Kennesaw State expanding to India
The Marietta Daily Journal – News, Sports, Classifieds, Businesses in Marietta, GA

by Jon Gillooly

KENNESAW – A half dozen Kennesaw State University professors will be packing for a trip to Mumbai, India, this fall to launch one of that country’s first executive M.B.A. programs offered in collaboration with an American university.

“Hopefully this will be one cog in the effort to expand Georgia’s presence in India and India’s presence in Georgia. It’s all part of an effort to provide global opportunities for students,” KSU President Dr. Dan Papp said.

Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra and is the largest city in India. Formerly known as Bombay, Fodor’s travel guidebook describes Mumbai as India’s seaside financial capital with a population approaching 20 million.

Under the agreement, KSU’s Coles College of Business will help Mumbai Business School launch its first executive M.B.A. program and teach the curriculum. Graduates of Mumbai Business School’s Post-Graduate Program for Working Executives will receive certificates from Coles College.

The partnership will also provide funding for research, travel and development opportunities for Coles College faculty, and will open the door for the college to help train U.S. executives whose companies want to do business in India, said Dr. Ken Harmon, Coles College dean.

The executive MBA degree will take an estimated 18 months to complete. KSU professors will teach a third of the program to a group of 35 to 40 students in Mumbai at a time.

“They’re going to wind up having a tremendous set of experiences developing a tremendous set of new perspectives in how the world works, in this case in India, and they will bring those perspectives back to Atlanta and Ke nnesaw State. It will also provide an opportunity for kids at KSU to go to India because now we have KSU in India,” Papp said.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-east Cobb) is a member of the Senate India Caucus, which works with Indian government officials, Indian Americans and other friends of India in the U.S. to promote the relationship between both countries.

“As the world’s oldest democracy, I believe it is critical for the United States to strengthen our relationship with India, the world’s largest democracy,” Isakson said.

“A strong relationship between the United States and India will enable collaboration across a broad range of issues. The partnership between Kennesaw State University and Mumbai Business School is a great example of furthering cooperation and economic opportunities between our two great nations,” Isakson said.

Spearheading the program for KSU is Dr. Govind Hariharan, chair of the Department of Economics, Fina nce & Quantitative Analysis at Coles College.

Himself a native of India, Hariharan said there is a hunger among Indians to be educated in the U.S. business education model since the U.S. is still the world’s leading economic power.

Harmon said the cost of the program to KSU is zero.

“These students will be paying Mumbai Business School and we will reach an agreement with Mumbai Business School where they cover the cost, and there should be a residual that comes back to the Coles College,” Harmon said, noting it’s premature to say what that number is right now.

Harmon spoke of the importance of India as a rising business center in the world.

“Any relevant business school has to be connected to India frankly just because of its importance and dominance in the world economy,” Harmon said.

“It’s the second largest English speaking population in the world. Its government structure is more similar to ours. And if you look at the demographics and you look at the economic shift, China and India are quickly becoming the primary powers economically in the world, and so to do business you have to be aware of those locations, how to do business there, how to connect with them culturally, etc.,” he said.

Hariharan said the U.S. economy has traditionally depended upon domestic consumer spending as the key driver, making up by many estimates 70 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.

“Much of it was financed through borrowing and has resulted in debt ridden consumers. As a result, in order to get businesses to invest, expand and employ more people, exports are the key. The future export markets are in countries such as India with young populations and high growth rates in middle class and economy. After all, India’s middle class is larger than the entire U.S. population,” Hariharan said.

A few months back, when noted economist Dr. Albert Niemi Jr. delive red his annual forecast lecture for Bank of North Georgia friends, Niemi said in the next 20 years, the global market place will be driven by China, and at the end of that 20-year period, by India.

“The successful American companies are going to be those that can tap the markets in China and India. So that’s going to be the place to be,” Niemi said.

Harmon sees the KSU partnership as directly helping the Peach State.

“It raises the profile of Georgia in the world,” he said. “This will actually bring business into Georgia. We will understand the world better. We would actually like to help people go do more business in India and help India get connected back here to Georgia as well. Understand, when we’re over there branding the Coles College and Kennesaw State the idea of Georgia is being branded as well, and so we make those connections, and so my point is this is a great way to help Georgia, and I think it puts us at the forefront of the international community.”

Harmon said India is a country that puts an emphasis on relationships, which is why the KSU professors need to be in India rather than communicating with students by video streaming.

“You don’t just go in and say ‘let’s do a contract.’ You go in and make connections to people, and these are very centered, very deep people as a culture,” he said. “They want to connect. It’s a human-to-human type of thing. Business builds on relationships. Relationships don’t follow business.”

KSU’s Coles College of Business, which has about 4,000 undergraduates and 1,000 graduate students, is the second largest business school in Georgia behind Georgia State, he said.

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