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 Yatra.com 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.”