March 3 - 16, 2006
Vol. 36, Issue 4
Back Issues
IN THIS ISSUE
Arras and Fuentes win SCHEV award
Kaine to speak at finals

U.Va. tapped for innovative bioengineering partnership

Semester at Sea: Gies selected as U.Va.'s first academic dean
Digest
What wives want: Study finds commitment to marriage, emotional engagement key to wives' happiness
Darden's India program
Passing the baton: French now assists international community with immigration affairs
Last ball in U-Hall
Loncke's research helps people overcome speech problems
Poet Giovanni headlines Hues Conference
Acclaimed authors to discuss suffering

D'earth, Free Bridge Quintet jazz up orchestra

Geraldine Ferraro to speak
Ted Kennedy Keynote Speaker
Peace Corps to honor U.Va., volunteers March 15
'Edge of Empire' wins Duff Cooper Prize

 

Darden’s India program
Students gain cultural and global business experience

camel
Photo by David Hertog
india market
Photo by Greg Faulkner
India school of business
Photo by Brooke Faulkner
Top to bottom: A camel on a street in India, a market and The Indian School of Business in Hyderabad.

Editor’s Note: For this installment in our series on international activities, Brooke Faulkner, a coordinator for the AccessUVA financial aid program whose husband attends the Darden Graduate School of Business, provides a firsthand account of January’s Darden Global Business Experience in India.

International Activities
Second in an ongoing series

By Brooke Faulkner

Vibrant colors, crowded streets, religious fervor. Honking horns, homeless children, high-tech companies. An elephant overtaking a camel on a new national highway. All make up India today.

The opportunity to see for ourselves the transformation taking place in this rapidly developing country led my husband Greg Faulkner and I to attend the Darden School’s India Global Business Experience (GBE, see sidebar below).

The international experience actually began weeks before ever boarding a plane. Traveling to India requires a visa, and a number of immunizations are recommended — five in all — for everything from typhoid to malaria. And then there are the cultural tips and other information that can make the adjustment smoother: don’t drink the water — even bottled water, much of which is hose water placed in a bottle. The term “restroom” is used loosely; beware. And if you are a woman, don’t be surprised if on the train a man is offered a newspaper, but you are not.

Kimberly Lau
Photo by Dan Addison
Kimberly Lau

Our formal introduction to India started as the 24 Darden students and seven partners boarded the bus to hit the streets of Delhi. Our first stop was the U.S. Embassy, where we met the Deputy Chief of Mission, Robert Blake. An eloquent speaker and passionate diplomat, Blake discussed with us the country’s booming economy and the need for American support. He also spoke about the problems facing India, such as infrastructure constraints, poverty and AIDS. (India has the largest AIDS population in the world.)

We later visited the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation where we met with the managing director, Mr. E. Sreedharan, who is leading the effort to build a metro system that will serve the city and outlying area. Sreedharan, whose past transit projects in Asia were completed under budget and ahead of schedule, spoke to the group about managing this project and how the Metro Rail will benefit the city. Only a few “phases” are open for the public, and we had the opportunity to be some of the first passengers. Once underground and waiting for the train, you almost forget you are in Delhi: clean facilities, little noise pollution and swift-moving trains give the feel of a prosperous and developed city.

Henry Pease
Photo by Dan Addison
Henry Pease

We spent the rest of the week visiting the Times of India, the largest English broadsheet in the world, with a readership around 7 million; the Honda Seil Cars India Ltd. factory, which manufactures Accords and Citys for sale in India; the Ministry of Tourism office, which presented to us its marketing campaign “Incredible !ndia”; the National Highways Authority of India, which is working to expand the country’s highway system; and Ajit Sahgal, general manager of Philip Morris Services India and a Darden alumnus.

