May 28, 2009

Learning More & More

Over the past few days I have grown to enjoy Poland more and more. History is so important here and finding new little shops or polish places to eat has been fun. I have also been able to meet polish students who will be helping us on our Cargill project. The two polish students we have really made friends with have been Ula and Marta. Even with their busy schedules, they have made time to take us out, show us new parts of the city and just help us understand how the polish really live. A few nights ago they showed us the city by the river. From the river you can see both sides of the city and enjoy its beautiful night skyline.
In these past two days we have also learned more about our project and have a greater understanding of Cargill’s situation here in central and eastern Europe. Our first meeting was with the Cargill GM for Poland and the Polish team lead Martien. They truly have a deep understanding of what the market is like here in CEE. I am learning a lot about consulting projects and how they are continually fluid and can change scope when new information is presented. I am continually hit with new ways to look at a situation and problem, whether that is from a operations perspective, supply chain, or by understanding to customer better. Cargill’s great cooperation with us has illuminated how detailed our project is and its truly global reach.
Yesterday’s tour of Cargill’s Pet Food facility was very interesting and very informative when it came to operational questions and the town of Krypicie is very charming. We still have a lot of work to do but the next few days will be interesting and give me a real world view of consulting and working for Cargill.

April 30, 2009

Divide and Conquer

Now we have begun diving parts of the project. Learning about the Pet Food industry in other countires can be quite daughnting. I have now been put in charge of finding the strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and threats of Cargill moving into the Russian Federation. I am excited because I have a bigger country, so it should be more exciting to see what Cargill could do in the country. There are also, intuitively, more complex barriers to entry with Russia. Dealing with and finding ways around the beauacracy of the country could be a project all to itself. However, the effort might be worth it because of Russias huge market size. But we will see.

It's time to really dive in now!

April 25, 2009

Consulting for Cargill

About a month has now passed and I am in the heart of our consulting project for Cargill. Starting this class, I was really excited about the opportunities we would be presented with working for a big company like Cargill. I was also intrigued to learn more about emerging markets and an area of the world I have never been to. Thus far, we have spent the first few weeks learning about the region. Central and Eastern Europe is rich with history and cultural diversity that I was unaware of before this class. It has been interesting for me to learn about the differences between the countries in the region because I has always imagined this area as overly homogeneous. This was a wrong presumption and the variance in cultures, languages, and economic development are astounding. enjoying economics myself, this class has been really informative and cool in terms of the economic background we get on these countries and how we use this information to inform our decisions and recommendations to Cargill.

Last week was when we really started focusing on what we are going to do for Cargill. This topic shift started with a presentation by VPs of Cargill's Animal Nutrition department. They laid out a broad blanket of what we would be covering over the semester and how we would be helping them make critical decisions.

-- Side note: the more I hear about the Cargill business, the more I want to work for them. they just sound like a great company with good morals and a dedication to employees. I could also see myself working there and being able to work abroad. I just don't know if I know enough about the Ag business Yet.

After the Cargill presentation, it was great to see how teams were formed to attack the business problem presented. This is a real consulting job and It really started to feel that way when Prof. Bartlett, 'Project Manager', split us into teams. There is a Marketing/Branding team, a Supply Chain team, Strategy, and also country specific teams. Even with these teams there has been a lot of collaboration between the groups. we have big group discussions about problems and solutions. its cool, and I am having fun so far.