Saturday, January 21

Mumbai, India

Our third day in Mumbai, although planned from start to finish, was both educationally and culturally eye opening.  We started our day off with a business visit to Everstone Capital Advisors.  Everstone is a private equity and real estate firm that focuses strictly on India. Their CEO, Danny Jhaveri, explained to us their business practices and process of private equity investments.  Following his presentation, we were fortunate enough to meet Roopa Purushothaman, a fellow colleague of Mr. Jhaveri and co-author of Goldman Sach’s infamous BRIC Report.  This was an extremely special opportunity for us as one of our pre-departure course requirements was to read and analyze her report.  She gave an extensive presentation summarizing yet detailing the economic situation in India over the last few decades.  Here are a few facts that Lauren and I found interesting:

  • The per capita income (PCI) in Goa, India’s richest state, is 7 times the PCI in Bihar, the poorest state.  In comparison, PCI in the US is at 2x while China is at 5.5x.
  • 33% of the world’s software engineers are in India while 25% of the world’s malnourished also reside here.
  • India is projected to be the biggest provider of labor force, adding 80-100 million over the next 10 years.

To conclude the presentation, Roopa described the 4 demographic shifts that will define India in the coming decades.  They include young households, urbanization, women’s employment, and migration patterns.

After a quick lunch break at the Phoenix Mills Mall, we headed for our afternoon tour of the Dharavi Slum, the largest slum in Asia.  Over 40% of Mumbai’s population resides in this area.

Each student group was headed by a local resident of the slum, who provided us with an insider’s view of the daily life.  We began by walking through the industrial community which consisted of leather, garment, aluminum, and automotive accessory productions.  These workers make an average of 150 Rupees per day, which is equivalent to $3 US.  Before moving to the residential areas, we stopped to play a quick game of cricket with the local children.  Surprisingly, Andrea and I both hit the ball!  As we made our way through the narrow alley ways, we saw the conditions in which these people live.  The average home consisted of one large room that slept each family member, with a small dining area for meals; only 30% of the residents have toilets located within their homes, and the remaining 70% have to use communal bathrooms located within the community.  These people did not have much space or material items, yet they were all very happy and perfectly content with their way of life.