Blog

Redefining Business

CRB Student Advisory Board Summer Experiences

Alison Gilbert, MBA ’20

MBA Innovation Intern at Clif Bar

This summer, Allison too on an innovation project at Clif Bar. Her work “explored how to design a product that directly speaks to Clif Bar’s commitment to its core aspirations of Sustaining Planet and Community. After mapping the landscape of “sustainable snacks,” meeting with members from 12 teams and the Clif Bakery, and conducting in-home consumer ethnographies, I used consumer insights to develop design principles to guide the innovation process. From there I led two design thinking sprints and ultimately presented my findings and 8 initial concepts, laying the groundwork for consumer testing and continuing product innovation.”

The biggest learning opportunity was applying the “Jobs to Be Done theory to an innovation challenge focused on sustainability, rather than the more traditional food focus on serving a consumer need for a specific “eating occasion.” Instead of designing a snack that “gives me an energy boost” or “tides me over until dinner,” this snack is more tied to personal aspirations: “makes me feel good about what I’m eating and throwing away.” Yet while many consumers will appreciate knowing their food is sourced, manufactured, or packaged in a responsible way, the top priority remains the quality and taste of the food itself! Bringing together the technical expertise of Clifsters across the company with the consumer-first design principles opened up new ways of thinking about sustainable packaging and communicating Clif’s Planet and Community stories in ways that resonate with consumers.”

“One of many highlights was my visit to Clif Bar’s bakery in Twin Falls, Idaho. This facility was built from the ground up with sustainability in mind, from its biophilic design (so many windows!), to its 100% renewable energy, to its zero waste ambitions. The solar array outside even serves as a pollinator habitat to help restore bee populations! Aside from seeing the bakery itself, it was incredibly energizing to meet Clifsters across roles at the bakery, and to see just how deeply Clif’s positive culture permeates throughout the company.”

Katharine Hawthorne, MBA ’20

Associate at Patamar Capital

“This summer I worked at Patamar Capital, an early and growth stage impact investor in South and Southeast Asia. I started the summer in San Francisco supporting the fundraise for Patamar’s second fund and getting involved in global fund operations. In July I relocated to Jakarta, Indonesia, one of Patamar’s most active markets, where I worked on several live transactions and did a sector analysis on insurtech and microinsurance business models.”

For Katharine, one of the biggest challenges was experiencing a new environment. “Earthquakes, power blackouts, traffic and more – this summer taught me to be ready for anything.”

The highlight for Katharine was “working with entrepreneurs and presenting in front of the Patamar partners. I thrive on engagement with people and ideas and valued the opportunity to meet some of the entrepreneurs working to accelerate Southeast Asia’s rise. Indonesia is an incredibly dynamic market and it was exciting to be able to experience its transformation and the competitive dynamics firsthand.”

Stacey King, MBA ’20

Associate Program Summer Associate at Chase

For her summer internship, Stacey “developed and implemented marketing strategies for products targeting students and unbanked/underbanked populations.” One of the biggest challenges she took on was “working in a strategic role where the output is not always a concrete product was challenging. I enjoyed using design thinking to structure my projects and approach this new style of working confidently and creatively.”

The highlight of her time spent at has was “leveraging my lived experiences and diversity, equity, and inclusion development from Haas to inform my work, particularly my projects focused on financial wellness.”

Malia Latin, MBA ’20

MBA Intern, Product Management (Merchandising Operations) at Walmart Home Office, Digital Merchant


Malin Latin spent her summer internship with Walmart in Bentonville, Arkansas. “I worked with a UX designer and team of engineers to rethink how Walmart can better enact Portfolio Pricing. I built a clickable prototype and oversaw a spike to look at the feasibility of proposed updates to the system back-end. I also was able to develop merchant-facing sustainability tools that will be used in the product dashboard that’s used daily by over 400 Walmart merchants.”

The biggest learning experience for Malia was “learning to work in an Agile environment and how to balance different stakeholder needs.” There were two highlights to her summer at Walmart: “(1) taking the corporate jet to Manhattan for a day trip to explore the future of pricing and (2) interviewing users to understand their needs from a new tool.”

Nerjada Maksutaj, MBA ’20, CRB Fellow

Business Design Intern at IDEO


This summer, Nerjada “led an initiative sponsored by IDEO’s executive leadership focused on the future IDEO’s impact ecosystem. I conducted design research with 50+ global designers and leaders, synthesized insights on the company’s current impact landscape, and prototyped tools embedding systems thinking, impact frameworks, and progress evaluation in the creative design process.”

