Sally-Ann Burnett, Director of Business Programmes, visits India to talk about BPP University Business School

I have just had a 4 day trip to India.  After arriving in Mumbai last Sunday I had a couple of hours unaccounted for so arranged to meet up with close family of two of our current MSc Management students.  It was a fabulous way to start my trip as they just wanted to thank me and BPP for literally: ‘changing their lives’.  That is what we are all about so it felt amazing to also get affirmation from parents of our students in India.


 Sameer Sen and Sayali Patki’s relatives with me outside the Hyatt Regency, Mumbai

From Mumbai, Mohit Gambir (our Operations Head in India) and I flew to Aurangabad, an emerging 2nd tier city in India and a short flight from Mumbai.  In Aurangabad, we visited CSMSS College of Engineering where I addressed 500 students from that College and other local Colleges. There had been an advert in the local newspaper. The enthusiasm and interest for the Business School programmes was superb and in particular I met the Principal and the Heads of Engineering, IT and work placements.


 Students watching the Business School Video

It was interesting to be shown around CSMSS, including a tour of the Ayurvedic Centre where I was shown:

  •  A leach treating a lady’s lower back. She had a slipped disk and had been unable to walk. The yellow spots on the picture are tamarind – where yesterday and the day before’s leaches were.  That’s how they remove them!
  •  A man with a chronic skin condition who was going to commit suicide as his life had been unbeatable for 20 year
  • A woman who previously couldn’t v walk fire to joint pain.

Apparently the alternative therapy was working wonders on them all!

Also at CSMSS a student asked if he could touch my feet (the highest. honour) and I was given a ceremonial welcome of local cloth, flowers and a brass picture. I lit one of several wicks on a burner for the God of Knowledge, barefoot on stage, and at the end of the session everyone stood and sang the national anthem!

We then drove 5 hours to Pune after a snack ‘thali’ lunch where it seemed that there was an incessant stream of food, served by waiters in orange, turban-topped outfits. The food was delicious and really spicy.


Thali waiting staff with me and Sunita, one of our colleagues based in Pune

The next day in Pune, was a day of counselling and I met with: 7 students, 5 potential sub-agents (4 of whom had driven 8 hours to Pune) who will help take BPP’s message and opportunities into the more remote places around Pune and the British Council team in Pune. In the evening we met representatives from 2 Colleges that we may want to work more closely with.

On Wednesday we visited IICMR College where they focus on employability skills and preparing students for the world of work. We could have a great progression opportunity with them. I got to give their senior team an overview of the Business School and our opportunities for work placement.  There were two impressive ladies there, one leading HR and one leading Marketing.


The Director of IICMR with his colleagues, me, Mohit and Shekhar, our lead agent in Pune

 We then had a long drive back to Mumbai but happily we made good time so I was able to spend time with our team there, mainly discussing our brand new iMBA programme.

Although my visit was only 4 days, it was impactful and very worthwhile.  I look forward to welcoming students who first met BPP on this visit, in particular in September 2016 but there will be some joining us earlier, I am absolutely certain.

Here’s some stats from my trip:

  • visited 3 cities: Mumbai, Angarabad, Pune
  • addressed approx. 500 students in the Aurangabad/Pune region
  • visited 2 institutions and met representatives from 3 more
  • trained 6 key agents
  • trained the BPP Education Business Partnership team in Mumbai
  • met with several individual potential students and parents
  • met the British Council’s Director and Head Librarian in Pune



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