Dean's Blog
The UVA delegation was in India recently to continue efforts to strengthen UVA’s presence and engagement in the country.

Building Plans Together in India

In addition to all of the connections we made with educational leadership peers in India, it was simply incredible to be fortunate enough to share time with so many vital parts of our supportive University and Commerce School communities

An Invitation to India

At McIntire, we pride ourselves on building a community of global citizens who utilize their McIntire experience to advance both their chosen industries and society toward the great and good. When I received an invitation to travel to India with Vice Provost for Global Affairs and Ambassador Stephen Mull, I answered with a resounding yes!

Together with my University and UVA McIntire School of Commerce colleagues Dudley Doane (Director, International Studies Office), Ingrid Hakala (Director, Global Internships), Pankaj Vir Gupta (Co-Director, Yamuna River Project and Architecture Professor), Judi Byers (McIntire Executive Director, Graduate Marketing and Admissions), and Darci Spuck (McIntire Director of Global Advancement), we pulled our collective enthusiasm for learning and engaging with friends from around the globe in the world’s most populous democracy.

I was very excited to visit this economic, entrepreneurial, and educational global powerhouse for the first time.

Discovering New Ways to Work Together

Our first stop in India was to the western coastal state of Goa to attend the QS India Summit 2023, where we explored “India’s Global Vision: Building Universities for a Knowledge Economy.”

The Summit brought together over 300 university presidents and leadership from the higher education community in India and beyond to discuss the country’s position as a global knowledge hub. In delving into the importance of building universities capable of driving innovation, research, and economic growth in India, the eye-opening gathering provided an engaging platform to consider new opportunities for strategic collaboration.

Over the course of the three days, I learned a great deal about India’s potential to strengthen the international education landscape through the power of global partnerships. And it was especially great to have UVA represented at the event by Ambassador Mull, who spoke about the importance of lifelong learning at the “Education for Life” panel discussion.

Potent Partnerships

After the QS India Summit, we headed north to the Delhi National Capital Region for a daylong visit at O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) to discuss the recent MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the University of Virginia, signed on Grounds during a February 2023 visit by JGU’s Vice Chancellor Raj Kumar and UVA Provost Ian Baucom. It was wonderful to meet the delegation again on their home turf—and to see firsthand the facilities of our partner, where our two universities will be sure to create a great many opportunities for students and faculty for shared learning, scholarship, and educational experiences at both institutions.

UVA delegation meeting with Indian partner institution O.P. Jindal Global University

UVA delegation meeting with Indian partner institution O.P. Jindal Global University.

We were welcomed by Dr. Kumar and his office’s senior leadership with breakfast, followed by time with the deans and faculty members of the various JGU schools, including the Jindal Global Schools of Business and Banking & Finance, and other research and student life officers, before we were given a tour of its modern campus.

Later in the afternoon, we drove into New Delhi for a press conference at the Taj Mahal Hotel, where we were greeted by more than 30 journalists who assembled to learn the details about the MOU between O.P. Jindal and UVA. Dr. Kumar explained that the partnership will provide transformative education for students of both universities, as well as joint teaching and collaborative research avenues for faculty. Ambassador Mull discussed how the time was right to expand engagement with Indian higher education to best approach the world’s grand challenges.

We also had the pleasure of meeting Priya Rawat, COO of Invest India, the National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency of India’s government. We looked at the future of biotech in India, and explored how our new M.S. in Commerce Biotech Track may offer synergies in that area. In talking about the country’s prospering startup ecosystem, we reflected on the possibilities for finding connections to our pan-University Entrepreneurship Minor. Much thanks to Melvika Jain (McIntire ’19), an Assistant Manager with the Invest India organization, who helped make the meeting possible.

An Unforgettable Evening

There’s nothing quite like connecting with members of the UVA community, as it always proves to be an unforgettable experience. An evening reception at the Imperial Hotel was another energizing and heartwarming event that brought together alumni, parents, newly admitted students, and friends representing school affiliations across the University.

After providing updates from Grounds, including construction news from the McIntire Expansion into Shumway Hall and the renovated Cobb Hall, I had the chance to meet with those who truly hold a special place in their hearts for the Commerce School and UVA. I was delighted to speak with many parents, friends, and alumni.

An Official Visit

We were fortunate to be part of a series of engaging and insightful meetings with senior leadership at the U.S. Embassy in Delhi. Attended by Ambassador A. Elizabeth (Beth) Jones, the Chargé d’Affaires ad interim, along with the Education section and Visa section chiefs, the conversations proved significant, as we identified the incredible wealth of opportunities available in India for our students and for Indian students coming to McIntire and UVA.

After a brief stop in Mumbai, we were on our way back home to Charlottesville.

This trip was important for many reasons. In addition to all of the connections we made with educational leadership peers in India, it was simply incredible to be fortunate enough to share time with so many vital parts of our supportive University and Commerce School communities, such as McIntire Global Advisory Board members Virginia Sharma (McIntire ’99), Megh Manseta (McIntire ’90), Zain Nathani (McIntire ’03).

Judi Byers, Nicole Thorne Jenkins, Virginia Sharma, Darci Spuck

McIntire Executive Director of Graduate Marketing and Admissions Judi Byers, McIntire Dean Nicole Thorne Jenkins, Google Cloud India Marketing Head Virginia Sharma, McIntire Director of Global Advancement Darci Spuck

What an amazing week in India, the most populous country in the world! We explored new partnerships; identified opportunities; and connected with community of alumni, friends, and newly admitted students.


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