Day 10: Taj Mahal & Agra Fort

Namaste from India!

BIT09a at Taj Mahal

BIT09a at Taj Mahal

Today, we travel by bus to fulfill a lifelong dream. We left off at 4 o’clock from New Delhi. From the moment I learned about the Taj Mahal, I’ve always wanted to visit it. And this week, that dream finally came true. Can you believe I went to the Taj Mahal? Sometimes I still can’t believe it!

The Taj has three points of entry and we went through the east gate, which is known for being the least crowded. A ticket to the Taj Mahal is good for only one entry so if you want to see the sunrise (it’s foggy in the morning this time of year) and the sunset in the same day, you’ll have to buy two tickets. I doubt you’d be able to hang out there all day because there are very strict rules about what’s allowed in and what’s not: no food, books, makeup, tripods…

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Day 9: Last day in Chennai

Unfortunately we had to cancel our factory visit of Royal Enfield. A remarkable producer of motorbikes in India, all their bikes are all handmade and are recognized as one of the finest in the nation. Canceling this visit had freed up our schedule, allowing us to do individual sightseeing trips, special massage treatments or simply just to sleep a little bit longer.

McDelivery

Individual sightseeing tours gave everybody the opportunity to explore the city by themselves.

We all gathered in the hotel lobby at 13:00, fully packed with our entire luggage we were all set to leave this vibrant city of Chennai. But before leaving we decided to have lunch in this City one last time. Honestly, who likes to travel with an empty stomach?
Our guide Kannan lead us to a very popular restaurant called fusion9. It is rumored that reservations have to be taken early in advance in order to get a table in this super fancy restaurant. But thanks to Kannan, who has managed that we would get a table for 20, we were able to experience an exceptional Indian cuisine one more time. After all, time flew by and we headed to the airport for our evening flight to New Dehli.

After arrival at Dehli international airport, a bus drove us to the nearby hotel. We will stay at this hotel for the next 4 days.

Day 8: Chennai – Visiting Cognizant Academy

Address exchange

Group photo

Those who found the time and leisure to attend the morning joga had to be ready on 6 o’clock in the morning.

Everybody was on time for the departure to Cognizant Chennai on 08:15, but this time it was one of our bus drivers who was 15 minutes late. The weather however was becoming brighter but in our case that wasn’t that positive. The sweat run already when we were waiting for our delayed chauffeur.

After the 90 minutes bus ride through Chennais heavy rush-hour traffic and after receiving the visitors-badge at the security desk, we were warmly welcomed by a waiting class of Cognizant Academy students. The students were seated in an order that we had to split up and sit between them. First we were a little confused and unhappy, but the attitude of these friendly and open people once more changed our minds. Some words about the Cognizant Academy. This Cognizant-internal education system covers four different but related parts:
– a basic program targeted to get university graduates business-ready with the basic needs for cognizant
– a big advanced training section
– an individual “career compass”, aiming to help people to get a customized career perspective
– a leadership development program

After learning this, it now made perfect sense that we were sitting with a class of this academy in the same room. To better getting to know each other, we were supposed to play a funny game and develop as well as perform a short presentation in smaller groups. The atmosphere was both relaxing and funny. In these smaller groups, we also visited some other classes in their rooms, asking them about their lives as students of the Cognizant Academy. In one of these class-visits the ambiance became that good, that the Indian students told us to dance. After showing us some basic Indian-style dance moves, we indeed tried to imitate them. Our audience had really a nice time. As a reward, a male student sang a little Indian song and a female student danced really nice moves.

After dining we heard again some words about off-shoring and outsourcing. The hospitality of our hosts and the ongoing talks at the end made it hard to leave. However, after a group-photo outside it was time to say good bye. Or: Cu on FB.

By Kristian Bubalo, Dario Cocchi, Simon Guldener

Day 7: Chennai – sight-seeing


Government Museum Chennai


MGR Memorial

Marina Beach

After waking up in the fabulous Marriott Hotel, sight-seeing was scheduled. The few steps between the hotel entrance and the waiting bus were enough to predict: It’s gonna be a terribly hot day!
First object to see was the Government Museum Chennai where we lionised lots of historic sculptures of Vishnu, Ganesh, Shiwa (not Mike), Buddha and his other friends. These sculptures were not as old as they seemed to be, some were “just” around 200 years. However, some were really amazing detailed elaborated. The zoological section showed all kinds of animals found in India, a few foreign species could be seen as well. Because the rooms of the museum were not cooled, everybody was glad to re-enter the bus, although we saw only few of the generally interesting museum.

