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Group of Opus College of Business students pose at the Bombay Stock Exchange.

MBA Marketing Lessons from India

With more than 1.3 billion people, India is second only to China as the most populated country in the world. With an array of ethnic groups, languages and religions represented, the country also boasts one of the world’s largest economies, making it a prime learning ground for St. Thomas students.

Over J-Term 2018, students in Opus College of Business study abroad class – Marketing in a Mega-Market – experienced firsthand the country’s vast social and economic diversity.

Marketing in India

For 12 days, 17 MBA students split their time between New Delhi and Mumbai learning how marketing and business in India differ from the United States. By meeting with businesses across the two heavily populated cities, students experienced the conditions and complexities surrounding business in India.

“We had the privilege of going to some pretty big companies and talking to executive teams. We learned about each company’s business model and how they reached certain demographics," said Rachel Daniel '18. "India is a great testing site because of the many people, different cultures, languages and barriers.”

Students also experienced Indian culture through group dinners, sightseeing excursions and city exploration during their free time. As part of the class, they kept journals and held daily discussions about their observations and experiences.

The class gives students a deeper-level understanding of what it takes to do business in global contexts. They became familiar with India’s complexities and gain an understanding of a global market and experienced personal growth. It’s also an asset for a student’s future professional development.

“I'd like them to feel a little bit uncomfortable,” said Associate Professor of Marketing Avinash Malshe. “There’s tremendous personal growth happening as they go through this particular experience.”

“India is a developing country,” he continues. “You see lack of infrastructure and poverty. Students walk away appreciating what they have a lot more before they came. It’s not one of the objectives, but it ends up being one of the many outcomes of the trip.”

Daniel said her time in India was both exciting and humbling. She’s now eager to see more of the world.

“It's given me a different perspective on how to look at life and issues,” she said, noting the extreme poverty she witnessed. “The main thing was being able to look at the world and put myself in another person’s shoes.”