Experience Library

Though every business situation is unique, it is rare that we are confronted by a case where some past experience was not of direct relevance to formulating a path forward.

From our advisor's experience library of over 700 projects please find 50 examples of engagements delivered in the following industry sectors: 


Agribusiness & Natural Resources

Organization "Pretty up" and Orchestration of an Oil & Gas Exploration and Development Company's IPO on NASDAQ

Working 4 months ahead of the Lead Underwriter's and Lead Counsel's engagement, the challenge was to organize and "clean up" 10 years worth of drilling partnerships, land records, and corporate documentation. Utilizing due diligence checklists from prior underwriting situations, a prioritized plan of 1,400 activities was created to guide the contributions of 20 senior staff. A war room of 4,000 documents and a Transaction Overview of 300 pages was produced in advance of the Kick-off. With the process organization so advance by the Kickoff, the Company's Executive team was able to have greater control over the process, versus other possible arrangements that would have resulted in a lower offering price. The IPO successful occurred in 2004.

Rural Agricultural Outputs and Inputs Evaluation to Quantify Agricultural Sector Reform Progress for a Multinational Donor

A primary market research and analysis program undertaken throughout Ukraine aimed at assessing the progress of land privatization, producer cooperatives, and to pinpoint weaknesses in the agricultural production value chain. Over 250 villages visited in 6 regions, generating over 10,000 data points. Data and subsequent analysis used to fine-tune program designs, and to revamp data collection methodologies for future evaluations.

Investment Opportunity evaluation of the Chilean Timber Industry and its potential for forestry products to the US Market

Working with international timber industry experts and the founders, the evaluation team conducted a systematic review of the marketplace and its potential attractiveness to new entrants. Evaluation involved a combination of industry interviews, distributor interviews and potential customer "product concept" tests to confirm project viability.

Global study of the prevalence and scale of Country-sponsored transaction funding in the Timber and Forest-Products Investment Arena

Joining forces with the Government Affairs team of the US' timber and forestry-products association, the challenge was to document 60 years of export funding that 7 major governments had provided to their industry as a means to increasing their global competitiveness. Working with databases and public finance records from around the world, the team was able to identify more than 4,500 funding events spanning more than 100 countries. The results became a cornerstone of a political action aimed at leveling the playing field for US producers.

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Arts, Education and Culture

Cultural Preservation Program aimed at preserving the Cultural-heritage Assets in 25 Countries across Africa and South-Asia

On behalf of a multi-national foundation, a team of experts was assembled to determine the scope of work dimensions, funding mechanisms, and operating options as necessary to implement a large scale effort in cultural-heritage preservation in countries where economic constraints made such national investments difficult. The work involved all aspects of implementation: from procurement, through collections management, conservation, display, interpretation, property rights, and commercialization.

National Youth Sports and Physical Education Initiative to counter the National Obesity Epidemic in a Prominent Muslim Country

On a mandate from the Ministry of Education, the challenge was to design a national program from the ground-up where 7 million youth could be positively impacted in less than 10 years. Drawing on a global network of sports development leaders, a "think tank" of 25 contributors including global sports industry leaders, leading sport associations, and independent experts was built. A core team then developed the necessary business case, national philosophy and vision, program development objectives, and the detailed designs for the programs, budgets and sequencing necessary to fast-track participation in the hundreds of thousands, and generate impact at the national level.

Emerging Markets Experience Program for US Graduate Students

Over the course of a decade, members of our group have evolved what is now a structured 10-week on-the-job learning experience for US business school students. The work involves the hands-on development and delivery of a business project for an operation in emerging markets. One of the keys to the program is the use of a Skills-Knowledge-Experience inventory process whereby each participant evaluates their capabilities at the onset, and through lectures, brown-bags, and on-the-job work, rapidly advances their skill base by the conclusion of the work. Approximately 350 students have benefited from this program over the past decade.

