Michael Delfs

Andrew Pike
Cornell University
Cornell University
Mahindra Global Recruit 2015

Current Sector/Company:

I work in Mahindra’s Farm Division for Trringo, an ag-tech startup and online marketplace for farmers to rent tractors and implements—think ‘Uber’ but for tractors. A farmer calls a toll-free number and we use our digital platform to match them with a local entrepreneur or send one of own drivers to service their farm. It’s right up my alley because it’s a social business; mechanization in India is only 35% and increasing the quality, efficiency, and reliability of tractor rental helps improve the livelihoods and food security of both farmers and suppliers.

Current project:

I’m the point man for all the CTO’s data requests. I send daily and weekly dashboard of platform engagement based on order, customer, and supplier data, and use Tableau to make in-depth performance reports, such as on asset utilization, marketing channel effectiveness, most profitable and demanded implements, and order volume over time. I’ve also made models to compare pricing strategies and calculate the optimal tractor density of areas we’re looking to expand into. I enjoy being the data guy because it allows me to give a unique and useful perspective when the team is strategizing.

Career Goals:

I’m interested in economic solutions to inequality and plan to start a social business at some point, perhaps in East Africa where I grew up. However, I’m going to work for a few more years first to deepen my understanding of business strategy, social impact, and using data as competitive advantage. I also plan to go to graduate school to get an MBA, hopefully alongside another degree that helps me better understand social problems and the wider effects of my work.


One of the best things about living in Mumbai is pickup soccer, which I play twice a week. I also enjoy playing chess, dancing, making playlists of African beats and punk, and eating roasted corn & drinking chai on the sea face. I also meditate daily and am interested in decision-making and rationality.

What were you doing before you joined Mahindra? I was at Cornell studying Applied Economics and Management as well as International Development. I managed The Green Dragon, Cornell’s only student-run coffee shop and was a projectionist at Cornell Cinema. I’d return home to East Africa on holidays or take the opportunity to work or travel in new places!

Why did you decide to join Mahindra? I joined Mahindra because I wanted to work for a business in an emerging market and through the GRP program I’d have exposure to a large range of sectors. A good friend of mine also lived in Mumbai and told me how awesome it was to live here.

What is it like working and living in India? I had never lived in a big city before and Mumbai is BIG -18 million people! It was a shock moving here and getting used to the sheer number of people, the lack of open space, and navigating noisy traffic jams. But I love it because it’s full of life. There’s something going in every square meter, from street food to key makers to travel agents to a festival randomly popping up. The city is so entrepreneurial and I love how you have a guy for everything—your fruit guy, your veg guy, your hairdresser, your local restaurant. People are so friendly and you have more interactions because you’re thrown together on the train and the street, but also because industry hasn’t been concentrated into large chains. There’s a guy that sells only bananas—there’s enough people in Mumbai that that level of specialization is viable income strategy!

What has been your favorite experience so far in India? In one of the first weeks, we stumbled across the ‘Dahi Handi’ festival where teams of young men drive around, form human pyramids in the road, and climb up to smash earthen pots filled with sweet milk. I’ve never seen anything like it and we actually got involved and formed the base of one of the pyramids! After they smashed the pot, the street turned into a big euphoric dance party. It was amazing and a testament to Mumbaikers’ friendliness and the surprises abound here.