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General Feedback – Personal Branding

                                                                                                  Programa GAIA

Master in Decision Making & Innovation

Hi, Gaians!

I would like to give you some general feedback about the activity of Personal Branding unit: Elevator Pitch. The objective of this activity was that the students learn how to present their Personal Brand in a video of less than one minute. The perfect elevator pitch should consist of 3 elements that complement each other.

Elevator pitch elements:

1. Who are you? Present yourself shortly: share your name and give some information about the school that you attended, your studies and your current work.

2. What are your major accomplishments, passions, and unique skills? Talk about your unique selling point and your skills in the interesting and engaging way. 

3. What do you want/ where are you going career-wise? Finally, you should talk about what you look for professionally. 

These 3 parts are very important and together give the complete information about us, our unique skills that differentiate us from other candidates and our career aspirations. We can also mention our passions and what is important to us, which would tell a recruiter what kind of person we are and if we match with the company philosophy and its values.

Watch the next video about creating impacting elevator pitches in real situations, which could help you in the future:


After watching your elevator pitches, I have noticed that many people have included only the minimum information. It is important to include all the information required in the 3 elements that together compose the elevator pitch. Other important factors, which weren´t taken into account in some recordings were: tone of voice and voice speed, body language, sound, lightening and video background. Please keep these things in mind for the future.

Practice, practice and practice!!! Remember that practice is the key to feel more confident and comfortable with your pitch. It is such a pity that we lose so many great opportunities, only because we are not enough prepared. Next time, when the opportunity appears, be prepared for it and take advantage of it

Academic Team

Gaia Program

General Feedback Project Appraisal

Gaia Program
Master in Decision Making & Innovation

Hi Gaians!

It has been a pleasure to be your mentor during this project appraisal module. I hope you have enjoyed it as well. This master program is about decision making, so we want you to have all the tools you need to decide if a project is worth doing or not. Project Appraisal aims at finding the most efficient way to achieve the project objective with the limited resources we have at our disposal. For this purpose, we have several tools such the one introduced in this workout: Financial Cost-Benefit Analysis.

Financial Cost-Benefit Analysis rests in calculating the present value of the future flows of projects. Here are the keys points to remember about discounting future flows to present value:   

  • Costs and benefits accumulate over the life of the project. We cannot compare the cost of year 1 to the benefit of year 10.
  • We must bring all the costs and all the benefits of the project during its lifetime to the present time.
  • The discount rate reflects the risks of the project and the opportunity cost.
  • Once we have discounted all the costs and benefits from all the years of the project, we can calculate the Net Present Value.
  • Net Present Value is the difference between the present value of benefits and the present value of costs, and it is the main metric to evaluate project profitability.

Also, There are several dimensions you must consider when calculating a cost-benefit analysis.

1) We are talking about the profitability of a project; therefore, we need to identify all the revenues and costs to see if the project has positive net cash flows (profits) or negative cash flows (losses).

2) We are evaluating the profitability in a given time frame. Therefore, we must analyze if this project is profitable during a time frame, and for this purpose we use NPV, discounting the project Net cash flows to present. If NPV is positive, it means the project is profitable.

3) IRR is the Rate at which NPV=0. The internal rate of return is used to evaluate the attractiveness of a project or investment. If the IRR of a new project exceeds a company’s required rate of return, that project is desirable.

So  IF IRR>Discount Rate, the project is desirable.

IF IRR<Discount Rate, the project is not desirable.

Finally, I would like to quickly summarize the keys of the workout. WifiMad was divided into two questions. One theory question regarding the steps to evaluate a project and a Cost-Benefit Analysis exercise.

You can find the steps to evaluate a project in your Project Appraisal Ebook: 1) project objective; 2) Identify alternatives; 3) Identify costs & benefits; 4) Assessing the cost & benefits of the project; 5) Calculate the Present Value; 6) Risk and uncertainty analysis; 7) Obtaining a measurement of profitability.

