Brain Drain 2.0: Expat executives gain ground at India Inc, with curry & worries | business | Hindustan Times
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Brain Drain 2.0: Expat executives gain ground at India Inc, with curry & worries

business Updated: Jul 30, 2010 22:00 IST
Vivek Sinha

This is brain drain of a different kind. Time was when Indians went overseas seeking plum jobs. Now, the trend is for Indian companies to hire expatriate talent in senior management jobs as local companies try to get global competitive edge with brain power.

“Expatriates can offer Indian firms a great deal—specialised knowledge, experience of running large multinational enterprises and cultural diversity that spurs innovation,” Dipak C. Jain, dean emeritus of the Kellogg School of Management, told Hindustan Times.

Executive search firm Amrop says in a study that a large part of the demand for overseas talent stems from a flurry of mergers and acquisitions by Indian firms.

“Many of the people who come from developed part of the world have experienced technologies that we are implementing here. The learning curve gets shortened. They bring contemporary management practices that helps Indian companies,” said Sanjay Kapoor, CEO of Bharti Airtel.

But the professional high for expat managers in India – many of whom turn out to be Western -- comes with its own stresses that could range from finding the right school for their kids to commuting hassles on unruly roads and shopping on dusty streets for daily grocery.

“I have had a tough time finding the right school for my kids aged eight and ten years,” Damien Marmion, chief executive of insurance firm Max Bupa told HT.

Sandeep Marwah, regional manager for Crown Worldwide Movers said that helping children adjust in new surroundings is the biggest concern for an expatriate. Crown Worldwide helps foreign executives adjust in the country and offers its services across 55 countries.

Constant honking may be a driver’s virtue in India but for foreigners it comes as a rude shock. “Honking indicates some kind of a warning (for us). So it takes a few months before a foreign executive gets used to the traffic situation in the country,” said David Voggese, an executive with Formula1 Corporate Solutions, a service firm that caters to expatriates.

But for all the trouble, life may be spicier for the better—literally. Worries apart, curry rules.