Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Team UCLA Anderson School of Management at the Sofaer International Case Competition in Tel Aviv, Israel

A Blog Entry from Team UCLA Anderson School of Management at the Sofaer International Case Competition in Tel Aviv, Israel:

"After four days of intense strategic analysis, we finally presented our recommendations on the company IncrediMail. As a team, we worked through various levels of solutions, both from a strategic as well as financial feasibility perspective. We had been tasked with figuring out how to take a company that was generating about $30 million in revenue and growing it to $100 million by 2014. This was a daunting task and required significant out of the box thinking. As a team, we finally came up with solutions focused around increasing search capacity for this email client and monetizing significant amounts of dollars via advertising.
We had a very strong response after our presentation, but ultimately fell short of the grand prize. The prize was actually split between two Israeli teams – Ben Gurion University and Tel Aviv University. It was hard fought battle, but we felt very good for having participated and coming up with some truly unique solutions to the problem at hand. While we fell short of the goal as a team, we all felt like winners for having worked as hard as we did and participating.
Once the competition was over, we had a cocktail and food event where we were fed (incredibly well again!) for a few hours and were able to really network with everyone who had been involved in the competition. As a team, we made connections with all the visiting universities. We also were able to express our gratitude to the organizers of the competition, and it seems we will be invited again next year to compete as well. Overall, we found this competition as a phenomenal opportunity to learn about an international company operating in a global market and believe it to be an opportunity that was really positive for everyone involved.
To wrap up the week, the organizers arranged for all of the teams to take a trip to Jerusalem and tour the city the next day. We were able to walk through all parts of the Old City, starting in the Muslim Quarter, then proceeding through the Christian Quarter, followed by the Armenian Quarter and ending in the Jewish Quarter. We saw such amazing sites as the Dome of the Rock, the Wailing Wall, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It was eye opening to see such a historic place that was so impactful across three of the world’s major religions and get a perspective from the people who lived and interacted there every day. This final day was a favorite of everybody – a fitting end to an amazing trip!
On the whole, our team would like to thank the organizers of the Sofaer International Case Competition, Tel Aviv University for hosting the competition, and CIBER for sponsoring us and making this trip become a reality. IT was an amazing and touching experience, and we hope that future Anderson students are able to benefit from the experience of this competition just as we have."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Team UCLA Anderson School of Management at the Sofaer International Case Competition in Tel Aviv, Israel

A blog entry from Team UCLA Anderson School of Management at the Sofaer International Case Competition in Tel Aviv, Israel:

"We arrived together as a team in Israel Saturday, May 14th at noon. We were greeted kindly at the airport and brought to our hotel, located on Dizengoff Street directly in the center of Tel Aviv. It was Shabbat at the time – the day of rest. Shops were mainly closed, save for certain coffee shops and restaurants.
Sunday morning we as a team were brought to Tel Aviv University for orientation and introduction to the case. We joined a set of 13 international teams (with Colombia Business School being the sole other United States representative). China, Korea, Turkey, Colombia, England, Canada and Israel were also represented. After a morning work session in which the teams were given breakout rooms within the business school to begin case preparation, we were taken to lunch at the local cafeteria, followed by a visit and open Q&A session with the company that was the subject of the case, IncrediMail.
IncrediMail is an internet content and media company that designs and markets a suite of downloadable consumer products that are simple, safe and useful and bring a new level of fun, personality and convenience to email, desktop and screen saver applications. The office was covered in crazy cartoon animations, all that are specifically identifiable with the company and its motto of “fun and easy”. The Q&A was intense! Students were firing questions left and right, with the company’s COO sparring back with answers, or shooting down questions that delved a little too far beyond the privacy boundaries of the company.
After the visit, we returned to the hotel to follow up with some work on the case, and then a open bar/dinner at restaurant called Gordo outdoors on the beach. Plate after plate of meat and other dishes came out (and tower after tower of beer was drunk by all!) It was a lovely evening – we were joined by another group of students who had traveled to Tel Aviv for an Entrepreneurs rotation and company multi-week meet and greet. The best part was the opportunity to network with the students and faculty of all these international universities while surrounded by the beauty of the Mediterranean.

On the second day of the competition, we were picked up early in a bus to do a cultural tour of parts of Israel. We traveled to Haifa first, the 3rd largest city in Israel after Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and learned much about the Baha’i religion which originated there. We then traveled to the city of Akko, a town that was important during the time of the Crusades and showcased a peaceful mix of both Arabs and Israelis living together. We tasted some of the best Hummus any of us team members had here at the open market! We were able to also view such things as the fortified walls of the city, which held back an onslaught by Napolean Bonaparte back in the 1700’s, and the port of Akko, an important Mediterranean trading port.
Through these travels, we were able to get a good sense of Israel outside of just Tel Aviv. It is an amazing country and we have had an incredible experience. Even in a land of limited natural resources, the Israelis have exhibited an amazing entrepreneurial and creative spirit to do such things as irrigate land, turning parts of the dessert into viable farmland, and making significant strides in Green efficiency. Technology companies abound here, as we passed offices of Google, Microsoft, IBM, Intel and Sisqo, to name a small handful. And of course, we have been eating non-stop – the food alone is worth the travel!
We look forward to the subsequent days of the case competition and are working diligently towards winning one for UCLA..."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

UCLA CIBER Receives Gratitude From the U.S. Department of Commerce

From Francisco J. Sanchez, The Under Secretary for International Trade:

"Thank you for the support that UCLA and the Anderson School of Business have provided to the Department of Commerce, our local U.S. Export Assistance Centers and our collective efforts to create jobs through exports."

South East European Film Festival Business Conference

SEE Fest held a Business Conference sponsored by UCLA Center for European and Eurasian Studies, and UCLA CIBER, and co-sponsored by Women in Film International Committee. Hollywood producers Ron Yerxa and Andrew Pfeffer were joined by Patricia Mayer, entertainment attorney, and Nesim Hason, producer and distributor with ties to the region.