Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A student's published op-ed

It’s been nearly a month since 26 honors students at IU’s Kelley School of Business have returned from halfway around the world, Incredible India. But the memories are still fresh as they return for fall classes at IU Bloomington. Many are hearing the stories about the frantic Delhi traffic, India's mushrooming business development and a exotic culture that is millenniums old.

Clara Houin, one of the students you’ve already met along the way, continues to share her recollections. Her article, “Visit to India is a cultural shock; IU student finds a world of contrasts during a 10-day summer program,” appeared in yesterday’s (Sept. 9) South Bend Tribune.

I encourage you to look at her article, which is available online at

It also is pasted below.



Before Aug. 2, I thought I knew all about India. I had studied the languages of Urdu and Hindi for over a year, researched the culture, did group projects on the history and learned what not to eat or drink.

Yet with all this preparation, the country did not cease to surprise me. When I deboarded an eight-hour flight from Brussels, Belgium, to New Delhi, I had the cultural shock of a lifetime. The food, culture, sights and businesses that I experienced more than 7,000 miles around the globe will shape me and my career immeasurably in the years to come.

Indiana University offered a summer program for 26 students of the Kelley School of Business, including myself, who wanted to broaden their horizons to the businesses and culture of India. Our group spent 10 days in India, where we visited many cultural and business locations in and around New Delhi and Chennai and the Taj Mahal.

My first memories in India are a blur of very bright colors and throngs of people. It is very difficult to fully articulate how many people make up the population of India except to say that there is rarely a minute that goes by when one is completely alone.

Our first jet-lagged day in India was spent touring the capital city of New Delhi. We visited the famous war memorial for fallen Indian soldiers, entered several different religious sites and saw government buildings. We toured a Gandhi museum that also was the place where he lived the last 144 days of his life.

It was extraordinarily moving to witness a place where such an inspirational man spent his life.

The following days did not prove any less moving. In India, poverty is an unavoidable part of life, and the dichotomy between the rich and the poor can be very hard to bear. Every day our group was bused around the dirty and crowded streets, and at night we slept in five-star hotels.

All of us felt very humbled, and somewhat saddened, after our first few hours in New Delhi. However, any poor spirits that our group had were lifted on our second day in India when we journeyed seven hours to witness the majesty of the Taj Mahal. It was paradise on earth from the second I stepped into the Taj complex. If ever in India, a visit to see the beautiful white inlaid marble work of the Taj Mahal is a must.

After the first couple days of sight-seeing, our Kelley School group was able to connect with several prominent business and political figures of India. One evening, in New Delhi, we were hosted by a member of the Indian parliament, Deepender Singh Hooda.

While in New Delhi, we also visited the car factory of Maruti-Suzuki and toured one of the newest industrial complexes in India. At all of the locations we were graciously welcomed, and had many of our questions about business practices in India answered.

Following our time in New Delhi, we traveled to Chennai in southern India where we also visited several businesses. These included Allsec and Infosys, two of the most prominent Indian companies to date. Representatives from these prestigious businesses explained more about the operations of call centers and information technology than I have ever known.

In India, I was able to enjoy excellent spicy food, inexpensive shopping, experience a unique culture firsthand, and most importantly broaden my business horizons.

It was a trip that I would recommend to anyone, and one that I will never forget."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Kelley MBAs say, "Meet us on the road in India."

While most of this blog has focused on the Kelley School of Business and its undergraduate program’s trip to India, there’s also a highly respected MBA program to discuss (It’s ranked 18th worldwide by Business Week).

Its Godfrey Center (pictured here) has historically been a place where many international students, including many from India, have come to study business.

Forty-one percent of the 2008 class is from outside the United States. Outside the classroom, the school and IU offer numerous opportunities for international students to express themselves culturally and find their niche in Bloomington.

Through its Kelley International Perspectives, Kelley MBA students from all corners of the world share in the exploration of new cultures, planning full-immersion international study trips to Chile, China, India, Japan and elsewhere.

Kelley’s MBA Program will be participating in a series of MBA Fairs throughout India in September and October. Prospective students can register in advance by visiting the tour's web site:, however, advance registration is not required. Also, visit the MBA Tour website for registration fee information.

Representatives from the Kelley School will be available at each fair to answer your questions and provide you with additional information about the MBA Program.

You’ll find the India tour schedule online at

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Speaking Hindi

Clara Houin, pictured here, is from Plymouth, Indiana. Located in north-central Indiana, it had an estimated population of 11,025 in 2006.

Some will tell you that it was where the first retail outlet of the now-defunct U.S. retailer Montgomery Ward opened in 1926. Last year, one of her neighbors became the first person from Plymouth to become Miss Indiana.

In one of the earliest blog entries, you met Aashish Batra, another Kelley School student, who is from Delhi, India, said by some to be the third largest city in the world.

Both of them speak Hindi.

“Before Aug. 2 of this year, I thought I knew all about India. I had studied the languages of Urdu and Hindi for over a year, researched the culture, did group projects on the history and learned what not to eat or drink,” Clara says. “Yet with all this preparation, the country did not cease to surprise me. When I de-boarded an eight-hour flight from Brussels to New Delhi, I had the cultural shock of a lifetime.”

Batra previously had been one of about 60 Indians in a cultural exchange program and he says that that he saw the Kelley School class as a good way to repeat the experience, only with “so many good professors on board.”

But now, he admits, he has seen his home country through the eyes of Clara and many of the other 26 honors students on the trip. Batra, who plans to return home after getting his IU degree, appreciates seeing first-hand what Americans think about India and how they reacted to what they saw.

“That’s completely the purpose of the trip – how you see the Indian economy,” he says. “You’ve always studied the American economy yourself, now you have an opportunity to study the Indian economy … This gives me a chance to get into the American mind and study the Indian economy.

“We’ve got to learn a lot from each other,” Batra says.

He enjoyed going for a rickshaw ride with fellow students in Delhi’s chaotic streets and seeing their reactions to the wandering cows and other curiosities.

Houin, who plans to minor in India Studies at IU, has always been known as her family’s “Indian princess” because of a birthmark on her forehead, which has since been removed. As a result, “it’s been in my subconscious … I’ve always been interested in India,” she says.

Growing up in Plymouth, she says that her parents have always raised their children to be open-minded and have a world view. Despite all that she did to prepare for the trip, what she learned back in Bloomington paled in comparison with what she saw.

“There’s a lot more reality to it that I never had even imagined – the poverty, the filthiness, the real raw stuff that these people have to deal with everyday,” she says. “I’ve seen the pictures of the beautiful architecture and the lovely clothing that they make here. Coming here has really enlightened me on how different everyone else in the world is from people in the United States and how they have to deal with the harshness of life.”

When the group visited a special economic zone in Manesar, Houin surprised the host by presenting the Kelley School’s gift to him in Hindi.

“I have never been so intellectually and emotionally impacted by an academic experience before in my life,” she says. “India made me appreciate just how much the rest of the world is in need of foreign investment, and I plan to invest my future in broadening horizons for countries like India.”