IMPACT

Connecting cultures and alumni in India

February 5, 2014 By unc kenan-flagler
Martha Hoelzer meets with UNC Kenan-Flagler alums - Gagan Bakshi (MBA 2002) and Piyush Sharma (MBA 2004) in New Delhi.

Martha Hoelzer meets with UNC Kenan-Flagler alums – Gagan Bakshi (MBA 2002) and
Piyush Sharma (MBA 2004) in New Delhi.

This article updates one by Cyndy Falgout that appeared in the Global Business Center’s January 2014 newsletter.

Martha Hoelzer, alumni relations associate for UNC Kenan-Flagler, received a Global Business Center grant to attend a professional development program in India in January.

Hoelzer’s grant was funded through the GBC’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER). The program funds faculty and staff participation in professional development programs focused on UNC Kenan-Flagler’s target countries – Africa, Brazil, China and India – that are offered by one of the 33 U.S. Department of Education-funded CIBERs across the country.

Shoes in Dilli Haat Marketplace in New Delhi ©2014 Martha Hoelzer

Shoes in Dilli Haat Marketplace in New Delhi ©2014 Martha Hoelzer

Hoelzer attended the Professional Development in International Business Program to India, offered by Florida International University’s CIBER. She and other participants visited Agra, Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai, saw key historical sites, and met with multinationals and leading Indian companies to learn how they are managing through tenuous economic times and reshaping the Indian business environment.

Old Delhi ©2014 Martha Hoelzer

Old Delhi ©2014 Martha Hoelzer

The GBC selects faculty and staff for its professional development grants in a competitive process based on how they plan to use and apply the knowledge they acquire to advance the school’s international teaching, research and outreach. Hoelzer plans to use the knowledge she gained to help build a strong network of Indian alumni.

“When I found out that my proposal had been accepted, I was ecstatic about the opportunity to learn more about India from a global business standpoint and help connect our alumni to one another across the country,” said Hoelzer. “While there I had the chance to take it a step further and set up business meetings with our alumni to start alumni clubs in India.”

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Pigeons flying in front of Jama Masjid, India’s oldest mosque ©2014 Martha Hoelzer

“India continues to play a major role in the global economy, and it’s important that we don’t make assumptions about the culture of our alumni; rather, we live and experience it and share that knowledge with our colleagues,” Hoelzer said.

“I learned why companies have had to change their models of operations within India to try and adapt with the various complexities that contradict one another. I understood the traffic complexities better and why our alumni base might have challenges getting from one side of Mumbai to another during parts of the day for a meeting. In the south of Kerala I watched my driver navigate past a colorful truck complete with a giant elephant with beautiful ivory tusks, as they aren’t allowed to walk on their own through town.”

Elephant Express ©2014 Martha Hoelzer

Elephant Express ©2014 Martha Hoelzer

“Ultimately, my experience of India was fast and furious. It was colorful, busy, challenging and beautiful, and I hope to one day go back and continue my exploration at a slower pace.”

Jama Masjid, India's oldest mosque ©2014 Martha Hoelzer

Jama Masjid, India’s oldest mosque ©2014 Martha Hoelzer

“I don’t know that words can adequately describe my experience there.  As a photographer, I’m not even sure that my photographs will do justice to my experiences of the beauty and complexity of the country, but I welcome you to view them here.”

“I’m incredibly grateful to our alumni for wonderful, energetic meetings and to UNC Kenan-Flagler for believing in my proposal and the benefits that it might give the school and the overall alumni community. It was a pleasure meeting our alumni throughout India, and I’m looking forward to helping start our alumni clubs there.”

Boats in Mumbai ©2014 Martha Hoelzer

Boats in Mumbai ©2014 Martha Hoelzer

More than 100 UNC Kenan-Flagler alumni and exchange students now live in India, most in Mumbai and New Delhi. Indian students were the highest demographic of international students entering the school’s MBA class of 2014 and second highest for the class of 2015.

Mehul Sampat (left) (MBA 2003) and Chirag Nanavati (MBA 2002) meet with Martha Hoelzer in Mumbai.

Mehul Sampat (left) (MBA 2003) and Chirag Nanavati (MBA 2002) meet with Martha Hoelzer in Mumbai.