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MBA students intern with vendors

Karnatak University DharwadHUBLI: It’s a story of apples and oranges, but three boys from Dharwad have stepped into a territory long regarded as a no-go area for management studies: unorganized fruit-and-vegetable markets.

The students from the Kousali Institute of Management Science of Karnatak University, Dharwad, are interacting with fruit and vegetable vendors in the twin cities to understand revenue models and pricing rationale that make their business tick in any season – in times of abundance and shortage. The group of three – doctoral student Halaswamy Naik, and MBA students Atul A and Mohammed Moin – has been interning with the vendors from June 15 for 60 days.

Prof Subhash M, KIMS, said it’s pure business that’s the core of these nondescript shops. He told TOI: “These students will study the consumption patterns of those who visit big shops against those who pick up veggies from neighbourhood shops. Also, they will learn how vendors protect their fruits and vegetables from rotting and why the prices fluctuate.” The twin cities have over 60 retail vendors, who are competing with large retail outlets.

The interns will study how middlemen control these markets and look at measures to safeguard the vendors’ interests.

Students spend 5-6 hours every day with the vendors. Halaswamy said the internship has presented him an opportunity to know the vendor and customer behaviour, and how producers compete with the retail shops. Atul said he chose to intern with these vendors as he wanted to understand their problems, especially in the light of retail chains making big forays in markets long insulated from predatory-pricing strategies.

Sadiq, a fruit vendor from Dharwad, said he’s been slowly introduced to branding and retailing, thanks to the students. “They gave us handy tips on extending the life of fruits and vegetables through cold-storage units,” he said.

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