What if the Indian Kids in the US go to school in India for a year? – Embrace India’s Essence

In this era of profound global transformation, it is fascinating to see that being local is global. The world is changing and so is India. It is time for each one of us to spend a year or two in India (and other countries) and be a global citizen. In his book ‘Only the Paranoid Survive’ Andy Grove wrote about Strategic Inflection Points. Just as businesses must recognize and act on strategic inflection points, each one of us needs to act as well. We need to embrace change.

What is a strategic inflection point?

When a fundamental change happens it is called a strategic inflection point. This can be caused by competition, regulatory changes or changes in the environment. If there is a 10X change (ten times more growth or things are ten times different on how it operated before) it means you are at a strategic inflection point. An inflection point, in general, is a decisive moment in the course of some entity or individual, event or situation that marks the start of significant change.

Talking Movies:

On October 6, 1927, The Jazz Singer, the first movie with sound debuted. Until then, movies did not have sound. This movie changed the way films were produced. When this movie was released, a lot of people resisted change. Even the great superstar, Charlie Chaplin resisted and was able to make successful silent films through the 1930s. However, in 1940 he finally surrendered to spoken dialogues and made the movie ‘Great Dictator’. Talkies or Talking movies were a strategic inflection point. It changed the fundamentals of the film business. 

The Murugappa Group’s Journey to a $9 Billion Empire

The Murugappa Group began as a money lending and banking business in the pre-World War 1 era in Burma (Myanmar). The move of the Murugappa Group to South India (Chennai) before the Japanese invasion of Burma in World War II is an identification of a  Strategic Inflection Point. This move was not merely a change in location but marked the beginning of a transformative phase in the Group’s history. The group ventured into industry with investments in emery paper and steel furniture. This was a smart move because it helped them grow and become successful. Every couple of decades they re-invented themselves by establishing companies in core industrial sectors, acquisitions, and expanding their global footprint through JVs with international companies. This highlights the need to quickly adapt and make smart moves when major shifts occur around us.  Today Murugappa Group is a nearly $9B enterprise. The businesses that continued to operate from Burma eventually died.  They missed the strategic inflection point. 


CoronaVirus and COVID-19 have changed the fundamentals of how we operate. Location is no longer a constraint. We see a lot of people from California and other parts of the US moving to Texas ( Austin and Dallas). A vast majority of Indians living in the US are in tech. Today, we are not just competing with people in the US, we are competing with the rest of the world. Distributed work has made it easier to connect. If work can be done from California or Texas, the same (unless it requires a physical presence) can be done from anywhere in the world. 

Fundamentals are changing:

Today, we are at a strategic inflection point. It’s crucial for people of Indian origin in the US to consider studying or working in India for a year or two in the context of a strategic inflection point. The world’s evolving rapidly, becoming more global and India is at the forefront of this transformation.  Bob Sternfels, the Global Managing Partner at McKinsey and Company in his interview with The Economic Times has said that ‘It will not just be India’s decade, but India’s century’. India will be the world’s future talent factory as it will have 20% of the world’s working population by 2047. Just as businesses adapt to changing fundamentals to thrive, individuals should also adapt to this changing landscape. 

Get out of your comfort zone: 

The US is very comfortable and predictable. However, with the fundamentals of how we operate changing, it is important for each one of us here in the US to have a global mindset, exposure, and experience. Those of us who moved from India to the US have this exposure and that is one of the key reasons why we are successful. However, do our kids have the India exposure and experience? 

What if our kids go to school for a year in India? Would it help? Why or Why not? It will get them out of their comfort zone and also provide global exposure. They would also understand how India works. If you are a young adult and have only worked in the US, traveling to India and working for a year can also help you learn the Indian market. The competition in India can bring out the best in you. Investing a year of our time and embracing India’s essence will not just help reunite with our roots, it will also help ensure we do not miss the strategic inflection point.

India’s emergence as a global economic hub is a plot-changing strategic inflection point, which can impact families and careers worldwide. So, Embrace India’s Essence. 

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