Among the plethora of options for experiential learning offered at LBS, LondonCAP offers leading London-based companies a terrific opportunity to engage a diverse group of talented LBS MBA students to help address a pressing business challenge of strategic importance.
This year, 213 MBA2022 students delivered 41 LondonCAP group consulting projects for clients ranging from start-ups to multinational businesses across a range of sectors and industries. Here, Massimo Attina (MBA2022) shares his experience of participating in LondonCAP, to consult Divido with a vision to make the fintech industry a more diverse and inclusive place.
Hi Massimo! Can you please tell us a bit about your background and why you signed up for LondonCAP?
Hi Marisa, my background is in management consulting and I’m currently studying for my MBA to graduate in 2022. I decided to sign up for the LondonCAP project because I wanted to improve my leadership and client management skills in order to be ready for my future role as Project Leader in consulting. I personally had a great experience and I would recommend the course to anyone interested in learning and applying the soft skills needed in consulting, which are applicable and useful to any industry. Most students with a consulting background tend not to do the LondonCap, however I believe that it’s a great opportunity to take on a more senior role in a safe learning environment.
The rest of the team was composed of three more MBA students: Macarena Cossa (prior experience in fintech), Maria Gabriela Zarama Gonzalez (prior experience in PE), and Nir (prior experience in Law and Business Intelligence).
Who was the client, and what challenge were you helping them to overcome?
The client was Divido, a fintech BNPL firm headquartered in London. The CEO and founder of the firm, the visionary Christer Holloman had one objective: make Divido, and the whole fintech industry a more diverse and inclusive place. He asked our team to help him define a clearly implementable strategy to do that. The team from the client side was completed by the VP of People James Weller, and Danielle Devine, People Associate.
How did you approach the problem?
The first action I took was to look internally and make sure I was part of a strong and motivated team. We started by getting to know each other, and we defined team dynamics, preferences and expectations.
We then developed our own hypothesis, as well as a preliminary approach to the problem that we could propose to the client prior to the kick off meeting. This preparation ensured we were fully prepared for our first meeting, and enbled us to leave a good impression on the client.
Our team proposed a three-fold approach to the problem. The first stage, data gathering, included both a current assessment (internal analysis) and a benchmark analysis (external). The second phase, analysis, centred on defining and ranking options. The final stage, delivery, focused on strategy definition.
We also asked for constant touchpoints with the client to ensure we always aligned and avoided unpleasant surprises, whilst also establishing a platform that encouraged open and honest collaboration.
What challenges did your team face during the project?
As with many group projects, it wasn’t as smooth as we had planned it. The benchmarking analysis was extremely difficult, due to lack of information (if they even existed) on D&I strategies for fintech firms. We expanded the scope of our research, moving into tech companies, but faced a lot of challenges from the client.
Furthermore, we struggled to perform the internal assessment of the company D&I practices, given the highly confidential nature of the topic which meant we we weren’t allowed to gather internal company data and analyse it.
Finally, due to the pandemic my team and I were mostly working remotely, and we didn’t have set times to work on LondonCAP. Everyone was in charge of a specific activity and carried out these tasks in their own time. As a result, this led at times to miscommunication and a lack of alignment between us.
How did you resolve these challenges?
For the benchmarking, we developed a series of slides to communicate our message to the client. Below is what we included in our slides:
Although, we would like to benchmark the D&I strategies of other fintech, Divido is a pioneer in this field in the industry. Therefore, we decided to analyse the initiatives of the best D&I companies in the world and what impact those had, regardless of industry. This will allow us to develop a long list, which will then be refined using fintech specific evaluation criteria.
Providing a clear context and involving the client in our thought process throughout the project (rather than at the end of the project), allowed us to find an agreement and move forward with our proposal.
For the internal analysis, we had to run multiple iterations, involving the school legal department and LondonCAP management team. Finally, however, we found a solution. The client agreed to let us anonymously interview some of their employees (we couldn’t see their faces nor know any demographic or personal details). We then asked information about the perception on D&I in the firm, what was going well and not so well. At this point, we were able to identify all the internal issues and how to address them.
Finally, we changed some of the team dynamics, we set up 2 recurring weekly meetings, where we worked together online. This made sure that we set up a specific amount of time each week to work this in a coordinated manner ensure we operated in a coordinated manner.
What did you learn from your LondonCAP project?
I learnt several lessons from the Divido LondonCAP project:
- I developed my leadership and soft skills
- I improved my approach in dealing with clients and PMO
- I had the opportunity to meet and create a long-lasting relationship with classmates I didn’t know before
- I expanded my professional network
- But most importantly I had plenty of fun!
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