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Maastricht MBA Launches A Nonprofit Startup To Fight Food Waste In Georgia

Tamar Papuashvili-Epstein came up with the idea for her nonprofit during an MBA at Maastricht School of Management

By  Robert Klecha

Mon Nov 6 2017

Tamar Papuashvili-Epstein started her own nonprofit startup, For a New Day, in her native Georgia, after an MBA at the Netherlands’ Maastricht School of Management (MSM).

Her goal and her passion is to use her MBA skills to help those that are most vulnerable. With her nonprofit, she wants to distribute food that supermarkets would otherwise throw away to the people that need it most; reducing food waste and helping the homeless at the same time.

Now living in the US, Tamar is working as a sales and marketing analyst in hospitality consulting, having switched out of retail post-MBA. The MSM full-time MBA helped open those doors.

Long-term, she’s looking to use the best practices from US food banks and charities to help develop her Georgia-based nonprofit. She’s gathering support and funding from donors who are interested in helping her achieve her altruistic goals.

How did the idea for ‘For A New Day’ come about?

In the last semester of my MBA studies, I started to think deeper about what I wanted to do after graduation. One of my extracurricular classes was career development. Throughout the course, I was challenged to really think about my passion and what I wanted to do.

The idea to create an NGO that would benefit the most vulnerable people in Georgia was something that really motivated me. I realized there was a real need to provide food to people who were hungry and couldn’t feed themselves. I was also aware that supermarkets were simply throwing away food. I wanted to create a sustainable solution that could prevent wastefulness and serve to benefit the disadvantaged.

How have you been supported by the MSM full-time MBA?

The MBA has really helped because it has given me a professional direction, allowed me to create a business plan that has guided the process of establishing the NGO, and has provided the skills to be able to effectively work with others in a leadership capacity to create For A New Day.

My MBA has also helped me in my current career. I think it’s never easy to start your first job abroad and my business education made this transition easier. I find that I use the knowledge and experiences I gained from the program on a daily basis from working with an international team of consultants to strategic planning.

Why did you decide to pursue the MSM full-time MBA?

I was interested in new challenges outside of retail and wanted to immerse myself in the kind of education that would open more business opportunities. After deciding to do an MBA, I considered different schools, but the MBA program at Maastricht was recommended to me by an alumnus who led a successful career in Georgia.

After some research, I realized there were three aspects that appealed to me. The first was the international class. I was excited to be part of a diverse class that’s composed of 20-to-25 different nationalities. I knew studying and working on projects alongside people from different backgrounds would widen my worldview, help me to consider the impact of business globally, and would improve my leadership skills.

Secondly, the intense ‘pressure cooker’ nature of the program would teach me how to work in a fast-paced environment and teach me to make decisions quickly. Finally, the location. Maastricht is a beautiful city on the border of Belgium and Germany.

What advice do you have for anyone considering an MBA?

Plan your time effectively and be thankful for the opportunities to develop personally and professionally. The program provides you with many unique insights into yourself and those areas where you need to grow.

And enjoy your time with the rest of the cohort. I remember all the wonderful activities with my friends in on the MSM full-time MBA—sharing meals, studying for exams, playing sports, doing teambuilding activities and, most importantly, learning from one another. Each member of the class brought a unique dynamic—that’s what made it really special for me.