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By Trevor Diddell
BSBA Marketing ’10

Students in front of the Taj Mahal.

Eller undergraduate students from the BNAD 450
Emerging Markets course show their excitement for
visiting India over the 2009-2010 winter break.

While many students used the winter break to unwind, 13 UA undergrads left Christmas day for a two-and-a-half week trip to India as part of the Eller College Global Business Program.

The students traveled as part of the BNAD 451 Emerging Markets course; they spent the fall semester learning about the business culture and industries of India, then made the journey to see first-hand how their class discussions compared to the real thing.

Lecturer Anil Agrawal taught the course and led the trip with Eric Ferguson, academic and international programs advisor. The students spent over 30 hours of travel time on their journey to India, but the long trip was well worth it. When the group arrived in Delhi, they were overwhelmed.

“There was a real culture shock, actually seeing and smelling the city really blew the students out of the water,” says Ferguson. Once the group acclimated, they spent time visiting with executives at major corporations in India, including Honeywell and Data Consulting Services. The students also had the opportunity to get a feel for the culture, with sightseeing at landmarks such as the Taj Mahal.

Eller undergraduate students in India.

Eller undergraduate students in India.

“From riding elephants in Mysore to seeing the slums in Mumbai, I feel as though we experienced all that India has to offer,” says pre-business sophomore Megan Ebeck. 

The students saw first-hand the underdeveloped markets in the country.  “In India, cell phone companies are signing up 15 million subscribers a month and auto manufacturers are selling a million vehicles a month,” says Agrawal. “Everything in India is at the infancy stage. Most markets are only tapped by five to seven percent.”

For students interested in working in international business, the course offered a significant opportunity to learn about this powerful emerging marketing. The course is only held in the fall, with the destination set to change each semester and enrollment limited to 18 students due to the logistical demands of travel. Agrawal expects the course to have a higher enrollment this coming fall semester.

“The trip to India was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Eback says, “I came back to the United States with a new view on life.”