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Associations & Foundations

Building the Project Evaluation and Funding function for a Global Humanitarian Foundation based in London, UK

On behalf of an ultra-high net worth family, the challenge was to establish a team and processes as necessary to rapidly evaluate 700+ humanitarian project funding opportunities on 3 continents, without a degradation in due diligence depth. Our experts were responsible for an innovative learning experience that saw the creation of a temporary team of 145 graduate school interns, whose project due diligence efforts could be guided by a small team of full-time senior professionals. Evaluation processes were established, and through the application of standardized systems and methods, the application portfolio was processed through to a final funding budget in under 3 months.

Project Management Education Foundation and the leadership of a

Global Post-Disaster Project Management Methodology Development

Following the South Asian Tsunami of 2004, our expert was recruited to join the Steering Committee for a global professional effort to support recovery and reconstruction in Southeast Asia. Working virtually with professionals from 14 countries, the challenge was to educate team leaders in post-disaster management settings. Utilizing case studies and personal experiences, our experts helped train, and then strategically direct the methodology development teams based on rare and hard-to-find best practice information. The work was published and is now in use in more than 25 countries around the world.

Establishing a National Business Association from the Ground Up in an Emerging Market

Over the course of 12 months, our experts lead the day-to-day effort to create a national franchise association in a country of 130 million, where none had existed previously. The work involved the recruitment and coordination of both international and local founding members, the legal formation, the planning and budgeting effort, and the revenue model development. The association was launched at the global annual industry convention, and remains a positive force 7 years on.

Post-Disaster Advance Coordination Framework development for Global Implementation in National Recovery and Reconstruction Settings

Following the success of a prior engagement, one of our experts presently heads a Steering Committee on disaster response coordination, and helps guide an expanded international team of project management professionals working to improve coordination between international, national and government bodies during the response to major disasters. Part of this work involves serving as the primary link between the project and the disaster risk management industry, and the regular surveying of the industry's views and opinions on the framework and its development. A by-product of this effort has been the formulation of new volunteer care guidelines that reflect the changing attitudes and expectations of high-profile volunteers.

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Banking, Investments and Capital Markets

New Bank Product Designs and Customer Account Management Approach in a fluid Banking and Financial Services Marketplace for an Up & Coming Bank

The challenge for a rapidly growing full-service bank in Moscow, Russia was to understand what products were most sought after by the existing customer base. Starting with account holder records, the experts began analyzing data to only discover large-scale inaccuracies and missing fields. Working with all branch managers, a data collection effort was launched to redo 100% of all account holders records by interviewing 100% of the visiting customers. Then, with a strong field force in place, the branch managers were used to conduct more in-depth "usage & attitude" surveys and an "unmet needs" study. What was learned was that the existing silos – retail consumers, corporate business and investment banking – were not cross-selling and bridging effectively in an environment where the customer needed all three types of core banking services. The work lead to a restructuring of account management, selling, and product development functions.

Strategies for Adopting new Accounting Rules and Regulations and their impact on a Newly Opened Economy in the Balkans

Working with the Office of the Chief Economist at the Securities & Exchange Commission in the United States, our on-the-ground expert became a focal point for one Balkan country's national debate surrounding which system of accounting would be best for a country that had recently emerged from 70 years of communism and a restricted capital markets. Through a process of white papers, speeches in Parliament and close-door sessions with the Prime Minister and his key cabinet officials, a national-scale misstep was avoided, and a technical assistance program was funded to allow for a more thorough debate and consideration.

Impact Evaluation and Project Turn-around Planning for a Multi-lateral Bank-funded, Micro-Credit Lending initiative in a New Central Asian Republic

In support of a multinational donor agency, the experts were responsible for conducts audits and surveys of management and operation among all Multi-lateral bank-funded micro lenders (50+ units nationwide), to evaluate the current status and performance. The work identified critical governance shortfalls and failed credit controls that led to the restructuring of the national project.

Business and Operations Planning for a Billion-dollar Sovereign Wealth Fund to be launched by two Middle Eastern Kingdoms

On behalf of the CEO of the National Investment Company, our experts were an integral part of the team that created the comprehensive business and operating plan for the shareholders that drew on hard-to-find "best practices" in the sovereign wealth fund industry. Touching on all operating dimensions – from organization & leadership to risk management & funding – the plan became the basis of the shareholders agreement and the blue print for its formal launch.

