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Smith MBAs Consult in Israel, Palestine, and Jordan

Apr 10, 2015
Experiential / Reality-based Learning

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The view across the Jordan River from Israel into Jordanian territory.
The view across the Jordan River from Israel into Jordanian territory.

Back home with new perspective: Smith MBAs consult for a cross-border greywater feasibility project in Israel, Palestine, and Jordan 

Through a highly competitive application process, the Office of Global Initiatives, the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) and the Center for Social Value Creation, collaboratively selected three Smith MBA students, Patrick Gallice, Carlos Cedeno, and Hirokazu Masuoka, to join a consulting team that traveled to the Middle East over Spring Break, 2015. Smith MBAs joined UM students from the Carey School of Law and the Dental and Nursing School in Baltimore to form a multi-disciplinary consulting team tasked with exploring mechanisms to improve the business model for the ARAVA Institute for Environmental Studies. 

The consulting project was led and facilitated by UM Law Professor, Robert Percival, and Julie Weisman, Counsel at Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP. While abroad, students studied the feasibility of using greywater for small-scale crop production, assisted in finding solutions to water scarcity in the region, and worked to solve a complex environmental problem that implicates legal, public health, and economic issues.

Why the need to go on-site? 

“By visiting various sites and talking to water experts in the region, the team learned that a decentralized approach is more sensible at this time than a centralized approach that would require buy in from Israel and Palestine governments.  From the site visits, we also saw first hand the type of infrastructure currently in place, the topography of the area these communities live in, the size of their agricultural crops where processed greywater could be used on, and movement restrictions in the area, which are important factors to take into consideration when developing a recommendation that will be sustainable and long-lasting.” – Carlos Cedeno, MBA consulting team member 

The presence of MBA students as part of this project was crucial

“One of the first items that Clive Lipchin, the Director of the greywater projects, mentioned about the greywater systems was that they were not economically viable. Without a model that was fiscally sound, these solutions would not work long term. The MBA students took those comments to heart and worked tirelessly throughout the trip, in consultation with the other students, to come up with possible solutions.” - Project Advisor, Julie Weisman 

Benefits of a working on a multi-disciplinary consulting team

“Getting the opportunity to work with students in different disciplines has been one of my favorite parts about this project. The diverse experiences have not only been helpful in providing a wide range of expertise, but it has also forced us to work on clearly communicating our business ideas to group members who don’t share the same business backgrounds as our MBA classmates. As a result, I think that our experience has been even more representative of a professional consulting project because we have been forced to work across disciplines just as we will be expected to in our future careers.” - Patrick Gallice, MBA consulting team member 

Consulting team now working on a final collaborative report to present to Arava 

“Arava could also use our recommendations as a way to get government support for the work that they are doing, as well as to get businesses interested in taking over the implementation, construction, and maintenance of greywater reutilization projects, which would shift the Arava Institute to an overseer/policy role, which would change their current model dramatically.” – Carlos Cedeno 

Learn more about for-credit MBA global consulting practicum opportunities posted on the Office for Global Initiatives website.

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The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty masters, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.