&J cancelled the project. Now we are 5 again!
11. Eduardo’s team loses Jason Xu, the guy with banking background. They are now 3.
12. He asks us to join our team, again my team refuses, and I feel pressure because I care for him. Even though risking my team to lose the bidding against his, I tell him to ask Kathy letting her know that she would be competing against me and Elphie. She joins his team to beat us.
13. We meet with Francisco Martin, from Santander group, and propose to divide the project in two, in order not to compete. He says that it is the school’s decision.
14. On Sunday, less than one day before the deadline, Steven tells us that he goes to another team. A couple of hours later, Tina tells us that if we stick to the Santander project, she will also leave. We try to hook somebody in the last minute, but it is not possible. In order to keep the group and not be forced to split up, we decide to go for another project related to marketing: Philips Personal Care.

It has been a breathtaking weekend, but the important thing is that Hector, Elphie and I have shown our commitment to each other. At the same time, in order to keep together, we have renounced to our project, and that means a lot to me.

P.S. Tomorrow we receive the visit of Pedro Solbes, Spain’s vicepresident and Minister of Finance.

1 comment:

Helen said...

oooh i got exhausted just reading about those project teams. glad you are having fun!!!