The main exercise in this workout was the Cost-Benefit Analysis. The 6 most common questions were:

  1. Calculation of replacement costs: You need to calculate the cost from year 1 to year 12 using the replacement rate over the accumulated number of kiosk deployed in the streets (722 in year 1, 1444 in year 2, 2166 from year 3 to year 12).
  2. Calculation of sponsorship revenues: Since it is a onetime revenue per kiosk, you need to calculate the revenue from year 1 to year 3 over the amounts of kiosks purchased every year (722 per year from years 1 to 3). They should be constant amounts every year.
  3. Calculation of Wifi Access, Electricity Consumption, and Sales Platforms: All these cost and revenue streams were presented in monthly terms, so you had to multiply by 12 to calculate yearly amounts.
  4. Discounting cash flows: Some of you asked about starting to discount at t=0 or in year 2. You must start discounting the cash flows in year 1. When we talk about year 1, it means at the end of the this year – one year from today (we do not use t=0 in this exercise).
  5. IRR calculation: some of you asked about calculating the IRR over the discounted cash flows instead of the net cash flows. Remember the IRR is the rate at which we discount the cash flows to get an NPV equal to 0. So we have to calculate the IRR over the original net cash flows of the project.
  6. IRR interpretation: Some of you stated that the IRR changes with a new discount rate. IRR does not change if we modify the discount rate because it depends on the original net cash flows of the project (that do not change with a different discount rate). In conclusion, IRR holds but our discount rate (opportunity cost) increases, so our discount rate gets closes to the project IRR meaning the project is less desirable than before.

Workout_CBA Exercise_Solutions-gaiaprogram

The power point presentation I prepared for you to solve this exercise contains all the required details to complete the cost-benefit analysis successfully. Remember that it has been uploaded to Project Appraisal unit>Contents section>page 3.

Best Regards,

Juan Martínez

Expert GAIA Program

General Feedback – Project Management

Programa GAIA

Master in Decision Making & Innovation

Hello Gaians!

We would like to congratulate all the teams that delivered the documents for the three projects they had to work on. Overall, it has been a brilliant work!

Ok, let’s focus on more details…

We intended that students enrolled in this compulsory unit were motivated as long as team-membership was set up on the condition of three students belonging to the same companies. It was possible almost in all cases.

On top of it, we announced that you were going to be part of a project with the potential of curing many human diseases editing the DNA using CRISPR technology.

We’re going to review the 7 deliverables we asked for. The assessment of these documents is based on specific Evaluation Criteria, described in the Activity Section.

An important skill for a Project Manager is to be able to focus on the important thing; those things that add value to the organization, and the value is to focus on the objectives. In doing so, you have to keep in mind that your goals were to upload the deliverables described in the workout. Nothing more, nothing less.

programa_gaia_febrero_ Feedback

Let’s see each of the deliverables:

1) Detailed Organization System setup.

When you start a project working in a virtual environment, it’s important to ensure a communication and document management system. It is because one of the most important skills in Project Management is communication, which does mean something more than talking much.

The main idea in this first point was that the groups stopped to think about the organization of the different tasks: who was going to do what and when? This first step was essential in order to have a clear idea about the timeline of the project and the organization in that timeline of the different tasks the group needed to develop to complete the 7 deliverables.

2) DO the risk matrix for the real project.

Risks means those issues that you can identify and define as potential issues that can have negatively influence in getting success, in trial tests for instance. There are positive issues that are called opportunities. The client understands that it is an innovative project and there isn’t any experience in managing this project… that’s why they have hired your team!!!

The main objective was that the group could identify those factors that could affect in a positive or negative way the real project: apply CRISPR technology in humans.

3) The survey exhibit for the FDA.

We know that many of you feel you have fallen into a trap because Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA) disease means you have to deal with blind people. Sorry, we did not tell you! Though a quick search on the Internet reveals it. Please bear in mind that, in Project Management, it is important to have the requirements clear; it’s the only way to align the company and client’s goals.

An old proverb says “None so blind as those who will not see”. And reminding this proverb I refer to you… Gaians. There were some groups that haven´t take into account that people with LCA can´t see so, in consequence, they cannot read, so they won´t be able to complete your survey. A Braille adapted version of your survey is the best way to solve this requirement 

4) DO the Kanban for China´s Health Authorities.

We noticed that most of your Kanban are quite elaborated. Remember that the main objective was to elaborate a Kanban for the Chinese authorities. In our personal opinion, we would have posted almost all the tasks in “to do” category. For those struggling with this part of the activity, please use a virtual Kanban tool. Here, you can find one for free and working offline: Kanban

5) A clear identification of the stakeholders for NHS’s project.

