FBLA hosts annual Marketplace event aimed at students interested in business


Anushka Molugu

Junior Rhea Nandra checks payments. Nandra is a part of junior Nandhana Nair’s group, which sold pasta with a variety of toppings.

Tanya Kurnootala, Staff Writer

Jefferson’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club held it’s annual Marketplace event on Dec. 8. 11 groups participated in this two-block event in which groups sold food to their peers, simulating the operations of a real business. FBLA aims to develop students’ interest and knowledge of business, and the Marketplace was a chance for students to test out the skills they have been learning at club meetings so far. This year, the club experienced a significant increase in participation.

“This year was similar to past years, but our goal was to have more groups participate. Every year between six to eight groups participate in Marketplace, but this year we had 11 which we as a club are very proud of,” senior and president Pranit Nadipelli said.

However, an increase in the number of groups also meant for increased planning efforts among club leaders and sponsors.

“Marketplace is an FBLA tradition, so the precedent for planning and executing it has been there for years,” Nadipelli said. “We had more participants and the majority of them followed instructions to the letter, so Marketplace ran smoothly for the most part.”

As FBLA president, Nadipelli’s role was in organizing the event and ensuring no problems occurred during the event.

“As president, I was in charge of communicating with the team captains and making sure that they understood the requirements of Marketplace. It also involved some work with administration to set up the right date for Marketplace and cafeteria setup,” Nadipelli said.

To receive permission to set up a booth, interested groups had to submit a Google Form as well as present on various aspects of their plan, including marketing strategies, the price of their goods and their projected revenue.

As in any business, deciding what to sell was a large factor in determining the success of each booth. To maximize profits, sophomore Isabelle Deng attempted to find the food items that were currently the most popular among Jefferson’s own students.

“The decision-making process towards choosing our products was that we already know that the trend in East Asian food and such is really popular right now in TJ, so we were trying to capitalize on that,” Deng said. “We did a lot of interviewing, surveys and polls so we found out that bubble tea, ice cream mochi and wan wan bing are the most popular products right now, so that’s how we decided on these.”

Junior Reena Medavarapu, whose group sold donuts, emphasized the importance of learning the skills of a successful entrepreneur.

“I do [FBLA] because I think it’s important to get a feel for money and how you can use it in a consumer marketplace because that’s how our government functions and that’s how our economy functions,” Medavarapu said. “It’s like the real world-application of stuff we do.”

Nadipelli’s interest in this club first grew after hearing about it from past officers at the activity fair. He reflects on why FBLA has been one of his favorite experiences at Jefferson.

“I enjoy teaching and learning about how small startups and large corporations interact in the business world and impact our everyday lives. I particularly enjoyed learning about how money flows through a corporation and the stock market in general,” Nadipelli said.

In addition, he believes that holding events such as Marketplace is a way for students to experience first-hand the process of running a business.

“Marketplace represents the core of how businesses operate. It requires participants to understand the most important principle of business supply and demand,” Nadipelli said.  “Marketplace teaches you to take these factors into consideration and forces participants to constantly change their strategy within a 70 minute period of time.”

New members and those who are not a part of FBLA are encouraged to participate in the Marketplace.

I think you should definitely participate because it’s a great way to to develop your skills in entrepreneurship and to socialize with other people,” Deng said.