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Big (and long) day in Delhi

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Thursday morning

Well, there was no catnap on the early morning flight from Bangalore, not that I really held out much hope (wide body + middle seat = no sleep).

Fortunately, there was plenty of activity on the ground to keep us all awake and alert through a long day. Before I get to that, a few words about our current “home” town:

Delhi, located in northern India, is the second largest city in the country with a population between 14 million and 16 million people depending on who you ask and what you count (what’s 2 million people between friends, especially in a country of 1.2 billion?). It’s also the national capital, which explains the wide boulevards, manicured landscaping, grand buildings and high walls that we saw in abundance on our travels yesterday.

It’s also the third distinct climate we’ve encountered in three cities. Hot and sunny. Did I mention hot?

Our first day in Delhi yielded two new partnerships with the Indian Institute of Management, the leading business school name in India. We started by signing a memorandum of understanding with IIM Lucknow that will expand and formalize an already strong relationship between the IU Kelley School of Business and IIM Lucknow (or IIML as its friends call it).

IIML is one of the oldest and best-regarded of the 13 IIM schools in India. It may also be the most entrepreneurial. Under the direction of Director Devi Singh, IIML is the only one of the IIMs to have multiple campuses and its campus in Noida (about an hour outside Delhi) offers executive and part-time MBA programs geared toward working adults.

Kelley School faculty have already traveled to teach at IIML and the two schools are working out a way for IIML’s executive MBA students to do a short-term study abroad program taught by Kelley School faculty. The chemistry between Director Singh and Kelley School Dean Dan Smith was evident as the two ping-ponged ideas about the study abroad program back and forth yesterday. Fun to watch.

IU president Michael McRobbie, Kelley School of Business Dean Dan Smith and IIM Lucknow Director Devi Singh are all smiles after the two schools signed a partnership agreement Aug. 31

After the signing with IIM Lucknow we traveled to the Constitution Club (a venerated social club that caters to Members of Parliament) in New Delhi, to sign an MOU with IIM Rohtak, which is the only IIM to serve India’s capital region. It’s also the newest IIM and one of special interest to Member of Parliament Deepender Hooda.

Hooda represents Rohtak, district in the Indian state of Haryana  about 40 miles northwest of Delhi. He’s also a Kelley School graduate (2003). Hooda was youngest member of Parliament ever elected in Haryana and played an instrumental role in bringing his alma mater and his IIM together. How’s that for the global strength of an IU degree?

Our relationship with IIM Rohtak likely will start with research collaborations and doctoral student exchanges, but we hope to eventually partner with IIMR on an executive MBA program for Indian professionals.

In contrast to our MOU signing with Lucknow, which attracted no media coverage, our Rohtak signing drew a large and raucous crowd of print and television reporters and photographers. As much as we’d like to think otherwise, the main attraction was Hooda (or Deep, as he’s affectionately known by his Kelley School friends).

In some ways, the media became the story (at least for us) as they jostled for space, ordered the speakers not to stray from the clutch of microphones on the table, argued with one another – and at one point even stopped Hooda during his remarks so a microphone could be added. I’m trying to picture that happening at a press conference featuring Gov. Mitch Daniels.

It’s a testament, we’re told, to the ongoing media explosion in India and in the end, it was all good. We undoubtedly received coverage in a part of India that probably hadn’t heard of IU before, and our signing found its way into at least two of the country’s largest newspapers.

As it turns out, we were treated to the full journalism spectrum yesterday when we hosted a spirited and high-minded dinner with reporters from many of the top newspapers and magazines working in India set up by Professor Ganguly (I’m convinced the guy knows half of the people in India). We got to tell our story and learned a lot about Indian politics and the educational system – all over another wonderful Indian meal.

To this former newsie, it was the perfect ending to a long and productive day.


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