Concept Testing and Implementation Planning for a Central-bank funded SME / Franchise Business Venture Fund to Stimulate Business Ownership in Malaysia

Working with franchise and small business experts, the task was to analyze available funding sources for SMEs and Franchisees, and to plot the gaps such that the Central bank's efforts could be appropriately directed. The work resulted in a national round table where representatives of 20 banks engaged with the Central Bank's planners to formulate a gameplan for improved lending to this sector. Of critical importance was the work with individual bank committees on effective lending risk profiling for SME and franchise business opportunities.

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Computer Technologies & MIS

Global competitive assessment for Gallium-Arsenide Wafer Production as a basis for Advanced Micro-processors

On behalf of an Asian manufacturer / investor group, the assignment was to gather real-time competitive intelligence on the major player's plans for advancing the micro-processor marketplace, with investments in a more advanced substrate for chips (gallium-arsenide). The team became fluent in the benefits attributable to the various substrates, and through a global research effort (conforming to SOCRP standards) gathered extensive data on the competition's view and plans. The intelligence collected triggered a re-thinking of the investment, saving hundreds of millions of dollars.

Business Development for a Major Offshore Software Development House

Working with the marketing and sales team of this Indian powerhouse, our challenge was to secure access to CIO's at major US-based companies, and to sell outsources software production capability. Members of our team helped engineer the plan and the marketing materials, and then lead the effort to break into the highest ranks of CIOs in the country. The program ran successfully for 18 months, until the North American management felt capable of taking over.

Five Year IT Strategic Plan for the US Department of Labor

Members of our team were brought in to fast track the completion of the 27-agencies, IT plan on behalf of the Department's CIO. This effort occurred at a time when the President's Management Agenda was not yet fully understood, and the message from the Secretary of the Department was to "not screw up" and jeopardize the Department's chances of achieving "All Green". Our team members rationalized all of the legislative and executive mandates, into a clear "checklist" of required items and set about producing a compliant plan. The strategy for the plan and it contents were presented to the Department's office, bureau and agency heads in such a manner that final approvals came quickly and with minimal debate.

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Consumer Goods & Services

Brand Health Monitoring Methodology to better manage a 15-country Strategic Brand Rollout for a World Leading FMCG Company.

Our experts headed 28 separate product studies through a multi-wave brand equity analysis based on complex quantitative primary market research conducted across the major urban centers of Russia and the CIS. The methodology that was developed over the course of 2 years involved re-combination of three standard consumer surveying tools into a single "dash board" style view of the "Brand's Health". Similar in concept to the Millward Brown tool, this methodology represented an advancement over existing approaches. After two years of pilot operations, the model was adopted as the company's "gold standard" for brand performance research.

Inside Russia: the first-ever National Household Lifestyle Survey to analyze the Russian Consumer Marketplace

Designed following standard lifestyle surveys employed in many developed countries, the challenge was to implement the same type of study with 400 questions across 250 cities and 30,000 households at the same point in time. Utilizing a series of pilot and field force testing, the survey instrument and field force were developed such that a simultaneous snap shot of the 136 million person marketplace could be made to ESOMAR standards. The ensuing data became the foundation of the most insightful and accurate study of the Russian consumer market in existence. The work was widely quoted by industry and news services on a global basis for nearly two years.

Quantitative and Qualitative Consumer Research studies to support Brand Development and Management Decisions for FMCG and Luxury Goods

Market Demand / Market Opportunity Study for the purchase of an international license to open and operate a national chain of consumer goods stores in the Middle East. (Children's toys, Children's entertainment). Primary market research, competitive intelligence gathering, and associated market opportunity consultancy.

Market Demand / Market Opportunity Study to support the acquisition of the license to establish a globally-renowned "family entertainment" resort concept. Primary market research, competitive intelligence gathering, and associated market opportunity consultancy.

B2B Study of Fixed Telecommunications market – Size, usage volume, existing equipment, usage & attitude, investment, purchase intent and associated business interpretation for the members of the Investment Steering Committee.

