BEEP, BEEP, Whirrrr… HONK. The symphony of horns droned on in the hot and muggy day as our auto rickshaw flew down the street weaving in and out of the crazy traffic that ignored all of the signs and lines that tried to give it order. It was only our second day together as a team, and we had already braved several challenges in just getting the team together in the same house and getting around the city. Still, we knew were in for an even bigger test as the week at work started.
Monday morning came quickly and the team was weary eyed as we clambered into a few Toyota Innova vans to get to the airport and head to Mumbai. Although we had just landed in Bangalore a few days earlier, we were already off to our second city to visit with a few of our clients whose schedules had changed from the original plan. (Throughout the week, we heard rumblings of other planned trips, but were relatively unsure of what to expect from day to day or meeting to meeting.)
Arriving in Mumbai, we quickly went to the office and experienced our first in-person meeting in India with the Hindalco team. This first group of clients seemed quite excited to see us to, and even we knew that we had still more clients to meet, we were off to a great start. At the end of the meeting, we learned that we would be traveling to Chennai later that week. Combined with our weekend travel plans, we figured that we would be doing a large amount of flying all over the country. There is no doubt that this project is going to be quite a hectic three weeks!
Still, our team found time to enjoy the non-work hours and explore cultural norms together. That night in Mumai, our team tasted milk tea, which is a frequently enjoyed beverage in India. This is something we have continued to do nearly every place we have traveled this first week. It’s something I’m sure I’m going to miss when I return to the States… so it just might be something I keep up!
After the first meeting with Hindalco, half of our team (Kyle, Alex and Gopika) went to Pune, India the next day to speak with some customers of Hindalco, while the rest of us (Ponnu, AJ and Tada) planned to meet with our main contact on Epotec™ a secondary business we intended to work with. At the last minute, the meeting was cancelled, leaving us a bit puzzled. We were to have a workshop with them the next day and still had many open questions about their business. We hadn’t had a great deal of time to interface with this group or who we were going to be speaking with the next day. Instead, we met with our team advisor and spent until the wee hours of the morning putting together a power point deck that could cover a number of topics.
In the morning, wishing for our reliable cup of joe, the three of us piled again into an Innova hoping we had the right address for where we needed to be. (We’d learned our first night that addresses don’t always work in India). Walking into the workshop, we weren’t sure what to expect. Fortunately, our planning session with our advisor and his client counterpart happened a bit later allowing them to understand exactly who we were speaking with and adjust the schedule to accommodate the audience. All in all, the meeting went well! The clients appreciated the work we had done. Although not all of our proposals were accepted, the clients expressed interest in a few areas that we will pursue,
We took a picture with the full team representing heads of the company, R&D and a significant part of their sales team.
After finishing up, we headed home to meet with the other half of our team and tell them about this workshop, as they were to enter a similar workshop the next day.
One week in… and we are already very much entered into the fray. As we into the next week, I am wondering what other schedule and meeting changes are ahead!