By Tom Kwok Kam Hei
Progress this far
After these 3 weeks (well, the third week hasn’t passed but it already feels like so), our project is probably blessed by some unknown high power as our progress is so smooth, to an extent that both Blessing and I are astounded. (Perhaps it is because my teammate’s name is Blessing?) I would love to talk firstly about our project and then focus on my personal feeling throughout the whole project as I guess the readers won’t be so curious on too much technical stuff right?
Last time when we meet with Carmen, we showed her the excel template and she replied she would put it into practice the moment we sent her as we mentioned more about simply the benefits of such record keeping system but also the more benefits that such record keeping system would incur in other areas, for example, at least it is easier for their sons, who are described as lazy, to keep track of the business as the excel makes everything easier. We also come up with a rather detailed plan on promotions as well as studio shooting which involves purchase of props and marketing on Facebook, etc.
She has been really open-minded and willing to change so as to boost the business. Her accepting attitude really strikes us with surprise as she had been so reluctant even to review information about the business during our first meeting. We didn’t expect we can go this far due to the language difference, cultural difference and our limited knowledge in photo studio business.
Feelings throughout the whole consultation
This is my first experience in consulting. To me, consulting is something grand and fabulous yet also something I wouldn’t touch in my whole life I guess. I haven’t been super interested in consulting for my whole life. You may ask why would I take this course but isn’t the answer obvious? First of all, I took it as I want to gain a first-handed experience in consulting and it is because the course took place in Philippines. To be honest, each of us need to broaden our vision not only by reading, studying but also to fully immerse ourselves to various new environment. Not only can this help us to gain an understanding of the business environment more clearly but also understand the business cultural practice. Take my business as an example, business here are really sensitive in terms of taxation, as a role of consulting, we may be required firstly not to gather information about the business but to gain their trust. Such practice may be minimal when it compares with businesses in Hong Kong but it is just one blatant example.
Moreover, our experience of living with the host family helped us a lot. (Well, I know this is obvious as I have mentioned in my previous blog but in this sentence I am referring to the business consultation part) As we may not know what is considered trendy and what is not, it may be hard for us to implement changes and to promote new products. Nonetheless, the experience with my host enables me to directly ask them what they prefer and will a certain thing be considered trendy. Just as an example, the photo studio taking, which is so popular in Hong Kong, we asked those teenagers in our host family do they like it, will they take the picture if the price is set at a certain level, what will their concern be, etc. All these helped a lot and those kind of questions can also be answered by their friends as well.
What I have learnt
My major in Hong Kong in quantitative finance, it is mainly mathematics and various mathematical financial models. I don’t really have the opportunity to put things I learnt into practice. Nonetheless, in Bohol, I am given a task which is completely new to me, as an example, marketing tactics, accounting, product innovation. All these are like opening a new door to me as I need to think not from a theoretical perspective but a practical perspective like how can it have a rather instant impact or how to sustain such growth of the business. Such experience is quite new and exciting. Although it is something unfamiliar, I enjoyed researching on Facebook promotion as well as re-familiarizing myself of basic accounting. Moreover, it is the innovation part that interests me the most as it is something I can relate to my normal daily life, I could ask my friends, both girls and guys, what they normally do and think they would do in the photo studio, it is not only the excitement of Carmen adopting our ideas but also the idea of teenagers in Bohol would now be able to experience something more fun.
As this is the final blog for this trip I would love to say a few more words about basically everything. I lost over 8kg in 2 weeks, which is a good thing as I got a healthier lifestyle, I played basketball more often than I did in Hong Kong. I also get a rather weird eating habit from one of our groupmates, Fion, as the food here is quite salty, I started washing all the food in water before I eat it. I have been mistakenly recognized as Filipinos here several times, probably because of the dark skin tone I got under the sun. I love the people here, I love the sea, I love the fish, I love everything. It had been a really nice experience and I would like to come back again in the future.