Apparently, it was one of the easiest deliverables. We demanded you the “identification” of the stakeholders. Some people provided a list, others add supporting reasons. An important stakeholder to take into account is the animal rights activists. Monkeys are primates. Our family! In addition, the tip provided by Marlon Molina in the Webinar could have helped you a lot: “Whoever can stop your project is a stakeholder”.

6) The REAL objectives and a REAL WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) detailed at least in 3 levels required by NHS.

WBS is a breakdown structure where you list all of the activities you need to develop the project, but in the last level for the WBS are the minimum efforts to deliver one activity o basic task. This structure is oriented to a hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the project team, because of that, there are levels to define and describe all of the work packages. Once you have the WBS, you will have to schedule these activities and maybe to develop a Gantt diagram; all of that is for a traditional Project Management. Remember that it was important to take into account the information about the breaking news of the NHS.

7) The Quality Assurance Plan and the Quality Control Plan required by NHS.

We are conscious this deliverable was quite challenging if teams had not elaborated a complete and articulate WBS. Let’s say the workouts’ reviews shed light on which teams did a formulation of the plans and which ones only reproduced the previous knowledge that team members had.

The Quality Assurance Plan establishes the independent reviews and checks that you need to ensure that the quality control is done. On the other hand the Control Quality Plan, is based on the internal reviews that you need to meet the quality goals and requirements.

All in all, bearing in mind that the challenge is one that most of recent graduates are not used to, I think most of the teams did a “decent” job.

I would consider hiring any of those teams. That’s a glimmer of hope for our society, which needless to say is in acute shortage of people able to understand and being interested in scientific progress and its application to our future.

Remember that, according to PMI, to be a good Project Manager, you don’t need to be an expert in the field or knowledge area of the project; you just need to be a good project manager and, according to Marlon Molina, control is the key.

Academic Team

GAIA Program

General Feedback – Skills That Matter

Programa GAIA

Master in Decision Making & Innovation

Hi, Gaians!

After you have submitted all the stages related with the unit Skills that Matter, we want to give you some feedback about this activity. But before we start with that, we would like to tell you that our main goal was that you learnt something worthy and that these contents meant something to you, have we got it?

This activity had many surprises and it required your attention if you wanted to be completely absorbed into it, let’s get started:

The first thing you received was a video of Chris Green, a CEO of Family Care Canada, this video was accompanied by a survey where you had to assess some items related with leadership skills (whether the CEO was competent, knowledgeable, likeable or strong). We will analyze your answers later on.

After you were done with the survey you had to read a whole case about Chris Green and then answer some questions related with leadership, decision making processes, leadership evaluation, leader characteristics and leadership effectiveness.

The goal of these questions was that you analyzed the decision Chris Green had to take about balancing short term need to execute a specific marketing campaign in a tight timeline versus respecting the values and beliefs of the member chapters. If you answered this question perfectly you will have talked about the risks, benefits and possible consequences of this decision. For example, extensive consultation with the chapters and board might take considerable time, extending the length of the decision-making process, thereby reducing the amount of time available for execution. Too much time spent in consultation could result in the campaign being of inferior quality, or not being delivered on time.

The question about the most important characteristics of a leader was interesting and totally subjective. It was curious how many of you used male role models when talking of a “good leader” and how many of you listed male leaders as good examples of leadership. It’s amazing how gender role stereotyping unconsciously influenced your answers.

Regarding the question about how effective the approach of Chris Green’s leadership was you had to take into account the context and think that in a non-profit organization, mission, values and collaboration have a much more significant role. It was perfect if you realised that Chris’ leadership approach works particularly well when there is time for extensive time for consultation and decision-making. More urgent decisions may require a more directive approach that Chris does not appear to feel comfortable with. Apart from that, you had to identify aspects like authenticity, moral reasoning, moral action, sense of mission and interconnectedness, vision, trust, and empowerment.

After you were done with this extensive analysis of Chris Green, the mystery was finally resolved. There were actually 4 different videos and each person got to see only one of them. You didn’t know that the rest of the videos even existed. The 4 videos had the exact same audio but the character was different and only one of them was the actual Chris Green, an African-Canadian woman. The rest of the videos were played by actors and there were: an African-Canadian man, a Caucasian woman and a Caucasian man.

These are the results of the first survey you filled in after watching the video you have been assigned:

Although the results were better than what we had in mind, this led to an interesting analysis,…

Let’s start with the issues you had to cover when you found out there were 4 videos and Chris Green was actually an African-Canadian woman.

