Day 10: Wednesday the 21st
We split-up the final slide preparation process. I built the main presentation, Garrett took the lead on the direct internet booking model. Doug made several slide on bundling. We frantically work all morning and declined a presentation to Professor Chan just before lunch and deferred it to after lunch. We worked frantically, skipping our meal, and started finalizing and collating. About 15 minutes before our presentation, everything was combined and we suddenly had a presentation! The planning and structure that I had started the previous day came together and we had some very solid analysis and strong recommendations. Our presentation with Professors Chan and Yan went very well. There was basically agreement that reinforced the work we had performed. There was a bit of questioning our methodology by Professor Yan until we showed the detailed regression analysis. The questions quickly ended and we were told “good job.” While the Hong Kong groups practiced their presentations in Chinese, we made some minor fine-tuning changes. We returned just after these presentations finished and were the first to present during the English language presentation/critiquing process. I presented by myself and we received very minor and somewhat forced recommendations for our presentation because it was clear that we had performed so much analysis and had clear, data-based recommendations. We were not surprised because we knew our presentation was strong. What did surprise us was the strong criticism of some of the Hong Kong groups. Content, layout, public presentation skills were all sternly criticized. It became that my past experience in preparing and presenting information was a major strengths that some other teams did not have. In fact, there were many strengths within our team that became apparent. Li’s ability to speak English, Cantonese, and Mandarin fluently was a huge asset for both the interviews and the presentations. Here Mandarin is better than that of most any other student. Brian has a great attitude, keeping everyone motivated and involved; he did a great job of identifying any background work that was being ignored and quietly starting it. Garrett can take anything and put 110% into it. He started with a idea to identify profits gains from direct internet booking through the hotel website and ended up with a comprehensive model that included many facets and complexities. I pasted his graphs and created a couple of slides and that is all I needed to do for the section. Doug did a great job keeping everyone laughing, helping us integrate with the Hong Kong group, and drafting the bundling section. I don’t think any other group came together and highlighted individually strengths the way ours did.
The translation of slides into Traditional Chinese characters began at 8:30 that night. For the first time in 3 days, I was free of any responsibility. I invited Garrett to share a beer with me. Doug and Stephanie walked by and were asked to join us. The four of us stayed up until 3:30 in the morning talking about life, dreams, and goals. It had been a long time since I had last done that with anyone. I was great to get the perspective of 2 guys I was just getting to know well and a girl from Hong Kong with a new and diverse perspective. We talked about future career and life goals, (I was unanimously counseled to look into starting my own business now rather than later), the longest time we’d spent alone, and our childhoods. Garrett and I both talked about how great our wives were and how lucky we were to have them. It was interesting to hear that Stephanie, a young and independent Hong Kong native, valued and was looking for many of the same things. The more we talked, the more we realized the less-different we were. The cultural backgrounds are different, but the individuals are surprisingly and amazingly similar.