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Seeing is Believing: The Journey of Seton Hall University Doing Business in India 2013
Seton Hall > News & Events 

Mumbai UniversityAt last, the day we had longed for had arrived; February 27, 2013 was the kick-off to our incredible journey to India! The excitement filled Newark International Airport as the group met with anticipation for our 15 1/2 hours of air travel on Virgin Atlantic to London with connections to Mumbai.

As first time travelers to India (except Dr. Amar), the group had various expectations for "Doing Business in India!" The group comprised of diverse SHU students with four graduate students; three with coursework in Master of Business Administration (MBA) and one with coursework in Master of Strategic Communication (MSC), and three undergraduate students; one with coursework in Diplomacy and two with coursework in Business.

Our first stop was Mumbai, overlooking the beautiful Arabian Sea from Hotel Trident Nariman Point on Marine Drive, where we arrived from the airport. The next morning, March 1, 2013, we departed for a lecture at the University of Mumbai. There, we were greeted and had a session on Indian education system with Dr. Shubhada A. Joshi, Professor and Head of the Department of Philosophy, and Dr. Kamini Gogri of Indian Aesthetics Communal Harmony and Social Peace. Later we attended a class by Dr. Meenal that was already in session to learn about the management concepts of an ancient (4th Century BCE) Indian strategist named Chanakya; to fight the invasion of India by Alexander the Great. To our surprise, later, Dr. Gogri extended to us a warm invitation to visit her home. We accepted it as this was a great opportunity to experience an Indian home in Mumbai. Upon arrival at her home, the group was introduced to her family where they had freshly prepared delicious traditional Indian desserts. The hospitality was lively and cheerful like the country itself.

Next, we went to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) where we met with Mr. Ambarish Datta, Managing Director and CEO of BSE Institute, and attended a session led by BSE Institute Faculty member, Mr. Rakesh Nair, to learn about the Indian economy and capital markets. The session became especially noteworthy as we joined the Finance students of St. Xavier's University. Our very own, Dr. Amar addressed the attendees on the outlook of Indian and American economies. Thus, a very special gratitude goes to Mr. Aranha Roy for making this opportunity possible every year for the last five years of Doing Business in India to learn about the Indian markets and economy for the knowledge of the future American businesspersons. Later, our taste buds were delighted with some of India’s finest cuisine; bursting with flavor, aroma and spices at the restaurants Indian Summer and Ali Baba in downtown Mumbai.

Early morning on March 2, 2013, we departed for PharmaLab to be introduced to Indian pharmaceutical industry by its Marketing Director, Mr. Unni. India is currently the world’s largest generic drug manufacturer; however, within the current decade, it is slated to be the largest producer of all kinds of drugs in the world. The visit to PharmaLab was organized by Jay Shah, Business Developer Manager, a Stillman alumnus and former student of Dr. Amar.

Later, that afternoon, the group was joined by a professional guide who took us on an enjoyable hour-and-half boat ride to an island across Mumbai harbor into the Arabian Sea for a guided visit to a network of sculpted caves which the Portuguese called the Elephanta Caves, a group of 7th Century Hindu and Buddhist caves housing Shiva temples. The labyrinth of ancient caves and temples cut into the basalt rock is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. We climbed 247 steps to get to the caves and learned how ancient Indians engaged in spiritualism and worship through asceticism.

On our return to Mumbai, we enjoyed the breathtaking ceremonial arch, the Gateway of India, constructed to celebrate the visit in 1911 of King George V and Queen Mary of England. The Gateway of India combines elements of European, Hindu, and Muslim architectures. Through this, our guide connected us to the period of British Raj in India.

Immersed in the atmosphere and natural beauty of India, on March 3, 2013, the group packed and headed to the airport where we flew domestically to Kochi on Indigo Airlines to enjoy one night at Zuri, Kumarakom, Kerala Resort & Spa and a night in a houseboat on the backwaters of Kerala—a world-renowned water adventure destination. On our first morning there, the group enjoyed an early rise to the nearby Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary to watch a variety of local and migratory birds. Thereafter, the group enjoyed a private yoga session led by our very own, Dr. Amar.

The next day, March 4, 2013, we explored a walk through the nature for "One Night Only!" on a houseboat stretch through the backwaters that offered a great picture of the land, with many islands scattered here and there with lush greenery along the banks. We had a Kerala State Tourism Development village-tour in country boats riding through Kerala Backwaters to learn about the communities living in water. The water hyacinth floats on the lake’s surface with slender coconut palms sway along the water's edge. There were country craft houseboats, canoes and the serene canals that welcomed other tourists; we enjoyed the ambience of cultural change and got a peak into the Indian society.

