Pace MBA Grad is on top of the world
Rumit Mehta’s MBA in International Business helped prepare him for his role as founder of Immersion Journeys, an award-winning company that creates leisure and academic tours focused on Africa and South Asia.
“A lot of my clients are educated travelers who are curious about the countries they are visiting,” says Rumit Mehta, MBA ’03. “They may be on vacation there, but they expect me to have a pulse on the local politics and economy and are very willing to have open debates with me about it. I am an avid reader of foreign affairs and would have endless discussions on any topic. After all, we are all wired together and globalized.”
A trained architect who worked in that industry for 13 years, Mehta fell into a sales and marketing role once he started the travel business. “In architecture, I was more management and someone else did the hustling to win jobs! It has been an interesting (and often exhausting) transformation but very rewarding,” notes Mehta. “Another challenge is that the travel business is also competitive. It took some time to make a name for myself and cut a niche. ”
Mehta’s efforts are paying off; Immersion Journeys was named to National Geographic’s “50 Tours of a Lifetime” list in both 2012 and 2013. How did Mehta snag a top spot on this prestigious list two years in a row?
“We introduced a unique Ghana (West Africa) program that caught the eye of National Geographic,” says Mehta, “Every year they poll hundreds of tours and tour companies. We were shortlisted in the Africa category and eventually were selected for the West Africa region. It’s been quite a humbling experience, especially for a young company.” He adds, “We also received the ‘Tour Operator of the Year’ award from the Tanzania Tourist Board in 2010 and 2011.”
Technology has been a major player as Mehta developed his business. “More and more travelers use social media to do their research before they travel. This means there is a lot of information that is public (some accurate and some not accurate),” he explains.
“Rapid communication also means that information spreads quickly, especially negative news. My job is to manage information and provide an opinion to my clients through social media, e-mails, and news reports. Example: I was recently interviewed by South Africa Broadcasting Corporation on Olympian Oscar Pistorius’ (“Blade Runner”) murder case.”
Mehta, whose bucket list includes Bhutan, Myanmar, and Turkey, recalls that the strangest request he has received involved paragliding from the top of Mount Kilimanjaro after a 7-day climb to the summit, which they had to respectfully decline. What travel tips does this pro offer?
- Keep an open mind when you travel and absorb what’s around you.
- Don’t be afraid to venture off the road and interact with locals. Experience what they do.
- Do your research. There is a lot of information out there, so you have to be strategic when you travel.
You can learn more about Immersion Journeys at www.immersionjourneys.com.