You had to talk about the implicit leadership theories that we unconsciously hold and relate that with both cultural and personal experiences.

Some of you realised that these videos lowered your evaluations of the leaders when comparing to what you read the case at the beginning and others said that there were differences between the videos and that now you would answer these previous questions differently.

It was perfect if you talked about stereotypes, women’s leadership, cognitive biases and cultural influences as well.

Some of you talked about the differences among the videos and that may have affected your assessments (tone of voice, body language, appearance). All these details influence how we evaluate people, most of the times unconsciously.

We recommend that you take a look to the following “best” practices before evaluating anything. Biases exist and we have to learn to live with them:

  • Educate yourself and decision makers on bias. Raising awareness can reduce reliance on stereotypes.
  • Establish clear criteria in advance of making decisions.
  • Ask yourself about the criteria being used. Are these the right criteria for the decision? Or, do they unintentionally screen out certain candidates or outcomes?
  • Explain your decisions about people to others.

Before we reach the end we want to bring up the “privilege” topic. If you are both a Caucasian and a man, think about the following: one of the aspects of privilege is that we are often unaware of our privilege because it is normal to us. Since we aren’t aware that others are treated differently, because we do not have their experiences, we assume that our experience is the same as that of other groups. Do you agree?

Finally, we would like to challenge you to complete one of the following tests, do you dare?

General Feedback – Negotiation Models

Programa GAIA

Master in Decision Making & Innovation

Hi, Gaians!

To start with the Negotiation Models activity feedback, the most important step was to plan a good strategy and to think about all the questions you needed to ask the other side. Apart from that, you needed to be prepared for the toughest questions they may have asked you.

On the one hand, you were able to identify lots of interests from the other party and that’s a good point. Uncovering as many of the parties’ interests as possible and working together as partners rather than adversaries enables negotiators to identify mutual gains and discover and create more value overall.

Some of the possibilities you had to consider when identifying Larry’s interests were:

  • Work for an internet and social media company.
  • Feel happy, seen, attended to and cared for at work.
  • Get best position available in line with qualifications.
  • Avoid damaging future reputation.
  • Have growth opportunities.

Some of the possibilities you had to consider when identifying May’s interests were:

  • Hire a strong team player with drive.
  • Look good to her boss.
  • Enhance personal credibility.
  • Establish a good working rapport.

Talking about the different outcomes of the negotiation process, you did a good job on the whole. The negotiation processes were well organized and it was clear that you had researched and learnt your role at heart, good job!

It was interesting to see that some of you actually did not share all the interests with the other party while some of you did. We want you to reflect on the following questions:

  • For those who played Larry, did you tell May that you had another offer? Did you reveal that it wasn’t one that you were very interested in? Did you tell her about your debt or financial concerns? Why? Why not?
  • For those who played May, did you disclose to Larry that you put your reputation on the line to get approval to make him an offer or that you knew the offer was below the market and your company standard? Why? Why not?

Many negotiators fear that by disclosing information about their interests, they could weaken their position and enable the other side to take advantage of them. As a result, they tend to under-share information that could lead to higher value agreements. But, it is much easier for parties to construct proposals that satisfy the other side’s interests if they know what those interests are.

On the the other hand, you were too centered on the deal at hand and this could be a risky attitude at the end and can result in poor decision-making (getting more money today may mean getting less money next time).

Regarding the REVIEW questions, most of you (the parties who actually got better result in the negotiation) stated that your outcome was good because you got everything you wanted but you did not take into account the risk of attempting to get more money without legitimacy and thus risking losing the whole deal. If you were only focused on money, you probably lost the possibilities of creating more value, don’t you think so?

Taking into account the seven elements framework used to define the strategy we can say that a good outcome is one that:

  1. Is better than our Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement.
  2. Satisfies our interests well and theirs at least acceptably.
  3. Is among the best of many options.
  4. Is based on legitimacy so everyone feels it is fair.
  5. Is built on good communication.
  6. Contains well-planned commitments that are sufficient, realistic and operational.
  7. Improves the working relationship.

Finally, we want to take advantage of this opportunity and say that some of you had problems when recording their videos. In the future, we highly recommend that you test the platform you are going to use before the actual role-playing takes place, thus, you will avoid any unexpected event that may occur during the recording.  

I would now congratulate all of you for this activity, I am sure you have learnt a lot, we have, for sure!

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