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Kellogg professors on the faculty GIM trip met with senior executives at McKinsey & Co. and other businesses. “We want faculty to have an understanding of emerging markets and to come back with frameworks that they can share with students,” said Professor Sunil Chopra.

outside McKinsey

Destination: India

Kellogg professors get an inside view of business in India on the faculty version of Global Initiatives in Management

By Amy Trang

1/20/2012 - Each spring, more than 450 students travel around the world to study trends in international business through Kellogg’s Global Initiatives in Management (GIM) program.

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  Slideshow: view photos from the trip
In December, a similar trip took place — but this time, the “students” were Kellogg faculty members.

More than a dozen Kellogg professors traveled to India to experience that country’s business environment first-hand, gathering insights to discuss in the classroom and inform their future research.

“We send our students on GIM trips to expand their global mindset,” said Professor Jan Van Mieghem, who helped found and lead the inaugural faculty study trip. “I thought this would be a great opportunity for faculty to expand their international perspective as well, given the emphasis at Kellogg on global thinking.”

The professors visited more than 10 companies in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Many of the firms were led by Kellogg alumni, including Neill H. Brownstein ’68, co-founder of Footprint Ventures, and Rajiv Verma ’01, CEO of HT Media Ltd. Visiting firms ranging from startups to multinational businesses, the professors gained insider knowledge on India’s consulting, manufacturing, consumer goods and retail industries. Firms on the itinerary included The Futures Group, IndoUS Venture Partners, Footprint Ventures, McKinsey and Co., Abbott India, Godrej, HT Media, HCL, InfoSys and Pepsi Co. India.

The senior executives were candid in their discussions about their strategies. They also welcomed the faculty’s observations on India’s challenges and opportunities, said Professor Sunil Chopra, who co-led the trip. Many conversations focused on the shifting demographics of India and how to sell to and serve these new households.

Just as students do in the GIM program, the professors attended 10 weeks of seminars prior to their trip. They heard from experts who discussed economic policy, outsourcing and manufacturing in India.

“There is going to be more action in parts of the world that have not seen that level of action in the last 500 years,” said Chopra, the IBM Professor of Operations Management & Information Systems. “This is a time of fundamental change. We want faculty to have an understanding of emerging markets and to come back with examples and frameworks that they can share with students.”

Van Mieghem, who is the Harold L. Stuart Professor of Managerial Economics and a professor of operations management, said the group will release a collection of “case-lets” on their company visits and observations. Given the success of this trip, Kellogg will likely arrange another faculty study trip in the future to another emerging country, such as China or Brazil.

Alberto Salvo, assistant professor of management and strategy, will share many of the trip’s anecdotes and observations with his international business strategy students.

“It’s one thing to read about and teach case studies,” Salvo said. “But it’s another to hear directly from executives who are on the ground and to bring that knowledge back to the classroom. It was a unique experience.”

Read more about Kellogg’s faculty trip to India.