And There It Went…

Just like that, two and a half weeks are gone and past. What a great way to see and experience India. Between our pre-course trip to the Taj Mahal, the program at KLE, and the post program tour, I feel like I got a good helping of what India has to offer.

The coursework was really good. I thought it was a good balance of lecture and practical work and I enjoyed the parts where we got out of the classroom and worked as a team. As part of our team’s project we needed to conduct interviews with surgeons at local hospitals. I was quite skeptical about how it would go when we showed up at these hospitals. The first hospital we arrived at went very much as I expected. We waited around for awhile until we eventually got to speak to the administer who told us that no one would be available to talk to us and that we should come back another time. However, the visit to our second hospital completely caught me off guard.

When we arrived at the second hospital, we were only waiting for five to ten minutes before we were shown into the surgeon’s office. Not only was he a surgeon, but he was also an instructor of surgery. He was extremely polite, happy to help us, and very informative. The interview went great and he provided us with some critical customer input. Not only was his own interview a great success, but he also gave us the contact information for a couple of other surgeons and told us that we could use him as a reference when reaching out to them. We even got a photo with him. When we finished the interview, he said we’d have to excuse him, because he was supposed to be in surgery! What a great experience!

This is one of the big takeaways that I had from this course. When developing a product, you not only have to ensure there are customers for your product, but you 100% need to reach out to those potential customers and get their input and feedback. This primary research is critical in product development. It is going to be very time intensive, and some of that time will be wasted and you’ll never end up talking to someone. However, the information you gain from those potential customers that you are able to reach is priceless to an entrepreneur’s endeavor. Do whatever you have to in order to make those interactions happen and get the input of your customers!

Lastly, I really enjoyed the post session tour, especially going to the tomb and martyr sites of St. Thomas the Apostle.

Thanks for a great time in India!


The course is halfway over and it feels like it has gone by fast in some respects and long in others. The time aspect has definitely gone by fast. It is hard to believe that we will be flying out of Hubli in less than a week. However, the building of our team feels like it has been going on for a long time because we are working together so well. We have determined and now understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We have already worked well on a variety of different deliverables. We listen to and respect each other’s input and we are all contributing to the various projects and assignments. We have definitely formed our group into a team.

This was most obvious in our recent assignment, the 500 Rupee Challenge. We were given 500 rupees as a starting loan and were instructed to build a business using that capital and make the biggest profit possible within a limited time of two days. The goal was to exercise our creativity and ability to innovate. Our team worked great together including brainstorming possible ideas, subdividing tasks, and working together to develop and execute a business. Our business was to fabricate and sell strands of paper cranes. With just five team members, we all had to multitask and work together to cover sourcing and purchasing supplies, fabrication, sales, and accounting. It was great to not only see different team members show strengths in certain areas, but to see the group recognize and embrace those strengths to become more as a team then we could be as individuals.

Besides bringing skills to this assignment, we each brought our cultural differences. It was interesting during the brainstorming phase when one group member would come up with an idea that would work in their country, but due to cultural differences would not work in India. Additionally, the bargaining culture of India played a very interesting a unique role for our product sales that would not normally be a factor if we were selling the crafts in America. It was great to have our Indian teammates on board to help with that aspect. I look forward to continued positive results with my team as we work our way through the second half of the program.

Why I am here…

I am thoroughly looking forward to this program!

America is a unique place. The U.S. is a relatively new country that is made up of people from all around the world. It is indeed a melting pot of different ethnicities, heritages, religions, beliefs, etc. While these differences define us as individuals within the United States, there is also an underlying commonality that makes all of those different people American.

Over the past few years I have been fortunate enough to travel around various portions of the world. This has been very enriching, informative, and enlightening and I have had the opportunity to see and experience cultures that are completely different than what I grew up with in America. Additionally, this has given me the opportunity to look at America from a slightly outside perspective to see that there are some general cultural traits that are uniquely America just as there are for other countries/regions around the world.

For example, while we have the freedom to practice whatever religion we so desire as Americans, we also keep a separation between Church and State. This is completely different from some other nations who’s religion is inherent in the government and everyday way of life. In addition to religious differences there are general cultural differences all around the world. Prior to completing all my recent travel I was aware that these cultural differences existed, but I did not understand to what extent these differences played a part in everyday life and business economy.

Concurrently while I have been traveling, I have been working on my Master’s degree in Engineering Management. The courses I have taken, coupled with the travel that I have done, have helped me to realize that these cultural differences don’t just define us as different groups of people around the world, but they also play a large part in the global market. These cultural differences can affect product usage, applicability and product acceptance, marketing strategies, or even to the extent of completely eliminating or creating various markets or market segments. As the world becomes more of a global economy and the internet of things continues to explode, these differences need to be understood by companies and personnel hoping to compete on and serve the global markets of today.

I look forward to further developing my understanding of the global economy and the effects that cultural differences can have. Additionally, I hope to learn how to adapt business plans to not only accommodate cultural differences, but also how to utilize those differences to create new business opportunities or enhance already existing ones. I believe that working in a diverse group from various disciplines and global regions will help to enhance this experience.

See you in the classroom!