Lalit Peddakota (MBA 2013-14) sums up his recent Global Consulting Project experience-consulting for Japan Tobacco International. The Global Consulting Project sees MBAs form high calibre teams to tackle real issues faced by global clients.

Pre-MBA Role: Pharmaceutical Scientist/Engineer

Global Consulting Project Title: Business strategy planning for JTI’s global cigar business

Global Consulting Project Locations: Geneva, Switzerland; Tokyo, Japan; Cambridge, UK.

Sum up your GCP aims in a sentence:

To assess JTI’s global cigar business and provide them with an actionable expansion strategy (by M&A and organic growth).

How did you apply what you have learnt on the MBA course so far to the GCP?

We used various databases available from the school, especially Euromonitor and Factiva. We used ideas and skills obtained from several courses: Accounting (analysing balance sheets, P&L statements), Corporate Strategy (valuation ratios and multiples), Management Science (using pivot tables), Strategy (frameworks, assessing competitive advantage), Marketing (Brand positioning, market segmentation) and Management Practice (how to work effectively with a diverse team – China, Japan, Turkey, India and Brazil).

What is your stand out moment from the GCP so far?

Our final presentation was delivered in the corporate boardroom on the top floor of our client’s corporate HQ. The room had floor to ceiling glass walls with commanding views over the city of Tokyo.

What was the view from your window while on GCP?    

During our trips our views from the hotel overlooked Lake Geneva or the neighbourhood of Roppongi in Tokyo, depending on location.

Any culture shocks or funny moments?

Learning peculiarities of Japanese business culture; for example, calling our mentor by his last name followed by the suffix “san” as a sign of respect and not knowing whether to bow or shake hands with the senior company executives we met in Tokyo.

Sum up your team members’ strengths in three words?

Hardworking, patient and committed

What makes a good consultant?      

The ability to refine the scope of the issue and consistently over-deliver.

What makes a good traveller?

The ability to quickly identify the cheapest place to buy souvenirs, to expertly hide your true feelings when you taste “interesting” local foods and to always track your cab’s route on your phone just in case your driver decides to take you for an unsolicited tour of the city.

Who would you invite to your dream global diner party and where would it take place?

I would invite the world’s greatest sushi chef Jiro to cook for me at the famous Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. President and Mrs Obama can come too.

What did you miss about Cambridge?      

English Breakfast at Wolfson.

What is your most treasured item of luggage?   

My travel eye mask and ear plugs.