During spring break in late March, I joined Assistant Professor Vivek Sah, PhD, Instructor John Demas, Esq., and 18 other colleagues in USD’s School of Business Administration on a faculty development trip organized by the Ahlers Center for International Business. The destination was Delhi, India’s capital city and Sah’s hometown.
The purpose of the trip was to develop teaching, research and cultural exchange opportunities with companies and educational institutions in India. During the seven days, our group visited a variety of businesses, including: a government-owned company that sells 2.5 million liters of milk daily in Delhi through thousands of vending machines; a social enterprise that trains women from poor communities to become cab drivers and chauffeurs and provides safe transportation services for women; a leading consumer goods manufacturer that uses hundreds of unique herbs in its products and secures the supply of these ingredients through environmentally friendly and socially responsible approaches; and one of the largest real estate companies in India. The lessons learned from these visits will provide excellent teaching examples and help generate new research ideas.
We also interacted with faculty from two premier business schools in the region—the Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) at University of Delhi and the Institute of Management Technology—to discuss research ideas and best practices in the classroom. It’s amazing how different the higher education systems are in the two countries. For example, at FMS the total cost of the two-year, full-time MBA program is approximately $400, and 100 percent of its graduates are placed prior to graduation. Because of its low cost and perfect placement record, admission to the program is extremely competitive. Each year, about 25,000 applicants compete for 200 openings. Real estate is not a discipline that can be found in higher education in India. Therefore, I spoke with leaders of the two business schools about the possibility of developing joint programs so USD can help them train students interested in careers in real estate.
Executive Director Mark Riedy, PhD, once wrote in The Pipeline “International travel tends to broaden one’s horizons and occasionally change one’s perspectives on issues of a socio-economic nature that are not too dissimilar from those we wrestle with in the United States.” What caught my attention on this trip is the dichotomy of India’s housing market. It is estimated that more than 50 percent of the 21 million residents in the Delhi metropolitan area live in slums without basic services such as water, electricity and sanitation. Clearly there is an urgent need for more affordable housing. In the meantime, there has been a construction boom in the high-rise apartment sector. Units in the National Capital Region (NCR) are selling for up to $600 per square foot. Surveys indicate that approximately 65 percent of new units were purchased by speculators and about 30 percent of the complete units currently are vacant. But buyers and developers don’t seem to care, attitudes not too dissimilar from those exhibited in the U.S. during the mid 2000s right before the housing bubble collapsed.
Charles Tu, PhD
Daniel F. Mulvihill Professor of Commercial Real Estate
and Academic Director of the MSRE Program