By Kristen Egan

Last week, a group of students from Darden’s Full-Time MBA format had the opportunity to experience India’s vibrant culture while digging deeper into the challenges of doing business in this developing country. The group was comprised of First Year and Second Year students and mirrored Darden’s global community with students coming from Brazil, Ghana, Guatemala, Japan, Korea, and the United States.

While the Darden Worldwide Course focused on data science and technology and the role these disciplines play, students received a much broader perspective on business in India and its impact on commerce across the globe. “I think the biggest takeaway for students was the opportunity to see India’s thriving entrepreneurial spirit and to gain a better understanding of the complexity of demographics throughout the country – a country that is ranked 130th in terms of ease of doing business, “ said Casey Lichtendahl, faculty lead for the course.

Throughout the week students had the opportunity to hear from top executives at Nasscom’s Startup Warehouse, Walmart e-Commerce, Coca Cola, Times of India, EXL Service and the U.S. Embassy. Additionally, Darden alumni and entrepreneurs at Integra Connect, ZipGo and shared detailed insight on their companies and how their Darden experience has contributed to their success. Cultural visits throughout the week included the Taj Mahal, a Hindu temple and the Red Fort in Agra, and Humayun’s Tomb, a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi and a Sikh temple in Delhi.

Students from both the full-time and Global Executive MBA formats reconvened in Delhi for case discussions and were welcomed by VN Dalmia D’84 and Alumni Chapter President Akash Premsen D’08 to the Dalmia House for a networking reception with Darden alumni, faculty, and recently admitted and prospective students.

Second Year student Sarah Grothaus reflected, “While Darden consistently encourages us to be globally-minded, this trip illuminated the fact that there’s truly no substitute for witnessing and experiencing a culture on the ground, person-to-person. I was blown away by the forward-looking spirit and innovative ideas that India has to offer, and our trip gave me great insight into both the challenges and opportunities inherent in doing business here.”

Darden students hear from Guarav Agarwal D’10, Co-Founder of ZipGo – a smart bus app aiming to change the urban commute.
Darden students learn about India’s thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem at Nasscom’s Startup Warehouse.
DWC India group enjoying Tandoor-cooked Indian dishes at Bukhara in Delhi.
Darden students hear from Jitendra Gupta D’08, President of Global Operations at Integra Connect.
Darden students at the Red Fort in Agra.
Darden students at the Taj Mahal in Agra.
Darden students jumping in to help at the Community Kitchen at Gurudwara Bangla Sahib in Delhi.
Darden students hear from Darden alum Alok Vaish D’97, CFO of travel site
Darden students visiting Gurudwara Bangla Sahib – a Sikh house of worship.