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Ten Spring Break Days of Doing Business in India
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        At Gujarat Fluorochemicals Ltd. Noida, India after a lecture by Bhupesh Juneja on wind energy. View more photos » .        
Doing Business in India
   
Similar to Columbus’ expedition to find riches in India, we, sixteen students enrolled in the class Doing Business in India, departed with a quest for knowledge. After 16 hours of flight time, and a connection in Brussels, more than a day later, we arrived in Mumbai. Before coming to India, we did not know what to expect. The expectations of the class varied drastically. However, on arrival in Mumbai, our first impression of Mumbai was awestruck. The skyline decorated with construction cranes, new buildings, and long bridges attested to the prosperity of India on the one hand, while makeshift homes encompassed the surroundings below them. We were witnessing firsthand something incredible, the ascension of a great nation—India. Through our travels during the days following our arrival, we were to learn that India has always been a resilient nation and has fought through the world’s most perilous times to always thrive. 

Mumbai offered us the opportunity to witness the headquarters for the Indian financial industry and Bollywood—India’s equivalent of Hollywood, like combining New York and Los Angeles into one city. Our first stop was an appointment at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) where we received a high-level presentation of the financial market operations in India by a market expert, Mr. Purv Shah. He described how India’s economy is now trading on an electronic platform similar to the NASDAQ. Perhaps one day the two will be one global market, trading continuously, 24 hours a day. After that, we headed to visit KPMG, the India office of the third biggest accounting firm in the world, where we enjoyed a presentation on Indian and regional economy by its Executive Director Gautam Chemburkar. A culturally intelligent gentleman that not only discussed India’s economic and financial systems, Gautam also went into a great detail on the current opportunities and threats present in India. 

To end our first full day in India, we stopped by Jones Lang LaSalle, one of the largest real estate firms in the world where we were well received by an MBA alumnus of Seton Hall’s Stillman School of Business, Mr. Abhishek Gupta. Abhishek went through several statistics comparing real estate in Manhattan and Mumbai that demonstrated how real estate, commercial and residential, is on the rise in India. A relatively agrarian society, India is experiencing a housing boom across the entire country. 

Along with visiting several businesses in Mumbai, on our next day, we managed to find a serene location only a boat-ride away. Lying on an island in the Arabian Sea, the Elephanta Caves is a world heritage site which consists of a monolithic Shiva temple dating back to the 6th Century CE. After visiting the caves, we made our way to the University of Mumbai to attend a seminar hosted by a professor and successful author, Dr. Radhakrishnan Pillai, based on the management concepts of an ancient Indian strategist named Chanakya. To fight the invasion of India by Alexander the Great, Chanakya, then the Prime Minister of Magadha, the seat of Indian power at the time, was working to defeat Alexander which never happened, as the history tells us that Alexander could not go beyond a tiny Indian kingdom, Puru, in north India. 

After three days of the fast pace in Mumbai, we earned the privilege of retreating to the south for some hot weather and relaxation in Kochi in the state of Kerala. From Kochi aiport, we took a short ride to Pallathuruthy where we boarded the houseboats and spent the day and night on the pristine backwaters of Kerala. Lush, green, and decorated with tiny villages and palm trees, the backwaters were close to paradise. These waters were essential to the survival of many of the people during the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. For a day, we lived in luxury as we relaxed and took in the beautiful scenery. At one point, things became a little competitive when we took on the local volleyball team, but this was a friendly match that was played in good spirit. The boats docked for the night. The following day, we headed back to Kochi where we watched the famous Kathakali dancers perform in full costume and body paint. 

Once our weekend of leisure was over, we were back to business and headed off to Delhi. Upon arriving in Delhi we boarded a super luxury coach, where we were presented with McDonald’s Chicken Maharaja Macs and driven to Agra for a brief encounter with the Taj Mahal. Along the way, we witnessed tiny villages with extravagant weddings taking place. A symbol of love, the Taj Mahal was constructed to commemorate the untimely death of King Shah Jahan’s third wife.

On way back to Delhi, we stopped at Noida to visit the Jaypee Business School where we attended a lecture on Indian and American economies presented by Professor Ashok Wahi and our Professor A. D. Amar. The Jaypee Business students presented us flowers on behalf of the school and were intrigued to learn about American students. 

Our first full day in Delhi had an overwhelming theme of corporate social responsibility. First, we attended a seminar on ethics in business, a universal characteristic, at the Delhi School of Economics led by Professor J. P. Sharma and Dr. Amar. Following that, we headed to a newly developed corporate campus in Noida, where we visited HCL Technologies Ltd. and attended a lecture on “employees first” concept based on a book by that title written by Vineet Nayar, CEO of HCL.

To conclude our final day in Delhi and India, we visited Gujrat Fluorocarbons, Inox Corp., Noida, and attended a lecture on India’s energy needs and alternate sources by Dr. Amar’s younger brother, Vice President and General Manager Mr. Bhupesh Juneja. With a booming population and increasing demand on their power grid, India is in need of alternative sources of energy such as the wind. This will play an incremental success. Finally, we stopped by the headquarters of MakeMyTrip.com, the Indian equivalent of Expedia who arranged our India trip, and attended a lecture on ecommerce by Mr. Mohit Gupta, Chief of Marketing. Similar to Expedia or Orbitz, MakeMyTrip.com is a well-known name among the Indians, domestically and internationally. 

Doing Business in India made us more conscience of the growth and relationship developing between India and the US. We read about booming economies such as India everyday in the Wall Street Journal or Harvard Business Review; however we realized that seeing is believing. We took away many values from our brief visit abroad and left on our hosts an impression as the ambassadors for the Stillman School of Business and Seton Hall University. I was personally inspired to see my fellow students and faculty members in India express and exemplify the importance of charity and philanthropy. Whether it was through education or providing food for a child in need, the participants demonstrated strong social responsibility. Our hope is that the value spreads throughout India.

For more information please contact:
A.D. Amar
(973) 761-9864
ad.amar@shu.edu

 

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