Philadelphia students have a taste of India

PhilaU MBA students catch a ride in a rickshaw.
PhilaU MBA students catch a ride in a rickshaw.

Three Philadelphia University students are continuing to explore new opportunities for food system business models in Philadelphia and India following a six-day trip to Delhi and Mumbai.

Students Myeshia Townsend, Andrienne Remener and Julianne Allman, accompanied by associate professor Natalie Nixon, collaborated with six students at ERA Business School in Delhi and four students at Welingkar College in Mumbai to research, interview experts and observe the Indian manufacturing and street food systems. The trip was part of a course called Opportunity Finding in Emerging Markets.

The students are now in the discovery phase of the project, collaborating with students in India via Skype and Google Hangouts. On their trip, their research led them to discover “pain points,” or problems, with the food systems, which will inform projects for proposed business opportunities.

While in Delhi, the students visited Haldiram’s, a major Indian snack-food company, talked to employees and interviewed the director of quality control. They learned how the company evolved from a small business to a large-scale sweets and snacks manufacturer.

The students also conducted ethnographic observations at two open-air markets to learn about how people access their food. “India is known for having one of the most ancient forms of commerce — the bazaar — and so they saw the diversity of products that were out there,” says Nixon.

Allman was surprised to see how familiar some things were on their trip. “I didn’t realize it was more of a food court-style system, like we would see here in the United States at malls,” she says.

In Mumbai, the students focused on the dabbawallah system, where bicycle riders transport homemade lunches from their spouses to workers at their jobs, then deliver the lunchboxes back to the customers’ homes. Students interviewed the head of the dabbawallah association and visited three customers. Bicycle riders apply to become part of the dabbawallah association and own a stake in the company.

Remener was interested in the importance of home-cooking in India. “Here in the U.S., people focus a lot less on home-cooking. So if that existed in the U.S., it would probably be like a restaurant-delivery system, which we already have,” she says.

Do the research

Nixon explains that students used ethnography and design thinking for their projects. “This style of understanding business opportunity by using ethnography [and] design thinking is something that is becoming more relevant. We saw that there are majors in India at some of the schools that utilize a more integrated approach — qualitative and quantitative research,” she says.

Students from PhilaU and two Indian Universities interview the VP of quality control at Haldiram's.
Students from PhilaU and two Indian Universities interview the VP of quality control at Haldiram’s.

News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.