The short visit in a park near the sea with the MGR Memorial and the Anna Memorial caused everybody to sweat, some only little, others a little more. It was quite muggy and hot, around 33°. Our last stop before lunch was at the “International Schrein of St. Thomas Basilica” where a mass was just in progress. The drive to the place where we were supposed to have lunch lead us through some lively streets. Tons of people, hectic traffic, markets, beggars and even artists could be seen.

After a typical Indian buffet and some moments of rest, our two buses carried us to marina beach, a part of the remarkable wide beach of Chennai. On our way along the sea to get to marina beach we saw empty parts of beach, fishermen maintaining their nets and finally the well populated area of marina beach. The 250 meters from the street to the sea were characterised by Indian children, as well as adults, extensively watching us. As swimming was prohibited, we soon went back to the buses.
The heat and moisture was heavy for us to take and we all were quite idle and powerless. Back in the hotel at 16:30 most went in their rooms, some went to the gymnastics-room and few took a massage.

By Kristian Bubalo, Dario Cocchi, Simon Guldener

Day 5: Hyderabad Cognizant and Microsoft

We met at 9 am and drove to Cognizant Hyderabad, where we had a half-day presentation about EMI Electronic Media Interchange. They informed us about their iPhone App solution for their customers. The second topic was about their supply chain management application, which was designed for a tomato sauce company from the UK. The connection between the core business and the supply chain management of this solution was very interesting.

After that we had lunchtime in the new business hotel Sarovar. The lunch was amazing, although we couldn’t order some beers because this hotel was so new, that they still don’t have any alcohol license.

In the afternoon we went to Microsoft. The building was huge and exclusive. Microsoft was the reason that Hyderabad became a main IT city in India. After Microsoft decided to build a new hub in Hyderabad, some other big companies followed them. First, we got an introduction from a Senior Program Manager about their developments here in Hyderabad. Beside of many Microsoft applications they developed Office 365 in Hyderabad. It was great to see where this cutting edge software has been produced. After that, we changed from a meeting room to the visitor center, where we had a short introduction to Xbox Kinect.

Day 4: Visiting Cognizant and UBS in Hyderabad

This thursday we were invited at Cognizant in Hyderabad, where also the UBS is placed. We met us at 8:30 in the morning and went there with our stylish tour bus. As we arrived we had to walk through a metal detector for the security check and we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the campus so we had to leave our mobile phones and cameras at the security desk.
After taking seat in a state of the art meeting room the first speaker presented us, what Cognizant in Hyderabad is doing especially in the field of BPO (Business Process Outscoursing). He explained us why companies should think about BPO. The main point about this topic is that companies should focus on their core businesses to generate as much value for their customers as possible. So they should outsource all operatives and services which don’t belong to the companies main skills.

After this session Thomas Zeindler, the UBS vendor relationship manager of India joined our group and hold a presentation about how UBS operates in Hyderabad. At the end of this part we were able to see the UBS labs and to talk to the chief researcher. 

After lunch we stayed at Cognizant and Shailaja Jha (Assistant Vice President, Information Media & Entertainment) explained us what Cognizant do in the domain of media and entertainment. Most of us were surprised that Cognizant is such a big player in this area, working with well known companies like Sony Entertainement or Warner Borthers. Another interesting point is that they also develop apps for mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad. After we picked up our stuff at the security point we moved back to our residency.

At the evening we had dinner in a new built hotel in Hyderabad called Sarovar where Thomas Zeindler joined us. Finally some of us went to the Novotel-Bar with Thomas which is by the way the only bar in town that don’t closes doors at 23.00.

Day 3: Sightseeing in Bangalore

Today the group counted around 8 people at 8.30am instead of the expected 20. The night activities seem to be exhausting. 🙂 But 15 minutes later the waiting students doubled and were ready to start.

Our coach drove us through the whole city with a lot of traffic jam and crowded streets. Almost everybody took this opportunity to have a nap. One hour later we visited the Bull temple in south Bangalore – an impressive temple which is sacred for Hindi people. We found a granite monolith of Nandi there, built by Kempegowda in the 16th-century Dravidian style. Almost everyone left the temple with a red dot between his eyes and found shelter in the coach to avoid the begging children waiting outside.

The second stop was at the Lalbagh Botanical Garden which is famous for roses and flower shows. Unfortunately July is not the best time to visit the huge area. However we found a few  monkeys having lunch and posing for pictures, a lake and a lot of different flowers.

