During fall quarter, I participated in the Neighborhood Business Initiative (NBI), which connects Kellogg students with local nonprofits and entrepreneurs to solve a business problem. NBI was a great learning experience for me, as I had the opportunity to work with four talented, driven and passionate classmates on a nonprofit project benefiting a university in Angola.
We undertook the task of helping our client, SHAREcircle, improve a business plan to establish a coffee company in Angola, taking advantage of the now-rebuilding coffee industry there. We started off excited, yet overwhelmed, by the task ahead of us and immediately set out determined to become coffee experts, while focusing on where we could make a real impact.
Each person brought in unique expertise that allowed us to look at the issue from multiple angles, such as finance, marketing, branding, human capital and operations. We learned to manage each other without the usual formal hierarchy that we were used to at our jobs prior to Kellogg.
Bound by time constraints given our busy schedules (e.g., classes, recruiting and other extracurricular activities), it was challenging to make the most of the limited time (2-5 hours a week) that we had. This made it quite rewarding when we were able to put together a deliverable that the client appreciated, was impressed with and found practical. Seeing our client’s excitement to move forward with his business plan was a true success for our team. The Kellogg community – especially 2nd year students – was also a helpful resource throughout the project.
Based on our overall experience, I highly recommend that incoming students participate in this fun and meaningful venture!
Napat Phichaphop is a 1st year Kellogg student and consultant/team captain for the Neighborhood Business Initiative. His team went on to win the NBI Case Competition.