Delhi belly departure

By: Stephanie Pack and Lauren Pettit

I realize we haven’t been in Delhi for quite some time but this title seems to sum up the last day quite nicely.

Soon after our 6:30 AM wake up call, it became apparent that not everyone would be joining us for the last business visit. Six students had started their day in a Mumbai hospital with food poisoning and dehydration while the rest headed to Deloitte, one of the Big Four accountancy firms (aka a big deal).

6 plagued 22 healthy

Despite the absentees, the business meeting was amazing, definitely one of my favorites. After the Consulting Introduction and Company Overview, the presentation became more conversational. Having studied India for the past couple weeks, it became much easier to understand how law, demographics, and customs play into this particular business. Parag Saigaonkar, the Regional Managing Director, explained how having an office in India, in addition to America, reduces cost and makes communication much more efficient. He also gave us information on they types of employees they look for, how India’s hierarchical society affects employee relationships, and the breakdown of organized retail businesses vs. “Mom and Pop” businesses (5% vs 95%!). Rakesh Barik, the Director of Consulting, discussed the Operation and Technology aspect of Deloitte. On the proceeding company tour, we were able to see O & T in place in the communication center, where all employees receive language proficiency training. Having the opportunity to openly ask questions to these elite Deloitte managers and directors was hugely beneficial, especially to the business students. Throughout the course of the visit, from meeting, to company tour, to lunch with the leaders, we lost a few others to the plague. Thankfully Deloitte had a sense of humor about the whole situation.

11 plagued, 17 healthy

Heading to the airport was certainly bittersweet. While I’m sure we were all ready to sink our teeth into a juicy all-beef burger, brush with tap water, walk down the street without causing a scene, and hopefully burn off the weight we put on from overloading on buttered naan, we’ve grown accustom to this place. India was for myself and may others, an eye opening and inspirational experience. This trip exceeded my expectations in every way possible. When else are you able to encounter everything from the world’s richest country of Dubai to the corrupted yet emerging country of India? We’ve visited Asia’s largest slum, one of India’s most competitive colleges, the worlds tallest building and biggest mall, the Taj Mahal, a mattress company, a steel melting plant, an orphanage and countless other life changing places. Participating in this study abroad course is one of the best decisions of my life. I speak for the class when I say our advisors did an incredible job organizing every aspect of this trip. Our hotels were top of the line, the business visits were extremely informative, the tours were enjoyable, and the restaurants were TOO delicious. We all thought we’d lose weight on the trip…. what were we thinking? During the first flight, a new wave of food poisoning circulated.

15 plagued, 13 healthy

Note: This food poisoning bug seemed pretty homogenous for everyone infected: 6 hours of violent vomiting and diarrhea. It just so happened that the boarding time for our flight to JFK fell at the exact same time as the peak of Caitlin’s food poisoning. Unfortunately she didn’t make the flight. However she and one of our advisors made the next flight and are now home safe and healthy.

From the time of departure another three students were affected. At this point, it just became kind of a cruel joke. Elizabeth, Sammi and I (Stephanie) occupied 3 of the plane bathrooms for at least a solid few hours before being isolated to the flip down chairs in the flight attendants’ quarters. I can honesty say that was and will remain one of the worst experiences of my life. It is unfortunate that this is how the trip had to end but at least I got to share the experience with all my new friends!

18 plagued, 10 healthy

Once we exited the plane, everyone collected their luggage at baggage claim (it’s a miracle that no one lost luggage at any point of the trip) and headed to the gates of their connecting flights either home or to Elon.

18 plagued and counting, 10 healthy and dwindling