If one is going to stay atop of tomorrow’s business, a trip must be made to where tomorrow’s business is playing out. One of those places is India, where Eli Broad College of Business Dean Sanjay Gupta sojourned last month.

“If you think about the emerging global powers in the world, without a doubt China is included in that group. But increasingly India is playing a very prominent role, whether it is in commerce and industry; whether it is in trade negotiations; whether it is in the spread of democratic principles,” Gupta said after returning from the Sept. 7-18 trip.

Entrepreneur and Broad Spartan alum Rohit Khattar (left) meets with Broad College Dean Sanjay Gupta in New Delhi, India last month

Entrepreneur and Broad Spartan alum Rohit Khattar (left) meets with Broad College Dean Sanjay Gupta in New Delhi, India last month

“That is a society that is very open to these kind of ideas from the West and has been able to incorporate them. It has probably the most educated middle class of any country in the world,” Gupta said. “There is a huge economic potential in that economy, and we need to be great partners with them as they go through their development cycles.”

Gupta’s three-city tour of the Asian economic superpower included stops in Mumbai (where he chaired an accreditation review team for the SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, a prominent Indian business school which has a long-standing partnership with the Broad College); Hisar (and the Haryana Agricultural University, with travel partners from the MSU College of Agriculture & Natural Resources); and New Delhi.

At the last stop, Gupta participated in the MSU Executive Forum on Sept. 15, where the keynote speaker was Rohit Khattar (BA, Hotel and Restaurant Management, ’85), the founder and chairman of Old World Hospitality, Ltd., India’s largest live entertainment company which operates India’s most comprehensive performing arts and convention center. Properties include Indian Accent, ranked among the world’s best restaurants.

TimeOut also named Khattar one of “99 Superstars Who Changed Lives Across India.” Gupta called Khattar “an incredibly gracious, polite and a generous man” who hopes to visit East Lansing in the near future: “He’s looking forward to actually coming to campus.”

Khattar was one of several Broad Spartan alums at the event who Gupta was able to meet and connect with.

“The Spartans who came here still remember with great fondness the experience that they had on the campus, and are very appreciative of those experiences,” Gupta said. “That’s a great reason for us to celebrate the kinds of things that we do and we continue to do, and we need to not forget about what this Spartan ethos is around — the student experience — and continue to make that stronger by the day.”

Throughout the trip, Gupta said it became clear to him that India was ripe for larger connections between its students and the Broad College.

“There is economic prosperity; there is the desire for people to go overseas; and there is the confidence that parents have in wanting to send their children abroad,” Gupta said. “All of this bodes well for us, and if we can nurture those Spartan connections that we already have in a positive way, it will be fabulous for us in attracting more students to come to our programs here.”

The India trip is the first of two Asian excursions Gupta will be making this fall. The next is to China, in November. There, he will visit a partner university in Dalian, in the country’s northeast region which Gupta calls “untapped” yet somewhat familiar.

“Dalian, it turns out, has a lot of similarity to the state of Michigan and the economy of Michigan,” Gupta said. “Dalian is heavy on the manufacturing side, just as Michigan is … I hope that by furthering our relationship with them, we will possibly have some positive relationships that can emerge both with the university as well as industry. The ripple effects could be very strong.”

Gupta will also stop to meet with alumni in Beijing. “We’ll continue to reconnect with and grow our presence in China,” he said.