School of Management students and faculty members hope to permanently establish future travel and job opportunities for Yalies in India, following the school’s first study trip to four Indian cities over winter break.
The trip, which was the culmination of SOM professor Jonathan Koppell’s two-credit class “Emerging Markets: India 2006,” allowed students to meet with top executives at leading Indian companies across a broad range of sectors, from technology and pharmaceuticals to manufacturing and media services. Many who went on the trip said their experience abroad is indicative of the growth of the Yale-India relationship.
Koppel said any business- or management-school graduate who hopes to work in today’s globalized marketplace needs to have a profound appreciation of India’s complex economic landscape.
“India is one of the most dynamic economies in the world, with tremendous potential and formidable challenges,” said Koppell, who helped lead the trip. “Given its emergence, a better understanding of India is an absolute necessity for corporate and political leaders.”
Johnathon Cervelli SOM ’06, who went into the program having previously worked as a strategy manager for Microsoft in Singapore, said he views this landmark study trip as the first of many steps towards a stronger relationship between Yale and South Asia, specifically India.
“I think the University as a whole looks forward to improving its relationship with India, and I think that the School of Management is no exception,” Cervelli said. “I think the fact that the prime minister [Manmohan Singh] made it a point to meet with us signals India’s interest in building a relationship with Yale as well.”
Manu Bammi ’84, chief executive officer of SmartAnalyst Inc., hosted the group of 20 students at his consulting firm’s office in Gurgaon, India. He said that while the Yale-India relationship has not necessarily been high on Yale’s radar, he sees that changing in the future as India continues to consolidate its significant economic power.
“It was [the students’] opportunity to get a feel for the high-value research analysis work we do, and for the work that it is now possible to do out of India’s exciting emerging market,” Bammi said. “There are cross-border linkages and outsourcing possibilities now that didn’t exist five, 10 or 20 years ago, and they’ve seen the products of that.”
As the principal organizer, Lauren Skryzowski SOM ’06 said her idea for a study trip to India was a product of the recent trend among business schools of encouraging students to take advantage of vacation time to work or travel abroad.
“The difference here is that most other business schools just do tours, but we went for a really integrated learning experience,” Skryzowski said. “Probably 75 percent of the students who went would now consider working in India, whereas before I’d say only about 25 percent would have.”
Skryzowski said the study group’s collaborative effort in organizing the trip received a substantial amount of support from the University.
“President Levin’s office was extremely instrumental in working with us in a really close partnership,” Skryzowski said, noting that the study trip followed just a year after Levin’s own first trip to India.
Many students are familiar with the frequently publicized ties between Yale and China, but the University can still benefit from a stronger relationship with India, Cervelli said.
“I think Yale and China will always share a very special relationship, but the prospect of closer ties to India is something everyone at the University should be very excited by,” Cervelli said.
Bammi added that he is looking forward to possibly offering jobs or internships to Yale alumni at his firm’s India office, indicating that the blossoming Yale-India relationship may prove beneficial for students entering the international work force in the coming years.
Koppell’s class, which met weekly during the fall 2005 semester prior to the study trip, featured lectures by experts on various aspects of Indian culture, including historian Mridu Rai, economics professor T. N. Srinivasan and Indian religion expert Phyllis Granoff. Students were also required to research, analyze and report on the companies they were to visit in India.