National assessment of the US Rowing Marketplace – Size, Segmentation, Behaviors, Motivations, Usage & Attitude, Product Penetration, Spending, Purchase intent and associated consultancy with the 20+ syndicated study participants.

B2B Performance Benchmarking / Oil &Gas, Retailing, Banking Services –multiple benchmarking and process improvement programs for leading western and local firms. Primary operations research and associated performance evaluation consultancy.

Market Opportunity Study for the market potential following the acquisition of Flat Glass Production –post-acquisition marketing consultants on an international market demand / market opportunity study for the manufacturing of flat glass in Russia.

Consumer Usage & Attitude / Consumer Lifestyle – Headed analysis of the first national lifestyle survey in Russia. (10,000 households) that became the basis for formulating highly-accurate market demand / market size estimations for more than 50 "blue-chip" companies seeking to enter the market.

Market Demand / Market Opportunity Assessment for 3M's contemplated investment in Occupational health and safety equipment manufacturing. Primary B2B market research, competitive intelligence gathering, and associated market opportunity consultancy.

Market Demand / Market Opportunity Study for the establishment of national distribution network for Ford Motor Cars in Russia. Primary market research, concept testing, competitive intelligence gathering, and associated market opportunity consultancy.

Market Evaluation / Business Case for the creation of a personal cosmetics manufacturing facilities in Egypt and Saudi Arabia (soaps, shampoo, etc.) Primary market research, concept testing, competitive intelligence gathering, and associated market opportunity consultancy.

Interim General Management for the Master Franchise Holder of a leading International Restaurant Franchise in Europe

Hired at the outset by the Master Franchisee, the challenge was to rapidly build out the national franchise operation from scratch. One of our team members became the acting General Manager and lead all development efforts – from site selection and acquisition, through recruitment and sourcing. As one of the first international franchises into the country, our expert was required to pioneer in areas where few had gone before: import duty negotiations, accounting treatment of royalties and training expenses, soft vegetable production, and site ownership complexities.

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Governments & Multilateral Organizations

Pan-African Country Evaluation Program to Quantify Private Sector Investment Potential for Privately-funded Healthcare Sector Investments

To help launch a coordinated initiative for investing in Africa, one of our experts initiated and oversaw an All-Africa research and analysis program that produced one of the first ever Investor Attractiveness Roadmaps for the entire African continent. Ultimately making use of 6,500 validated data points produced over the course of thousands of research hours, the 20-person team ultimately created a sophisticated weighted factor model that quantitatively ranked all 47 African countries on key investor dimensions for private healthcare initiatives. This work was praised for its pioneering nature at a global investment congress on Africa and was subsequently published in a variety of international healthcare journals.

National Administrative Reform Program and Budget for the Office of the Prime Minister, Council of Ministers and Parliament of Bulgaria

Early on the path towards ascension into the European Community, one of our experts served Prime Minister Zhan Videnov as his Special Coordinator and Planner for a critical government-wide Administrative Reform initiative. Calling on government leaders across a number of other European nations to share their experiences, our advisor was able to understand the key program elements and sequencing necessary to balance national and community interests. He helped establish a National Steering committee and served as the committee's senior most program planning and budgeting specialist. His 700-element work program along with its 110M Euro budget was approved by Parliament and funded by the European Union in full. The reform program our expert played a major role in drafting, served as a foundation effort that allowed the country to qualify for joining the European Community in 2009.

National Foreign Direct Investment and Economic Development Program,

Economic Committee of the Council of Ministers, Kingdom of Jordan

Finding an innovative solution for how a country with Jordan's profile could rapidly increase its share of foreign direct investment, one of our specialists was the architect of a highly practical direct investment promotion program that was selected by the Council of Ministers over six competing solutions. Our expert was able to demonstrate through quantitative analysis that superior investment results could be achieved in the absence of investment policy reforms if the effort was commercially focused. The program, which was launched in 2006, has developed private sector investment opportunities in 15 different economic areas. It has become the backbone of the Jordan Investment Board's current activities and is reputed to have already generated tens of millions of dollars of new foreign direct investment.

