How My Business Became a Class Project

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Concepción Prado is Principal and Founder of the Greenfield Group and an executive MBA student at Chicago Booth. She is also a member of the Chicago Innovation Exchange. Below she writes about her experience rebranding her company with the help of the Chicago Booth community.

At the beginning of my second year at Chicago Booth, I decided to expand my business.

The decision came as a surprise to me. When I applied to Chicago Booth, my focus was on furthering my education and formalizing my skill set. My company, then known as Prado Consulting, is a management consultancy specializing in IT services. We had been in business for 18 years and operated as a small firm primarily servicing the Chicagoland area. I’ve always wanted to do an MBA Program but up until this point I have been very focused on my family (I have two children) and my business. When my youngest daughter started full school days it finally seemed like the right time to go back to school. I also felt that I had reached a juncture in my career; I needed to take a new step, but wasn’t sure what that would be.

The idea to expand really took hold during the Marketing Management course I took with Professors Sanjay Dhar and Pradeep Chintagunta in the spring term of my first year. Throughout the course, I had been thinking about my business and how I could evolve it. I sent an email to both of my professors and asked them the same question: Should I build and expand with my existing company brand or should I undertake creating a new identity?They each responded to me, and in true Chicago Booth fashion, pushed me to think critically about my goals. What did I want to do? How did I want to position myself? Did I see the company reaching new customers on a national and international level?

With their help, I determined that I needed to rebrand the identity of my 18 year old company entirely. Although this was the more difficult choice, it was necessary to deliver my company’s message in a way that would resonate globally.

As I worked through the process of creating a new identity for my firm, I continually sought out the opinions of my faculty and classmates. This was an invaluable asset. My classmates, particularly those I had gotten to know in my Chicago-based study group and my international study group, responded generously with their time and feedback. They provided feedback on my ideas during class breaks, in study groups and over email. They were an ideal group to have at my disposal - I was able to seek out the expertise of 90+ seasoned professionals from all manner of industries and functions.

When I had a question about intellectual property, I sought out a classmate who works in the field. He pulled out his computer right away to show me how to research. When it came time to choose my new company logo, I put it to a vote within my cohort and had classmates from around the world weigh in on which design worked best. In fact, my new company name, Greenfield Group, originated from the collective creative genius that is my XP-85 cohort. A classmate with marketing experience suggested three possible names. One of the choices was a translation of my surname Prado, which means meadow or field in Spanish, to the “Greenfield” of Greenfield Group. The name resonated.

Working with my fellow Boothies on this has given me a new strategy for approaching future marketing initiatives for my company. Asking for help, finding resources, learning best practices and forging stronger relationships in my network have been the most significant takeaways for me. I don’t believe an external marketing firm could have helped me to rebrand as thoroughly as my connections within Chicago Booth have - ; it truly became a class project. I am very proud of my firm’s new name and image, and look forward to the future.

Concepción Prado '16 (XP-85)

Photos courtesy of Zeeshan Shaikh