So this day was to be started with a long bus ride. And when I say long, I really mean it. What was planned to be a short trip to the ATM turned out to be a 2 hours joyride in Delhi’s hopelessly congested traffic system. At least we could get our eyes on some iconic New Delhi buildings like the presidential residence and the beautiful consular district.
After a short stop at a local mosque we continued our tour on foot. What we’ve experienced in the narrow back alleys of Old Delhi was beyond comparison to a common western European eye – and nose. The off odors in the streets, as well as their crowded and sketchy nature caused an uncomfortable feeling in some of us. However, it was undoubtedly a mixture of impressions that you could hardly find in any other Indian city.
As the traffic jam threw us a little behind schedule we made a cut here and hired a couple of rickshaws back to our bus which took us to a very decent restaurant for lunch.
The afternoon was supposed to get us acquainted with the world famous Indian spices and their effects on our health. First, though, we took a little walk through the whole spice market where vendors presented miscellaneous goods from all over the sub continent that kept all of our senses busy. At the end of our excursion we all had the opportunity to get hold of some high quality spices for their own homes.
After the spice market we drove outwards the crowded heart of Old Delhi in some of the numerous available rickshaws.
We were happy to finally reach the bus – it has been a busy day after all and it was time to head back to the hotel, or actually to the tailor shop for some of us. So the only thing left on the list was the long long ride back through the crazy roads of Delhi.
After the checkout at 8:30 most of us drove to Nasscom who helps IT start-ups to develop and compete in the Indian market. There, the business model of the company and the potential, especially for IT companies, in India were explained to us. Next up were some presentations of exciting start-ups. Followed by that, we had the opportunity to talk to founders of these start-ups and ask them about their business ideas, their goals and the problems they are facing.
Meanwhile, a group of four people including Maya as a representative of the ZHAW visited the offshore location of the Swiss company Bühler in Bangalore. The three students are all working for Bühler Switzerland and were excited about this opportunity.The IT infrastructure was explained as well as a factory visit. We were very impressed by the high standards which are comparable to Switzerland. The visit ended with a vivid discussion on the Indian market, its challenges and chances.
The two groups met after lunch and traditional Indian coffee at the location of Swissnex. The company is a federal institution of the department of foreign affairs. They provide infrastructure, access to networks and know-how about the Indian market for Swiss start-ups who want to start business here. We also had the opportunity to present possible business ideas based on the experiences we have had on our study trip so far. The most discussed subjects were environmental issues and IT tools to simplify the daily life regarding mobility.
Then it was already time to head towards the airport to leave the city of Bangalore. At 21:25 the aircraft took off to Delhi, our final destination.
The first part of today’s schedule was the trip to the “Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Guruji Ashram “ an international center for the “Art of Living” organization which was founded in 1981 by a spiritual leader of the same name. So after a rich, but for the most of us rather short breakfast at the hotel, our bus driver fired up his engine to take us to what would be a very strange, yet interesting experience in many ways.
The foundation’s premises which are situated close to Bangalore’s city limits are generously framed by it’s large perimeter containing a diverse amount of plantations, trees and ponds. People from all over the world pilgrimage to this location in order to meditate and to find their peace of mind.
Correspondingly irritating was the fact that we were welcomed by a traditionally dressed indian employee sporting two BlackBerry smartphones who seemed to be pretty busy hammering out messages at that time.
However, eventually we took the tour to the site’s several spiritual monuments.
After learning about the backgrounds of the “Art of Living” concept and their Guruji it was time for some lunch. The lunch turned out to be not everyone’s idea of culinary excellence so the events at the organization’s canteen have inflicted mixed feelings within the tour’s participants.
Fully rested we approached the last part of this journey to our innermost thoughts.
One of the most important men in the foundation’s circles is a Swiss guy who patiently shared his comprehensive knowledge about meditation and also about his organization from a business perspective.
It was indeed a very enlightening discussion with critical as well as curious questions about his way of life and his decision to dedicate his life and his passion to the “Art of Living”.
Subsequently we had the honor to enjoy a short but strengthening meditative session which, as I’m guessing, was a rather new experience for most of us.
To finalize our journey we went on a little ride around the beautiful area where we were informed about the community’s self-sustaining setup.
All in all it was a very pleasant day with many new impressions which was perfect to top with a few cold drinks at our Hotel’s own poolside bar.
Early in the morning we started the trip to Pune. The trip tooks about 4 hours and 174 km.
During the journey we made some new experiences. After a while we stopped suddenly to take a state police officer with us, which is common in India. He left the bus after 45 minutes. 2 km before we arrived we heard a loud noise and realized it was one of the tires: Our first flat tire, how many more to come? Fortunately we were able to drive to Rieter, where our main destination was.
