Business students study economy in India

Business students study economy in India

Next to congested streets and wandering cows lies a thriving business industry where Neeley business students witnessed a rapidly growing economy.

A December trip to India exposed some Neeley students to international business methods and a better understanding of a global economic force, said Nancy Nix, an associate professor of supply chain practice and director of the Supply and Value Chain Center.

“Every business student should assume that whatever job that can be digitized, done electronically or by phone can, and will, be done in India or some place else,” Nix said. “It dramatically changes the nature of work here and the role students need to play.”

Mark Muller, assistant dean for finance and administration, said students visited Canadian company CGI in India, where they learned how CGI passes work from country to country and cuts project completion time in half.

Students were also introduced to India’s infrastructure issues. They learned if a company wants expansion in India, there are certain problems that could arise, Muller said.

Badly damaged roads, insufficient transportation, horrible traffic and state regulations can turn a six-hour trip into a two-day trip in India, Muller said. Students applied ideas to the infrastructure problem and saw that improving roads could benefit future business.

Andrew Reynolds, a professional MBA student with a concentration in supply chain management, considered a “cold chain logistics” solution to India’s horrible infrastructure effects. With such long trips from farms to markets, something as simple as a refrigerated truck could greatly reduce rotted waste, he said.

“It was interesting to see booming billion-dollar companies across the street from poverty,” said Cathleen Cook, a graduate accounting student.

Nix said good communication skills are vital and should be used with delicacy when doing business internationally.

Communicating in a different environment requires great listening skills and asking deeper questions to ensure accuracy, Nix said.

“Although many people do speak English in India, there is still a high chance of miscommunication,” Nix said.

A business student should also focus on “face-to-face interactions,” Nix said. Actively engaging with clients in the community is vital and cannot be accomplished offshore. Students should strive to add value here while the daily transactional work is done elsewhere, Nix said.

India’s economy is more open today because of multinational companies, a growth students may be impacted by in the future, Muller said. Students have an opportunity to market and distribute work in India and should apply that information to their careers. The trip familiarized students directly to competition and what it is like to sell and do business in India, he said.

“They saw the service and product side,” Muller said. “The students can now ask: Is the job that I’m looking for acceptable to competition offshores?

“It was the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor.”

India’s advancement is a reality and people should understand the imminent force and influence it will have on a global scale, Muller said.

“Anyone anywhere can compete today and one must think how they can add value where someone else cannot,” Nix said.