Chair of the Undergraduate Program
In his best-seller The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century, Thomas Friedman predicts that the next phase of globalization is going to feature "more people from more places, on more days, in more ways," being able to collaborate and compete more on different kinds of work. One place where this is especially evident is India. And for the second year in a row, a group of Kelley undergraduates will experience India first-hand—a highlight of one of their sophomore-level business courses.
Many of America's top business schools already provide MBA students with an opportunity to see this trend up close. M.A. Venkataramanan, chair of the Kelley School's undergraduate program and a native of Chennai, is convinced students should get as deep an understanding of this as early as possible. To accomplish this, Professor "Venkat" will lead a team of 50 students on a nine-day tour of India where they will visit companies, government and cultural sites around New Delhi and Chennai, India.
Emerging markets up close
India is the second-fastest growing major economy in the world. According to a Goldman Sachs report, in the next 40 years, the BRIC economies—Brazil, Russia, India and China—together could become larger than the G6 nations (France, Germany, United States, Japan, United Kingdom and Italy).
Venkat's goal is for students to understand emerging markets by experiencing them first-hand. He explains, "There are other markets where the US plans to contribute. We have a role to play in their economy. The potential is there for our goods and services." In addition, he sees a greater vision for students in becoming good communicators all over the world—global citizens who thrive on diversity. "The borders of the US won't stop students from opportunities—we want to help prepare them for global citizenship."
Opportunities to network and grow
Although it's no small undertaking for a large Kelley team to travel to India, Venkat believes the impact on students is worth it: an eye-opening and life-changing experience that will expand their thinking and potential opportunities. "They see things they have never experienced before, good and bad, and grow personally as well as professionally."
Students get to experience the power of Kelley's large global alumni network, with opportunities to meet with alumni in Indian government and business. As part of last year's visit, Depender Hooda, MBA'03 and India's youngest member of Parliament, met with students and took them for a rare look at both houses of Parliament. Students met with other high-level Indian officials and business leaders who discussed a wide range of topics that provided numerous insights into the challenges the country is experiencing during a rapid period of growth.
Andrew Tharp, a student from Frankfort, Indiana, said of the high-level meetings, "It has been very interesting to meet with these people that have such influence and that they are willing to answer our questions. It would be interesting to ask the same questions to leaders of the United States."