Field Trip to India '2014

In March, the students of the Program participated in a session "Doing Business in India", which is held in India from this year on.

The session was organized in collaboration with one of the best business schools in India - S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR). This school was founded in 1981 and has been considered one of ten best Indian business schools almost since its beginning. It has also the most prestigious AMBA accreditation. Cooperation with the Indian school let our students establish business contacts in this largest and most dynamic region.

The visit was started at a place that gave the students time for acclimatization – Mumbai, one of the largest and most culturally diverse metropolitan areas in the world, which according to official figures has a population of more than 17 million inhabitants. The participants had the opportunity to see the Catholic Church of Mount Mary, the famous Dhobi Ghat laundry, the Gandhi Museum, the Prince of Wales Museum, the monumental historic Gateway of India, the Temple of Jain, the famous Tower of Silence, the beautifully situated Marine Drive boulevard, the historic Rajabhai Clock Tower.

The educational part of the “Doing Business in India” module started with a lecture delivered by prof. Prem Chandrani, a graduate of universities, such as the London Business School and Wharton, and a manager who gained experience holding managerial positions on several continents – in Asia, Australia and North America. Prof. Chandrani familiarized students with the most important issues concerning the economy of India, focusing in particular on the historical and cultural aspects of the development of India and the prospects for the future development of this country that, according to the most recent estimates, has the largest population in the world.

An important aspect of the visit was learning from the experience of directors of largest Indian companies whose names are very well known worldwide. A meeting with Ms. Nupur Roy Choudhury, a director of Tata Global Beverages responsible for strategy and planning, combined with a visit to the modern Tata Consulting Services center helped participants understand and see in practice the essence of an outsourcing-based system.

Cultural and historical aspects also took a large part of the lecture given by Ananda Halve, the managing director at Chlorophyl Advertising company. It was extremely interesting and rewarding to have the opportunity to understand that the Indian market, being so different from the European markets in its structure, uses promotional tools that are commonly used around the world. At the end of the lecture findings were presented regarding the globalization of markets and consolidation of the principles of their functioning. The lecture was complemented by a panel discussion attended not only by Anand Halve but also prof. Chandrani.

Issues that are important for European entrepreneurs who want to invest in India were raised by next two guests who had been invited to share their experiences with our students. The first of them was Dr. Pragnya Ram, a director at Aditya Brla Group. This corporation operating in the plastic materials market and employing around 136,000 people is one of the largest in Asia – in 2011 it ranked fourth in the world ranking 'Top Companies for Leaders' and first in the ranking for Asia and the Pacific. Due to its area of operation, a crucial role in the process of planning the development of the company is occupied by issues related to its social responsibility. Dr. Ram presented the experiences of the company management board, which is trying to meet the requirements set by the global market of increasingly more socially conscious individuals and organizations. Institutional and legal issues related to socially responsible business were discussed by Nikhil Bhatia, a PwC partner in India.

The participants were greatly impressed by the visit to Dharavi. This place, known to cinema lovers from the Oscars-winning film "Slumdog Millionaire”, used to be a major social problem until recently. It was not long time ago that companies from around the world treated India as a kind of landfill where waste "manufactured" in other parts of the world were exported. What recently seemed to be a curse of India, now may become its wealth. Thanks to Dharavi residents’ extraordinary entrepreneurship powers, recycling of waste has become a great idea for a business. The principles of functioning of the system were presented to our students by two guests – prof. Nirj Mattoo and Jockin, a man very well known and highly esteemed in India who worked as a laborer in the slums for over 40 years and who created the basis for functioning of so-called „Dharavi system” by establishing, in the 1970s, the National Slum Dwellers Federation and Slum Dwellers International that affiliated slum dwellers from over 20 countries around the world.

A kind of reference to the film fame of Dharavi slum was the visit to Whistling Woods, Bollywood Film Institute. Bollywood with its monumental film industry has already overshadowed American Hollywood, becoming a subject of numerous economic and social analyses. In addition to talks and meetings with studio managers, short workshops were held where our students had the opportunity to assume the roles of film directors and producers.

During the visit, one could not omit to present the Polish perspective on the issues related to the activity in the Indian market. General assumptions of Polish-Indian cooperation in the field of economy were presented by Leszek Brenda, Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Mumbai. In the optimistic summary of the lecture, he pointed out that Polish companies were, still are and will be present on the Indian market and that we have a solid foundation on which we can cooperate with our Indian partner even more fruitfully.
Practical issues and problems that are faced by Polish entrepreneurs who wish to invest in India were presented by Wincent Golebiowski, L’Oreal CFO in India.

The students were very happy with the visit, the diversity of the subjects raised during the meetings and the opportunities to learn about the culture of India. Apart from the economic issues, they were fascinated by the history and culture of India, whereas the crucial Hindu Festival of Colors called Holi, which was being celebrated at the time, Enriched the visit with a vast pallet of colors.