BIT09a in the botanical garden Bangalore

BIT09a in the botanical garden Bangalore

As we were running out of time we hit the road again and went back to our guest houses to get our baggage. On the way to the airport we pulled over at the Orchid restaurant again to try typical Indian food which was very delicious even though it was – typical India – very spicy.

The flight to Hyderabad was smooth and we got squeezed into a bus to chek-in in our new guest houses. The contrast in India couldn’t be more present: Next to a field of tents for homeless people the world’s biggest companies have their modern and luxury office buildings. Tired but happy we had dinner in a very good hotel with a buffet providing food from all over the world – especially Indian food.

We’re looking forward to our next company visits tomorrow!

Day 1: Bangalore

Monday morning, 0830 – in front of the Raj Residency meeting point. 22 of us were expected, only eight were there. After 15 minutes the last one arrived and we could start our 15 km drive to the SAP Labs. In the early morning traffic it took us 90 minutes for one way. Some snapshots of the ride are attached below.

As we arrived at the SAP Labs, we were impressed by the huge complex. After some coffees and teas, we had the opportunity to get insight into the SAP business model and how they cooperate with Cognizant. The interesting presentation was followed by a campus tour and we had the chance to get a close look inside the SAP Labs. The complex provides space for about 5’000 people, of which 30% are women. We all liked the “no-waste” strategy they had, where they converted waste of food into dungier for the gardens. The complex had also a lot of other things to offer: gyms, many cuisines, many cafeterias, a library, some creative-room, labs and many more.

In the afternoon we drove to the “Art of Living Ashram”. This is one of many “Ashrams” in India. An Ashram is a huge area of land with many different buildings. This are used to help the society. In the middle is a big meditation center which is surrounded with schools, farms and education center. After meditation session with the “monk” we joined an exciting ride through the campus, where we saw how the whole complex is managed and organized and how they help people all around the world.

Day 0: The Arrival

After some complications at the Zurich airport, where both Matthias (Schütz and Litzke) from our group had to stay on ground, we left for Frankfurt. During our stop in Frankfurt, we saw the famous US Rapper “The Game”. After a long flight we arrived safely at Bangalore airport. Most of us experienced a cultural shock – cows were walking on the highway, crazy taxi drivers drove on the road and a chaotic traffic were some of the main reasons. Welcome to India!

Later in the residence we found out that the intercultural communication had some minor lacks. Our group was located in three hotels, where each of them received different sized rooms. Some of us had to sleep in the same room with locals. The reason was that room sharing is for Indian commo
n and the trip management hasn’t expressed it exactly, that we only want to share rooms among Swiss students. After complaining at the reception we achieved the reallocation into other rooms without unknown companions. At the end everything worked out well – typical Indian manner.
At 7 o’clock we met at the ‘Barbeque Nation’ restaurant, where all of us ate Indian food with a western Barbeque touch. After the lovely dinner with dancing servants, we decided to get some sleep to be ready for the next day morning.

Center for BIT goes India 2011

This summer the Center for Business Information Management organizes a study trip to India in cooperation with Cognizant Technology Solutions. During the period between the 17th and the 30th of July the class BIT09a will visit the 4 famous outsourcing destinations Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and New Delhi. Cognizant is going to open their doors in every city to give a deep insight into their daily business. Beside visiting companies there will be plenty of sightseeing and also a sight behind the curtain of a unique India culture. We’re sure it will be an impressive experience for the students and also for the organizers.

We’d like to take the opportunity to express our gratefulness for the support given by Cognizant. Without Cognizant it wouldn’t have been possible.

We hope we’ll have an interesting study trip without any accidents. Stay up to date and follow the students on this blog!

The following places will be visited:

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About Cognizant:

Cognizant

Cognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH) is a leading provider of information technology, consulting, and business process outsourcing services, dedicated to helping the world’s leading companies build stronger businesses. Headquartered in Teaneck, New Jersey (U.S.), Cognizant combines a passion for client satisfaction, technology innovation, deep industry and business process expertise, and a global, collaborative workforce that embodies the future of work. With over 50 delivery centers worldwide and approximately 112,500 employees as of May 1, 2011, Cognizant is a member of the NASDAQ-100, the S&P 500, the Forbes Global 2000, and the Fortune 500 and is ranked among the top performing and fastest growing companies in the world. Visit us online at www.cognizant.com or follow us on Twitter: Cognizant.