The experience helped her learn about the importance of managing ambiguity with optimism. Every design challenge is initially very complex and ambiguous – but the greatest learnings happen when having the courage to prototype ideas early on. Iterating on my work quickly and often throughout the summer helped me bring clarity to a topic as complex as IDEO’s impact.” The highlight was the “opportunity to interview IDEO’s incoming CEO, Sandy Speicher. She was incredibly inspirational, the future is female!”

Amberlyn Saw, BS ’19

Corporate Responsibility (Environmental Sustainability and Product Stewardship) Intern at PVH


“This summer, I was exposed to projects on both PVH’s Supply Chain Sustainability team and PVH’s Product Sustainability Team. Earlier this year, PVH launched their new Corporate Responsibility strategy (Forward Fashion), so I was given the opportunity to help strategize and build out a few of their new goals. On the supply chain side, I devised a waste reduction roadmap to help PVH reach its target of having all owned and operated facilities achieve zero waste by 2030. At the end of my internship, I helped launch the roadmap by kicking off a series of waste audits to generate a global waste baseline. On the product side, I helped create PVH’s first Sustainable Materials Guide, a toolkit that traces all materials used in PVH products, analyzes their social and environmental impact, and highlights upcoming sustainable innovations and alternatives.”

One of the biggest takeaways from Amberlyn’s summer “is the value of bringing together key stakeholders to address systemic and institutional barriers to sustainability challenges. For example, when building out a roadmap for zero waste, many regions lack waste diversion infrastructure and education (i.e. lack of composting or recycling). Through reaching out to both internal stakeholders (PVH supply, retail, and distribution centers) and external peers (Patagonia, VF Corp, Inditex, and H&M), I recognized how multi-stakeholder initiatives truly push the needle more effectively than a solo effort.”

An unexpected highlight was living on the East Coast for the first time! From celebrating World Pride to meeting Jimmy Fallon at a live taping of his show to winning the Lion King lottery, interning in New York was an absolutely incredible experience!”

Tiffany Tran, MBA ’20

Associate Marketing Manager Intern at Clorox

Tiffany spent her summer as an Associate Marketing Manager at The Clorox Company, where she helped launch a new brand. “This project involved leading a cross-functional team from ideation to commercialization, identifying the brand’s go-to-market strategy, analyzing IRI data and the competitive landscape, and developing on-pack claims.”

“One of the challenges this summer was getting up to speed quickly. A ten week internship is not a lot of time and the ramp up time takes quite a while. I needed to take extra time to learn the Clorox processes and language. By the time I felt comfortable with what was going on, the internship was nearly over!”

A highlight from her summer experience was “attending the company wide Marketing and Sales meeting in Phoenix. We heard from inspirational speakers, learned about our brand’s priorities for the new fiscal year, and enjoyed each others company over great food and drinks!”

Riely White, MBA ’20

Summer Associate at Bain & Company


Riely spent his summer working “on a project with a Fortune 100 company to develop and deploy a net promoter system, which involved surveying customers about their experience and developing the internal systems to help employees at every level of the organization action upon it. My specific role was to benchmark our client against their peers to identify opportunities for improving several high-priority customer journeys.”

“Most of my work was ultimately presented to senior leadership, which presented a new challenge for me — I needed to learn how to take extensive and complex data and distill it into a compelling and digest-able story that would move the executive and the company to action.”

The highlight of the summer was getting to know the 14 other Summer Associates — the emphasis on us spending time together and getting to know what another showed me that Bain is clearly focused on building a strong internal community and that as a company they take good care of their employees.”

Sarah Hilmer, MBA ’21

PR Communications Manager at Intuit


“Since I’m an EWMBA student, my summer was fairly uneventful on the job front, but I used the months to spend extra time with my daughter and husband. We rode our bikes 450 miles across Iowa (through an organized ride called RAGBRAI) and traveled to Hawaii where we explored Oahu and Maui.”

The biggest challenge for Sarah this summer was getting through planning season at Intuit, as their fiscal year starts August 1st. “This is one of the hardest parts of my job, because it requires sign off and buy in from 20+ stakeholders on what parts of corporate responsibility the company will focus on highlighting in the coming year for employees, shareholders and customers.” The highlight of the season was certainly “quality time spent with family.”

Leave a Comment