IT Strategic Planning and Strategic Planning Process Facilitation,

Office of the CIO, U. S. Department of Labor and its 27 Agencies

In a difficult project turn-around setting, one of our experts took charge of the IT Strategy Plan development in midstream for the U.S. Department of Labor (12,000 employees) and its 27 independently-managed Bureaus, Agencies and Offices. Over a three-month period, he and his team helped reshape the strategic direction of the Department in regards to IT and IT shared services. Initiatives and frameworks were clarified, and the team facilitated a consensus among all 27 internal customer groups as to the scope, direction and commonalities to be pursued over the next five years. He provided expert advice on business transformation, shared service development and federal standards. Most importantly, where others failed to achieve consensus in the development and application of shared services, standards and organizational priorities; our experts were able to remove the roadblocks and forge a coalition of interests leading to major inter-agency cooperative initiatives. The team was rewarded with the highest possible Contractor Performance rating, a perfect score on all performance dimensions.

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Infrastructure, Transportation & Real Estate

Evaluation and Investment Case for a Substantial New Resort Community Development in a high-growth area of the Middle East Tourism (NEW 2011)

Working as part of a multi-disciplinary team, the challenge was to rapidly evaluate the performance of the multi-billion dollar development and to forecast its potential in the increasingly competitive marketplace. The work involved a substantial volume of consumer and industry interviewing to establish segments, motivations and unmet needs of the existing customer base and to summarize the findings into a succinct Board-level investment business case. A non-deal specific roadshow was produced and given to a room of 10+ potential investors precipitating Expressions of Interest to begin the due diligence process for potential involvement.

Corporate Strategy and Strategic Investment plan for a $1B real estate investment initiative, Major Industrial & Commercial Group, Saudi Arabia

Beginning with an analysis of the land holdings and their valuation to current market prices, the challenge for the team was to answer for the Board of Directors: What needs to happen next? Through the systematic analysis of the marketplace – an effort than involved several thousand consumer and industry interviews – it was determined that the best strategy options were the ones where many of the land assets were placed in a land bank, while the immediate priorities get shifted to easier-to-develop properties by their own internal resources.

Urban Regeneration Program (suite of real estate development opportunities) in the Mid-Western United States

Our experts helped a consortium of prominent real estate developers and construction firms to redefine a set of stalled real estate development projects into a comprehensive suite of highly-attractive investment opportunities. By standardizing each of the nine projects through a common set of investment evaluation criteria and offering guidelines, a diversified, yet unified, investment portfolio was created. With this diversification, a lower overall risk profile was achieved and a more attractive deal was presented to domestic and international finance sources. The investment portfolio presentation our experts helped create went on to become the lead investment promotion piece for the consortium, and the source of its final financing deal.

Management Guidelines for Ultra-large Transportation Construction Projects, Consortium of Governments and Investors in the Kunming-Singapore Rail Project

Working on behalf of a national government and a consortium of private sector investors, the challenge our experts undertook was to analyze the sources of failure from among the ultra-large transportation construction projects. Case studies were performed on project ranging from the construction of the Panama Canal to the Boston Inter-City Connector (The Big Dig), from the Channel Tunnel to the Athens Metro. Interviews were conducted with the executives-in-charge at the time of project initiation to collect perspectives on what organization, standards, systems and decision-making could have been improved in the earliest stages of the projects. The information captured from these unique sources went to establishing a set of management guidelines that has been implemented in a number of high profile construction project settings.

New Community Planning and Development Initiative for an ultra-large property in Central Florida, United States

On behalf of the land owners, a multi-year initiative was undertaken to plan the sale of the largest privately-held farm/ranch in the United States to a purposely-formed master developer for the creation of large-scale affordable residential and mixed use communities in Central Florida. Still underway after several years of effort, the job involves managing the politics, investment banking, and pre-transaction planning such that the ethical interests of the seller can be fully maintained in the post-transaction setting.

