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I didn’t have any prior exposure to global health, but the more I learned about it, the more excited I became at the prospects of exploring it. And I got to do exactly that during the winter quarter through the Global Health Initiative’s GIM (Global Initiatives in Management) course. In addition to conducting field research in India to better understand the HIV/AIDS and TB diagnostics environment, I also participated in the Emory Global Health Case Competition the week after returning from India. It was a tiring three weeks, but totally worth it.

In India, we were able to talk to state and national level government officials responsible for developing and implementing India’s response to the spread of HIV. We visited hospitals and clinics, spoke to doctors, and really understood some of the many challenges they face on the ground. But it wasn’t all work and no play – we also rode bikes through Old Delhi (a spectacularly stressful activity), ate amazing food everywhere we went, and of course, visited the Taj Mahal.

In front of the Taj Mahal
In front of the Taj Mahal

After two weeks in India, I spent the next week as part of a team of five Northwestern students (2 from Kellogg including myself, 2 from the med school, and 1 undergraduate student) thinking about post-conflict Sri Lanka and the ethnic disparities that existed in that country. We worked in Evanston during the first half of the week and then traveled down to Atlanta for the 2nd half. This was my first case competition experience that included teams from different universities and countries. It was really an awesome experience working with a diverse team from Northwestern and then seeing all of the great intellectual capacity present at the competition. It was our first time participating in the event, but I’m definitely looking forward to it for next year.

The Northwestern team that traveled to Atlanta (from left to right) – Chris Miller, Shantanu Jani, Melissa Latigo, Kaushik Seethapathy, and Mitra Afshari

This is the kind of stuff I imagined I’d get the opportunity to do in B-school – stuff that I’d never get to do while working in the real world – and it’s one of the main reasons I’m here.