Our Friday in India was a very interesting day with many new learning experiences. In the morning, we visited Infosys, a large IT company set in what felt like the heart of Bangalore. Driving there, I saw what much of what I noticed in Mumbai, many impoverished people, unfinished buildings, and countless cats. Once the gates to Infosys were opened though, it was like we were in a whole other world. I was suddenly surrounded by a high-tech campus filled with trees and excited, young talent. I was shocked at how well they could hide the buildings and people on their campus from right outside their walls. I think what shocked me most was when we drove by on the highway as we were leaving. I could see the big, shiny buildings of Infosys as well as the other side of the wall, where people were living in small, dirty huts. This divide between higher and lower-class people seemed to be a recurring theme in this trip. As quick as we could visit a company that is shaping the future of India, we could leave and see the incredible number of Indians living in poverty. As soon as we finished our complementary buffet lunch, we saw people selling fruit in the streets for a living. Seeing these things made me very curious about what the middle class looks like in India. Are there suburbs? Does anybody have a back yard? I was intrigued by this massive population that seemed to be struggling. Learning from the people who spoke at Infosys also showed me many of the reasons that they are excelling and why India seems to be a factory of highly performing IT companies. One concept spoken about was their “zero distance” strategy, attempting to eliminate the “distance” between themselves and their customers through quality service from their locations around the world at all times. Another concept we heard about was their attempt to always be innovating their solutions. When they are working on a project for a customer, they do not just want to offer what the customer expects, they want all their employees to innovate their products to do more than what their customer could want. I believe that the combination of these forward thinking strategies and the attraction of young talent in an amazing workspace contributes greatly to their success. After Infosys, we travelled to Ideawok, where we heard many experiences and tips in entrepreneurship. This meeting interested me as I am passionate about entrepreneurship and I learned a lot. The founder also elaborated on the angel investing part of his job. This involved helping small businesses start up with capital which must be a good business to be in with so much constant innovation in India. That meeting taught me how to look at the problem I want to solve in a way that the solution I create separated myself from the competition. At the end of the day I went shopping in a commercial district near our hotel. The amount of people there was amazing; I was constantly squeezing between people, dodging motorcycles, and checking my pockets. I loved the business and beauty of this place, full of people just trying to make a living. The thing that got me was the stares; the constant presence of many people watching me with intrigue. I have never felt as much of a foreigner as I did there. This was an amazing experience though, because I got to live in the busy culture of India for a few hours. Just to add to this feeling of being a part of India, I got to try on a Kurta at the end of the night. I will always remember this day.
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This December, the KU Fund granted 5 students the opportunity to travel to India. Here, we'll talk about our adventures - wish us luck!