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
International

Many deaths as boat with African emigrants sinks…

BENGHAZI Libya (Reuters) - A boat packed with up to 250 African emigrants trying to reach European shores sank on Sunday off the Libyan coast…

Local

State health department warns against rare respiratory virus…

The New York State Department of Health is calling upon parents to be aware of the symptoms of enterovirus EV-D68. More than 12 children across the…

National

Liberal Vermont Senator Sanders may seek U.S. presidency…

By Will DunhamWASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bernie Sanders, one of the Senate's leading liberals, said on Sunday he is thinking about running for U.S. president in…

Money

Second Shift: Turning fun into money

In this week's Second Shift series, meet a New Yorker who has established two successful careers around having fun.

Movies

Dan Stevens kisses Cousin Matthew goodbye

Dan Stevens wanted a change and he certainly got one. After quickly developing a devoted fan base as Matthew Crawley on "Downton Abbey," the 32-year-old…

Movies

Nerd alert: Genesis Rodriguez, robot-maker

Geeks of the world, you're about to fall in love with Genesis Rodriguez. There's no point in resisting. The actress, appearing in Kevin Smith's totally…

The Word

The Word: Kanye West wants everyone on their…

Maybe we can blame this one on the migraine, too. Kanye West is drawing ire for halting a performance in Sydney when his demands that…

Movies

That's a wrap on TIFF 2014

This year's Toronto International Film Festival closes without the satisfying sense of certainty that had become a mainstay in recent years. Last year, for example,…

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

NFL

Giants vs. Cardinals: 3 things we learned

The Giants heard all week about how ragged their new offense has looked, but even when they finally answered the bell they still can’t find a way to win.

NFL

About a quarter of football players will get…

About one in four National Football League players are likely to end up suffering cognitive impairments during their lifetime, according to a report.

Home

DIY design: Try this upcycle furniture project

Tiffany Threadgould is living a DIY life. The Chief Design Junkie at TerraCycle, an international waste management company headquartered in Trenton, New Jersey, grew up…

Parenting

The downside of a BFF

For teenage girls a best friend can mean everything, but the way they deal with their problems together can lead to depression

Education

How many colleges should I apply to? Your…

To the average high school senior, creating the perfect college application can seem like a golden ticket into their future. Students and their parents spend…

Career

How Generation Z will change the way Americans…

What to learn how to establish a career in this new economy? Look no further than the current generation of young people - that is,…