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goodbye Chicago…hello India

Thursday 30 June, 2011

It’s with a tinge of regret that I let all of my faithful readers (& anyone else who’ll read this) know that I’m leaving Chicago to teach @ the Ghandi Institute of Technology & Management in Visakhapatnam, India.  I expect I’ll be teaching international business, marketing, management, etc.  The hook for me was the opportunity to work with the GITAM School of International Business.  The semester starts 7 July, so I’m already in India getting over my jet lag.

On a personal basis, I’ve been looking to work abroad for quite awhile.  In 2006, when I was in AZ @ my Thunderbird class reunion, I was in an automobile accident.  I walked away, but it was a “come to Jesus” moment, in that it forced me to look @ what’s important to me & I determined working abroad should be a priority.  The next year I had an opportunity to teach in Taiwan, which I turned down.  Then I got involved with a woman which postponed my pursuit of that ever-elusive foreign gig.  After that romantic relationship ended, I received a verbal offer to teach in Korea, but never got a written confirmation.  Last year I went through the interviewing process with a consulting firm based in Paris, & made it to the final stage, but was not the chosen one.  Going even further back, my grandfather owned a travel agency & he gave us the travel bug when we sat in his basement watch 8mm movies of his travels throughout the world.  My dad worked in the travel incentive business, so he got to sell travel incentive programs & then get to go on the trips.  Exploring the world is in my blood.

Why India?  It’s the future.  The media & many businesspeople maintain businesses should have a “China Plan.”  My feeling is if you have a China plan, you should have an India plan too because in some ways India is a much better market for western companies.  Indians speak English.  India has a heritage as a British commonwealth country, with vestiges of British common law.  India has an entrenched democracy that will not be usurped anytime soon.  Although there are certainly problems like corruption & bureaucracy, I believe India has the best long-term future in Asia.

I’m a little disappointed to give up gata, but I never found a consistent way to find new customers.  I tried a lot of different means to reach out to potential clients, but even when I did, you have to be careful what you ask for.  Last year I got a project that lined up well with what I professed to do, finding a distributor for a high technology client in Brazil.  It took 4-5 months to find a handful of qualified prospects, then we went down & interviewed them, & picked who we thought was the best fit.  The client was satisfied, but I ended up being dissatisfied.  If you’ve read this blog, you know I rail against businesspeople who fly around the world, pop into different business environments, & then claim to be experts in those countries.  My take is those are superficial experiences, so my aspiration is to learn business cultures in a more deep & meaningful way.  When I lived & worked in Germany many years ago, it was an enlightening experience to learn that you can be successful in a way that’s not American.  I yearn to learn those kinds of things again.  The Indians are very open about encouraging their faculty to pursue consulting work, so hopefully I’ll be able to get engaged with the local business community & work on some consulting gigs there.

Going forward, I still have blog posts on events in Chicago to post, so those will be upcoming in the next month.  After that, my blog & newsletter will simply take a different focus.  Stay tuned if you’re interested on my impressions of India.

My hope is that I’m not done exploring by living & working in India.  Next year may present other opportunities for me to learn about even more places, so keep posted here if you’re interested in where I am & what I’m doing.  Thanks for reading.

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