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From Business to Bharatanatyam

March 2006
From Business to Bharatanatyam

The growth of India in the last decade is noted as one of the most successful economic expansions during the information age. The tedious workdays and fast access Internet has given India the chance to make a mark in the global business community. However, software and call center services are not the only industries that are booming in India today. The country is beginning to liberalize its economy by offering foreign companies more opportunity to invest and by privatizing more state-owned companies, among other reforms whereby changing the landscape for Indians.

Reshma Shah, a professor in marketing at the Goizueta Business School, decided to take a group of students to India last year so they could experience the political, social and cultural aspects of working and living in India. This year, however, Shah organized a Study India Leadweek module to simulate the previous year's learning atmosphere inside the quiet premises of the Emory campus from Jan. 23 to the 26. "More and more U.S. and multinational companies have taken an interest in either sourcing strategically from India, capitalizing on the huge market potential India presents ? particularly in contrast to saturated U.S. markets and finally by tapping into the intellectual, educational and leadership capital that India enjoys", said Shah to her students and peers at the Leadweek module.

Students met executives from successful Indian companies from diverse sectors who have a presence in the U.S. Ken Cutshaw, EVP and general counsel of Cajun Operating Company and Church's Chicken; Suresh Sharma, executive director, ICA Institute; Sudipto Banerjee, Deloitte Consulting; and Paul Courtright, professor of religion at Emory, covered general areas of business. C. N. Madhusudhan from NIIT, Manish Khanna from Tata Consulting Services and Hitesh Shah, CEO of FrameFlow LLC, discussed how Indian companies have made their mark in India and in the U.S. In the last segment of the module, Suresh Sharma and Mahesh Morjaria of GE Energy; Steve Scheper, vice president of Delta Airlines, Vicky Flier, president of Highroad Communications; and Gloria Richards, general manager of Call Center Partner Relations, presented their views on why U.S. companies continually seek opportunities in India.

Preeti Shah, founder and artistic director of The Narasimha Academy of Arts, presented a lecture/demonstration on the history of Bharatanatyam followed by two performances. Preeti performed a solo item which captivated the onlookers and left them wanting to experience more of the Indian arts. "Bharatanatyam is the perfect medium to showcase the rich culture, heritage and religion of an India that is steeped in tradition," Preeti said. Indian dance, according to her, is a form of storytelling where the dancer would not only be able to portray literature and poetry, but social issues that are of concern to Indians.

The students had a rare opportunity to not only learn about global business management, but also got a sneak peak into the customs, art, dance, music and, of course, food of India. Reshma Shah tried to cover every aspect of the Indian lifestyle from language to art to business management in the Module to equip the students with the knowledge they would need to eventually do business in India and with Indians.

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