The last two weeks of the project, split between Kigali and Glendale, AZ, were perhaps the most intense despite having the between them weekend off. While there was no doubt that our work and deliverables were valuable, we were compelled to endlessly check our calculations for accuracy and concerned with assuring that none of our findings would be lost in their transfer to the client.
As we transitioned from Rwanda back to the States, we were challenged by jet lag, project burnout, and self-imposed expectations of turning the on campus project presentation into the defining moment of our Thunderbird carriers. Although I expected week 6’s preparation for the final presentation to be more relaxed than previous weeks’, it was not. Naturally, it was a different kind of work: formatting slides, editing multimedia, and practicing presentation routines, but it was draining all the same. Yet, in the end it was worth all the effort. The final presentation took place late Friday morning of week 6. It was attended by some 50 students, staff members, and faculty, and generated the most enthusiastic reception and feedback that any of the team had received since beginning their MBA’s. It was the crowning moment that we had shed so much blood, sweat, and tears to achieve.
Week 5: Wrapping Up the Loose Ends
The line between week 5 and week 4 was blurry at best. Over the weekend, the team finalized, reviewed and polished its spreadsheets for both accuracy and aesthetics. During the course of this process, numerous errors were found. In some cases, the errors had little effect on the results of the project and the recommendations; however, in two particular cases the recommendation was directly affected by the mistakes. In a matter of two days, the team went from considering Mombasa as the future scenario recommendation to Dar es Salaam and then finally back to Mombasa. Although all the errors were inadvertent and understandable considering the size and interconnectedness of the data and their analysis, the unexpected changes did wreak havoc on the group’s nerves and patience.
The final recommendations to the clients were determined to be: RD Tech Abridged Executive Summary
With the final recommendations in hand, the group turned its attention to drafting the final report and presenting these results to the client. Caroline led the assembly and editing effort as the whole team divided the various sections of the report and began composition. With the report due on Thursday afternoon, the group decided to create a Wednesday noon deadline for all drafts. Ninety percent of the drafts were in by the deadline, and the entire report had been composed and reviewed by two group members by Wednesday night.
Thursday morning was used as buffer time to finish polishing the deliverables. During this time the slide deck was revised, the report cover was edited, and the report was reviewed multiple times. In addition, the actionable implementation steps for the client were completed and added to the report. With 30 minutes left until the presentation, all activity was stopped and the presentation was sent to the clients in the US for the 2PM conference call.
For the final conference call, the team assembled around the client’s dining room table with the client present and phoned the two primary American investors in RD Tech on a conference call. While the line was clear and everyone was viewing the same slide deck, the environment did not lend itself to conversation. Although the final recommendation meeting had been billed as a discussion, the result was more of a presentation with some intermittent questions and light conversation. However, this was not due to lack of trying. The call lasted all of one hour and the key recommendations and findings were clearly understood by both the clients in Rwanda and the US. The call ended with expressed gratitude, congratulations, and the team’s verbal commitment to clarify any aspect of the report for the client in the future.
The remainder of Thursday was used to decompress and the team took Friday and the weekend off to enjoy themselves and head back to the US to begin preparation for the final on campus presentation.