Rieter is a textil industry company which has its headquarter in Winterthur, Switzerland. Excited to visit a Swiss company in India we were welcomed with a lunch. Surprisingly some of the Rieter manager and apprentices joint us at a delicious Italian meal.After the lunch Maya Gadgil and Mathias Litzke introduced the ZHAW / School of Management and Law to our hosts, Per Olofsson and Frank Capece, emphasizing their strategy for India. Afterwards Mr. Olofsson presented the history and future of Rieter. With this informations we started our tour to the factory. Impressed by the organisation and implemented Lean Management we walked around the plant. Mr. Capece could answer every question. The main benefit of this tour was to see how Operation Management is working in reality. We could match the learnings from the lessons with the implemented processes in Rieter. They are also ambitious to introduce the Swiss way of apprenticeship in India called VET (Vocational Educational Training). It was a very impressive afternoon.
During the trip home there was an active discussion of the impressions from the visiting. Finally arrived at the hotel “Lemon Tree” we checked in and went to dinner.
Was a great day!
Regards from Pune
Yesterday we had a lot of impressions how the Indians run businesses. So today a guided sightseeing-tour was scheduled. The tour started at 8.00 am heading to the city center of Mumbai.
First we stopped at the laundry Mahalakshmi Dhobi Ghat. On a huge area many Dhobis (man who does washing) clean the clothes of nearly the whole city. Interesting is, that the process is done just by manpower. We also met our guide at this location, who spent the day with us.
Next stop was at Mani Bhavan located downtown #19, Laburnum Road. Between 1917 and 1934. It was used by Mahatma Gandhi as his residence and headquarter for his political activities. We were able to visit the library, his living room and a Picture gallery of his live.
While we were driving to the next sight a garbage truck hit our coach slightly, but fortunately nobody got hurt. That is an everyday occurrence in India. 🙂
Then we reached Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, formerly Prince of Wales Museum of Western India. The museum building is built in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture and with elements of other styles of architecture. The museum has a lot of exhibits of ancient Indian history especially with sculptures and paintings.
After some hours all of us were hungry and so we drove to the restaurant called “Gaylord”. There we got delicious food with an excellent service in a relaxed atmosphere. The name has nothing to do with the ambiance. 😉
After lunch on the later afternoon we visited the Gateway of India, which is located at the waterfront of Mumbai Harbour. It is one of the most spectacular sights in Mumbai and was definitely worth the trip! It is a basalt arch 24 meters high. For more Information please check http://bit.ly/MpR84I. 😉
After some of us got blessed for a reasonable amount we went to the last stop Hanging Gardens and Children Gardens. These were placed beyond the Chowpatty Beach in the residential area of Mumbai’s upper class, called Malabar Hill.
Packed with exciting impressions we went back to our hotel. The way home took us about 2.5 hours for approximately 25 kilometers!
On the second day, Maya Gadgil and Matthias Litzke,
the two employees of ZHAW accompaning us students, introduced our school to our guest, Ashwin Merchant. Following the short introduction, in his role as Deputy Head of Swiss Business Hub India he held his presentation “Riding the Indian elephant”.
The interesting and educational lecture was divided into two parts: In the first half he introduced his firm Switzerland Global Enterprise and told us about it’s different functions and mandates. It’s main business concept is to open the Indian market for Swiss companies and vice-versa.
In a second part he pointed out the main cultural differences between Switzerland and Indian.
The most interesting information we thought noteworthy:
- Most important factors in the indian culture can be summarized by ABC:
- A: The allmighty god (reglion)
- B: Bollywood
- C: Cricket (the national sport)
- More than 7 million people use the Mumbai public transport system each day. That nearly equals the whole population of Switzerland.
- In the North there’s a credit culture, in the South there’s a debit culture.
- In Switzerland we have the watches, in India they have the time.
In the afternoon we got the chance to visit the company Cognizant. After driving for 15 minutes Standard Indian Time (approx. 60 minutes) offices we arrived in their offices in Mumbai. There we received an introduction into the health science sector of the Indian branch. We took a tour of the company where we had an insight into the workplaces and workenvironment of the local workers.
After his nomination to “Bachelor of the day”, Joel Minder had the honor to hand over the “roses” to his favorite speaker. Special thanks to all the presenters.
After two successful and very interesting study trips to India in 2011 and 2013, Cognizant, the Institute for Business Information Managemement and the Department of International Business from the School of Management and Law has again organised a study trip to India under the of lead of Sabrina Flueck, Maya Gadgil and Matthias Litzke.
This year, the trip will start on Sunday, 26th January with a dinner at one of the Regenza by Tunga Hotel in Navi / Mumbai. The next two weeks, 21 Bachelor Business Information students will visit companies, an Ashram and meet with representatives of Swiss delegations in India. Apart from Mumbai, the group will stopp in Pune, Bangore and finally, Delhi.
The first group arrived on Friday, 10:45 pm in Mumbai followed by two students on Saturday, 05:00 am. The majority of the group, a total of 13 people arrived on Sunday at 0:30 am our hotel in Navi Mumbai.
Due to the time difference the first topic on programm an Sunday was relaxing.
Over the coming weeks, the group will update the blog on a daily basis and report from the unique experiences made in India.We hopefully found in you a constant visitor of our blog and we wish you a lot of enjoyable moments while reading our blog!
Best regards from Mumbai!