Knowledge @ Wharton

Knowledge @ Wharton has been one of my most satisfying journalistic experiences. My editor, Mukul Pandya, sits in Philadelphia at the Wharton School. He has taken chances on me and allowed me to write pieces that aren’t an obvious fit for a business publication but ended up getting a lot of gratifying feedback for both K@W and for me. I am listing below all the pieces I’ve done for them and will keep adding to this page, and well as upload separate pieces. I start with what I call my magnum opus– the Return to India piece I did for Mukul. To this day, a good three years after the piece was published, I get emails from all over the world, particularly Indians who go through this conflict.

The other pieces are political, business-oriented, and about women– a range of topics that are a journalist’s delight.

Return to India: One Family’s Journey to America and Back
Published: November 01, 2007 in India Knowledge@Wharton
For decades, it was widely assumed that the brightest Indians would go overseas to study and eventually settle there. Today, signs have begun to appear that the tide may be turning. The fact that global companies are setting up operations in India makes it easier for non-resident Indians to return home, often while remaining with the same employer. Indian students are not leaving the country as eagerly as they once did, and if they do, they go back home much faster because of the attractive professional opportunities there. Others return because they feel they are losing a connection with their past. In this special section, India Knowledge@Wharton offers one family’s experience as a microcosm of the larger trend — Bangalore-based writer Shoba Narayan’s account of her family’s decision to return to India, after living in the U.S. for 20 years.

Electric Cars in India: Why So Few?
Published: October 08, 2009 in India Knowledge@Wharton
With the rise of environmentalism and the high cost of gasoline, it would seem that the electric car would take off. Not so fast, says Bangalore-based writer Shoba Narayan in this opinion piece. Although companies like the Reva Electric Car Company are advancing the cause and major auto makers are likely to follow suit, Indian consumers need to be convinced they will achieve substantial savings and that there is enough infrastructure in place to support electric vehicles before they will be willing to open their wallets.

Affordable Housing: An Idea Whose Time Has Come
Published: August 27, 2009 in India Knowledge@Wharton
Affordable housing is the Indian government’s new mantra. President Pratibha Patil mentioned it in her speech on Bharat Nirman, a project that plans to double the construction of low-cost houses to 12 million units. This move, it is hoped, will cascade into more demand for steel, cement and construction material. For this to happen, the government is banking on public-private partnerships. In the past, even if developers were willing to build housing structures for the poor, they found it difficult to come up with suitable ways to finance them. Now, given the fresh optimism in the market, it seems like affordable housing is an idea whose time has come, writes Bangalore-based writer Shoba Narayan in this opinion piece.

What Is the Role of Women in Indian Politics? Growing Stronger…
Published: May 21, 2009 in India Knowledge@Wharton
India should work towards empowering women economically — through microfinance programs — and also encourage greater participation of women leaders in panchayats, or village councils, writes author Shoba Narayan in this opinion piece.

The ‘India Option’: Instead of Looking Abroad, Today’s Indian Management Graduates See a Future at Home
Published: July 24, 2008 in India Knowledge@Wharton
In the past, India’s best and brightest routinely looked to the U.S. and other Western countries for jobs following graduation. Today, however, the “brain drain” seems to be reversing: According to placement figures at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Bangalore, 75% of this year’s graduating class opted for jobs in India. In this opinion piece, Bangalore-based writer Shoba Narayan offers her understanding of this trend following interviews with graduating students and IIM faculty. Previously in India Knowledge@Wharton, Narayan chronicled her own family’s decision to return to India after living in the U.S. for 20 years (“Return to India”).