Immersive Field Course: India; Developing India: Social Enterprise and Private Sector Approaches
Course Number 6066
Professor Shawn A. Cole
On-Campus sessions during the Fall term: TBD
Travel Dates: Sunday January 3 - Saturday January 16, 2016
Program fee & travel costs: See details on Course Credit and Fees
This aim of this course is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the Indian economy, from the modern and well-structured venture capital and tech sectors, to the rural smallholder farming sector, which still supports over 200 million people. Students planning to lead, advise, or invest in companies with a current or future presence in India and other emerging markets will also find this course appealing. The course will take a general management perspective, but also allow each student team to deeply engage in a specific topic.
The course aims to compare and contrast two approaches to promoting economic development and growth: social enterprise, and private sector investment (venture capital, private equity, and real estate). Through a series of course sessions, site visits, and in-depth team projects working with leading organizations in India, the course will explore the challenges and opportunities facing the world's second most populous country, one forecasted to outpace China as the world's fastest growing economy.
We will examine the most pressing problems facing the tens of millions of Indians seeking a better life in India's largest metros, to both understand what forces have driven the dramatic growth witnessed by India since 1980, and identify the frictions and constraints that still keep India well below its potential output. Large swaths of rural India have been largely unaffected by India's rapid modernization; we will examine the forces that limit productivity gains, and evaluate attempts to improve health and human capital.
The focus of this field immersive course, social enterprise and private investment, is deliberate: much of the value of any undertaking in India relies on the ability to achieve tremendous scale.
Course Content and Organization
Bringing students to India's two largest and most important cities, Mumbai and New Delhi, as well as Udaipur, this course will provide exposure to an incredibly diverse and varied business environment; one dense with barriers to innovation, but full of tremendous promise to scale. This immersive field course will strengthen students' understanding of an emergent business context and sharpen their entrepreneurial toolkit.
Overview and Introduction: The course will meet for class sessions in the fall in an effort to (1) provide a broad overview of the institutional context in India and consider the causes and consequences of some of the most pressing urban problems, (2) highlight real world entrepreneurial attempts to provide solutions to these problems via case studies, and (3) allow time for student teams to work together and prepare for travel.
Projects: Students will assemble into small teams to work together on projects during the India immersive. The projects, sourced and vetted by the faculty, will cover a range of industries and topics. Teams will engage their client organization during the fall, prior to travel, though the time commitment during the fall term will be limited. Project work will be intense in India, and will require solving a specific and well-defined strategic problem. Projects will be supported by local contacts in India, and will be enhanced through fieldwork (observation, data collection and analysis) throughout the course.
Projects will be drawn from areas including but not limited to health care, education, and technology (social enterprise); and real estate, venture capital, and private equity (private sector). Partner organizations will include both entrepreneurial start-ups as well as the leading industrial houses of India.
Deliverables: Student teams will present their final project recommendations during a capstone event at the end of the India portion of the course. Feedback during this capstone will later be incorporated into a group final paper (20 double-spaced pages) that summarizes the final recommendations and provides the organization guidance towards implementing the proposed solution.
The Immersive Field Course Model
In contrast to FIELD 2, Immersive Field Courses are customized according to individual faculty research and are designed to enable students to take an active role in the construction of their learning. In many instances, these courses are built with a specific focus in mind and teams of students are called upon to collaborate directly with local company partners to scope projects, collect data and organize work plans before and during the immersion. Longer in duration than FIELD 2, these courses also tailor learning via field-based exercises, panel presentations, guest lectures, alumni events and plenary visits to relevant companies and organizations.
Course Credit and Fees
Students who successfully complete this course (including participation in all on-campus course sessions during the Fall term) will earn 3.0 course credits.
HBS will provide land logistical components for this course (including accommodations, select meals, and local travel) but students will need to contribute a fee of $1,700 towards defraying a part of these costs. Students who have an existing financial aid application on file may apply for additional financial support to participate in this course. Please see the Financial Aid website (login required) for more information on financial support for Immersive Field Courses.