For a group of Seton Hall students, Spring break 2018 was full of exploration and enrichment. The students participated in the ninth annual Doing Business in India trip; a ten-day long study abroad excursion that was focusing on the business environment and culture of the rapidly developing Indian subcontinent.
The trip, led by Management Professor A.D. Amar, provided a unique opportunity for students to travel to the major cities of India including Mumbai, Delhi, and Agra, and this year, to Kathmandu, Nepal. The group met with various people in the businesses, universities, government and agencies to gain first-hand exposure to the economic and cultural workings of one of the largest and fastest-growing economies in the world – not to mention that the students earned university credits at the same time.
After a long flight that departed from New York and connected in Dubai, the group landed at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Upon leaving the airport, the tropical climate immediately emphasized that this place would be very different from New Jersey.
The group settled for the night at the historic Taj Mahal Hotel in the beautiful Nariman Point area of Mumbai. The timing was perfect as the March 1 into March 2 was the celebration of a Hindu festival known as Holi, a nationwide celebrated "festival of colors" in which the class of Doing Business in India 2018 gladly participated. Some exciting places visited during our Mumbai stay were the historic Elephanta Caves, Indian School of Management & Entrepreneurship, and everything else.
After a few days, the group was excited to travel deep into the Himalayan mountains to visit Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal—a small nation nestled in between India and China. The ancient city was awe-inspiring even from the airplane as the flight allowed for great views of the Himalayas including the Mount Everest. The team spent a couple of days there exploring the various temples and ancient monuments offered. The group was invited to Virinchi College (a Malaysia University college in Kathmandu) to learn about the business, educational, and cultural environment of the country.
After two nights and three days in Nepal, the team left the country and flew into Indira Gandhi International Airport at New Delhi to see what India's capital had to offer. As it turned out, Delhi is an expensive city split between its two personalities, the historic Old Delhi and the more modern New Delhi. The group explored the sights, foods, and shopping offered by Delhi before meeting with various organizations. The first meeting was with Interra Information Technologies, Inc., an information technology firm with dual headquarters in India and the United States. Mr. Asoke Laha, its Chairman and CEO, spoke to us regarding the business and technology environment in India and how it is both similar and different to that of the United States.
After the visit to Interra, we went to the official planning division of the Government of India, a think tank known as National Institution for Transforming India (NITI—in Sanskrit, the word NITI means policy) that advises the government on policy matters and help enact them. Mr. Yaduvendra Mathur (Secretary, Government of India) invited us and presented to us what their responsibilities are and how they are working hard to ensure that India continues to grow and develop responsibly and efficiently.
The last stop was the most iconic and memorable destination in India, the Taj Mahal, located in Agra. The team got an early start the day of the visit, everyone eager to see one of the most impressive structures in the world. As we approached the moment, we were met with an enormous marble front gate blocking most of the view of the even more massive Taj Mahal on its other side. After walking through the center hallway, the unobstructed sun beamed down on the bright white translucent marble Taj Mahal. The structure is awe-inspiring in its size, history, and conditioning. Its impeccably maintained exterior hides the fact that it is nearly 400 years old. Seeing the Taj Mahal was the ultimate ending to the incredible India experience.
Doing Business in India provided students the fantastic opportunity to see a country with both so much historical prominence, as well as an increasingly bright future. Seeing India at this time is a must-see for those interested in business, diplomacy, the arts, government and politics or the culture in general. The trip ensured that this year's group of students saw all the most critical parts.