The IUP-India MBA Program, offered in partnership with PES University in Bengaluru, India, has laid down a platform for cultural understanding and exchange between young adults of the two nations. After the successful completion of the 12th annual Discover
India Program in January 2020, more than 200 IUP students have had the opportunity to experience the history, heritage, and hospitality of India.
This year, 14 IUP American students joined Prashanth Bharadwaj, the dean’s associate at the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology,
on this short-term, faculty-led study abroad trip. In addition, four Norwegian students as well as one student each from three more countries (Turkey, Congo, and Vietnam) joined the group for this educational, cultural, and fun-filled experience.
IUP’s 50+ MBA Indian students in Bangalore and the IUP-PES Program team, led by IUP alumna Divyashree Ravishankar, hosted the visiting international students.
In today’s world of constant change
and innovation, India is known for its rapid growth in economy, science, and technology. The international students visited several leading companies during their trip and interacted with their executives.
Top among the list was Infosys, the posterchild of the Indian IT industry. Its campus in Bangalore is comparable to the world-famous campus of Google in the Silicon Valley of California.
The students visited TVS, one of India’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer. In addition, they visited the French multinational company Schneider Electric as well as a mid-size textiles manufacturer Knitcraft Apparels, which contract-manufactures garments
for leading American retailers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Gap, Van Heusen, and others.
Students had interactive classroom sessions with
leading academicians and practitioners on topics pertaining to the Indian economy and business environment, Indian education system, innovation at an affordable cost for which India is known, Indian business culture, Indian politics and government,
and Indian history.
To understand India’s millennia of rich history, students visited the “Golden triangle of cities”—Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. The numerous attractions there included the beautiful Taj Mahal, the sprawling Hindu temple complex of Akshardham, the 12th-century
minaret Qutub Minar, and the climb to the Amber palace and hill-fort on royal elephants.
Students experienced the entire spectrum of extremes in India: ancient to modern, opulence to abject poverty, antiquated to futuristic, harmony to chaos. But one thing that remained constant during the entire trip was the hospitality and the warmth, exemplified
by the Indian students who not only joined the visitors for dinners and trips (including a day-long team-building activity in a resort), but also organized an evening of cultural performances. It was an enchanting culmination for the trip, with the
visiting students wearing traditional Indian attire. IUP students enjoyed the cultural night hosted in their honor and joined the celebration of Indian dance and music.
“They introduced us to their lifestyles—taking us street shopping for authentic Indian attire and creating several cultural stage performances. The PES students were so proud to represent India’s culture, and I have never
met more welcoming, selfless people,” said Emily Kostelnik.
“Throughout the journey we were able to visit numerous historical sites, including the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world. One of my favorite parts of the trip was getting to try all of the different types of traditional Indian food—it was
a different spice level compared to what we’re used to in the United States, but it was delicious,” said Seth Thomas.
Bharadwaj said: “I have made so many of these long trips, but each time it is gratifying to see the effortless interaction between these young adults from different
parts of the world and to observe them realize that their hopes and aspirations are common in spite of the vast differences in their backgrounds! Most say that the trip has changed the way they view the world and that they have made friends for life.
That is what rejuvenates me after these physically-exhausting trips!”
As a conclusion to their trip, the American students, along with other international students, presented their experience in India and their appreciation towards Indian hospitality.
“Just being there and experiencing the culture is definitely a once-in-a-life opportunity and will stand out in my memory forever,” said Connor Adrian when asked about his experience.
The students brought back with them a whole new perspective of India along with many memorable moments they experienced on the trip.
Learn more about the Discover India Program.