Our group of 30 arrived in New Delhi just in time to celebrate New Year’s Eve like a local (albeit with a little jet lag)! After a wonderful day exploring the history in the city including Humayun’s Tomb, Gandhi Smriti, and the Red Fort, today is going to be our very first day of company meetings.
Going into this trip I really didn’t know what to expect. Last year was my very first time visiting the Asian continent and I am so thrilled to have this opportunity to explore India for the first time. Not only have I really enjoyed getting to know the wonderful community of Indian international students at CBS over the last year and a half, but throughout my life I have always loved learning about the history and culture of the country.
After taking Professor Singh’s Service Operations Management and Professor Bourveau’s Financial Statement Analysis and Valuation classes this term and hearing about a lot of successful Indian businesses like OYO, Airtel, and Ola, I am really excited to learn more about the country’s unique business environment. I anticipate learning a lot on this trip about how businesses work with government, the opportunities for start-ups, and how localized businesses have scaled/expanded globally.
Aside from economic issues, I imagine there will be a lot to learn on the political and social front as well. We are visiting India at an interesting time, when there is a little bit of social unrest from a recent immigration ruling. I also anticipate learning more about income and gender inequality and its impact on the formal and informal economy.
Looking at business through a cultural lens will also be very interesting. I that know India had a challenging path leading up to independence, including colonization by the Portuguese and British, so I am curious to see how that has impacted India today. I am also fascinated by Indian religion and philosophy and was excited to see a talk on the subject was included in our programming at the dinner we have with local CBS alumni.
The diverse line-up of meetings and activities that Abhay, Mohit, Rohan, and Sakchi have put together will give us such a great understanding of all kinds of businesses (start-ups, multi-nationals, private-public partnerships, etc) and daily life across 4 different cities – New Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, and Mumbai. We are all really looking forward to it!
Victoria Harman is a 2020 MBA Candidate at Columbia Business School.