Georgetown may not have found its own Iron Chef, but it did foster a new generation of entrepreneurs Thursday with a culinary-themed competition held by the McDonough School of Business.
Students from the MSB’s new first-year seminar, a semester-long program that introduces freshmen to creative entrepreneurship and social responsibility, were divided into teams of four or five. They were then tasked with finding the most effective way in which DC Central Kitchen, a nonprofit group, can use local food to prepare meals for nearby homeless shelters and soup kitchens.
The winning business strategy, called Fresh Fields, proposed the sale of affordable organic food prepared at the kitchen in Metro-area grocery stores. Taking second place, The Concept of Pie was a venture into the gourmet pie business.
Patricia Louison, MSB senior assistant dean for undergraduate programs and co-director of the first-year seminar, said she was thrilled with the students’ work.
“It’s great to see what they’re able to do with an idea – a charge to help DC Central Kitchen,” she said. “If you did not know this was the first-year seminar, you wouldn’t have known that these were students new to Georgetown and new to the study of business.”
“It was a really valuable experience, because it taught me the lesson that there is a lot of thought that goes into a business – how to start it, how to manage your financials. It’s just different from the original business course,” Colleen Fitzgerald (MSB ’14), a member of the seminar, said.
Eunice Chin (MSB ’14), a member of Fresh Fields, said that she was pleased with how well the team performed.
“It’s amazing that we’ve started from knowing nothing about this, and now we’ve won,” she said. “Honestly, this whole concept is new to us.”
Conor McNulty (MSB ’14), whose team developed a bid for the contract to feed the inmates at D.C.’s Central Detention Facility, said the project
“I found it very engaging and hands-on. I had to practice skills, like calling up the chief executive officer of D.C.’s Department of Corrections,” he said.
The first-year seminar program includes a class called “International Business, Public Policy and Society,” and a lecture series, as a well as the business plan competition. Nearly 100 students – one-third of the MSB’s freshman class – are included in the program.
While it may have taught the participants concrete business skills, Norean Sharpe, MSB associate dean for undergraduate programs, said the competition also had a more humanitarian objective.
“We’re trying to instill that it’s not all about making money,” she said.