Mar 30, 2016

What We Learned: The 2016 India GIX

By Chris Lau T'17

Traveling to India with nine other Tuckies this past spring break was truly an eye-opening experience.

The focus of our expedition was reverse innovation and design thinking. Tuck partnered with the Indian School of Business (ISB) for a six-day trip from Hyderabad to Mumbai, utilizing several in-class sessions and numerous site visits to highlight the Global Insight Expeditions (GIX) curriculum. Aside from experiencing the culture and people of India, our focus was to identify non-consumers, and address an unmet need using empathetic design thinking.

The faculty members of ISB gave us a phenomenal introduction to marketing in India—in particular, ISB provided a basic understanding of the marketing similarities and differences in India compared to marketing in developed nations. In the classroom we learned—through facts and figures—how vast India is culturally, economically, and regionally. At each company visit and with each conversation, we experienced these concepts firsthand.

Throughout the six-day journey, our activities included:

  • Infosys company presentation and tour
  • Interviews of college students, professionals, and homemakers facilitated by market research companies
  • Company presentation and tour with CEO of LV Prasad, India’s leader in affordable eye hospital centers
  • Visit of rural Hyderabad including house visits of weaving community
  • Tour of car manufacturing plant Mahindra Mahindra in Mumbai
  • Tour of Dharavi slums in Mumbai
  • Company discussion with the Future Group, leading retailer in India
  • Shadowing of lunch delivery service Dabbawala
  • Networking happy hour with successful female entrepreneurs in India
  • ITC Choupal company presentation
  • Sit down chat with the owner of first microbrewery in Mumbai

Each activity and conversation provided a new perspective and lens to view India. For instance, learning how LV Prasad was able to increase cornea donations by three-fold through positioning representatives at key hospitals, as well as how ITC Choupal transformed rural agriculture through it’s understanding of the market and its customers. By talking to entrepreneurs as well as various individuals along the socioeconomic spectrum, we learned varying unmet needs ranging from the desire for more greenery in Hyderabad by a business professional, to the need for computer access by an aspiring college computer engineer.

The India GIX was a truly memorable experience—bringing me closer to my classmates and providing me a new way to view the opportunities and needs of the largest democracy in the world.

Chris is a first-year student at Tuck who was born and raised in California. After completing his master's of engineering from the University of California San Diego, he participated in Baxter’s Operations Development Program. He has four years of pharmaceutical operations experience and will be working in operations consulting during the summer.