The job was for a company called Krossover Intelligence, which allows high school and college coaches to upload game footage and receive detailed statistical analyses 24 hours later. Bivens’ job would be to oversee operations in Bangalore, where many of the company’s developers are based.
“It was kind of shocking that each bullet point on the job listing was exactly what I wanted to do,” he said. “The kicker was that it was in India.”
Bivens is part of a growing faction of graduates from American universities who depart for emerging economies soon after getting their degrees.
India in particular has become a magnet for graduates of American business schools who seek a start-up experience, a lower cost of living and a global element for their resumes, said Kunal Bahl, the founder of Snapdeal, a leading Indian e-commerce site.
“There’s a sense of excitement people see in India,” Bahl said. “There are tons fast-growing companies there that are run by young people. And there’s a great deal of openness to that among non-Indians.”
Most of them want a slice of India’s booming economy, which grew 9.7 percent last year, compared with 2.8 percent in the United States. E-commerce and other online start-ups are flourishing there, often by replicating the success of American companies. Venture capital investment in Asia has tripled since 2006, and India has the second-largest mobile market in the world after China. (Snapdeal adds a new user every four seconds, Bahl notes.)
The boom has brought with it a market for U.S.-trained product managers, operations specialists and the like. The Indian job site Shine.com is holding job fairs in New Jersey and California, and a few months ago, Bahl was recruiting for his company at top U.S. business schools. He said he received about 2,000 resumes within three weeks, and about a third of them were from people with American names.
Adding sought-after skills
Bahl, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, believes moving to an emerging market is a smart tactical move for recent business-school grads who want to put a global spin on their resumes and make themselves more attractive to hot U.S.-based companies in the future.
“Someone coming out of an MBA might be looking for a product management role at a fast-growing company, but there are a finite number of those companies in the U.S.,” he said.
For California native Valerie Wagoner, India was the end-goal, not the stepping stone. A Stanford graduate with an interest in both entrepreneurship and emerging markets, she came to Bangalore in 2008 to work for a mobile payments company. After two years, she co-founded her own start-up, a mobile-phone marketing firm called ZipDial.