First, I have to warn you; if you do not like reading long blogs, this is not the place for you!
How it all started.
In May 2021, I had the chance to be hosted by one of the world-class consultancy firms in Boston. I won’t lie. In the beginning, it was difficult to understand the depth and breadth of their programs and adjust to their pace of working. The first thing I learned was that you cannot be a great consultant without being at least 10 years ahead of others and foreseeing the world trends.
But how you could do that?
Well, this is not a 9 to 5 pm type of job, and you have to learn fast but at the same time deliver at the level of consultant it is expected by a high performing company such as IXL Center.
I got the basis from consultancy by learning the theory from the Management Consulting Institute which is like the bible of consultancy and exercising it in big consultancy projects such as assessing the opportunities for a big Brazilian company in the pulp and paper industry to enter the cosmetic industry with a new biodegradable product.
I accelerated my knowledge and consultancy skills in a project where we had to build an innovative leadership program to train 2000 leaders of the future in Brazil. Have you thought in different phases of your life to find what is your purpose and how you can achieve it by creating a platform around it? I believe most of us have, but it is not easy and most of us lack the discipline to investigate deeply within ourselves and after revealing it, write it down and stick to it. Guess what? We are undertaking an enormous challenge to make these leaders find out their purpose, make it bigger and bolder and work towards it. Beyond the intellectual gratification, I have had fun because I had to work with teammates on three continents and interview subject matter experts and leaders all over the world.
Working for a business consultancy firm usually exists the myth that you work only for big corporates and help them become richer and richer. What amazed me since in the first days was the fact that we could help minority-owned small businesses struggling during the lockdown to recover and double revenues, so they could keep their employees and create more jobs for their communities. Usually, these types of businesses do not have the luxury to pay for lavish services offered by business consultants. The fact that they were offered consultancy by the best students from ivy league universities and experienced mentors was a rewarding experience for us, the business owners, and the students. You get a different perspective by working with these entrepreneurs who see their business as their life.
When it comes to innovation, I had the opportunity to attend the course and get certified by the Global Innovation Management Institute (GIMI), which could be considered the “church” or “mosque” of innovation. I had the chance to be a co-instructor of a cohort of 30 professionals around the world who wanted to learn the latest tools, techniques, and approaches to innovation. One of the most interesting tasks I had to do was to find partners in each country and expand the network of partners for GIMI. I was immediately intrigued by this task, even though it started as an experiment and seemed challenging to achieve immediate results. Now, we have added 6 new partners in Africa, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Norway and Canada. Down the road, I had the chance to have dozens of discussions with innovators around the world trying to explain our methodology and intellectual property. I cannot describe the amount of knowledge, information, and cultural exchange you get in such a very short time.
Well, in such dynamic and intensive experiences, you need to sit down for a while and understand what you learned and how you have internalized those learnings. That is why I took some time to write this blog.
I hate to preach, but I would like to share my insights from this experience with you, my fellows. Every experience is personal, but I always believe you can get feedback from each experience and customize it to your own.
PS: DO NOT DO these things to show your worth, because sooner or later people will understand who you are, but do it for yourself to get the most out of it because in the future you will be grateful to yourself.
Thanks to the MIP program, the experience became even more enjoyable when I attended two executive education programs on negotiation and leadership from MIT and Stanford. These programs reinforced my knowledge and made me reflect on my strengths and weaknesses.
Well, I made it look like it was only working but it was not. I visited 7 countries while I was in the US. I made lots of friends and great memories. I met inspiring and smart people. Ah, I partied a lot for a year where we had to be in social distancing and learned to play poker, as well. 😛
I was not able to summarize this experience in a few paragraphs, because it was not simple but hectic and intense with fulfilling and inspiring moments, learning opportunities, fun adventures, challenges, and self-exploration.
I would say that it has been a game-changing ride so far! Thanks to AADF for the faith and support it gave once it chose me as one of the fellows. Excited to see what the rest of the journey will hold for me. I will keep you posted my fellows. 😊
Erila Haska, MIP Internship Fellow at IXL Center, Boston, MA