The Integrated Practicum Project (IPP) is undoubtedly one of the most valuable assets of the PKU’s Global Management MBA program, it is not only a great opportunity to develop a work in a deep Chinese professional context but also a direct way to establishing important connections in our professional field in China. For about 3 months we have an intensive interaction with a Chinese company, supported by the PKU’s supervisors to develop consultancy work, applying the concepts and knowledge learned during the MBA from a practical perspective.
In this 2021 edition of the IPP, it was celebrated the anniversary of 10 years of the program, which, by the way, has proved itself to be a great success during all this time. Our team was honored and very excited, because, after the groups and companies matching stage, we were accepted to work with Panasonic Energy China. Despite of the great significance of the company, we had a lot of other good reasons for all this enthusiasm. First, the proposal to work with Renewable Energy, more precisely the Stationary Fuel Cell Business, meant that we would have the opportunity to develop a project in a top trending industry with a global reach, especially in a moment when the world struggled to reduce its carbon emissions and urged for green solutions. Second, the company was in the initial stage of its operation in the Chinese market, which meant that we would have the opportunity to positively contribute to a project that was just being built. We understood that the diversity of our group could add value by providing a holistic perspective of the business.
To embrace this challenge, we had in our favor a multicultural team, with members from 5 different regions, different time zones, professional backgrounds, and cultures…. This situation could have been easily seen as a barrier, but against all odds, we made from all of these difficulties our main strength and motivation. The diversity of our group overcame all the barriers, including working online, due to the pandemic restrictions to delivers a winning proposal.
Also, during the IPP program, we counted on the brilliant mentoring of Professor Wang Tieming, from the Peking University. With such an experienced and qualified professional team, we had the appropriate guidance that really helped us to extract the best out of our diversity and come out with a winning result that was acknowledged by receiving the Special Award.
These were the members of our team:
Figure 1 - 20G Class - IPP Panasonic Team
Aisha Abdualiyeva, from Kazakhstan, is one of our most fluent Chinese speaker team members, who graduated from Beijing Language and Culture University. Her professional background was strongly built within a Chinese context, developing special projects related to the Belt and Road, as well as experience in International Trade. In the IPP group, Aisha did an incredible job organizing the meetings and collecting information from the Dongming Petrochemical so our group could conduct the real study case.
Jordan Nadir is from the United States and with about a decade in the Gaming and Hospitality Industry, he worked in the famous MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Among the different contributions he brought to our project, he played a lot of effort to develop some of our special applications of the Fuel Cells in the Chinese Market.
Kristofine Ekandjo, from Namibia, also has strong ties with China. She graduated with an honor degree in International Economics and Trade at Beihang University. She was the principal mind behind our marketing Plan for Panasonic in the Chinese Market.
Rafael Rezende, from Brazil, was the Team Leader. With about 12 years of experience working in the Electric Power Industry, most of this time for the Chinese company State Grid, he supported the whole team to come out with the Strategy Plan and conduct the Real Study Case.
Talat Dormanli, from Australia, has multiple professional backgrounds in the financial market and residential property. He also among several contributions was a key player together with Jordan, to bring out our special applications of the Fuel Cells.
The Panasonic team made us feel like at home, since the beginning. In a relaxed atmosphere, we made from our weekly meetings an extension of the MBA classes, discussing at a high level how to implement the tools and knowledge from the MBA course to help the company in the continuing effort to improve its operation. These meetings counted on the presence of our MBA Multicultural Team, Panasonic Professionals, and PKU professor supervisors.
Figure 2 - Team Weekly Meetings
With such a rich background, the mutual learning experience was unique and it was well synthesized by one of our team members Talat Dormanli in a thank you note:
"The staff at the Guanghua School of Management did an amazing job to provide us this platform to practice solving practical problems and provide solutions to real enterprises. We would like to thank the team at Panasonic for their expertise and advice throughout this course. We have learned a lot from their feedback and encouragement, and will undoubtedly be able to utilize these skills after graduation. We would also like to thank our supervising teacher professor Wang for all her support, guidance and always being available to help where ever she can."
Our group worked intensively for three months, to come out with a proposal for a Market Strategy for the Fuel Cells business in China. To develop this proposal, we considered the particularities of the Chinese market and also the results of a deep evaluation of several of its main competitors. Another key point of this work was that our team could not only elaborate the theoretical content but also managed to implement a real study case in a partnership with Dongming Petrochemical. We organized several meetings to deeply understand the company’s process and how we could apply the Fuel Cells technology in order to bring mutual benefits. The result from these interactions was that we could conduct a real cost-benefit analysis study case to evaluate the opportunity cost of different alternatives the Petrochemical had to deal with Hydrogen surplus from their process, whether to sell it directly to the market or to implement renewable energy technology to produce energy from this surplus and save resources from the traditional power sources. We were able to collect real information from Dongming Petrochemical and Panasonic Energy China and elaborate on them to come up with a satisfactory result.
The day of Jun 24th, was a mix of multiple feelings for all of us, from one side we had the excitement to show the result of everything we diligently build during the past 3 months with an amazing and high-performance team with members from Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management and Panasonic Energy China. From the other side, we had the bitter taste of a farewell to a cycle of mutual growth and intensive positive exchange.
Figure 3 – Final presentation Flyer
The work was awarded with the special prize for the online project defense and our group was represented by Mr. Sean Zhu, from Panasonic and Prof. Wang from Peking University to receive the certificate from the MBA program director Professor Zhao Longkai. Our group couldn't have thought of better representatives for this special moment.
Figure 4 - Award Ceremony
But the real thing, the actual picture that will always come to our minds, whenever we look back and recall this amazing period, is the image of all the Panasonic Team members, who had diligently worked with us, waiting our turn to present, in the same vibration, sharing the same anxiety and supporting us until the very last moment.
This image actually represents exactly what we’ve built together during this experience, a real cohesive team, really engaged to put the best of ourselves, and committed to the mutual growth.
By Rafael Rezende, Global MBA Class of 2022