Telfer Executive MBA's Signature Series of Six Business Consulting Projects provides candidates with opportunities to increase their connectivity in the marketplace and also give them experiences that are global, practical and relevant. Learn more about Hal Hilfi and his team's experience for the International Business Consulting Project in Lima, Peru.
Mechanical engineer Hal Hilfi spent 20 years building a successful high-tech career, gaining experience in defence, manufacturing, facilities, processes and research engineering with increasing management responsibilities.
In 2012, he took his experience and drive to the health-care industry, as the corporate manager for biomedical engineering at The Ottawa Hospital. He manages a staff of more than 30 and oversees every aspect of over 22,000 medical devices used in the hospital’s three campuses.
After a year on the job, the married father of two was ready to add another layer to his already busy life. At 43, he enrolled in the Telfer Executive MBA program at the University of Ottawa, seeing it as an opportunity for personal development and as groundworkfor developing a business model that might allow him to move his department from a cost to the hospital to a source of revenue.
He would build connections with an elite group of local executives with deep resumes, work with other high-achievers, and learn to draw on all of his skills and character to make those collaborations work.
“You have to find ways to work with the people on your team, and if they are great, you learn from them and you move along,” said Hilfi, adding the teams were assigned for the entire 21 months of the program. “If they are not, then you have to move them along with you.”
A major part of Hilfi’s decision to choose Telfer was the program’s unique Signature Series of Six Business Consulting Projects, five of which are team projects.
The projects allow the candidates to apply course learning to the real world by acting as consultants for real clients. The series culminates in an international consulting project and trip that encompasses everything the candidates have learned.
Hilfi’s team was responsible for selecting a client organization that strategically aligned to the chosen international destination, which was Lima, Peru. As consultants, the team’s mandate was to devise a strategy that would meet the client’s goals of entering the market.
After considering several clients, they signed with Videoship, a company with offices in Ottawa and Dublin that develops software to allow reporters in the field to quickly send their reports to the studio for broadcast. Videoship’s software is especially compelling in developing areas of the world, and the company was looking to expand into Peru.
“It was clearly a real-life type business opportunity with the advantage that you get an international experience and get exposed to things you probably wouldn’t get exposed to in your normal job, whatever industry you’re coming from,” said Hilfi, adding the team and the client “clicked” right away.
Videoship’s obvious commitment to the project was the clincher for Hilfi’s team, which would put in three to four months of work before they even travelled to Lima.
“We asked about the commitment and right away they said, ‘we will come with you,’ ” said Hilfi. “We asked for one person, they sent three. This was an indication of their commitment.”
Before heading to Lima, the Telfer team lined up high-level meetings with Peruvian television networks and facilitated introductions to members of the Canada-Peru trade commission, delegates at the Canadian embassy and media producers who were able to help Videoship understand how media works in Lima and what it would require to pursue business there.
The commitment the team was looking for from its client mirrors the commitment Hilfi himself – and every graduate of the Telfer Executive MBA program – makes to themselves and to the program.
Telfer Executive MBA Director Sophia Leong, a graduate of the program herself, demands it, saying without commitment the program cannot achieve its promise to move candidates from knowledge to experience to competence.
“We are making sure what we are providing is what the candidates need and more,” said Leong. “In addition to that, we make sure that we increase their connectivity in the marketplace and also give them experiences that are global, practical and relevant.”
Videoship’s Vice-President of Business Development, Colin Grimes, was on the trip to Lima. He says the team exceeded the company’s expectations.
“We were very impressed at the work they put into it, their diligence and what they managed to attain,” said Grimes, whose company has since done projects with other teams from Telfer. “Lining up those introductions and those meetings was the most difficult part. Without that, nothing else really matters.
“They were able to build that bridge and lead us down there to properly make those introductions and start developing that network.”
This story was produced by Content Works on behalf of Telfer Executive MBA for commercial purposes.