Road trip to Mumbai

January 17th, 2010 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Our last meeting in Pune was at the Tata Management Training Centre. This is the third time the TMTC has hosted students from the Smith School.  Opened in 1966 by JR Tata, the TMTC was established to educate and train managers and foster economic growth across India. The facilities are housed on the grounds of a beautiful old bungalow and is large enough to accommodate up to 60 people for overnight lodging and meals, and even has a business library. TMTC regularly brings in world-renowned business school faculty to teach tailored management courses to individual companies. Areas of expertise include: Finance & Ethics, Leadership & Organization, Markets & Customers, and Strategy & Innovation.

During our visit we heard from four senior executives over the course of the morning and afternoon.  My biggest takeaway was how successful they have been with creating a business excellence “mindset” among top managers. TMTC teaches that results are driven by corporate strategy which in turn is fueled by an obsession for the customer, process orientation, high performance work culture, execution excellence, constant improvement and innovation and finally, sustained and superior business results.  There is an understanding that it’s not one of those things or a couple, it’s all or nothing.

Very impressive to say the least.

Following lunch overlooking a beautiful pool and some pictures with our hosts we headed back to the hotel to check out.

Our last long bus ride

The bus ride up to Mumbai was pretty easy until we got to an area called Navi Mumbai.  This is the area just east of Mumbai and includes large commercial buildings, new apartments and hotels and with all of that comes…..traffic.

When we arrived to the Taj Presidente it was the same old story, lavish hotel lobby, rose water to sip on, exquisite floral arrangements and countless people ready to make your stay as stress-free as possible.  Everyone checked into their rooms and met back down in the lobby to go out.  Fortunately, some of our classmates had family and friends in Mumbai who suggested some clubs.

Prior to this trip my Indian friends described Mumbai as more cosmopolitan and “New York-ish” than Delhi.  Inside the club in Mumbai was one of the few times I felt like I was not in India.   The music, the club design, the people (most eclectic mix of people I’ve seen in India so far) – you could walk into this club in any major city in the world.

(Okay, I take that back, the other time I felt like I wasn’t in India was when our driver took us to that restaurant in Jaipur.  We walked in and I thought I was at an Elks Lodge meeting in Ames, Iowa)

According to my friends, Mumbai caters a little more to the youth culture that is drawn to Mumbai by Bollywood.  Nightlife seems more accessible in Mumbai. With the exception of a few hotel bars in Delhi we didn’t really come across clubs and bars like I’ve noticed here in Mumbai.  In Delhi, you really had to look for that kind of stuff and it generally closed early compared to clubs and bars in Mumbai.

After Pune, it became obvious that there is another component to this course.  It’s not just about “Competitive Advantage through an India Strategy,” it’s also about meeting new friends.  A week ago we hardly knew each other’s name.  This is only a hypothesis, but I’m pretty sure if you take a large group of people and throw them into a foreign culture they will develop friendships quicker than they normally would in a classroom in D.C. or College Park and I think that has been the case with this group.  Personally, I usually wait a minimum of 4 weeks before I fast dance in front of someone, but that hasn’t applied to this trip….chalk it up to close quarters on the bus and Kingfishers.

Another great night out with friends.  Starting to realize in the back of my mind that this journey is coming to an end.