Darden’s India program
Students gain cultural and global business experience
Editor’s Note: Brooke Faulkner, a coordinator for the AccessUVA financial aid program whose husband graduates from the Darden School on Sunday, provides a firsthand account of January’s Darden Global Business Experience in India.
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.
Our formal introduction to India started as the 24 Darden students and seven partners hit the streets of Delhi. Our first stop was the U.S. Embassy, where we met Deputy Chief of Mission Robert Blake. A passionate diplomat, Blake discussed 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.
We later visited the Delhi Metro Rail Corp. where we met with the managing director, Mr. E. Sreedharan, who is leading the effort to build a metro system to 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.
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.
On the weekend, we visited Agra — a two-hour train ride from Delhi — to see the Taj Mahal. 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 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. A two-hour flight from Delhi, Hyderabad seems a world away: cleaner, more prosperous and rapidly developing. Entering the gates of the school, we were surrounded by newly developed land, modern architecture and a view of the Microsoft India Development Center’s second largest campus outside Redmond, Wash.
We spent the first morning touring the campus and learning about the school, which offers MBA programs, executive programs and student exchange programs.
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. 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 organizer of the India Graduate Business Experience, assembled the group on the last morning at the India School of Business so 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,” said graduating Darden student Kimberly Lau. “On the one hand, I was shocked to see how many major challenges they have. On the other hand, I was impressed with the spirit of the people and the industrious drive you see everywhere.”
Henry Pease, also graduating from 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!”
|WHAT IS A Global Business Experience?
As the economy becomes more global so are the students at the Darden Graduate School of Business, thanks to the school’s Global Business Experiences. These programs are currently offered in Argentina, Bahrain, China, India, Mexico, Romania, Spain, South Africa and Sweden, with each country offering a class unlike any other.
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.”
|Darden Around the Globe
The Darden School is globally active and internationally aware.
The school’s faculty, 22 percent of whom are from outside the United States, teach, consult and do research around the world. Its students — about 30 percent of whom are international — have lived and worked in 80 countries and speak 42 languages. The school has exchange programs with 19 top overseas universities and organizations.
Sixteen percent of the required curriculum and 22 percent of electives have global content. And 11 percent of Darden’s alumni live and work in 75 countries.
Like other top business schools, Darden relies on the case method of instruction. Many of Darden’s business cases, written by Darden faculty and used at Darden and at other schools, have an international focus. More than three dozen of these will soon be available in Spanish as well as in English.
To expand the use of the case method and encourage the use of good business practices worldwide, Darden sponsors a fellowship for business faculty from developing countries that strengthens their business case writing and teaching skills. Tayloe Murphy Fellows come to Darden and work with Darden faculty and case writers to craft business cases based on their home countries and observe classes to become more effective case teachers.
For more on Darden’s global activities visit http://www.darden.virginia.edu/global/index.htm.
• Ph.D. degrees 2
• MBA degrees 303