Delhi Business Visits

By: Brett Depenbrock, MBA Candidate 2018

Business visits in the Indian capital began on January 4 with a session at the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. Here students took part in a fruitful discussion of the mass transit system for Delhi. The multi-billion-dollar project commenced in 1998, and at the time was the largest project ever to be undertaken by the Government of India. The lively Q&A session helped students understand how the massive rail network stands out as a significant engineering accomplishment for India. The technically complex project was steered by visionary Dr. Sreedharan who led completion of over 200 km of track on time and within budget. The ongoing development of the metro is not without its challenges, but its existence has proved to be absolutely vital for continually growing 25M Delhi population. The metro stands out for its reliability and cleanliness. The culture of success that surrounds Delhi Metro can largely be attributed to the culture that Dr. Sreeharan instilled in the organization.

Day 2 in Delhi’s business visits were indicative of the extent that Delhi’s reach has evolved in recent years to expand outward. Visits to Airtel and DLF took place in Gurgaon, Delhi’s foremost satellite city. An area that was just recently villages and farmland has been turned into an extended metropolis that now is filled with companies, malls, office blocks, and hotels. Srikanth Balachandran, Global CHRO of Airtel, led the morning’s discussion after the cohort’s 2 hour commute from our Connaught Place hotel. Balachandran’s impressive experience (he served as CFO of the company from 2008 to 2015) drove a fascinating presentation about the global telecommunication company’s strategy in India and in Africa. with $14.2Bn in global revenue in FY’16/17, Airtel was the #3 largest mobile operator in the world. The afternoon visit continued the diverse range of company visits as Smith MBAs received a presentation from DLF, an India real estate developer. DLF had developed 15M out of its 30M sq. ft portfolio in Gurgaon, and thus, provided unique insight into the area that seemed to resemble a mini Tysons Corner.

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