Michael Delfs

Michael Delfs
Columbia University
B.S. (Physics)
Mahindra Global Recruit 2006


  • Jun – Aug 2005 – Business Development Executive, Nanosys Inc., Palo Alto, CA 
  • Oct 2001 – Apr 2003 – Asia-Pacific Regional Account Manager, McCann-Erickson Healthcare Worldwide, Shanghai, China


I graduated with a BS in Physics from Columbia in 2006. When I joined Mahindra that summer, my first assignment was a business development role in Bangalore with their IT outsourcing company, Tech Mahindra. They were looking to expand beyond software development into hardware design, and I helped them craft a business plan to enter that market.


In my second year, I moved from Bangalore to Mumbai and joined Mahindra’s nascent corporate venture capital team, the Strategic Innovation and Research Fund – or “Mahindra SIRF.” Joining SIRF just as it was getting off the ground, I had the opportunity to help write the initial processes for how they would source and evaluate deals and I worked on the first few investments they made. It provided a fascinating look at the Indian venture capital and startup community during 2007-2008, when investments swelled to record levels.


In the spring of 2008, as I approached the end of my 2-year contract, I decided to move to an area that had always fascinated me: real estate and infrastructure development. Through its Mahindra World City subsidiary, Mahindra is developing innovative new real estate projects on a very large scale. The new cities they are developing are spread over thousands of acres and include places for people to work, live, shop and be entertained. After spending several months working on the business development side of a biotech-focused project near Mumbai, I decided to talk to them about staying on longer. Ultimately, I found a position with Mahindra World City as the Project Manager of a new development they are planning.


My experience in India and with Mahindra has been an adventure in all senses of the word. There have been amazing opportunities, but also intense frustration. Getting comfortable with the working environment has been a slow process. Nothing seems to happen without a maximum of aggravation. And the adjustment to living in India is a challenge, to say the least. However, above these challenges, I’ve had an incredible and overwhelmingly positive experience. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned a lot about myself and grown a great deal. Along with the friendships I’ve formed over the last three years, I suspect those will be the things I look back on and value most highly.