This January, the Flyer Enterprises executive team had the opportunity to visit Harvard University and explore the student-run business operating there. The trip, which included adventures around Boston in addition to meetings with members of the executive board, was an incredibly rewarding experience and allowed the team to learn about new business ventures, alternative methods of leadership and ways to expand business even further.
Harvard Student Agencies is a multi-million dollar nonprofit company and is currently the largest student-run business in the world. They target their ventures towards three primary markets - students, businesses and the Cambridge community. FE employees were able to meet with Angelina Massa, the President of Harvard Student Agencies, as well as several other members of the executive team there. Coming out of the experience, several UD students remarked how meeting members of another student-run business helped them identify FE's strong suits while also exposing themselves to more business possibilities.
“Harvard’s competitive advantages include its highly skilled workforce and international brand name, which allows them to operate on a larger scale than us. I noticed that there is a wider gap between the upper management and day-to-day employees in their business. I believe that we do a great job at meeting all of our employees where they are and including them in company culture and decision-making. It's a subtle, yet pervasive way that the Marianist charisms of inclusivity and community manifest themselves through Flyer Enterprises," former CFO, Nick Schlueter said.
Former Dining Services Joint Venture President Anna Pierce and former CEO Stephanie Bennett enjoyed having valuable discussions with students who have had similar experiences as them. Even though HSA does not have the exact same positions as FE does, the executives were still able to benefit from collaborating from various viewpoints.
"It was helpful to have real conversations about some of the problems and threats Flyer Enterprises is facing and compare those with Harvard Student Agencies’ problems. We were able to mutually brainstorm and think of solutions from the student standpoint," Pierce said.
The incoming CEO, Jon Allen, noted the dexterity in which the FE executive team was able to make adjustments to the way they run their own business operations.
"Our team was very agile in making immediate changes to our interview process and general business model for the better because of it. It was awesome to see how genuinely interested they were in FE and we look to maintain a strong professional relationship in the future," Allen said.
This visit was an excellent opportunity for the team to see another side of student-run businesses while also building a lasting relationship with one of the most successful college companies in the world.