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Manufacturing & Industry

Targeting and Ober-Due Diligence on a Flat Glass Production Capacity in the Russian Federation

On behalf of the European Investment banks and their client, a world leading French Glass Manufacturer, the challenge was to identify and conduct primary due diligence on 11 flat glass manufacturers spread across Russia and its 15 republics. This work occurred at a time before any equity research norms had been established in the country, and where many risk uncommon to Europe existed. Working with an appropriate "all-risk-considered" due diligence checklist and process (bearing little resemblance to a development market checklist and process) our experts headed the teams and highly-risky fieldwork that evaluated each of the target's potential. Ultimately, this intelligence collection allowed for the identification of the target with the lowest total risk profile. On the basis of this work the acquisition effort went forward with "eyes opened" and the target was successfully acquired 14 months later.

Turnaround and Strategic Growth for an East European Textile Manufacturer

In the setting of a recently "free" Eastern European country, members of our team (under Rene Classen, our founder) took over the leadership of a 1,200 person textile factory in rural Bulgaria. Through a process of redirecting assets towards the production of higher margin products, and the complete overall of marketing and sales efforts, the businesses revenue double in each of three years. The business was ultimately repositioned as a boutique manufacturer with sales to the top luxury spa, club and resort destinations in the US. It took over the production of both robes for two globally-recognized fashion designers, ultimately winning a coveted Macy's "Mothers Day" order. Through trade finance arranged with a major Korean Banking institution, the company became a national success story at the time when such positive economic press was essential to the new democratically-elected leadership.

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Telecommunications & Media

Strategy for the Distribution of Wholesale Telecomm Services and a National Distribution Network Build-out Plan

Working across 12 time zones, the challenge was to come up with a new and practical distribution strategy for a new telecomm service, where the global distribution strategy was inadequate given Russia's circumstance at the time. Through extensive travel and leg work, 800 functioning sales points were identified and an 11 channel strategy was developed.

Strategy and design of consumer and business service distribution systems across India, China, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America

Following the successful "tackling" of the Russian and CIS distribution planning problem, our experts were asked to participate in the planning for four other key global regions. Lessons learned from the Russian distribution planning experience were documented, and the tools and techniques used to build the distribution network were standardized for applications in four other geographies: India, China, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

Business Case formation and Presentation to Global Telecommunications Investors for profitable Rural Telephony Options

Chief Architect and Head of Planning for the global application of a series of standardized community telecomm products (fixed and wireless local loop) for rural / remote applications. Produced detailed geography-specific project financials, operations specifications, and product performance specifications. Analyzed rural telephony operations in 28 lowest-income countries to establish rural telephony service, product, operations and financial benchmarks.

Post-merger Integration of a Content Provider with a Media Distributor in India

In an M&A setting, one of our experts was retained to aid the "David" in a "David and Goliath" styled merger between a New York-based content provider and Mumbai-based Cable Television operator. Over the course of 7 months, a transaction was assembled and our expert – by nature of their organizing and planning skills – was seconded to Mumbai to orchestrate the full integration of the two operations in a post-merger setting. Ultimately, our expert helped direct a 30-person team working across 9 core business functions, through a 6-month post-merger integration effort.

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Tourism, Leisure & Entertainment

National Tourism Sector Recovery Program for a World Leader in Cultural-Heritage Tourism (NEW 2011)

Long before certainty returned to the national political landscape, members of our team began assembling the recovery approach and programmatic planning necessary for Egypt's Tourism Sector to recover from its early 2011 Lotus Revolution. Our experts are engaged in the creation of a master "recovery vision" , the gathering of relevant case studies in other post-disaster tourism recovery settings and the macro level game planning to bring public, private, banking and donor interests together for a coordinated, strategic objective-aligned national scale effort.

National Tourism Development Corporation, Business Plan and Public-Private Partnership Investment Strategy in Tourism

Through extensive research and comparative market analysis, our experts were able to demonstrate to the Council of Ministers that the Kingdom of Jordan could increase its direct tourism receipts by more than 250% through a coordinated program of investment through public-private partnerships at key sites. Working with steering committee members, key industry executives, legislative drafters, and politicians, our experts helped broker an agreement across the various constituencies regarding scope, funding, project priorities and sequencing of investment tranches. This work formed the backbone of the legislative earmarking of $50M to launch the country's National Tourism Development Corporation.

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