2016 One-Day Student-Centered Workshop on Innovative Solutions to Business Challenges Leading to Paid Internships

Saturday, April 23, 2016
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Baker Scholars Conference Room
550 Regents Hall, Georgetown University

The Georgetown University Italian Research Institute, in partnership with the Italia Innovation Program, and in collaboration with the Embassy of Italy, is sponsoring a full-day student-centered workshop on Innovative Solutions to Business Challenges. This is an exciting program that brings to campus well-known and established Italian companies and serves as a bridge between business and academia.

During this one-day event, the top management of Italian iconic companies, Eni, S.p.A and Illycaffé, will meet Georgetown students and invite them to solve an innovation challenge on marketing, corporate social responsibility, and environmental concerns. The registered students, divided into small groups, will work together on finding a solution to the challenge. At the end of the day, the winning teams will be offered paid internship opportunities and other perks.

Workshop Summary

On Saturday, April 23, 2016, the Georgetown University Italian Research Institute, in collaboration with the Italia Innovation Program, sponsored a One-Day Student Workshop on “Innovative Solutions to Business Challenges”.  Eni, S.p.A, the major multinational oil and gas company, and Illycaffé, the world-renowned coffee roasting company that specializes in the production of espresso, presented a challenge to 32 Georgetown University students from the College, the School of Foreign Service, and the McDonough School of Business who participated in the event. Prof. Arthur Dong from the McDonough School of Business served as a mentor. The Directors of the Italia Innovation Program and the Eni & Illycaffé representatives were extremely impressed with the high quality of the students and praised their strengths and creativity.

Our students showed genuine interest in the project. Their superb performance, in the limited time they were assigned, and their impressive and professional presentations demonstrated their excellent analytical skills, innovative solutions, and teamwork. Given the high quality of the presentations selecting the winning teams was not an easy task, nonetheless, we were happy to provide such an extraordinary experience to our talented students.

A winning team of 4 students was selected for each company.  Each member of the Eni winning team will receive a paid internship in their new office located in Washington DC starting June 2016 through 2017.  Students with the Chairman and Executive VP of Eni, Gianni Di Giovanni, will decide on the starting date of their internships.

Illycaffé is donating $1,000, divided among the 4 students, to the winning team. The four winners also received a brand new espresso machine and the possibility of an internship starting in 2017.

Participating Companies

Eni Logo

Eni S.p.A.
Italian Multinational Oil & Gas Company

Eni is an Italian multinational oil and gas company headquartered in Rome. It has operations in 79 countries and is currently the world’s 11th-largest industrial company. Eni will present a challenge related to emission control and environmental concerns.

Summary of Group Presentations

To maximize Eni’s energy industry and ensure Eni’s sustained global presence as a major energy industry, the students in the Eni groups offered a number of innovative suggestions.  Their model pointed to transparency in risk analysis and in today’s changing market they recommended that the company focus its R&D on renewable energies.  The four groups agreed on the need to direct the company’s future efforts to natural gas rather than oil in accordance with the Paris Agreement involving 155 countries, which will come into effect in 2017, requiring many of them to reduce carbon emissions.

The reasons given for converting to natural gas included a growing public demand, financial gain since gas is cheaper, and the beneficial environmental impact of using a cleaner energy source.

To apply natural capital to Eni their model included a more focused use of technological innovations in R&D, a more efficient approach to extraction, production, and transportation, and social responsibility in the form of transforming coal plants into natural gas.  They further proposed converting conventional refineries into bio-refineries and concentrating more on offshore drilling to reduce the negative effect on the environment. A group even offered Eni the option of raising the price of oil and petroleum products and using the extra revenue to fund pro-environment projects that will benefit clients in the long term.

They also advised expanding what Eni is accomplishing in Venice and committing to reduce GHG emissions by transforming existing refineries to biofuel, exporting green diesel to Europe, producing green jet fuel, and focusing on environmental resources for the public good to benefit all people.

Student Presentations

Team 1: Fueling Growth: Eni Post-Paris Agreement
Mathison Clore
Yuri Kim
Ali Marhoon
Philip Salandra

Team 2: Eni & The Energy Future
Irina Wang
Kelsey Harrison
Andy Truong
Neil Filosa

Team 3: Corporate Strategy for Growth [Winning Team]
Constanza Concetti
Maximilian Fiege
Ahmet Caskurlu
Lauren Tucci

Team 4: Innovation, Safety, Sustainability
Luigi Amrbosi
Ignacio Alonso
Mike Packard
Mariana Juardo Guedez



Illycaffé (branded as illy) is an Italian coffee roasting company that specializes in the production of espresso. Illycaffé will present a challenge related to corporate ethics and the sustainability of their supply chain.

Summary of Group Presentations

To enhance the Illy coffee experience the Illy group presentations highlighted innovations in a number of areas, particularly in the use of digital technologies, the environment, design, and brand sustainability. They emphasized the need to establish a recycling program that would reward the customer by returning the used capsules to an in-store recycling center.  Customers would receive discounts on their subsequent orders and, through greater in-store traffic, an increase in business would result.  They also suggested introducing an ecosystem at home through the use of technology, such as an espresso wake-up app.  They recommended greater use of the Internet, in particular Internet-connected sensors that control and collect data on all aspects of the use of coffee. To reduce the use of energy consumed by the in-store espresso machines while heating water, they suggested the use of apps to remotely control the machines, turning them off at night and regulating the high water heating level in commercial espresso machines.

To enhance the in-store experience and highlight the company’s business and ethical values it was suggested to use Illy bars as art galleries.  To connect Illy with the environment it was suggested to involve design leaders through environmental art installations, hold cultural events, invite writers, and sponsor cultural gatherings in the Illy bars.

They also emphasized expanding the Illy bars in various cities in the US & China and target the millennials through social media (Instagram, #Illy) and Snapchat filters to reach out to the community and make Illy part of the daily life of the customer.

Student Presentations

(Note: Presentations will not be posted at the request of the illycaffé)

Team 1
Mairead O’Brien
Caroline DeSantis
Xinlan Hu
Xuanqing Huang

Team 2
John Connors
Devin Spady
Jennifer Kozyra
Enrique Granados Jr.

Team 3
Conor Winston
Brent Peabody
Siddharth Singh
Parth Shah

Team 4 [Winning Team]
Maximilian Funke
Morgan Kennedy
Renzo Reyes
Hasaan Munim