India Immersion: Building a platform for success

The University has tried for several years to recruit Indian students, without notable success. Doing business in India more than anywhere else in the world requires long term thinking, the nurturing of important contacts, and partnerships offering mutual benefit. So we’ve decided to adopt a different approach to open up the market. Shashi Balain, a good friend of mine, an entrepreneur and CEO of a successful startup in Delhi, met with me last time I was in India with an interesting idea. There were three elements to it:

First, direct engagement with business leaders like him to offer a pipeline of graduates to meet directly the extraordinary demand for talent created by India’s economic growth and innovation. Second, working with a select group of private schools in the region to promote Lincoln as a path to highly qualified schoolchildren who didn’t quite make the grade to get into the top Universities. And third, development of undergraduate degrees tailored for this market that allowed students to spend two years in Lincoln, and return to India to spend their professional practice year with the businesses who would recruit them as graduates.  For their final year, they may even stay in India and study remotely, or return to Lincoln as at present to complete.

The plan we developed at that meeting was set in motion thanks to the arrival of Ruchi Aggarwal in LIBS, who immediately grasped our idea and used her extensive network and business development skills to kick start it. Enabled by the extraordinary generosity of our hosts in both their time and access to their own networks, and Carol’s own extensive knowledge of the country, the three days we spent there last week gave me unprecedented access to school counsellors and directors, senior business leaders, and influential members of the community. They all reacted very positively to our proposal – we went primarily to listen to them – and I’m very confident we’ve laid a firm foundation for success.

Here are some highlights from the visit.

Dinner at Ruchi’s parents’. Mrs. Aggarwal’s chicken speciality was to die for.


The senior team from IMT Ghaziabad, an AACSB accredited postgrad school keen to work with us (it’s 39C here, glad we were in the shade…)


Ruchi and Sanjeev Bikhchandani, founder of – the reception finished with a poetry recital in Urdu and Homeric Greek


Meeting Pathways School Director Dr. Naidu and advisor Neena Virmani; great discussion about an improved version of Maslow’s hierarchy







Shashi and I addressing (with no notice) a class of 150 17 year olds…


…they at least appeared to be listening to us

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