First experiences in India - Vicki Krajewski

It all started this May when Marjorie Scardino came to Iowa to speak to the Assessment and Information group. In a meeting room at the new Hilton Hotel down by the Iowa River, HR passed out cookies, Marketing set up and filmed the proceedings, and Ms. Scardino flew through slides detailing recent financial results and all the vital work that Pearson does for the educational community and beyond.


Then she wondered if we’d heard of newdirections. It’s a program run out of the headquarters in London wherein employees take short-term, international job assignments of up to six months with the purpose of sharing best practices and strengthening the connections between the many businesses that constitute Pearson. “The aim of newdirections is to make Pearson a more international Company,” the website says, “rather than just one that operates in many different countries.”


I couldn’t get back to my desk fast enough. I had to apply. I thought there was little, if any, chance I’d be accepted to such a program, but I figured it never hurt to try. I was only more excited to find a posting for the position of Development Editor in India. Though my job in Iowa is largely a writing position, which I love, as an ex-teacher, I’ve always wanted to move closer to the classroom. In Iowa, I create training materials for Assessment and Information employees. The position in India meant I’d be working directly on producing educational materials for publication, something of a lifelong dream of mine. Exceedingly nerdy, I know, but true.


I submitted an application through the website and heard back from Ranjani Sridhar the next day. She wanted information about why I was interested in the position and what I felt I could bring to it.


A few weeks later, I heard back from Ranjani. “Srinivas thinks you could do some development work for us based in Delhi…” I couldn’t believe my eyes. I rubbed them and read the email again. It still said the same thing.


From that moment until the moment I stepped onto the international flight that carried me from Chicago to Delhi, I kept excepting someone to stop me, to say, “Wait, no. We changed our mind. You can’t go after all.” I even checked under the seat on the plane. I was sure I’d find someone from Finance under there, shaking their head, pointing me toward the exit. But there was no one under the seat. Everyone said “go.” And to everyone who said “go” in both America and India, I owe a huge debt of gratitude.


So what can I say about my first few weeks in this country? First off, a giant thank you to my hosts for the opportunity of a lifetime. I am not overstating when I say I have never done anything so challenging and so exciting in my life. From figuring out the hot water switch in my guest house bathroom to touring medieval ruins to producing a layout prototype for a textbook on supply chain management, everything I’ve done here has been a learning experience I will never forget.


Before I left, people kept telling me that India would change me. How could I anticipate the ways in which this would be true? Already, in my first few weeks here, I have been struck by the beauty of the people and the depths and varieties of personal faith that are on display everywhere I look in Delhi. I have felt a deep, abiding peace on my visits to the Lotus Temple. I have learned to be a little more assertive than I usually am in the crowded markets and with the stubborn auto wallahs, but I could certainly use more practice there. It’s a good thing I’m here for three months.


I have also been impressed with the achievements of the group I’m working with, the Higher Ed publishing division. It is humbling to join a group that is doing such important work with such impressive results. I eagerly await the Macroeconomics and history book launches coming up so soon and hope that the books get the kind of results that will propel more of this caliber of work to be done.


I hope that I can give back one-tenth of all I’ve already gotten from this experience. I hope that my time here is as productive for you, my hosts, as it already has been for me.


And if you haven’t come to meet me yet, please stop by, or catch me in the hallway sometime. I sit right downstairs behind Angshuman. I’d love to hear about the work you do here.


Humbly yours,


Vicki Krajewski



About this blog

This blog is for all employees of Pearson in India . We hope to share updates - both personal and professional - from the worlds of education and publishing.