Reflections on India

I absolutely cannot believe it’s been two weeks since we completed our trip to India – what a whirlwind! I’ve just settled into my flat in London, about to start the MBA Exchange program at London Business School, delighted to have some mementos from this memorable trip to decorate my room. All of the experiences are something I will not soon forget!

While the company visits I mentioned earlier were all outstanding, I have to say that our trip organizers did a superb job in planning the cultural activities, which brought context to our business discussions and made us feel really immersed in local life. Everything from seeing key sights like the Taj Mahal to trekking up a mountainside on an elephant’s back to see a historic fort to sampling regional cuisine and seeing arts performance in each city we went, made the experience outstanding and truly memorable!

One of the best parts of the trip was actually getting to know my fellow classmates better. Our group really gelled and it was exciting to see how the variety of activities we had on the trip brought everyone closer together. The long bus ride chats, rickshaw races, Mohit’s Bollywood dance lessons, and the awesome superlatives handed out to everyone at the end thoroughly convinced me that each member of the group would pass the “elevator test”! This was a truly amazing & spirited bunch and I think we all left the trip feeling like we’d made a wonderful group of new friends.

In addition to the warmth of our group, we also experienced the true sense of hospitality that is so deeply ingrained in Indian culture. At every hotel and office we visited, like in the photo above in Agra, we were greeted in the kindest way which made our stay that much smoother.

By the end of this trip, not only did I gain a deep appreciation of the place where so many of my CBS classmates and friends grew up, but also an eagerness and excitement around the future of business in India. I got to see many sides to the country through our programming which completely broke apart any preconceived notions I may have had going in. Overall, I am eager to see what the next few years will bring for India’s economy and hope I will have the opportunity in the future to work on business projects related to the market. This trip was a huge learning experience for me and some of the most fun I’ve had at CBS! I am so grateful I had the opportunity to attend and hope to make it back to India again soon.

Victoria Harman is a 2020 MBA Candidate at Columbia Business School.

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