Harvard Students Get Taste of India


Serving food at ISKCON Bangalore's Akshaya Patra midday meal scheme.

Jan 2, BANGALORE (DECCAN HERALD) — Harvard students visit ISKCON Bangalore.

While the City was in the mood to celebrate the New Year, as many as 105 students from Harvard Business School (HBS) landed in Bangalore to understand social, cultural, political and business aspects of the tech-savvy City.

The students are in India as part of the HBS India Trek, an annual event that gives 100 students at HBS an opportunity to experience and understand India. This year’s Trek is organised by Vijay Chittoor, Nishant Sharma and Shivanshu Gupta, all second year students of HBS.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Shivanshu Gupta said: “India and China are a popular destination among business students at HBS following phenomenal growth in these countries. India is frequently mentioned in case studies in the classes.”

“India is obviously a key factor in global business and therefore it is important to visit the country and understand its social, cultural and political aspects apart from knowing how business is done in India which is quite informal compared to other countries where it is formal,” Nishanth Sharma said.

Meetings, Visits

The students took stock of the IT and BPO industry in the City and met Infosys Chief Mentor N R Narayana Murthy. They also visited Narayana Hrudayalaya and spoke to its Chairman Dr Devi Prasad Shetty to understand how a large hospital can run on a not-for-profit basis.

At ISKCON temple they marvelled at Akshaya Patra, a mid-day meal programme for school children and met Raj Kondur, an alumni of HBS who is on the board of directors of the programme and runs a BPO enterprise in the City.

To get a taste of real India, they visited the slums of Dharavi in Mumbai where Pratham, the largest education NGO in the country runs its activities. They also visited Rajugella village on Agra-Delhi Highway. Students who had come on the last year’s trek had set up a project to establish a primary school in the village.

The students will be in Delhi from January 3 to 5 and hope to meet Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Alhuwalia, both alumni of HBS. They would also like to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who the trek participants of last year were lucky to meet. The agenda for this year also includes visits to Kochi, Jaipur and Agra.

Students from Stanford and Wharton business schools are also in India, but HBS India Trek, organised by the South Indian Business Association of HBS is the biggest student group visiting India, Nishanth Sharma added.


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