#SES12 Reflections (Part 5 of 8): The Business of Food

 Social Enterprise Symposium  Comments Off on #SES12 Reflections (Part 5 of 8): The Business of Food
Jun 292012
 

by Hunter Pavlik (MBA ’13)

Note: Each of the participants in the Spring 2012 SVC Smith Experience was asked to blog about a session that piqued their interest at this year’s Social Enterprise Symposium.

Before Thursday night, my knowledge of the global cocoa industry was limited to the fact that the crop is grown in the tropics and in some of the poorest countries in the world. When I walked out of the Sustainable Chocolate Sourcing discussion I had gained a greater sense of the work that is being done at the local level by tens of thousand of farmers and what two exceptional start ups are doing to improve the lives of the farmers they work with.

The background of the cocoa industry was a great introduction by Robert Peck of the World Cocoa Foundation. However, it was the information that followed, mainly the personal stories shared by Tim McCollum of Madecasse Chocolate and Amanda White of Divine Chocolate that caught my attention and changed my view on the chocolate industry. I grew up eating Hershey’s and Mars’ products but had little exposure to small-market chocolate bars before the panel. Thanks to the stories of the Tim and Amanda my views and my likely future purchasing decisions have been changed. Continue reading »

It’s More Than Just Fish for Aqua ‘N Green

 Social Value, Social Venture Consulting  Comments Off on It’s More Than Just Fish for Aqua ‘N Green
Jun 272012
 

By Valerie Lubrano (MBA/MPP ’13)

Every June, the Center For Social Value Creation and the Center for International Business Education and Research team up to provide a Sri Lanka half-internship volunteer consulting experience for University of Maryland MBA and MPP (Masters of Public Policy) candidates. Students spend two weeks on-site in Sri Lanka working with social impact clients, and ultimately deliver actionable recommendations to their clients as well as stakeholders including USAID, VEGA, and IESC.

Today is my 10th day in Sri Lanka and my fourth day working for Aqua ‘N Green (ANG).  Sri Lanka is a beautiful country and this consulting program has allowed me to see so many parts of it!  Starting from the capital, Colombo, we flew to the northeastern coastal town of Trincomalee.  Here, ANG maintains their fisheries, from nursery to full grown fish.  ANG is currently primarily focused on Asian sea bass, also called barramundi.  One of the things that makes ANG unique is the outgrowers network.  This is a collection of local farmers whose responsibility it is to maintain and grow the fish from fingerlings to fully harvestable fish.   Continue reading »

First Week In Sri Lanka

 Social Value  Comments Off on First Week In Sri Lanka
Jun 142012
 

By Andres Feijoo (MPP ’13)

Every June, the Center For Social Value Creation and the Center for International Business Education and Research team up to provide a Sri Lanka half-internship volunteer consulting experience for University of Maryland MBA and MPP (Masters of Public Policy) candidates. Students spend two weeks on-site in Sri Lanka working with social impact clients, and ultimately deliver actionable recommendations to their clients as well as stakeholders including USAID, VEGA, and IESC.

After a two day journey half-way around the world that included a ten hour layover in London and a travel mishap that nearly stranded one of my classmates, I did not think I would have the energy to fully appreciate the experience of my first few days in Sri Lanka. So far this trip has exceeded my expectations.
After landing early afternoon, our 45 minute drive to the hotel immediately brought several things to my attention. One is the Buddha statues on nearly every street corner, adorned with flowers and candles. Second is the wild assortment of countless advertisements every town center has, all jammed together in a manner that makes differentiating them an eye straining exercise. In a post-conflict country, the massive number of business vying for consumer attention is impressive.

The Galle-Face hotel will be home for the first few days in country. Opened in 1862 during the Victorian era, the hotel has a definite British feel to it, with its ornate furniture comforting guests and elegant art work donning the walls of its hallways. While publicized as one of the most luxurious hotels in Asia that treated the likes of The Duke of Edinburgh Price Philip, Yuri Gregarin, Arthur C. Clarke, and Richard Nixon, to me it resembles the hotel from the movie The Shining: big, spacious, creaky old, certainly not cozy. Nonetheless, my room is comfortable enough to enjoy my first few days. Continue reading »

Jun 072012
 

by Paduka Prasad Padhy, MBA ’13

Note: Each of the participants in the Spring 2012 SVC Smith Experience was asked to blog about a session that piqued their interest at this year’s Social Enterprise Symposium

Coming to the business school I was not sure of a career path I would pursue.  With a multitude of career choices and uncertainty about my personal strengths I wondered what career would be the best for me and where can I work passionately?  When I came to the b-school I thought that I was the only one who is in such a position but surprisingly I found a lot my classmates in a similar condition searching the right path and thinking about the post MBA career path. Even though I have completed one complete semester at Smith School of business I am not sure what I would like to do post MBA and am still in search of the proper fit of my passions to my career choice. Dr. Mrim Boutla’s workshop on “More Than Money Careers” is an eye opener for many MBA students who are in pursuit of the right career choice post MBA.

The session was a beautiful example of aligning your passions to your career. The main theme through out the session was following our passions to reach our careers. Dr. Boutla beautifully presented a set of career paths in the non-profit sector with ways to reach the final destination in each of them.  She segmented the career choices as government, non-profit, non-profit generating revenue, for profit social, sustainable business and business practicing CSR. Dr. Boutla prettily articulated the differences between each career choices with examples. The power point used in the workshop was a very effective tool with the contact persons listed for each area and the ways to reach out the people. The presentation articulated the LinkedIn groups and other useful websites that can be used to pursue each career path.

Not the best volleyball player

A very common theme used through out the presentation was aligning our passions, strengths and interests to our career choices.  Dr. Boutla effectively used the Shaq show as an example to show how a great athlete like Shaquille O’Neal can fail miserably when he is not playing the right game.  The right mix of energy and enthusiasm coupled with the true passion and strengths for a particular career make it a right choice and help us to be enthusiastic towards our work.  The session also presented the 3 types of fit – function, community and impact – and how they are important for a career choice.  Dr. Boutla also introduced beautiful tools and utilities such as public service loan, government loan forgiveness program and graduate leverage that can be used to determine the financial viability of a career.  It helped me and every other student aspiring to work in the field of social value creation by providing some great tools and resources along with the guidance and career advise of an expert coach. Continue reading »