Pitching for pizza: A flavorful experience in global business

Riana Nigam, BSBA ’19, wrote this for the Olin Blog. She was the recipient of an award to study abroad from the Glazer Global Learning Fund. 

It is the last day of my study abroad program, so naturally it feels like an appropriate time to do some reflecting. Over the course of the last four months, I feel like I have accomplished so much.

I have lived alone in a foreign country, I have organized trips and navigated new cities, I have learned about other cultures, I have taken interesting courses at a reputable business school in Europe, I have tried new foods, I have discovered things about myself, and the list goes on.

One of my most memorable experiences abroad pertains to a group project that I participated in as part of my operations management course at ESCP Europe, the French business school.

The project entailed selecting any business in Paris, visiting the sight, conducting an interview with the manager and analyzing and evaluating different dimensions of the business’s operations in a research paper.

My group consisted of three American undergraduate students and two Italian master’s students, so it was both a wonderful growth opportunity and immense challenge to recognize similarities and reconcile the differences in our cultural backgrounds and experience levels.

For our business, we selected an Italian restaurant called Marzo, located in Saint-Germain, a more upscale area in Paris.

I particularly enjoyed visiting the site during off-hours and gaining interesting first-hand insights from the restaurant’s manager regarding supply chain management, menu construction, consumer perception and several other topics.

It was not only a unique experience to be able to understand one aspect of the business environment in another country, but it was also greatly rewarding to present our final conclusions and recommendations to the restaurant itself.

After receiving welcoming feedback from both our professor and the restaurant, my group and I felt that we had achieved something meaningful and impactful. Most importantly, though, my friends and I managed to dine at the restaurant during our final week and it was worth every bite!

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