February 28, 2014

Life at XLRI in India

After a whirlwind first semester in Shanghai and a well-deserved break, the second semester has begun at XLRI in Jamshedpur, India.  The transition has not been without a few bumps. The Chinese and American cohort have had trouble adjusting to the food, since Indian food is very spicy and our taste buds have trouble adapting to it. XLRI has been making an effort to provide us with Western and Chinese food now, so we are coping better and getting used to all different kinds of new flavors. That’s one thing I’ve learned while being in this program, food is important and having to adjust to a new type of food is a huge part of the culture shock you experience.

XLRI is basically a small community in a city owned by TATA. The thing that makes XLRI a great school in my eyes is the amazing shared school spirit. In one of the first weeks we were here, XLRI had organized a sports weekend where they competed with the Kolkatta School of Management in a variety of sports. The winner would be the school with the most victories across all disciplines. XLRI had not won in the last 8 years. It was amazing witnessing all these students practicing every day so that they could win for XLRI. In the end, XLRI did win and the celebrations that ensued were legendary. Seeing all these students work and fight together for the school really had an impact on me.  This is what XLRI really is about, making a commitment to their students so that in return the students will make the same commitment to the school.

Every week we receive guest lectures by Indian CEO’s, most of them alumni from XLRI. Through these lectures we gain insight into the Indian business world. It is fascinating to learn how much culture, habits and tradition shape a business environment. This is one of the key advantages that this Global MBA has, we learn about how culture shapes business and we get to experience that firsthand in 3 vastly different cultures.
Adjusting to living in India is not without its challenges. It is a developing country and that shows in many different ways. However, it is also a country with colorful traditions, a rich history and kind people. Once you see that, it is all you can see.

Catherine Van Ryckeghem, Global MBA '15
Catherine Van Ryckeghem is a first year Global MBA student at Weatherhead School of Management. She is currently studying in Shanghai, China as part of her two-year program.

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