At Harvard: Part 4

After some very late nights working on our “OAS” (Objective, Advantage, Scope) statements, we met in groups of 8 at 8:30am to review each company’s OAS, comment, question and challenge the strategy declared. In my group, we had a software provider who works with logistics companies Down Under, a Nigerian mobile bank and payment system, a Panamanian home appliance distributor, a US-Indian jewelry manufacturer and distributor, an American pharmaceutical developer, a Belgian osteopathic doctor setting up unique clincs in Italy, an Austrian software company serving the automotive industry and myself, a study abroad and educational tour provider. Our mission: to vote for what we considered the best strategy. It’s a fascinating exercise to zero in on what differentiates you from the competition and to boil it down to a couple of sentences. Here is what I came up with:

To become the leading provider of 1) study abroad programs for American college students and 2) luxury , educational group tours for top donors of American non-profit organizations. Our programs are custom-designed, built on a proprietary network of contacts, featuring experiences not available to the average traveler or student abroad, and augmented by concierge-level service. Our 58 years have solidified a tried-and-true risk and crisis management system that protects our students and adult travelers in an ever-changing world.

I voted for the Belgian doctor. Confidentiality agreements preclude me from sharing the details of his competitive advantage, but suffice it to say that he’s got a golden concept that I hope takes off.

We learned late in the day, once the votes for 20 groups were tallied, that our doctor had won within our group. So from 150+ of us down to 20. Next week, the competition is further narrowed. In the end, there will be only two winners.

It’s the weekend now, and we get a little break after Saturday morning classes, to recover and read up on next week’s cases.

One tired student,

Kate Simpson

Academic Travel Abroad

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