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Eberly Students “Discover” India

Posted on 2/19/2015 3:43:33 PM

IUP and IUP India MBA program students visit the Mysore Palace in India.Fourteen Eberly College of Business and Information Technology juniors and seniors explored India for 12 days in January 2015 with the Discover India program. Eleven of the students were part of the Eberly Business Honors program. This was the eighth group of IUP students traveling to India since 2007.

The trip was coordinated by Prashanth Bharadwaj, program director and dean’s associate at Eberly, and Divyashree Ravishankar, the associate director of IUP’s collaborative management programs with Peoples Educational Society (PES), Bangalore.  

The IUP India MBA program has been active since 2005 and has produced more than 650 graduates; graduates who are now spread across all six continents. Many work in the U.S. for corporations such as Google, Apple, and GE. IUP has partnered with PES to allow students from India to start their MBA in India and finish it at IUP.

The students started their journey in northern India by visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Then, they went to the “pink city” of Jaipur, where they rode like royalty on the back of an elephant to Amber Fort, and finally traveled to New Delhi, India’s capital.

Then, they flew south to Bangalore and took a bus ride to Mysore with 45 IUP India MBA program students as they explored the culture and heritage of southern India.  

The students stayed in Bangalore for six days. They toured companies like Coco-Cola’s bottling facility, Toyota’s manufacturing factory, and Germany’s Bosch factory. They also toured Infosys, which is the third-largest India-based IT service company and India’s sixth-largest publicly traded company.

They also had many cultural experiences such as visiting a visual arts center, getting colorful henna, classical/folk/contemporary Bollywood dancing, trying Indian cuisine, and viewing the combination of ancient and modern architecture of the city.

“You will have a thousand-plus-year-old temple next to a modern technology building,” said Bharadwaj. “India is a country of contrasts and paradoxes. You will see real ancient traditions, dating to the period before Christ, coexisting with modern day practices. Our students would not have seen that anywhere else in the world.”

Students also were engaged in a daylong symposium where Bharadwaj, Professor D. Jawahar, CEO of PES Institutions, and other speakers spoke about India’s entrepreneurs, education, economy, and businesses. At the end of the event, PES students put on a cultural night where they danced, sang, modeled, acted, and prepared food for the IUP students.

Finally, at the end of the trip, IUP students presented a report about their trip to about 90 IUP India students.

“One of my previous students, Jamie Czech, said it best,” Bharadwaj said. “‘It would take a lifetime to understand India, but only 10 days to fall in love.’”

“The warmth of the people is what makes India stand out.” he added. “I want the students to understand that India and the U.S. share similar values of democracy and cherishing diversity. At the end of the trip, the students from both the countries realize how similar their thinking is in spite of the stark physical differences and backgrounds. This time, we were pleased to have two students from our partner university in Norway.”

This was the first year juniors were allowed to participate, with seniors, in the Discover India program, giving incoming Indian students a chance to make friends before they come to IUP in the fall.

“It is safe to say we made lifelong Indian friends, and we are looking forward to seeing them in August when they come to IUP,” said Christine Shontz, a junior accounting major.

“Indian hospitality has southern hospitality beat,” said Bethany Barefoot, junior marketing and finance major. “They were so warm and welcoming. They made sure we knew what we were eating, how to eat it, and what spicy food to stay away from. I just hope we can return the favor of the great times they showed us when they come in the fall.”

Casey Lemmons

Eberly College of Business and Information Technology

Discover India Program