Monday, January 17, 2011

My First Impressions of India


We arrived late Saturday evening to begin a two week trip preparing for a new Lipscomb MBA travel class to India, beginning in early 2012. Joining me are Dr. Mike Kendrick, associate dean, and Tom Gray, a Nashville business executive who chairs the international subcommittee of our College of Business Board of Visitors.

Quick facts about why we are in India:

*India is home 1.2 billion people, second only to China and four times the population of our country.

*Its economy is expected to expand 8.5% this year, with a growth rate that could overtake China by 2013.

*Some economists think India's economy will grow faster than any nation's on earth over the next 25 years.

There are two reasons why India's economy will soon start to outpace China's, according to a recent article in the Economist magazine:

1. Demography: China's workforce will shortly start to age and grow older; India's will continue to get younger for at least another generation.

2. Democracy: Although China has surged ahead because of its strong central planning, India's rough and tumble democracy has led to the nation having millions of young entrepreneurs all furiously doing their own things.

Since the early 1990s when India opened up foreign trade, Indian business has boomed. Ideas flow easily. Its people are exceptionally well educated and highly literate in what counts most in the 21st Century: the digital economy. Even our Indian guide is on Facebook, he told us yesterday.

You've heard about the bad stuff: Dirty toilets. Teeming masses. Dusty, dirty streets and very poor people.

We saw all of this and more yesterday on our first day in Delhi, the nation's capital. But is the future in India's hands? Many think it is and we'll let you know what we think over the next two weeks as our trip to India progresses. Stay tuned.

Turney Stevens, Dean

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