A while ago, Ravi Bapna, a professor at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, asked me to do “cultural immersion” module for his visiting MBA class. I created four PowerPoint presentations but the sessions ended up being highly interactive. They learnt about Indian culture, learned how to wear a sari or dhoti, sing (Vande Mataram) or any other song. I demonstrated a kolam (rangoli); answered lots of questions about culture, art, poverty, beggars, and the economy.
This time, students from Cornell’s Johnson school of management visited. I got a call asking if I would do it. We were to do it at the NGMA but the auditorium wasn’t available. So they came home. A taste of Indian culture.
Professor Ravi Bapna’s class from the Carlson School of Management’s Executive MBA program visited India. I spent one morning– three hours from 9-12– doing a ‘cultural immersion’ class. We discussed history, customs, culture, music, dance (with a performance at the end), and had a great interactive session. They asked tough questions about all the things that stare us in the face: the filth, the beggars, the slums, the traffic. But what surprised me was that they seemed to intuitively ‘get’ the contradictions that make up this crazy country of ours. Why do people seem so content amidst such poverty– that type of thing. They sang ‘Vande Mataram’ in chorus, wore sarees and discussed cuisine. Here is a photo of the lovely ladies
I am doing a class/presentation/module on cultural immersion for a visiting Executive MBA class from the U.S. Basically, I am trying to un-package India for them and it is a fascinating exercise. What do you focus on? Values, food, music, bargaining? There are many good books on Indian culture including A.L. Basham and India Unveiled. Been reading a lot. Have about ten slide presentations and will probably show them about five in the three hours that I have. Also doing interactive stuff.