Michael Delfs

Vikas Anand
Columbia University in the City of New York
B.A. Economics-Political Science, MESAAS [Middle East, South Asian, and African Studies]
Mahindra Global Recruit 2011


Sector/Company: Mahindra EPC

Years at Mahindra: 2

Career Goals: Still being worked on, though I would like to have an internationally focused career in business, focusing on more strategic concerns.


Hobbies: Dance, travel, food, and music

 

What were you doing before you joined Mahindra?

Before Mahindra, I was pursuing my undergraduate degree at Columbia University in New York City, majoring in Economics-Political Science and MESAAS [Middle East, South Asian, and African Studies]. Besides studying, I was a leader in Columbia Bhangra, a competitive dance team focusing on the folk styles of the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent. Furthermore, I was part of a student governing board in charge of managing and allocating funds to the myriad student groups on campus. During the summers, I took advantage of various internship opportunities, including experiences in an asset management company, a consulting firm, and an NGO based in Delhi.

Why did you decide to join Mahindra?

Being of Indian descent, I have always had an avid interest in learning more about the culture and history of the country. However, majoring in South Asian studies was not sufficient. I desired a first-hand, immersive experience to round out my understanding of, and appreciation for, the region.

Given my interest in business and from previous internship experiences, the Global Recruit Program seemed like a great way to get a broad look at how a large company operates in an emerging economy as important as India.

What are you doing now?

During my second year in the Global Recruit Program, I worked at Mahindra EPC, a solar power turnkey provider. This fledgling company provided all aspects of solar power plant development, from design to operation. My role in this highly strategic and visible company within Mahindra was to chart out its expansion plan over the near medium term. Working with the company’s business development team, I explored a variety of international growth opportunities, as well as adjacent industries that could complement the work on solar power.

How do you find Mahindra as an employer?

Mahindra was a supportive employer to the global recruits. Besides providing top notch accommodation in the city’s most vibrant neighborhood, the company provided fantastic professional opportunities for the recruits, from interesting and strategic projects to access to senior leadership.

What has been your best India experience?

My favorite India experiences have all been traveling to the fringes of the country. Assam, in the country’s remote Northeast, offered a unique cultural experience quite removed from that in India’s heartland. Similarly, the northern alpine desert region of Ladakh has more in common with Tibet than with other parts of India. The far-flung and isolated Andaman Islands, on the other hand, are a relatively untouched paradise.

What were your favorite projects during your time at M&M?  

In the Group Strategy Office, I got to work on a cool SUV design analysis for the auto sector, exploring how various manufacturers from the around the world have been changing SUV design over the years to spot trends that could guide future design. In EPC, I got to work on the company’s international growth strategy and learned a great deal about the solar industry around the world as a result.

 

Outside of the office, what are your favorite activities in Mumbai?  

One of my favorite institutions in Mumbai is the NCPA (National Centre for the Performing Arts), which featured a variety of Indian and international artistic talent. I particularly enjoy their selection of Indian classical music and dance, as it is much more varied and intricate than that found in the US. I also love exploring Mumbai’s food scene—from the trendy restaurants in Bandra to the street food in South Bombay. Lastly, I’m interested in exploring Mumbai through its extensive rail network, and occasionally took the train to a new neighborhood just to explore for the day.