Editor’s note: Students in the MRED Program are traveling around the world – literally! Seven graduate students had the opportunity to travel west as part of an immersive study abroad class in summer 2016. Here is a post from Brendan Lee, one of the students on the journey. 

Today was our first full day in India, and we were busy with two business visits. First we ate breakfast at the hotel. It was one of the better continental breakfasts we’ve had on the trip with a lot of authentic Indian Cuisine.

Our first visit was with Adobe at their corporate office on the outer ring road (ORR) in Bengaluru. Our trip there took about an hour, and we got to experience how bad traffic is in India. It was pure chaos. People constantly honk their horns for what seems like no good reason. The traffic rule seems to be if you can fit your car there, then go. Our guide Baloo said that the traffic is extremely unpredictable, which makes it very hard to plan travel.

Once we arrived at the Adobe office we met with Sujataha, who is the facilities manager at the site and specializes in sustainability. She spent a lot of time educating us on Indian culture, which the group found very interesting. She then transitioned into Adobe and explained about the development of the property, and explained why Bengaluru was becoming the tech hub of India. Approximately one-fifth of all of Adobe’s employees live in India. There is a great supply of engineering talent, and Bengaluru has become one of the most desirable cities to inhabit in India. After our meeting, she had a delicious meal prepared for us to enjoy with her staff on the top floor of the building.

After the meeting with Adobe, we rushed to our second meeting with WorldHaus on the other side of town. Predictably, traffic was horrible, but we eventually got there and met our host Girija, who is the COO of the company. They are a company that has been supported by the Sorenson Impact Center, which is one of the Eccles School’s centers. World Haus is set to improve housing affordability in India. They use a specific method and materials that can decrease housing expense by 20 percent and greatly reduce the time it takes to build a house. Typically, they can build in three to six months. The building technique was initially implemented by a different company in Mexico, where they have seen dramatic success, with more than 1 million homes constructed.

WorldHaus purchased the license to the material for many countries in Asia, including India, and also in Africa. They are currently raising money so that they can build a factory in India where they can produce the material. They are still importing from Mexico, which is hurting profits. Once they build the factory, they will be able to really increase the scope of their business and help a lot more people.

In the evening, we had our group dinner at a great Indian restaurant close to our hotel, where we were exposed to 10-15 different Indian dishes. They kept bringing out more and more.  There was definitely plenty to eat.