About 25 M.B.A. students met with President Abdul Kalam during a 10-day trip to India that was part of a special course taught by Amar Gupta, co-director of the Productivity from Information Technology (PROFIT) Initiative at the Sloan School of Management.
Following a half-hour question-and-answer answer session with the president, a scientist and educator, they were treated to a feast and an escorted tour of the Rastrapati Bhavan--the equivalent of the White House.
Later in the trip, the students met with top executives from Indian firms and visited the General Electric complex in Bangalore. They also did some serious sightseeing, including a trip to the Taj Mahal.
The group was briefed on how to handle politically sensitive issues shortly before their departure on March 18 and again before meeting with Kalam. The war in Iraq began while the group was flying to India.
"The class was a lot of fun and the trip, without a doubt, has been the highlight of my Sloan experience," said graduate student Kola Olofinboba. Added Greg Strong, another MIT student who made the trip: "It's placed a priceless international stamp on my M.B.A and business school experience."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 21, 2003.