Fourteen students from Indiana University of Pennsylvania traveled to India for 12 days in January 2014 as a part of the Discover India program.
Students went on the trip as a part of a partnership with Peoples Education Society (PES) Institutions, in which IUP students may go to India and experience its economic and historical climate, while PES students come to IUP to finish their MBA programs.
600 MBA students have graduated with an IUP MBA as part of this collaborative
program with PES, while nearly 100 undergraduate IUP students have traveled to
PES for study abroad trips.
Discover India began when the director of the program and dean’s associate Prashanth Bharadwaj saw that the flow of students was only one way.
“After a couple of years, I realized there was a lot of value for students from here to go there, and we have such a large study abroad program, but none of them went to India,” Bharadwaj said. “India is one of the largest emerging countries, and there is so much to learn there.”
Students have been participating in the trip for six years, traveling to the city of Bangalore in southern India to learn about India’s business sector.
Three years ago, the Golden Triangle for tourists in northern India was added to the trip so students could see historical and government related sites.
“Without seeing the historic parts of India, I thought the whole trip was not complete,” Bharadwaj said. “In India you will see a whole millennium at the same time. You will see the most sophisticated people, the most sophisticated companies, and on the other hand you will see how things were 1,000 years back, still existing today. The contrast is overwhelming for students, but it is educational.”
Students spent three days in Northern India discovering India’s culture and past. This included tours of the cities of Agra, Jaipur, and New Delhi. One of the highlights of the trip was seeing the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Throughout the trip, Eberly students interacted with the PES-IUP MBA students and even visited their homes. This gave students first-hand knowledge of what it is like to live in India. The two groups of students even took a road trip to Mysore together to see the palace and temples in the city.
“Regardless of poverty or wealth, religion or creed, the one thing that really ties all the Indians together is their overwhelming sense of happiness and joy,” senior Jon Norwich said. “The entire country seemed to understand that there are much worse things in life than what they now experience, and they do not take that for granted.”
Both IUP and PES students attended a symposium with four speakers from industry and academia who came and talked to the students about a variety of topics, including the economic, social, cultural, and business aspects of Indian culture.
While in Bangalore, students took plant tours and met with company executives at three Indian companies: Infosys, an Indian software giant; Coca-Cola; and Toyota Kirloskar, the Japanese car manufacturing plant in India.
On these tours, students got to see first-hand the types of manufacturing scenarios and management theories they learn about in class.
A panel was also held where students got to ask Bharadwaj, PES CEO D. Jawahar, and associate director of PES-IUP Management Programs Divyashree Ravishankar anything they wanted about the partnership with PES and India’s education environment.
On their last night in India, the PES-IUP MBA students put on a cultural performance where they performed traditional Indian dances and music for the American students. The IUP students even dressed in traditional Indian attire for the performance.
“What a better way to end the trip than with a dance party with 85 of my newest Indian friends,” senior Ryan Egan said.
The trip culminated in a presentation from the IUP students about their experience and learning during the trip.
“It would take a lifetime to understand India, but only ten
days to fall in love,” senior Jamie Czech said.
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