The Integrated Strategy Project, or ISP for short, is an overarching group strategy project and hand-in where a team of four students solve a strategic issue in a real-world company. To do this, we apply all that we have learned during the Copenhagen MBA (relevant theories, concepts, models and tools) as well our leadership and team management skills.
The ISP kicked off in late March with our hand-in and defense due in the beginning of August. Up until kickoff, us students didn’t known which company or team we’d be assigned to. Therefore, I found the announcement moment itself very exciting. I was anxious to know who I was going work with for the last four months of my MBA. How were we going to perform as a team and what would our dynamics, personality matches etc. bring? Which company and industry would we be paired with? Would it be an area I was familiar with or would it be a brand new experience? Here, I found, was a time to draw on my MBA toolbox: I had to be prepared for the unknown, ready to tackle any issues that came my way, and navigate in a potentially new industry. The best part of this was that I wasn’t alone.
A well structured strategy project
The announcement was made, and here am I – months later – working with the best team ever. We’ve been assigned to a project within a Biotech company that develops drugs for orphan lung diseases. Two months ago, I knew nothing about orphan or rare diseases, and now we are already working on the second half of our project trying to come up with recommendations for the company!
The ISP project is very well structured and consists of several parts. There is the initial analysis, the industry analysis, the company analysis, the issues analysis and the implementation phase. This logical sequence has helped me understand the issue in-depth. Using insight from our industry and company analysis, we are currently working on our issue analysis, which I find to be the most challenging part. It has to do with the specifics of the industry, and also with what we would like to be able to arrive at – both for the academic paper and in terms of bringing value to the company.
Virtual group rooms and online interviews
Neither my team members nor our mentors possess a background in the Pharma industry, but we are all in possession of a framework and a skillset that enable us to approach strategic issues within any industry. We also have great support and a good collaboration with the company and with our mentors.
I have no idea how the whole process would have unfolded otherwise, but COVID 19 made it necessary for all of us to rely on virtual group rooms and online studies. As a result, we’ve held numerous interviews with the company’s C-suite executive, done the industry analysis, issued a company survey, prepared our presentations and speeches and held our team meetings online. And it all worked well. What turned out to be an interesting observation is that such meetings are quite efficient.
We also have a great team dynamic. The team’s overall approach and our different backgrounds help us gain a wider perspective on all issues. We divide the load and the research; each must prepare his or her own part and then we put it all together, discuss and take final notes. Alongside the ISP, we had our elective courses and had to deliver different assignments. Some of us would be busier than others, meaning team members could support each other through peak periods. We speak openly about challenges we encounter (and also about other commitments that we all have) to make sure we all on the same page. This is something we have learned during our studies as a crucial pillar for any successful team.
The ISP is a great experience all around. It is a fantastic opportunity to apply all the knowledge we’ve acquired, and – not least, to learn even more.
Sabina has a degree in law and worked as a lawyer for seven years, before shifting to a career in general business. Having a Danish husband, CBS was the natural choice for her.