This article was contributed by current Haas students, Helen Cai and Cristina Torres Gonzales. Cristina is an EAP student from Madrid, Spain.
January 8th, Day Six of the UGBA 193i travel study course was a busy and eventful day.
Students rushed through breakfast and headed to the Philips Innovation Campus (PIC) located in Manyata Tech Park, Bangalore. The Philips Innovation Campus is a key division of Philips Electronics India Limited, acting as an innovation hub; it develops the R&D supporting Philips’ new solutions for the emerging markets, particularly in the healthcare domain. Getting out of the bus was a shocking experience in itself, because PIC’s facilities were so modern and up-to-date that students felt as if they were back in the US. Once in, students first attended a lecture given by one of the center’s executives. A big picture was given of Philips’ history of innovation, and Philips’ operations in India, setting the tone for further conversation. The lecturers probably did not anticipate how inquisitive Haas students can be – all of them made the talk transition to some sort of Q&A regarding the company’s revenues, costs, and product lines.
After this, students moved to the lab, where they were shown demos of some of the various products which PIC has recently developed: cost efficient baby incubators and warmers, new LED lighting systems that simulate daylight, and PET-CT scan machines that can scan a human body 320 times per second. Some of them are value products designed inside PIC to be sold in India: “In India, for India”. However, other product lines are the first example of high-tech products that are fully developed in India but are meant to be sold in western economies. The team was presented with the Phillips challenge and then proceeded to the go to the corporate food court for lunch.
After lunch, the team visited the nearby company CITRIX, an industry leader in desktop visualization and cloud computing. There they heard from an impressive number of executives; probably the largest number of people out of all the companies we went to see. One of the latter was a Haas alum, Mr. Rakesh Singh, General Manager of Citrix India, who had welcomed Haas students the first day of the trip. All the lecturers were managers coming from an array of startups, some in Europe, and some in the Silicon Valley. Students listened as they spoke about the selling aspects of cloud computing and the product life cycle of selling.
Companies like Citrix are B2B enterprises selling high-tech, breakthrough solutions that substitute other tools inside the client’s internal processes. Supposedly, companies transition to those solutions for the benefit of increased operating efficiencies. Besides making the transition seamless, sales teams need to convince managers that the transition itself is worth the money, time and pain. In the onset of the information era, customers usually rely on word of mouth, so sales teams work on attracting motivated early adopters, which can act as gurus for their peers. Little by little, the general masses of consumers adopt products, and lastly, some lagers proceed to adopt it too. The need for collaboration was emphasized as it is essential in moving forward and establishing progress; Citrix collaborates as well as competes with the rest of industry players: e.g., Oracle, VMWare. Partnerships are a key element of their business model: an integral component of the concept of open innovation.
After some last questions, the team headed back to their hotel and prepared for the rest of the night. Everyone was excited for the surprise event and dinner planned by Apollo Hospitals for the group. The night kicked off with amazing performances of tribal and Punjab dancers. Students were invited and pulled forward by the dancers to jump to the stage to learn how to dance, with different levels of success.
After several rounds of dancing and singing competitions, students wrapped up by saying what they loved about the program so far. Professor Solomon Darwin and Dr. Umapathy shared a few words, and everyone enjoyed the Indian feast that awaited the group. The students reflected on how the group had truly become a family of its own, and the night was a lot of fun for everyone involved. The group really appreciates the generosity shown by Apollo and all the people and companies they have met thus far.
Class of 2014