Business, Technology, and Culture - Outsourcing to Amity University in India
December 15, 2017
As the city of Philadelphia was just waking up last Friday, Dr. Samir Shah's Domestic and Global Outsourcing Management students were already abuzz in their classroom. The course provides a double dose of experiential learning – not only are the students participating in a consulting course with real-life clients with real-life needs, but also their teams are comprised of students from both Drexel and Amity University in India. After nine weeks of preparation, Drexel and Amity students used Zoom to virtually unite their teams for their final presentations to their clients. Four teams developed technology solutions for two clients, with students from Drexel functioning as the management team, and students from India functioning as the developers.
Two teams worked to create a mobile application for LittleSport, a creative learning and play center for children based in New Jersey. This client sought a digital version of the flashcards that she uses at her play center, which help children learn about animals, colors, and numbers. The teams assigned to work with LittleSport created apps with matching games and games to practice the flashcards, complete with narration from one of the children who attends LittleSport.
The two remaining teams created a chatbot for MRS, a debt collection agency. MRS noticed that their call center becomes overwhelmed during peak periods through the day, and requested that the Drexel-Amity teams create a chatbot to be used with either voice commands or text entry to eliminate some of the routine calls. The client needed the chatbot to be secure in order to handle sensitive information, such as account details and social security numbers, and also with the ability to recognize situations that that require the support of a customer service representative. In many cases, the chatbot could be used in lieu of calling and would decrease the wait time for customers who did need support from a representative.
The management teams consulted with their clients throughout the course of the project to determine project scope, decide on requirements, and provide frequent updates. They then communicated these needs to the development teams at Amity. Through various technologies, the management and development teams worked across language barriers and time differences to create their final products for both LittleSport and MRS.
The final requirement for the teams was the presentation of their products to the clients. During the presentations, Amity students joined the presenters at Drexel via Zoom, a video-chatting platform. Students from both universities were able to use their respective backgrounds in business and technology to answer questions from their clients. Each presentation included a live demonstration of the app or chatbot to the clients and concluded with questions from their peers.
Apart from the business and technology outcomes, group members remarked about the added challenges of the course produced added benefits. Members from all groups noted that they practiced flexibility because both Thanksgiving and Diwali occurred during the term, so delays in both countries were a part of the process. “It was really nice to delve into another culture and learn to be mindful of [our Amity partners’] schedules and holidays as well,” said Anuja Gedala, a Drexel student who worked on an app for LittleSport.
Dr. Shah has successfully taught this Global Classroom in partnership with Amity University for five years, giving more than 100 LeBow students the opportunity to practice working on an international team as part of their coursework. Faculty members from any discipline who are interested in incorporating a global dimension into their scheduled course and linking it to a class of students at an international partner institution are eligible for development support from the Office of International Programs. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.