During the April study break, a group of 22 CBE students travelled to India for a ten day study tour, as part of the new Global Business Immersion elective (CBEA3066).
Accompanied by Dr Andrew Bradly, the course convenor for Semester 1, and Dr Bronwen Whiting, CBE’s Associate Dean of Education, the students fully immersed themselves in Indian business and culture, and gained first-hand insight into India’s unique business environments.
The study tour to Mumbai and Pune included visits to small business and larger corporations, lectures with academics from Symbiosis International University, cultural activities and a presentation from Austrade on the idiosyncrasies of doing business in India.
Dr Andrew Bradly said one of the highlights of the trip for students was the opportunity to visit places you wouldn’t usually see as a tourist, and as a result, gain a better understanding of India and its contrasts.
“One morning we were at Tata Consulting which employs 22,000 people, in a massive building that’s a kilometre long. Here we heard a presentation about how Tata’s involved in high tech projects including India’s space program. Then the next day we went to a rural village 30 k’s away without running water and electricity, to hear about a women’s self-help project and how microfinance helped them gain a livelihood by starting a goat farm.”
“Another day we visited Zee TV and got to go on a live set, to learn about the TV industry in India and its economic and cultural importance. We also had the opportunity to meet some of the actors! Then in the afternoon we saw the Dharavi slum – it’s the largest slum in Asia with something like one million people living in an area the size of the ANU campus, and we saw microbusinesses there including plastic recycling, leather good production, paint recycling.”
The trip also had its challenges as well: traffic jams, hot humid weather of 38 degrees or more every day, and getting used to the food reminded students that they were experiencing the ‘real India’.
One of the key learnings of the trip was perfectly summed up by a speaker from Austrade during a presentation to the students. He said: ‘India will not adapt to you, you have to adapt to India.’
“The students got a real sense of the complexity of India, a sense that you have to be cognisant of cultural differences, and that working in an environment like India can be very tough from an outsider’s perspective, but there are huge rewards and opportunities there too,” said Dr Bradly.
The students agree that the trip presented countless opportunities for learning and personal growth.
“The program was fantastic. Stepping outside of the classroom and away from the textbook provided a whole new range of experiences and learning opportunities. This trip is honestly the most amazing thing I have done at uni,” said Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Commerce student Charlotte Lowrey.
“It was a unique opportunity to see a country from a different perspective than touristing would provide. I genuinely feel the trip has provided me with the knowledge to now understand and appreciate other business environments,” said Elena Pleass, a third year Bachelor of Economics/Bachelor of Finance student.
Fifth year Bachelor of Law/Bachelor of Commerce student Ed Morrow echoed this sentiment.
“I loved visiting India in the capacity of both a tourist and a student. It provided insights and knowledge into the culture, business and economic environment I could never have otherwise achieved,” he said.
If you’d like to find out about participating in the Global Business Immersion elective in Semester 2, with a study tour to Europe, please register to attend the Info Session on 17 May or register your interest via email to firstname.lastname@example.org