Driving Positive Results Not Only For Her Client,
But Also For Herself.
Read about Sachelle Magloire-Prosper's experience in just one of five of the projects that she completed as a part of the Telfer Executive MBA experience. After reading Sachelle's story, register and join us for the April 11th panel session to hear more from Sachelle, and fellow panelists as they talk about the results that they accomplished for their respective clients in addition to the advice they'll provide about make the most of the Telfer Executive MBA experience.
After hearing from alumni who repeatedly enforced that it was possible and that it all comes together, Sachelle decided to apply to the Telfer Executive MBA program and began her studies in the fall of 2012.
Sachelle’s start to the program was like everyone else. She attended an evening panel event, heard from alumni and wondered how they could accomplish what they had and how she could possibly complete this program and still manage everything else in her life – especially family and work.
Looking back at her 21 month experience and the five projects her team completed together, there is one she tends to focus on most. The International Business Consulting Project to Guangzhou, P.R. China.
This was the last of the six project that Sachelle and her team completed. It was also the most complex as they focused on combining everything they had learned in the program in order to develop a road map and evaluate potential clients, partners and relationships within the Chinese market.
Sachelle was the lead on this project and can only describe the four month project as a whirlwind of an experience.
Their client representative was an alumni of the program and was work as a part of a private equity, real-estate development and property management firm holding more than 700 million in assets. The company was looking to expand their footprint to sell their condo units to combat a decline in the North American market.
“They were prepared to expand into China, but they didn’t know what they were going to face and they needed us to do the research.” said Sachelle.
Among the challenges they faced was scope creep. The client started off with one problem and then it expanded and they had to leverage their skills from the management consulting course to decide what the best way to approach it was. “The research was extensive, we spent countless hour, doing over 30 interviews before going to China and this was just to get a sense of what to expect when entering the Chinses market.
Based on their preliminary findings, they also had to leverage the soft skills they had learned and had some crucial conversations with their client.
“You have to develop a finesse to validate the problem the company thinks they have and whether that is the true problem – part of the learning is providing your client with tough feedback.” Said Sachelle, “They were not always pleasant conversations to have but because of our professionalism and our preparation, we had earned the credibility and had the capacity to influence their executives to best prepare the organization for the opportunity in China.”
The second part of the research focused on researching who the key players were in the market within China, who they should be reaching out to and what was the best method?
“Imagine the research it would take to expand your footprint within the Ottawa market that you are already familiar with. Now imagine reaching out to the Chinese market when you’re in Ottawa and you don’t have a network or a brand name to leverage.” Explained Sachelle, “Add to that the time difference and the language and there was no shortness of challenges for us. But the thing is that you become resilient. You know what it takes, you’re hungry for it because you want to deliver to your client and our team rose to the occasion.”
In the month leading up to their departure the team had set up meetings with real-estate developers and representatives of private equity firms in the Guangzhou area as a part of their preparation. The calibre of meetings and the value of the research caught the eye of the client and he and his business partner arranged to join the team in Guangzhou.
With the client in tow, the team had expected to be secondary in the meetings, but the clients asked them to participate fully.
“They would turn to us to answer questions based on our research; we were crunching numbers and preparing presentations. The involvement went beyond what we expected but it wasn’t shocking based on how much we had prepared.” Said Sachelle. “When we were in China, we were not there as candidates, we were there as a part of the client organization. The clients treated our team like advisors.”
“This is one thing that always surprised me,” Said Sachelle. “When you first are presented with the next task, you can’t understand how the client would provide you with that level of responsibility. But, for each challenge we not only met their expectations, we exceeded them”
The surprises didn’t stop there for the team. Part of what Sachelle’s team brought to the table was so compelling that the client invested their own money into sending the them to Shanghai and Beijing for meetings in addition to Guangzhou during the one-week business trip.
“We met his needs in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing. It involved multiple flights and long days on top of the jet-lag we were already experiencing, but it paid off” recalled Sachelle. “It was a big investment on the side of the client to send two senior representatives and invest in additional travel for us, but there were big rewards to be had by them too. The client ended up signing a $400 million USD deal while on the ground in China, and we can own in the accomplishment as well because we were very much a part of that effort.”
Sachelle and her team returned home from China at the end of April 2014 and were awarded their degrees less than two months later, but the experiences, confidence and friendships she gained through the program are something she will remember for a life time.
“You don’t even know how far you will go and how much you will grow from this experience. I am pleased with the person I am today because I didn’t know ‘she could be’. I thinks that’s the beauty of it, that you gain so much in 21 months; you’re going to get all the learning you are so strong and capable, you are grounded, you know what you know and can research what you don’t, you have your toolkit, your prepared, you’ve made relationships, you’ve expanded your boundaries of what you though you could do and you’ve had fun doing all of this. You don’t come out of this program as the same person- but a better one.”