School of Business Trip to India Encourages In-Depth Look at Emerging Economy

A group of students are the first Manhattan College undergraduates to travel to India as part of a global business marketing course.

At Manhattan College, a lesson on the global state of business isn’t just found in a textbook; the course is not complete until students head out of the States, and go global!

Two School of Business professors and 18 students enrolled in the International Field Study Seminar course (MKTG 414) spent winter break in India to study one of the world’s newly developed BRIC economies — Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The Manhattan group arrived in New Delhi on Jan. 5 and visited the U.S. Embassy the following day to learn about the Indian economy and how entrepreneurial startups in both countries are encouraged to work with one another.

On-Site Opportunity

To further study the growing business relationships between India and America, the group visited a number of sites, including Quatrro, a global services business that operates call centers for American credit card companies.

“India is important, as it is a developing economy and quite a lot of our business processing has gone [there],” says Carolyn Predmore, Ph.D., professor of management and marketing. “While we may fret over the loss of those jobs to India, it is important to understand what all of that means.”

“Our tour guide reminded us that Quatrro provides services for Americans but helps Indians live, too,” adds Gabriel Quiroz ’14, a management and global business studies major. “They are providing meals for both tables.”

The group also had a special opportunity to visit the Delhi offices of global advertising firm, JWT, whose headquarters are based in New York City. The visit provided the students with a new perspective on marketing, as they explored the strategy behind Indian commercial-making, both in modern society and in India as a former British colony.

During the workshop portion of the visit, the students were split into groups and tried their hands at pitching commercials to an Indian audience featuring products like Axe, Harley Davidson and Coca-Cola.

The JWT executives even treated the students to McDonald’s and Pizza Hut for lunch so they could taste the difference overseas (a cheeseburger is fried cottage cheese on a bun!).

Before the week was over, the Manhattan group also visited two manufacturing plants — Gabriel, a shock absorber plant, and Mahle, a plant that makes oil and gas filters — to learn about the manufacturing process from raw material to final product.

Connecting to a New Culture

“It is also important to try to incorporate service into our trips,” Predmore says. “There is a great deal to learn and understand when you are actively engaged in helping others.”

To add a Lasallian angle to the trip, the Manhattan group visited a Habitat for Humanity site to learn about the work the nonprofit is doing in India. They also met with a social NGO called the Modern Rural Youth Development Organization (MRYDO), which teaches women to turn their craft — shoes, bags, chocolates, even pickles — into a business or source of income for their families.

“They had smiles on their faces as they explained their experiences with starting their businesses and paying back their loans,” says Britney Sampson ’14, a marketing and business analytics major, whose trip to India was her first time abroad. “They helped show me that having faith and perseverance are what helps us progress in life.”

The students also had an opportunity to visit Janta Adarsh Andh Vidyalaya, a nonprofit school that provides free education and boarding for 140 blind children from needy families throughout the country. Well-versed in music from a young age, the children treated their Jasper visitors to a special concert.

The weeklong trip was a whirlwind of learning opportunities coupled with a bit culture — a visit to the Taj Mahal, an evening at a Bollywood show and plenty of tasty chicken tikka and garlic naan.

Once the jet lag wore off from the long trip home, the Jaspers reflected upon their experiences abroad and began brainstorming ways to apply it to their spring MKTG 414 course, which, along with an international trip, is now required for all global business majors.

“Change comes from within, and it’s evident that the younger generation is bringing positive change to India,” Quiroz says. “You can go to other countries, but there’s nothing like India. To be in a developing country as it’s developing is amazing.”

Read the students’ India blog >>

By Julie Benns