Day 2 – Visit to Cognizant’s Headquarter in Bangalore

On Tuesday morning we managed to be on time. Our bus had one hour for the 8 km ride to Cognizant’s headquarter in Bangalore. We received personal “visitor batches” with pictures of each individual and headed towards the 8th floor where we got placed in an oval meeting room already provided with different soft drinks, nuts and cookies.

The presentation gave us a good insight into the whole outsourcing industry and services offered by Cognizant. In addition they showcased how they add value to customers. In our opinion, it gave us a better insight than the presentation from SAP. Very fascinating was that a ‘Chai Walla’ brought us tea. This expression stands for someone who delivers tea during a meeting or office hours. You might know it from the movie called ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. This was the first time we experienced something like that but it seems to be a common job in big companies.
Unfortunately we received for lunch some American style pizzas from Domino’s delivery service instead of typical Indian food, which we have expected. But this might be because we first have had to get used to the spicy Indian food. By the way they eat spicy food for breakfast, too!

After the interesting speech we took some photos within the Cognizant building. Actually this was against regulations but as the vice president allowed it, we took some more shots to remember this awesome and especially exciting day. As appreciation we gave the speaker team, CH Murali and Shrikant, some Swiss chocolate and original “Swiss Army Knives”.
In the evening after dinner, nearly all of our class attended small house party at Raj Comforts. There we have had an own living room. We drank some drinks, mainly beer and some non-alcoholic ones. This party was going on until 4 o’clock in the morning. Imagine how sleepy some of us were at the day after.

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 11 – Guilin: Subachi, Tea Plantage and Student Meeting

After having a few hours of sleep, our trip continued in the early morning. We met a 7.00am and were directly driven to the airport where we took a plane and flew to Guilin. The first stop there was Subachi, a company that manufactures straps for luxury Swiss watches. The insights into this industry we got there were very interesting since nobody couldn’t imagine how the procedure of this strap necking is. In order to produce a leader strap there are around 30 steps to go through. A normal employee in this company is working around 10 hours a day, is not allowed to talk and earns on average 200 Swiss Francs a month.

After this interesting tour we checked in at our hotel in Guilin and got introduced to local students. It was a clash of two different worlds while the Chinese students were very nervous and excited, we were very aware to avoid any cultural mistakes. Together we went to visit a tea plantage where we got introduced to the deepest secrets of tea and even walked through the tea fields. Already having a lot impressions in mind, the day got even better. In our individual groups, joined by designated Chinese students, we went for dinner. So again – round table. Actually it was very delicious and of course very amusing. Although it was already late and the students were supposed to be back at their dormitory, we decided to go for karaoke. The group of two different cultures formed to a very successful coverband and had fun together until the early morning.

Day 17: Hong Kong Trade Development

The day started off at 8.00 am in the morning. Everybody was glad to finally be in Hong Kong, in one of the most prosperous cities in the world. This morning, there were two speeches on the program at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, one by Mr. Jackson (an English businessman having lived and worked in Hong Kong for more than 30 years) and the other by Dr. Hans Roth, General Consul of Switzerland in Hong Kong managing China. To get to the HKTDC building, we boarded a ferry which dropped us right next to the building. Continue reading

Day 16: Build Your Dreams and Lenovo

In the morning we left our hotel in Guangzhou and headed south to Shenzen for two further highlights of our trip: The visits at Build Your Dreams (BYD) and Lenovo. At BYD, we were warmly welcomed by Lai and Sophie, two representatives of BYD. First we could see their showroom with all their cars, afterwards they also showed us the other electronic components in their exhibition. The product range consists of mobile accumulators, batteries, cell phone key pads, LEDs, solar panels and energy storage systems. Afterwards we left to visit the charging station where the first 30 caps in Shenzen are able to charge their batteries within 15 minutes at the minimum. Continue reading