Heller MBA Team Consulting Project Diary Part 2: Forming a team

June 26, 2019

BAMS Fest Inc. TCP team: (L-R) Wajiha Chaudhry, part-time MBA, Daniella Ayesha Fernandes, MBA/MA SID'19, Ricki Herrera, MBA/MA SID’20, Sara McKenzie, MBA’19

Daniella Ayesha Fernandes, MBA/MA SID’19

Four days after the Team Consulting Project (TCP) fair in March, we had our TCP mixer to mingle with our cohort, discuss ideas and form potential teams. We each pitched our vision for our chosen organization. It was interesting to see individuals who seemed to strongly prefer an organization’s mission on paper shift directions based on the people and passion driving a team.

While we had our individual set of preferences, we all understood the importance of a solid team mix to help balance summer classes and the responsibilities of a consultant. With that in mind, our teams began to come together. Our team, Boston Arts and Music Festival or BAMS Fest Inc., found itself a phenomenally talented set of individuals: Erin Hutchins, MBA’19, Ricki Herrera, MBA/MA SID’20, Sara McKenzie, MBA’19, Wajiha Chaudhry, part-time MBA and me!

During the mixer, we each aligned our skill set with the management challenge BAMS posed to us: We were to monitor and evaluate the festival, the results of which would inform a development plan. We brought to the team a broad range of skills, learned at Heller and from our own career paths, including research, grant-making, fundraising, creating campaigns, international development and communications.

However, remember the mantra, “No teams are final until all teams are final?” Since the Social Impact MBA attracts a variety of dual degrees students from across Brandeis and Tufts, we had to wait until every member of our cohort had found a team.

Once we received conformation in April, we immediately set out to find a faculty advisor to be our guide through the summer. While Heller has marvelous faculty with a wealth of experience, for an organization like BAMS Fest Inc., we couldn’t think of anyone other than Professor Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld. His work with labor unions, leading large-scale change in public and private sectors across the world, as well as his sensitivity towards diversity, equity and inclusion in all his work and interactions at Heller, made us race to request his expertise. How happy we were that he agreed!

Finally, as we began building the foundations for a fruitful TCP, we had one last hurdle to overcome: paperwork. We needed to draft and approve a Letter of Agreement between our team (including our advisor) and our client that would stipulate the deliverables of our consultancy.

While this seemed fairly straightforward, our team had the additional hurdle of overcoming visa restrictions due to my status as an international student. I was required to apply for Circular Practical Training (CPT) that would allow me to work as a consultant with the team over the summer, which took some time and more to process.

Luckily, two months later, all our paperwork came through—right in time for us to be part of the festival on June 22!

In her next TCP diary, Daniella talks about what goes into the making of a music festival with a social justice mission.