Joy came in the morning; on March 5, 2013, we headed to the airport for our domestic flight to New Delhi. On our way to the airport, we received an introduction to the varied religious practices of India by an expert guide who took us to an early sixteenth century church, St. Francis Church, built by the Portuguese; and a synagogue—one of the oldest outside the Middle East, as the Jews arrived in India during the second-to-first century BCE after the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem. The guide gave us a tour of the spice markets and the history of European invasions of India where they came under the pretext of spice trade.

On the evening of March 5, 2013, we arrived in New Delhi, India's capital, and went to our hotel, The Grand New Delhi, in the heart of the city. After having a sumptuous dinner at their restaurant, we went to retire for the night.

On March 6, 2013, after breakfast at the hotel, we went to visit the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) Corporate Office; an integrated power plant equipment manufacturer and one of the largest engineering and manufacturing companies in India where we were greeted by Dr. Balvir Talwar, General Manager of Corporate Planning & Development. We attended a session on strategic management in a changing global economy with the senior management of the company. It is here that we received a tote bag full of goodies along with outstanding hospitality of Indian pastries.

After lunch, we headed to the Jaypee Institute of Information Technology for our session with the students and faculty of the Jaypee Business School. Here we learned about the Indian economy and the projections of its growth from Professor Agarwal and attended an interactive session with the students. Again, the hospitality was unique with service.

After our class at Jaypee Business School, we were filled with extraordinary adventure as we boarded the bus for Agra to visit the legendary Taj Mahal, a wonder of the world that dates back to the 17th century. We spent the night at Wyndham Grand Agra resort.

On the early morning of March 7, 2013, we entered the compounds of Taj Mahal for its sunrise view and a lesson on the Muslim period in India from an expert we especially hired for the purpose. The Taj Mahal is rich in history and culture. The story shared is of an exceptional building that is beautiful as a palace. Although, heartbroken at the death of his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, the renowned leader, Shah Jahan, decided to build the Taj Mahal as a monument to his lost love. The project took 22 years to complete and included more than 20,000 artisans from all over India and Persia. The icon is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is renowned for its exquisite marble screens, a type of marble inlay works made with thousands of semiprecious stones.

Later that day, we arrived back in Delhi for an introduction to India's government. We visited various buildings, including the Parliament House, where Indian government is housed. Although our view was limited, we visited the gate of the India's presidential palace named "Rashtrapati Bhavan," the equivalent of the White House, where we also saw the passing of the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Man Mohan Singh.

On the morning of March 8, 2013, we were thrilled to the tumult of Delhi, we visited the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, where we attended a session with the faculty and research scholars of Delhi University led by a lecture and question-answer session with Dr. J. P. Sharma, Professor of Law and Corporate Governance and Dean of Delhi School of Economics, which was followed by our very own, Dr. Amar. We enjoyed the session and interaction with students. Afterwards, we went to the US Embassy to be introduced to American business in India. We had a very brief overview of the US Embassy by Nafeesah Allen, a Federal Agent. We learned that Delhi embassy houses the largest US peacetime operation in the world.

Lastly, we enjoyed an afternoon for souvenir shopping and then it was off to pack for our last day in India, March 9, 2013. All in all, a very sad day as the group was not prepared to say our goodbyes to such an extraordinary tour escort, Rohit! Similarly, several entities had an impact in making this trip such an experience and we thank them all: that operated our schedule in India for whom the highest priority was to make sure that our India trip came out as it did, and of course, we thank the Stillman School of Business for organizing the trip and offering the course; Doing Business in India. Their collective effort made this journey a remarkable experience.

In conclusion, our takeaway is that embrace comes in many forms; values have become relative and rights more important than duties and the goal of serving the common good is often lost. This was an incredible journey that was sensitive at times; a nuanced depiction which neither glorifies the good nor mocks the bad. In fact, India has allowed us to see a reflection of SELF! Indian culture is very diverse and rich. Our journey was remarkable, an awe-inspiring adventure. Seeing is believing… we had the most incredible walk through nature; it weaved an honest view of life in India, yet it was an incredible cultural, educational and business savvy journey had by all!

For more information please contact:
A.D. Amar
(973) 761-9684


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