The Ahmedabad University and The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, offered a course jointly on 'Operations and Business in India: From Gandhi to Globalisation' between December 25, 2022, and December 30, 2022, at Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. The course traced India's growth story through experiential immersions. Over five days, students engaged with several organisations across the industry spanning cooperative, social, education, and cultural sectors. Each of the visits was followed by reflections and sharing of learnings. The course offered students a unique opportunity to uncover the complex and sometimes chaotic interactions between parallel models of development ideals in a fledgling democracy. It was led by Pankaj Chandra, Vice Chancellor, Ahmedabad University, Ziv Katalan, Adjunct Professor, The Wharton School, and Senthil Veeraraghavan, Panasonic Professor, The Wharton School.
India's early growth was achieved by setting up an industrial base through state-driven investments in dams, refineries, chemicals, steel plants, and heavy industries. During the middle of the century, India expanded its knowledge base. The course built on such a conceptualisation to understand how business in India, particularly Operations, is influenced by the more significant social and policy processes and, in turn, influences them. Visits to organisations, especially factories, demonstrated how Indian businesses innovate on products, processes, and managerial practices to build globally competitive organisations. The course provided an integrative view of building a global mindset and creating leadership while embedded in a particular context.
While discussing the theme, 'Organising for Cooperation and Empowerment', participants took part in a Heritage Walk and later spent time with the Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) team at Anand. SEWA is a membership-based organisation created in 1972 from a combination of the labour, women, and cooperative movements to organise self-employed women in the informal economy and assist their collective struggle for social justice, equality, and fair treatment. An engaging talk and presentation followed this at Amul (Anand Milk Union Limited) in Anand and a visit to the Amul Chocolate Factory. The cooperative, Amul, revolutionised milk procurement in India leading to the White Revolution.
Participating students visited the business district GIFT city (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City) in Gandhinagar and the Amul Gandhinagar plant as part of the theme on 'City and the World: Local and Global Aspirations'. To understand 'Science, Industry and Policy', students visited Zydus Lifesciences and Laxcon Steel at Sarkhej Bavla Road. With India aspiring to be a global player thanks to a leading knowledge workforce and management leadership, students were introduced to how India is set to achieve global milestones.
The theme for the final day was 'Education, Entrepreneurship and Future' when students visited the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad campus and interacted with incubatees at the Centre for Innovation Incubation & Entrepreneurship. This was followed by a talk and visit to the National Institute of Design, presentations by students, and a closing session and talk by Dr Naushad Forbes, Co-Chairman, Forbes Marshall, and Member of the Board of Governors, Ahmedabad University.
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