Michael Delfs

Elizabeth Paisner
Harvard Universtity
BA Social Anthropology and East Asian Studies
Mahindra Global Recruit 2012

Sector/Company: Corporate Sustainability Cell


Years at Mahindra: 1


Career Goals: Developing expansion and marketing strategies for branded food MNCs, with a focus on emerging markets.


Hobbies: Taking the local train, trying new Chindian (Chinese + Indian) food, , PR and event planning for my favorite local bars and restaurants, travel, refusing to learn the rules of cricket or watch Bollywood movies, hanging out with friends’ aunties and uncles.


What were you doing before you joined Mahindra?

I graduated from university the spring before starting work. During university, my work experience included summers with a US government think tank and the Japanese government’s private sector finance branch. My senior thesis   was focused on branded food marketing and nutrition in urban China.


Why did you decide to join Mahindra?

I saw the Global Recruit Program as an opportunity to try something completely new, on both professional and personal levels. To me, this was the time to gain new experiences that, while perhaps not directly related to my long-term career goals, would provide me with a unique skill set. Professionally, I’ve gained an insider’s knowledge of the Indian business world, as well as the chance to work in a diverse range of fields (my first year with Mahindra was spent on strategy, branding, and marketing for our European based MotoGP team and event planning and PR for a variety of cultural initiatives, including one of Asia’s largest Blues festivals). And, personally, living in one of the most hectic, exciting and madcap cities in the world has given me a greater adaptability (and sense of humor)  than I could have gotten anywhere else.


What are you doing now?

In my second year, I’m working with our Corporate Sustainability Cell. My role consists of a variety of projects, including compiling GRI reports for Mahindra Group companies, updating and maintaining our internal sustainability website, and developing an anti-corruption and human rights policy in line with the Group ethos that meets all relevant international standards.


How do you find Mahindra as an employer? 

Mahindra has been incredibly supportive in my adjustment to Indian business culture as well as life in India itself.


What has been your best India experience?

It’s impossible to choose: everything from donning a sari for Bollywood weddings to eating my first sev puri by the side of the road; celebrating my birthday in Goa and submerging statues of Ganesh in the water at Juhu beach on Ganpati; taking the family and friends who have visited me all around this crazy country I call home.


What were your favorite projects during your time at M&M?

Working with world-famous musicians like Popa Chubby during the Mahindra Blues festival and collaborating with the Malaysian government on a contest that brought Indian fans to the MotoGP Grand Prix at Sepang circuit in Malaysia.


Outside of the office, what are your favourite activities in Mumbai?

Trying new foods – the best foods here are the ones that, even if you ate Indian food in the states on a regular basis, you probably never knew existed – and convincing people that I can handle Indian-level spicy; buying fresh paneer and even fresher (live) chickens at the Bazaar road market; going to any of the myriad of parties and events that are always going on here in the real city that never sleeps.