Heller MBA Team Consulting Project Diary Part 4: The Final Presentation

September 04, 2019

The BAMS Fest TCP team on the day of their TCP presentation. From left: Sara McKenzie, MBA'19; Wajiha Chaudhry, part-time MBA; Erin Hutchins, MBA'19; Catherine Morris, founder of BAMS Fest Inc.; Ricki Herrera, MBA/MA SID'20; Daniella Fernandes, MBA/MA SID'19; and Amanda Shaffer, artist and host of BAMS Fest 2019.

By Daniella Ayesha Fernandes MBA/MA SID’19

Approaching August, as we began unravelling the full story of BAMS and founder Catherine Morris, we realized retelling this story involved great responsibility. We learned that BAMS and Catherine’s efforts in elevating communities of color, had promoted them to become cornerstones of the Boston arts and culture space. And our Team Consulting Project presentation on August 16th, 2019 had to do justice to this fact.

Split into two days on August 15th and 16th from 9am to a little after noon, our TCP pitch presentations were scheduled to be a culmination of all we’d learned from the program, addressing our respective client’s management problem. Each team was asked to prepare presentations no more than 30 minutes, with an additional 15 minutes allotted for questions.

With two weeks to go until D-day, we met as a team to draft our narration of the BAMS story. It was exhausting. We had an incredible amount of content – 82 stakeholder interviews that took us 17 hours to gather, professionally shot photographs and intricately analyzed solutions from frameworks learned in our classes at Heller. But packing our analysis under 30 minutes in a crisp, succinct fashion seemed daunting.

After a lot of brainstorming and asking each other tough questions and speaking to our advisor, Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, we realized that as BAMS was an unconventional organization, our storytelling would have to follow suit. We ditched a management-heavy, framework-rich approach to focus on culture, color and context. Additionally, one of our deliverables for BAMS was to design a resource development-ready pitch deck and we reckoned this would be a wonderful way to do that.

As a five-person consultancy team, each of us came with our unique set of talents. Therefore, we divvied up content assembly based on our strengths. As the teammate with a communications design background, I was tasked with putting the presentation together. And I couldn’t have been happier. I was given the freedom to create, offering in return, the freedom to critique. Being the only eyes on the presentation design, there were moments when my perspective tended to come through heavier than other members on the team. Therefore, having the space for an open dialogue within our team was extremely helpful in creating a holistic narration.

Before we knew it, between multiple slide additions, deletions and two whole dry runs later, it was time. 

Daniella Fernandes signing the TCP presentation board, a TCP tradition.

On August 16th at 9am, as we were the first presenters on the final day of TCP presentations, from 8:30am, we began playing music from BAMS artists, setting the mood for our presentation. This was extremely helpful in bringing context to our work as in the audience, we were joined by our client, Catherine Morris, stakeholders, the Social Impact MBA faculty, staff and our cohort, as well as friends and family who flew in from across the country and tuned from around the world to hear our story.

Nervous yet confident of our work, we gave it our best. Looking across the room, listening to the questions and feedback we received, it was wonderful to see how our effort had begun to make impact.

To me personally, this was also an emotional moment, a culmination of two years of hard work at Heller, graduating by presenting some of the best work I’ve created in my career as a professional and as a student at Heller.

I hope this TCP Diary has given you insight into the most crucial, sought-after component that the Social Impact MBA has to offer. Real skills, real challenges and real solutions. Thank you for following and for reading!