Suraj Nellore

Hometown: Sydney, Australia
College/University Attending: Boston University
Year In School When Selected: Second Year
Program of Study: Business Administration and Advertising (Honors)


I am an English-born dual French-Australian citizen. I completed my schooling at Trinity Grammar School in Sydney, Australia, before commencing my studies at Boston University.

At Trinity Grammar School, I was Captain of Murphy House, a keen participant in the Red Shields program to collect money for charity, a member of the school’s basketball team, and a public speaking coach at Speaking Schools Australia.

I am currently in the Honors program at Boston University, pursuing a dual degree in Business Administration and Advertising. I was part of the team that won the $50,000 sustainability case competition organized by Questrom, among several others, for leading American apparel brand LL Bean.

I am a keen saxophone and piano player and play in my spare time. I am also involved in poetry, having won the Gary Catalano competition, and enjoy regular hiking and canoeing trips. Additionally, I volunteer on humanitarian projects and have served as an intern for the Borgen Project, which champions the fight against global poverty.

Summary of New Ideas proposal:

My proposal focuses on food deserts and utilizing “mobile markets” to alleviate hunger for those in need. The title is “Mobile Markets for Nutritional Equity: Transforming Supermarket Trucks to Alleviate Food Deserts and Foster Shared Value.”

Supermarkets currently deliver food to nearby locations, using trucks and other vehicles to cover large parts of urban areas. However, “food deserts,” which include low-income, segregated, and isolated parts of the country, have limited access to healthy, fresh foods. I examined these supermarkets and their supply chain and noticed a trend of people returning to shop in person more. This means that the current food trucks they use are becoming less useful, and they would need ways to repurpose them.

This is where mobile markets become important. These are food markets operated with trucks, vans, or other vehicles. Since these are smaller, it is possible to transport food to these “food deserts” and engage the community in more meaningful ways. With Kroger successfully doing this, I focused on how C&S Wholesale could implement this. Entering the retail market serves as an opportunity to create shared value while creating a stronger brand image for themselves.

With my proposal, the goal is to feed those in poverty-stricken areas so that they have the opportunity to succeed. By bringing food to these communities and gathering the community together for important conversations, it is my hope that this initiative will not only alleviate hunger but also foster a sense of solidarity and empowerment, ultimately contributing to the overall well-being and resilience of these underserved areas.

What does the New Ideas Competition mean to you?

The New Ideas Competition was a gratifying opportunity that broadened my perspective and encouraged me to critically reflect on significant issues. For me, it was a challenge that pushed me to strive for originality and creativity, particularly when researching and developing ideas. I believe the competition is a platform where individuals are not only enriched with knowledge but are also confronted with real-life scenarios where change is required. With the creative and critical skills we gain here, the competition dares us to find new ways to make a difference and create a positive impact, which I find most meaningful.

Advice for new applicants:

Strive for an original idea based on your life experiences that can help improve humanity as a whole.  Each of us have different stories, and those perspective can help to identify unique problem spaces. Take the time to reflect on what resonates with you the most, not necessarily what you believe a review committee wants to see.