Just after the Christmas break, as the GLOCALs of Cohort V began to familiarize themselves with the capital of Catalonia, they also started to work in a diverse range of local organizations as consultants. This opportunity, facilitated by the University of Barcelona, was not a very lengthy one, but undoubtedly served as an excellent opportunity for the students to expand their network and learn about the business, technological, and administrative ecosystems of Barcelona.
Analyzing Barcelona's blockchain ecosystem
SzuTung Chen, Ilayda Tenim, Jonny Amon, and Spencer Long worked as consultants in Pla Estratègic Metropolità de Barcelona (PEMB), which is a local non-profit organization, aiming to formulate the 2030 Barcelona Metropolitan Strategic Plan. The team was tasked with researching how Barcelona can harness blockchain technology to become a hub for sustainability, economic progress, and social justice. After several interviews with stakeholders and spokespersons of relevant organizations, conducting an in-depth landscape analysis of the blockchain ecosystem within the Barcelona metropolitan area, and exploring the mid-term possibilities of blockchain applications for the use of sustainable supply chain management and urban mobility, the GLOCAL consultant team came up with a detailed report.
When we spoke to SzuTung Chen about the experience of working in PEMB, she stated, “Thanks to this experience, we became more connected to the city as we had to detect and analyze Barcelona’s current pain points regarding supply chain and urban mobility. In addition, our in-depth interviews gave us the opportunity to get to know key players within Barcelona’s the entrepreneurial scene.”
Studying the French market for the implementation of eco-parklets
Meanwhile, another GLOCAL consultant, Betty Guo, applauded her consultancy opportunity for providing perspective on how closely the world economy is linked. Betty Guo, along with Johan Velasco and Tabassum Islam, worked for Hortaliá, which is a local business entity providing solutions for horticulture and gardening. Even though Hortaliá has a variety of products within its portfolio, their cash cow in Spain has been eco-parklets. In fact, the company has been looking forward to expanding its market for this very product into France. That is why the project for Betty’s group was to conduct an in-depth market analysis of France for Hortaliá’s eco-parklets.
In doing so, the group did not only study administrative regulations and run a survey among the consumer base within the French market, but they also had to understand how the equivalent entities work and react in the Spanish market as well. This comparing and contrasting of market opportunities in two different countries — Spain and France, along with a detailed view of how Hortaliá sources their products from multiple countries including the USA and China — provided the consultants with excellent exposure to the interconnectedness of global business.
Creating an European income expenditure database and analysis model
Another group, consisting of Cheuk Wing Ho, Denggaofeng Pan and Conrad de Jager, worked as consultants for Micro, pequeña y mediana empresa de Catalunya (PIMEC). Their project was to take on a full-scale data collection project to create a sustainable European income and expenditure database and analysis model. While talking about the project, which was very much much focused on budget and taxation, Pan noted, “Our database consists of mainly European countries and includes five major economies outside the European Union. Our database can be used by a variety of users in different industries. It enables users to acquire data, information, and insights easily so that they can develop an accurate understanding of related matters.”
Establishing a framework to measure the socioeconomic impact of a co-working company
Yan-Yin Chow, who worked in Sinèrgics, the first co-working company in Barcelona, applauded her consulting experience for giving consultants freedom and space, which, in her opinion, can enable students to start from scratch and solve real-life challenges in creative ways. This project, assigned to Yan-Yin Chow, Marie Gilson, and Nuria Peregrin, was focused on establishing a framework to measure the co-working company’s socioeconomic impact in its neighborhood.
Conducting a policy analysis on legislation for short-term subletting
Another group of GLOCALs consisting of Evelina Buzaite, Ivy Duan, Karlijn Loeven, and Manuel Löw also worked with Pla Estratègic Metropolità de Barcelona (PEMB) as consultants to contribute to the non-profit’s “Strategic Plan of the Barcelona Metropolitan Region.” The team’s project consisted of a policy analysis on the legislation of short-term subletting in the city — an issue that has gained social and political momentum in recent years, as the persistently high number of annual tourists becomes a burden for the city, and especially the housing market. On his consulting experience, Manuel Löw said, “As a team, we engaged with different stakeholders in the city, such as host advocacy groups for short-term subletting, and also conducted an analysis of best practices in comparable European cities.”
In sum, these consultancy projects in association with various Catalonian organizations gave the fifth cohort of GLOCAL students an educational and rewarding real-life experience, allowing them to implement their expertise and knowledge within an unfamiliar environment. The projects also allowed students to work and collaborate with a team, to formally present their final output to mentors and educators, and to create something tangible and creative for organizations to use in the future.