Building Mumbai’s Largest Veterinary Hospital

by Shantanu Naidu, MBA '18 (7/19/17)

Shantanu Naidu, MBA '18

My experience at the Johnson Graduate School of Management since last fall has been preparing me for my summer internship with Tata Trusts to help build a state-of-the-art veterinary teaching hospital in Mumbai, India.

I am the fourth generation of my family to work for the Tata group. My great grandfather worked on the Tata hydro dam, my grandfather with Tata Electrical, my father with Tata Technologies, and me, with Tata Elxsi as an automotive designer. J.R.D. Tata brought the largest Industrial revolution to India, but not without a strong set of values for himself and the country. The Tata values of philanthropy and humility are deeply embedded in my family too.

This summer I am interning at Tata Trusts, pioneers of social impact, led by the last of the Tata bloodline, my mentor and Cornell alum, Ratan Tata, ’62. Equipped with half of my MBA, from one of the most powerful educational institutions in the world, Cornell University, I will be returning to the Tata’s once again, to help build a state-of-the-art veterinary teaching hospital in Mumbai, India.

My experience at the Johnson Graduate School of Management since last fall has been preparing me to tackle this very challenging project. From my core classes that helped solidify my basic business skills and strengthened my management capabilities, to the Sustainable Global Enterprise Immersion that helped me understand how sustainability issues are embedded within businesses rather than an added trait, I feel ready.

Unfortunately, India has not experienced the advancement of medical infrastructure in the domain of veterinary practice. It is still blind to techniques and methods that can help alleviate the animal welfare challenges sprouting from the sheer size of India's animal population and the inability of sterilization programs and existing infrastructure to keep up with an ever-growing animal population. New York, for instance, has 33 full-time animal hospitals while London has 15. Mumbai, on the other hand, has just one. Moreover, due to cultural and humane sensitivity, India has a non-euthanasia policy for its animal inhabitants. Statistics showed that there are at least 50,000 registered pets, 70,000 unregistered pets, 200,000 stray dogs and 300,000 stray cats in Mumbai alone! For all these pets and other animals, there are only two veterinary hospitals.

Shantanu Naidu with facility head Wayne Davenport

To compound the challenge, there has been a steady increase in the rate of student dropouts in veterinary medicine owing to the absence of veterinary facilities that offer practical teaching experience and lack of future career opportunities. The Tata Animal Care Center aims to plug both the infrastructure challenge and the near dead educational structure by partnering with Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine which will offer design and operational expertise to the facility.

My Job? There’s so much to do – identify the actual demands, devise a recruiting strategy to find and retain expertise, design a sustained public relations campaign, design an organization structure for collaborations with the Cornell Vet School, and prepare a feasibility report for all phases of the project.

So here I am. A Naidu. A 4th generation Tata employee. A Cornell half-MBA.

Let’s do this!