Babson Offers First Graduate School Elective On Food Entrepreneurship
Babson’s new graduate school offering, Food Entrepreneurship, is a highly experiential intensive MBA elective that will focus on the anatomy of the food entrepreneur’s journey from initial idea and course-setting through to meaningful survey of market landscapes and new venture strategy. Course materials and assigned readings are drawn from five years of firsthand research in the field. The guest experts and entrepreneurs who visit the class will help students to dig deeper into specific questions and dynamics.
Work will include both internal and external reflection and navigation of challenge and opportunity sets. The course is applicable to students who already have a business idea or venture in development as well as to students who are simply curious about the food industry as a potential career sector. For students in building mode, it will accelerate networks and understanding of market forces and future trends, and illuminate next smart action steps. For students in exploration mode, it will surface the right questions and frameworks to learn efficiently from and with industry experts and entrepreneurs.
Students enrolled in this course will accomplish the following:
- Acquire a nuanced understanding of the current state of the food industry, its component parts, and the food system surrounding it
- Interact with field experts on trends, market dynamics and the food system (including adjacent sector opportunities)
- Rapidly problem-solve in service to a local food business (representatives will be present in class to engage with students on their feedback and ideas)
- Sense market opportunities and inflection points, and identify territory for smart collaborations
As an intensive elective, it will not be able to address everything. This course will elucidate the food-industry landscape and system frameworks, and a lengthy reading list will help students to organize the field of content and resources. Topics such as food marketing, finance, mergers and acquisitions, food policy, gastronomy and food science will not be covered, beyond anecdotally. The intent is an immersive experience for the purposes of identifying, creating or furthering opportunities within the sector.
Instructor Rachel Greenberger holds an M.B.A. from Babson College with a concentration in food-system innovation following year-long independent research (2010-11) into sustainable supply chain management among food multinationals and U.S. consumer response to terms such as humane, natural, local and sustainable. “I was a MBA (M’11) with a deep desire to study the food system through a business lens but there were no Babson courses or key faculty to turn to.”
So she co-founded and now directs Food Sol at Babson College, an action tank for food entrepreneurship of all kinds dedicated to accelerating individual objectives in community, addressing food system inefficiencies for the benefit of business, society and the planet, and supporting the development of resilient economic models that contribute to a healthier food future for us all. “I met Lewis Institute and Babson Social Innovation Lab Executive Director Cheryl Kiser and she became my faculty advisor for a full year of independent research on the food industry. With the generosity of our early supporters, we were able to launch.
Rachel writes on food entrepreneurship and food-system dynamics, having built her thought leadership through social media, principally Twitter (@businessforfood).