Designing a handbag at HBS?

Yes, this is what we are doing, as incongruous as it may seem. This is our team’s task for the FIELD 2 program. Every team has a different partner company and assignment, and as it turns out mission is to design a new handbag for women, partnering with a Chinese luxury apparel company. Design a new handbag? Yes, we are designing a new handbag.

It’s a totally antithetical experience in comparison with our daily classroom learning environment, which requires of us logical thinking, analytical skills and aggressive discussion. As well, this project requires us to exercise intuition, creativity, out-of-box thinking and ACTION. As I have never created a tangible product, this experience is totally new and alien to me.

 

Today our team started the market research and conducted customer interviews – visiting upscale areas in downtown Boston. Like cats on the prowl, groups of HBS students could be seen stalking the streets.

“Excuse me, we are HBS MBA students and working on a research project, could you give us 5 minutes for a quick interview?”

“Of course, what is the project about?”

“…We are designing a new handbag for women.”

“HBS students design a handbag? ……….Why in the world…?”

Normally glib-tongued HBS students looked somewhat awkward and were at a loss for words today.

 

From now until December, we will be collaborating with a Chinese company across the Pacific Ocean. In January, we head to Shanghai to finalize product design, hopefully obtaining their approval on the commercialization of the product.

It’s genuinely exciting to imagine a product I had a hand in designing being born into the world.

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