For Anita Suresh, an Indian MBA student in the Kellogg School of Management, India is more than just a place to call home.
Suresh and other Indian students in Kellogg are looking to their homeland's emergent industries and growing middle class of consumers as a fresh source of entrepreneurial opportunity, the second-year graduate student said.
"India is becoming more than just a body shop," she said. "It's more than just a place for raw skills, but for innovation."
Speakers at Saturday's 15th annual Kellogg India Business Conference, "Riding the Elephant: Sharing India's Success," addressed the potential for innovation in India's emerging markets, said Sayali Karanjkar, one of the event's co-chairs. About 500 Kellogg students, faculty and alumni attended the event, held at the Donald P. Jacobs Center.
The event also marked the launch of India@Kellogg, a publication featuring work and research from Kellogg students, faculty and alumni. The journal brings together the different perspectives of people in the Indian business world and provides networking opportunities for students and alumni, said Suresh, one of the journal's editors.
"There is such a strong representation (of Indian students) at Kellogg," she said. "It just made sense to gather insights in one place, be it research or visions they have for India."
According to Suresh, there are about 100 Indian students in her year at Kellogg, about 50 of which are international students. Last year, Kellogg increased admissions efforts to get Indian students to come to Northwestern, Suresh said.
However, it was far from Kellogg's first effort at outreach in the country.
Kellogg, along with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, serves as an associate school of the Indian School of Business. Kellogg Deans Dipak Jain and Donald Jacobs are on the board of ISB.
NU's efforts to establish an international presence became manifest when the university opened the doors of its Qatar campus in 2008. India could be the next country to which NU extends its global reach, President Henry Bienen told The Daily in a recent interview.
"I am excited by the idea of doing something in India and always have been," he said.
Bienen, who will be visiting India this month on his way back from a trip to Qatar, said he will be engaging in "conversations" during his stay. He added there is interest from the business and journalism programs in India to expand NU's presence.
Anant Garg, co-chair of the India Business Conference, said he would not be surprised to see the university explore its options for setting up another international campus in India.
"Kellogg is already present there," the second-year MBA student said. "Kellogg faculty goes there to teach - and not just Indian faculty. For Northwestern to develop a presence there is a logical next step."
But setting up satellite learning would be more cost-effective than building a physical center, said Garg, referencing one of the conference's keynote speakers, C.K. Prahalad.
"For India, the best option would be to take the power of the Northwestern brand and its professors and leverage it to an even wider audience," he said.