The International Relations at SJMSOM attained new heights with its first very successful US Study tour in the month of July. What was most remarkable about the event was its being conceptualized and executed at a lightning fast speed overcoming all hurdles that came its way within a short span of two months. One of the prime highlights of the event was the amazing coordination by IR team members from Pune, Mumbai and Munich for this tour to Seattle.
The idea was to have a study tour of Seattle, which houses the some of the biggest names in the corporate world, like Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, AT&T etc. Interestingly, Seattle is also the birthplace and city of residence of one of the most talked about billionaires of all times, none other than Bill Gates. It was aimed at providing our students with the much needed global exposure and giving them a feel of the Business environment and Culture in the West.
The tour was organized as a collaborative effort between SJMSOM, IIT Bombay and University of Washington, Bothell. It was attended by 13 students from the second year of the Master of Management programme of SJMSOM with Prof. Shishir Jha leading the group as their guide and mentor.
The tour was held between 6th and 19th of July and included lectures with MBA students of UW and a visit to companies including Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon, AT&T, Nintendo, Philips, Winshuttle and Rotella Capital.
The very first day was intellectually enriching for the students when they got an opportunity to interact with people like Mr. Mike Dusche (Adjunct Faculty, UW Bothell). He was one of the few people who turned down an offer from Bill Gates four consecutive times before finally accepting the offer and taking Microsoft to new heights. They also got to interact with Prof. Hung Dang (Associate Vice Chancellor of UW Bothell), Mr. Ritchie Campbell (Ex CEO Economist) and Mr. Surinder Singh (Founder of Fidelity’s Indian Operation Centre).
The industry visits opened with a visit to Amazon Inc. where the students got an in depth understanding of the unique operational strategy of Amazon and a feel of the different areas in which Amazon operates. There was a case study session where their acumen was tested with a problem that Amazon had been facing and the quality of ideas and suggestions provided by the students left the company officials highly impressed.
Next on the list was the Philips tour which was hosted by Mr. Sujit Kumar (General Manager, Ultrasound Value Business, Philips Healthcare) and included a visit to the shop floor where the students actually saw how the world’s most advanced Ultra-Sonography systems were made.
The tour to AT & T hosted by Mr. Chris Boody (Director- Product Management at AT&T Wireless) and also included a shop floor visit, which was technically very enriching to our group of qualified engineers as they got an opportunity to see the World’s best communication infrastructure.
The Nintendo Tour was hosted by an Alumnus of UW, Ms. Anny Kong (Senior Manager, Sales and Industry Analysis, Nintendo). Here, the students saw one of the world’s greenest facilities. The entire building which housed the Marketing and Administrative teams of the Japan based gaming major, had received a ‘Gold Leeds Certification ’ (a major green building certification). They also got a chance to interact and discuss issues with Flip Morse (Senior Vice President- Administration, Nintendo).
The next visit was to the king of all Technology companies- Microsoft hosted by Ms. Tara Prakriya (General Manager, Microsoft Corporation). There the students got an opportunity to visit a futuristic home built on Microsoft’s technology with a vision for the future which seemed like an experience from a Science Fiction Movie.
The next visit was to WinShuttle Corporation hosted by Mr. Vikram Chalana (CTO and Co Founder, WinShuttle) and his team. There they got an overview of the kind of solutions that the company whose engineering operations are based in India provided, some of them included interfacing solutions for SAP users.
Next on the cards was Rotella Capital which is a Hedge Fund Company and was hosted by Ms. Rose Rotella (Chief Administrative Officer, Rotella Capital). There, the students got an extremely simplified understanding of how Hedge Funds operate and what happens in the financial markets.
The last and the most exciting trip of the tour was to the Operations giant Boeing hosted by Prof. Surya Pathak (Professor at UW Bothell).The students got a chance to see the assembly line and shop floor and understand what goes into making of an airplane. To quote one of the students after the awe inspiring tour: “It was simply amazing to see how thousand of parts go into making of a single product - the engineering, technology and the expertise involved was so refined and skilled that it would be any Operations manager’s dream job.”
It was a perfect end to the study tour which taught the group so many different things in just a handful of days that they might not have been able to cover during the course of their curriculum.
Apart from the visits to the headquarters of the various companies, the group got a chance to attend lectures on Entrepreneurial Marketing by Prof. Alan Leong and Marketing Strategy and Simulation by Prof. PV Balakrishnan at the University of Washington. The Entrepreneurial Marketing session included a talk by Jim Wayne, CEO and founder of the famous Garlic Jim’s pizza chain in USA. The session on Marketing strategy and simulation gave them an opportunity to hear from Mr. Jim Donald, the ex CEO of Starbucks coffee.
The tour was a blend of knowledge, fun and a good exposure. The expectations out of the tour were not just met but what was achieved and gained was beyond anybody’s expectations from the tour. The trip would not have been possible without the support of Prof. Sandeep Krishnamurthy, Director University of Washington Bothell. The trip happened due to the efforts and vision of Prof. Arti Kalro and the entire International Relations team. Kudos to the Team and Faculty of SJMSOM for providing the students with such a unique and enriching opportunity. We hope to have more of such tours in the future.
Akansha GuptaSJMSOM class of 2012