Overall, I really enjoyed our classroom experience. I found the daily lectures to be very enlightening about Entrepreneurship and Innovation. I also appreciated the in class team activities, such as building a structure out of straws and tape capable of holding a small load and making something creative with paper and cardboard. I felt these activities were a great opportunity for the team to begin working together and learning about each other’s strengths.
Team 1 assembling our tape and straw structure
The final results
The class project was a good opportunity to learn about working with people from different disciplines and cultural backgrounds. Since my team’s product was something that was most relevant in India and less so in China or the US, the team was very dependent on the connections and local knowledge of the two local students on the team. However, as an MBA student, my business background also allowed me to be a big contributor to our team’s results. Although a lot of the required aspects of the project were addressed in class lectures, I think a team without anyone with a business background on it would have struggled a bit with the project.
Although there were many positive aspects about the class and the project, I did find some challenges as well. One of them was in communication both within my team and with other students because some students in the program had some difficulty with English and there are also some differences in words being used between the different countries. Another challenging aspect was in understanding the cultural differences in how we approach collaborative projects in the US vs. India. The Indian students seemed to identify someone as a leader and then defer to that person to make most of the major decisions instead of everyone taking responsibility for their own piece of the project. In most of my experiences in the US, project work is typically split up between the team members and they each take responsibility for their own individual portion.
Team 1: Shubhang, Jheel, Laura, Ramya, Ling on Traditional Day
Tip for future students: Start working on the project as soon as possible, the 2 weeks goes by very quickly and there isn’t as much time during the class to work on the project as you might think. Make sure you set clear expectations among the team members and keep lines of communication as open as possible.
I wasn’t able to make my blog posts during the trip because we were just so busy and there was so little downtime. The spotty wifi on campus didn’t help either.
Now that I am home, I wanted to share some of the experiences we had outside of the classroom. One of the most memorable experiences to me was going to a local temple (Sri Siddharoodha Swami) in Hubli on New Years Day, our first day off since we arrived on Dec. 29th. We went with a group of students in the program. The foreigners were treated like celebrities and many people wanted pictures with us or to shake hands. The temple itself was very beautiful and the local students showed us how to receive the blessings at the temple.
Sri Siddharoodha Swami Temple, Hubli
Ramya (local student from KLE) receiving the blessing
Afterward, we went to the mall to eat lunch and shop for some Indian fashions. I bought 2 kurtas (long tunics), another top, and flowy pants for the equivalent of about $35 USD. Lunch in the mall cost about $3 and I had an ice cream for about $1.20. The ride in the auto rickshaw (aka auto) was $1.50 (100 rupees) for 4 passengers. We couldn’t believe how much cheaper everything was than at home.
Auto Rickshaw (aka Auto)
Urban Oasis Mall
Pantaloons – where most of the shopping was done
Tip for future students: Be aware that you will be asked to take your shoes off in many places you visit in India, so don’t be like me and forget to get your pedicure done before the trip. Also, always carry hand wipes with you so you can clean your feet after walking around barefoot or your hands after using the restroom or before and after eating (most restrooms did not have soap or hand towels).
I’m currently sitting in the Frankfurt Airport on a 7+ hour layover feeling like it’s 2am (8am local time in Frankfurt) and haven’t slept yet. The first leg of the trip (Boston to Frankfurt) went well, but I didn’t end up sleeping at all. I’m exhausted, but just relieved to be on this trip and to not have forgotten anything major (I think). It was a bit of a scramble to be ready to go on a trip of this magnitude just a couple of days after Christmas.
Looking forward to (hopefully) getting some sleep during the rest of this journey – only another 18 to 20 more hours of traveling to go until we get to our home away from home in Hubli.
– Laura (Part time MBA student)