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Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Exploring IT's Global Reach

May 19, 2015

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Ten IUPUI students got a behind-the-scenes look at the changing world of information technology this spring halfway across the world in India.

The School of Engineering and Technology students took a "Global IT Management" trip to India to explore the implications of international outsourcing. Faculty members Eugenia Fernandez, the chair of Computer Information and Graphics Technology, and Rob Elliott, a lecturer in Computer Information Technology, oversaw the IUPUI team.

The IUPUI students learned a lot from IT professionals in India-based companies, and also the similarities and differences between universities in the two nations.

“The students from India were just as eager to learn from our students as we were to know them,” said Elliott. “There was a lot of really good give-and-take, and I think our students learned to consider a wider perspective on the IT world.”

Both faculty members are convinced that similar trips in future years would expand IUPUI students’ horizons.

“In fact, I think other schools at IUPUI might benefit from joining us,” Elliott said. “We have a lot of schools that touch on various aspects of information technology, and I think they could strengthen their programs with an international perspective.”

Elliott said the trip was part of a course in computer information technology, with a focus on international IT management. And the work began well before the nine undergraduate students, eight from computer information technology and one from biomedical technology, plus a master’s technology graduate student, stepped on the plane.

“They had to interview chief information officers around Indianapolis, trying to find companies that had outsourced projects to India,” Elliott said.

The team flew to Chennai, the biggest industrial and commercial center in South India, to visit Tata Consulting Services and Cognizant, both IT-driven organizations, and learn more about the role outsourcing played in both U.S. and Indian company operations.  “The four primary concentrations of the CIT program are: network security, programming, database development and networking, which coincide neatly with the services these organizations provide,” said Elliott.

The IUPUI visitors also met with counterparts from BS Abdur Rahman University, based in Chennai.

“Once our students got back, they had to interview another CIO, then do a paper comparing and contrasting the methods used in both countries,” Elliott said. 

The biggest benefit, to Elliott, was the exposure to the business world.

“Our students had to figure out how to communicate with people who speak a different language, and who may not even be in the same room, and still find common ground,” he said. In addition, the IUPUI students learned how work is distributed and completed, and how and why partnerships are developed to deal with an increasingly global economy.

“These are great lessons for students to learn as they prepare for their careers,” Elliott said.