The Winterim’s Tale (Act I)

Every winter break sees T-birds flitting off to different corners of the world, hoping to enrich their minds (and add to their visa collection) on a unique adventure known as the Winterim. So if you think you missed out, take a short trip with these students…

Courtesy: Rena James
Courtesy: Rena James

Rena James, ’14

Winterim: Big Emerging Market, India

Places/companies visited on Winterim: After arriving in Hyderabad on January 6 we began our visit at the Indian Business School, ISB. This was our home base as we visited several companies including Infosys, Dr. Reddy’s Lab (a manufacturer of generic drugs), Microsoft, R&D Wafers (a small business that makes machines that make wafer cookies and ice cream cones), and Pramati (a software solutions product incubator). Next, we flew to Bangalore where we visited Mahindra Reva (an electric car manufacturer), Honeywell, Infosys’ Training center, and Texas Instruments. During our stay in Bangalore, we broke into groups of 5-6 and visited nearby villages. Each group visited two families and a local school. This was our “bottom of the pyramid visit” in which we got to know members of a huge portion of India’s population. We were able to learn about the coffee industry in India by a presentation from fellow T-bird Ishaanee’s father, who owns a coffee business in southern India. We then flew to New Delhi where we visited Intuit and EIL. We also received a presentation at the hotel from Aegon Religare Life Insurance, which is a JV with a US company, Transamerica. We were also able to visit cultural sites at each city.

Courtesy: Rena James
Courtesy: Rena James

What did you love: It was great to learn that things can still continue to function when it seems impossible just from sheer determination and refusal to admit defeat. I watched traffic jams in which cars, buses, auto rickshaws, motorcycles, and bicycles all crammed up against each other in complete grid lock with each vehicle determined to be the first to take advantage of any open space were facing right up against each other making it impossible for anyone to move. The traffic somehow moved – eventually. I learned that the future is always bright, always an unwritten slate waiting for good things to happen.

Any surprises: I expected everyone to be able to speak Hindi. I knew that there were multiple languages, but I had been told so many times that all Indians speak multiple languages so I expected them all to be able to communicate with each other in Hindi. So when the auto rickshaw drivers had trouble communicating with each other and when our Hindi speaking friends couldn’t communicate with the locals, it surprised me. I remember asking Anush, our TA, to speak to a local kid for me and he said it would unlikely that the kid spoke his language, Tamil. That was when I really realized the extent of their inability to speak to each other. It also eventually came to my attention that auto rickshaw drivers are often from other towns or places so they don’t speak the same language as each other.

What you wished you could have done but couldn’t: I would like to have visited Mumbai, but we’ll leave that for next time!

Courtesy: Mahesh Deshpande
Courtesy: Mahesh Deshpande

Vinay Ramakrishnan, ’14

Winterim: Brand Management, New York

Places/companies visited on Winterim: A long list of companies came to us during the winterim. From consulting companies like Type 2 Consulting and Lucid Brands to huge brand names like Mini Cooper USA, Yahoo, Motorola and Domino’s Pizza. This is just to name a few of the companies.

What did you love: The first thing that struck me at the end of the Winterim was that Prof. Ettenson was able bring down high-level executives to interact with us for 90 minutes. By high-level, I mean GLOBAL Brand managers and Vice Presidents of their respective divisions. For that, I thank Prof. Ettenson and his TA Juan for putting it all together. The second thing would have to be that the duration of the winterim program was in Times Square, the world’s recognized and busiest intersections. Come on, what’s not to love about Times Square? Last but not least, the winterim program being a huge educational experience for me.

Any surprises: That would have to be the site visit to IPG Media Brands. Working on projects for a live client brief in a company like IPG was probably the highlight of the winterim program.

What you wished you could have done but couldn’t: Explore and discover the marvels of New York City. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of sightseeing and binge eating were done during my time there. Maybe just not enough.

Favourite memory of the Winterim: The 2 weeks in New York is something I will never forget. Although I would have to say the last day would probably be my most favorite memory. After the winterim, a bunch of us did a circle line tour around the island of Manhattan which was incredible and later on, we had some authentic Chinese food where I was tricked by my friends from China into having pig’s blood which was surprisingly good.

Courtesy: Monica Zhou
Courtesy: Monica Zhou

Pia Oestlien, ’14

Winterim: Global Institutions – Geneva, Switzerland

Places/companies visited on Winterim: UN Offices at Geneva, UNDP, UNHCR, WHO, WTO, International Labor Organization (ILO), UNI Global Union, Turkish and US Missions, World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

What did you love:  I enjoyed learning about these international organizations and the important work that they do in the fields of climate, conflict, trade, labor and politics overall. I also enjoyed learning how I can take part to help make a difference.

Any surprises: What surprised me the most is the increasing need for organizations like the UNHCR, WHO, etc. to partner with the private sector to achieve goals, improve process efficiency, etc. There really is a need for every sector to work together to help address the human factors of conflict, the need for action regarding climate change, and at the least, the need to be informed about global labor, conflict, and health issues. I was also pleasantly surprised with the renewed energy at the WTO. While the DOHA round has been ongoing for a decade, the WTO was able to come to some agreements and a plan forward at the Bali Talks.

What you wished you could have done but couldn’t: All expectations were met. Although I didn’t have anything in particular that I focused on.

Favourite memory of the Winterim: Visiting the conference rooms in the UN and WTO where global decisions are being made… What an inspiring moment!

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