VOLUNTEER CONSULTANT

Puneet Rai

“Enriching and empowering experience @ Grow!”

Puneet is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Professional, Contact Centre Management and Outsourcing professional with an MBA from Cass Business School. He has over 11 years of experience in managing outsourcing contracts for Financial Services, Telecom and Satellite Entertainment clients across the US, UK and Australia. He has key expertise in contact centre management, change management, project management, customer experience and business process re-engineering. Puneet worked with Onaba Kedi Arblaster, an author from Uganda who was wanting to increase sales of his book.

“I volunteered because I saw it as a great opportunity to make a difference to peoples' lives through donating my knowledge and skills. I also wanted the experience of solving real problems to enhance the skills I had learnt during my MBA.”

“We had a good first call; we talked about each other's background, family and experiences. The conversation was aimed at getting to know one another and building a level of comfort. My first step was to learn about the book and the entrepreneur; to know his motivation behind writing the book and why he believed it would be a success. Next step was to understand the Christian book industry, sales trend, and customer segmentation. The third step was to list down the resources that the entrepreneur had at his disposal and then review the current distribution channels, any marketing activities already in place, and pricing comparison with other similar books. Finally, we identified the root causes for any issues through brain storming and data analysis. We used Porter's 5 Forces, 2x2 Matrix, 5 Whys and RCA as key business tools to develop the project. Our main focus was to increase sales and generate revenue for the entrepreneur.”

“Between sessions I would review any data provided by the entrepreneur, research any possible solutions and their viability and then I would update the action plan for Onaba to execute.”

“Although I had never been to Uganda I researched the country and the industry online. I spoke to fellow Volunteer Consultants who had experienced working on similar projects. The staff at Grow Movement in Uganda also helped in providing a thorough context regarding the market. Finally, the conversations with the entrepreneur also helped in enriching my knowledge about the industry and country. With Onaba I did not face any challenges with written or spoken communication. Accessibility to internet was a challenge which delayed the pace of my project, at times. Hence, telephony is the most reliable medium to communicate. The hardest part of the project was finding a way to interest potential readers in a book that had been written ten years ago.”

“In terms of professional benefits I honed my structured problem solving approach and benefited from networking with fellow Volunteer Consultants at regular gatherings organized by Grow Movement. In terms of personal benefits I had an immense feeling of contentment and satisfaction for making a difference in someone's life. I improved my ability to understand a different culture in no time as well as learning how to be adaptable.”

What would you say to other volunteers thinking about joining Grow Movement?

“It’s a highly enriching experience which makes you feel proud about yourself. Especially for students pursuing MBA, it’s a great way to apply your knowledge at a low scale yet see them work in a business environment.”

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