Another day down here in the desert and we continued to work through the presentation. At one point, we had 113 slides between two presentations (we have two very different deliverables and thus decided to separate decks was the way to go). This may seem like a boatload of slides, and it is, but our project required us to provide the low level details of how to open a business. As a result, we had to include our go to market strategy and follow it through with the details of where to locate, who would work for it, how they would market themselves, etc. In the end, we were able to cut down a bit, but it was still a ton of slides.
During lunch, Travis and I decided to head out to pick something up. The second we walked outside, we were blasted with some of, if not, the most extreme heat we have seen on this trip. I had no idea what the temperature was when were out there, but I was sweating bullets. When we got back from our 20 minute walk to get food, and 20 minutes back, air conditioning never felt so good. Turns out it was 106 degrees, actual temperature, and felt like 115 degrees. I have never felt heat like that, and I wouldn’t mind never feeling that again.
After work, given the heat, Joey and I decided to make the most of it and walked over to the JBR beach for one last go round. Once again, one of the locals rode his camels up and down the beach trying to make a few dirham, and we just sat there and enjoyed the water and sun. It was a bit cooler with the sea breeze.
I then spent some time back at the condo packing up and trying to figure out how I can get my suit bag home without carrying it in Europe. The frustrating part is that I packed 2 suits, and many dress shirts and polos to support the business casual look we needed for the office. However, we only went to the office 3 times the entire trip. That is 3 of the 15 work days we had here. So…. most of the stuff I brought in my suit bag was a waste of space and dead weight to carry with me over the next couple weeks.
Anyway, I checked DHL, UPS, and FedEx, none of which would ship my bag (20 pounds) from here for less than $600(?!?). That is absolute insanity. I then tried United Cargo and they don’t accept cargo from individuals, you have to be a business. Finally, I found out that Barcelona’s airport has lockers you can rent, so it looks like that is the play. I still plan to investigate how much it would be to ship once I get to Barcelona.
To close out the last night I would be going out here in Dubai, Joey took me to a place called Barasty, which is a very large bar with multiple levels, live music in some places, DJ music in others. It was a fun way to close things out from a social perspective.
As Thursday came around, it was presentation day. All day was spent making changes to the presentations and trying to get it down the home stretch. We ended up hacking out 20 slides or so, but we still had a ton, and there was virtually no time to rehearse the presentation.
We headed up towards the Burj Khalifa one last time, and went up to the office to present. It seemed like our ideas went over pretty well, although it was a bit tough to gauge. The format of the presentation was that we had already presented the basis of the idea to the same group last week, so this was our chance to refine it and re-present it, and also to present the strategy deliverable for the first time. As the presentation ended, it started to set in, it was the last project I will have in the MBA program – and what an experience these two years have been.
In particular, the GAP program was a great capstone, personally and professionally. While I wish we could have gone to the office more, that part really didn’t matter that much. Our project challenged and empowered us to think like we were the CEO of a startup, a truly unique experience.
After the presentation, we headed back to the souq area to pick up our shirts. Thankfully all five of the shirts that we ordered were ready, and once again everyone was very excited about them. As I mentioned in my last piece, my shirt was a bit of a fashion statement (I found the fabric for the cuffs and collar and told the tailor I wanted to add them), but when in Dubai…. every time I wear this shirt in particular, but really for all three of the shirts I had made, they will have a great story.
Tonight is my last night here, and I really won’t be sleeping since my flight leaves at 4:45am for Cairo. I’m on Egyptair Flight 911. It’ll be really exciting to stop in Cairo and I’m hoping to see the pyramids from above. Fingers crossed its clear, and they are on my side of the plane. As I leave Dubai, there may be fewer posts, as I may not have ready internet access, as I had here. Stay tuned though, I’m looking forward to continuing the stories.
Farewell Dubai, it’s been fun!