Doing Business in India
By: Brett Depenbrock, MBA Candidate 2018
January 3 marked the arrival of many Smith MBAs in New Delhi at Indira Gandhi International Airport. The long journey for program participants involved various connections in international cities such as Toronto, Dubai, London, and Moscow. The ten and a half hour difference between Eastern Standard Time and Indian Standard Time and the related jet lag will be the biggest challenge for many of us as we adjust over these next few days. Program participants made their way for check in at the Park Hotel New Delhi just off of Connaught Place by way of the thrilling one hour rides from the airport to the hotel. Indian traffic patterns certainly provide adrenaline rushes for western travelers as vehicles pass on left sides of the road and cars, animals, and even people seemingly share the streets in organized chaos to destinations all around the city. In Delhi honking is the noise that lubricates the flow of traffic. Movement occurs in more congested environments, and as a result, it is much more normal to signal proximity through active horn use.
For a few of us in the program, we took advantage of travel to the Delhi region to arrive early before the program to explore the city a bit. For my wife and I we signed up for an early morning bike tour of historic Old Delhi through Delhi by Cycle. We rose before 6 am to meet our lovely and knowledgeable guide Jeswin to traverse the narrow and crowded streets as the city arose from its slumber. Our approximately four hour tour began at Delite Cinema, and took us past merchants preparing for the day’s transactions at Chawri Bazar and a spice market. Activities included cattle shuttling materials from one place from another, men gathering in small groups around ground fires to keep warm, and mopeds and tuk tuks zooming past. We were quite stimulated, and were certainly ready for a relaxing stop at a street shop near Maidens Hotel for a delicious respite of sweet chai tea & tasty biscuits. Finally, Jeswin led us back into the thick of traffic past Old Delhi station and to infamous Red Fort and Jama Masjid. We finally concluded our journey with a filling early lunch of naan, goat meat, peas, and potatoes at famous Karim’s restaurant. I put together a rather poor food consumption performance as my nerves had yet to calm from tricky navigation of the dense street trail. Luckily for me, tomorrow yields a more traditional mix of business and cultural visits as part of this global study experience. Namaste until next time.