With a weekend free to travel, we visited Agra — a two-hour train ride from Delhi — to see the Taj Mahal. It was breathtaking. But not only was it an experience to be remembered, so was the trip to and from Agra. People were everywhere in the Delhi train station. Carrying our luggage, not knowing the people, the language, or how the train ran, we struggled to find our seats in the crowd. To me this is what traveling is about, and it’s something that cannot be learned from a textbook. Students studying abroad not only learn about a new culture, language and economy but also experience life in a new way — even catching a train in a foreign city becomes an opportunity for growth.

After our weekend of sightseeing, we headed south to Hyderabad, home of The Indian School of Business (ISB). Just a two-hour flight from Delhi, Hyderabad seems a world away: cleaner, more prosperous and rapidly developing. Entering the gates of the ISB, the sounds we had come to associate with India quickly disappeared, and we were surrounded by newly developed land, modern architecture and a view of the Microsoft India Development Center’s second largest campus outside Redmond.

We spent the morning of our first day at ISB touring the campus and learning about the school. It focuses on MBA programs, executive programs and student exchange programs where there are currently four Darden students. The facility boasts large classrooms, advanced technology and resources, and top-notch professors from around the world.

Over the next two days, we visited a laboratory that develops pharmaceutical products and conducts wide-scale cancer and diabetes research; Satyam Computer Services, a large global consulting and IT services company; Tata, one of India’s oldest and largest privately owned conglomerates; and Genpact, India’s largest business process outsourcing company, which employs around 14,000 people in India. At a leadership seminar, “IndiaNext,” Indian political and business leaders spoke about corporate governance and social responsibility, politics and business, and youth emerging as political leaders. These meetings gave us the opportunity to not only see the wide variety of booming businesses in India but also the minds behind these successful organizations.

Marc Modica, a Darden professor and the organizer of the India GBE, assembled the group on the last morning at ISB so that all of the students and partners could talk about what the trip meant to them, what they learned and how this experience will affect them as business leaders.

Many were struck by the people’s resilience in the face of stern obstacles to development.

“My impression of India definitely changed after the GBE,” said Darden student Kimberly Lau. “On the one hand, I was shocked to see how many major challenges they have left to overcome. Issues like poverty and a rapidly expanding population are intense and will require brilliant minds, luck and diligence to overcome. On the other hand, I was impressed with the spirit of the people and the industrious drive you see everywhere.”

Henry Pease, also in his second year at Darden, called the time in India “an amazing contradiction of an experience,” one in which he found “the most stunning places surrounded by the poorest. The most advanced companies surrounded by minimal infrastructure. A country with a new national highway system where an elephant can be seen overtaking a camel!”

Having now been back in the United States for almost two months, I find it difficult to say what had the greatest impact on me: the culture, experiencing a country with such a growing economy, or traveling to an area with which I was not familiar. What I do know is that I will go back. I came away from India struck not only about what I learned and saw, but also what I did not before know. Meeting with government officials, talking to business leaders, beginning to understand the challenges and opportunities unique to India, even walking the chaotic streets of Delhi — everything that was part of the international experience — all serve to open your eyes to the new realities of the global environment. And once they are open, it is hard to ever close them again.

WHAT IS A GBE?

As the economy is becoming more global so are the students at the Darden Graduate School of Business, thanks in large part to the school’s Global Business Experiences. These programs, which run from one to two weeks, are currently offered in Argentina, Bahrain, China, India, Mexico, Romania, Spain, South Africa and Sweden, with each country offering a class unlike any other. GBEs, which give the students the opportunity to experience international business firsthand, are an extension of the case method of instruction practiced at Darden.

According to A. Jon Megibow, professor of management communication at Darden, “All of the GBEs coordinate in-class learning with visits to local businesses, joint ventures and multi-national companies. Students also visit government offices and leaders to gain a better understanding of the economic and social forces that shape each country’s business environment. Our curriculum is integrated and provides a cross-functional understanding of management. The GBEs reflect that perspective.”



CURRENT ISSUE

© Copyright 2006 by the Rector and Visitors
of the University of Virginia

UVa Home Page UVa Events Calendar Top News UVa Home Page