US Strategy Challenge: Dividing and Conquering as a Team

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US Strategy Challenge: Dividing and Conquering as a Team

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Read about how @MorganStanley manages their @CPNYC06 pro bono project work on the #StrategyChallenge14 blog:
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 10:00am


Posted by Anita from Morgan Stanley, New York

As we move forward with the project, our team is learning how the Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge is truly challenging simply because we have a lot to accomplish in eight weeks. We've established four work streams to conduct the necessary research on our partner, Children of Promise, NYC (CPNYC), so we can best manage the large workload of the project.

Debbie, Michael, Rovic and I are each taking the lead in analyzing one of the following areas:

  • CPNYC's financial resources for funding a potential expansion to a second site in Central Harlem
  • Demand and competitive landscape for CPNYC's programs in Central Harlem
  • Partnership opportunities in Central Harlem
  • CPNYC's organizational structure's ability to support expansion

Naturally, we're discovering that our areas of focus often overlap, so we're involving each other in certain client meetings and touching base frequently beyond our regular weekly meetings. The other team members will update you on their pieces of the project in the coming weeks.

Understanding How CPNYC Works
I'm responsible for drilling down into CPNYC's organizational structure, which means I need to understand their staffing model, figure out the CPNYC team's current capacity, and determine how much of their infrastructure would need to be replicated at a second site. My plan is to talk with about a dozen members of the CPNYC staff, as well as gather data through a survey I created.

Last week, my team along with our Managing Director Advisor, Dan, visited the CPNYC site in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. It was enlightening and inspiring to see the children and afterschool programs in action. I also had the opportunity to talk with Monique, their Vice President of Programs. In addition to the programs she oversees, Monique described the tremendous amount of work that happens behind-the-scenes to build relationships with and advocate for the children that CPNYC serves and the Bedford Stuyvesant community.

There are about 150 children participating in CPNYC's after-school program, and the CPNYC team knows all of them personally. Walking through the facility with Sharon Content, the President and Founder of CPNYC, I lost count of how many kids broke away from their activities to give her a hug. CPNYC is a home away from home for children of incarcerated parents, and there's an overwhelming feeling of warmth that makes it feel like a family.

These intangibles are nearly impossible to quantify, but they will be critical considerations as our team thinks about the various types of resources it will need to create a second site for CPNYC.


Keywords: Volunteerism & Community Engagement | Philanthropy | nonprofit | pro bono | volunteer