The worst is still yet to come for India. But the world is pitching in to help — including business school students across the United States.
The world’s second-most populous country is in the teeth of a coronavirus catastrophe, with 350,000 new daily cases and over 2,600 daily deaths in recent days. Things will worsen in the coming weeks — yet India’s hospital system is already overwhelmed. The need for essential medical supplies — particularly oxygen and hospital beds — as well as transportation, food security, and shelter, is great and growing.
The best young business minds of India are lending a hand. Hundreds of Indian MBA students from dozens of top schools in the U.S. are urging support for their home country through a nonprofit called GiveIndia. Its relief fund directs resources to a growing list of non-governmental organizations working on the ground. The fundraiser, just getting underway, by Friday (April 30) had raised about half of its initial goal of around $135,000 in U.S. dollars from nearly 700 individual donors.
HUGE OUTPOURING OF SUPPORT FROM B-SCHOOL & OTHER STUDENTS
India is not only the world’s second-most populous country; it is also the top country for sending international students to business schools, both in the United States and globally. South Asian students in U.S. B-schools are commonly the biggest group of internationals enrolled, a fact that will no doubt continue despite the news Friday (April 30) that the Biden administration will restrict most travel from India to the U.S. beginning May 4.
In the throes of a major emergency, India’s deep connection to American graduate business education shines through in the sheer number of student clubs that have signed on to support the relief effort, among them: Harvard Business School’s South Asian Business Association, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton India Club, Stanford University Graduate School of Business’ GSB Business in India Club, MIT Sloan School of Management’s South Asia Business Club and India Business Club, University of Chicago Booth School of Business’ South Asia Business Group, Columbia Business School’s South Asian Business Association, Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management’s India Business Club, and UC-Berkeley Haas School of Business’ South Asia Business Association. Clubs from several elite non-business schools are involved, too.
“Every little bit helps,” the students write on LinkedIn, with a link to the fundraiser’s landing page. They point out that $200 (approximately 15,000 rupees) supports 20 to 30 people in a community with food and oximeters. $500 (40,000 rupees) helps buy an oxygen concentrator.
“We, as South Asian students in the United States, have come together in hopes of saving the lives of those battling Covid-19 and protecting the healthcare workers putting their own safety on the line,” the students write. “We may be far from home, but we are not powerless to help. We urge you to join us in our efforts to aid our community.
“Our aim is to channel vital resources to the organizations working tirelessly towards this goal and serve as a united platform for pooling funds from across our university networks. Shortages in oxygen, protective equipment and other medical supplies continue to strain the healthcare system and distress the affected. Together, we can help lift the burden.”
GiveIndia’s “India Covid Relief Fund-II” is the second fundraiser by the nonprofit; click here for details about the first. Organizations interested in joining the GiveIndia effort should email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com with subject line “India Covid-19 Relief”.
MBA ADMITS OFFER SERVICES IN EXCHANGE FOR DONATIONS
The GiveIndia effort isn’t the only drive to support India amid the wave of coronavirus cases and deaths. With the help of a group of nonprofits, Class of 2023 admits from the M7 schools, INSEAD, London Business School, and others — half of whom are in India right now — have also launched a fundraiser, offering to counsel MBA candidates on their applications in exchange for Covid relief donations.
The group, which consists of more than 100 admits to Wharton, Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, London Business School, INSEAD, Northwestern Kellogg School of Management, Chicago Booth School of Business, Columbia Business School, Yale School of Management, Michigan Ross School of Business, Cornell Johnson School of Management, and Oxford Saïd Business School, will donate their time and skills to give advice on business school applications, taking the Graduate Management Admission Test, career planning, and more. In exchange for tips on essays and resumes, career counseling, and GMAT/GRE prep advice, they are requesting donations to verified nonprofits in India that are on the frontlines supplying aid and resources to those who need it most.
“The idea behind the initiative is simple: giving hope by creating value,” says Gauri Singhal, one of the organizers and a Wharton admit for the fall. “After having gone through the rigorous application process and challenging recruiting season, current students and recent admits wondered if they can share their experiences to help foundations raise money for the Covid relief efforts in India. The group hopes that by offering their time, advice and insights, they will encourage more people to donate during this crisis.”
Adds Tarang Gupta, another admit to The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania: “In this trying time, I am reminded of the Sanskrit phrase ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ — the world is one family. I hope that by working together we can save lives one at a time and win the fight against Covid.”