Kellogg School of Management Dean Dipak Jain and his family were among the local residents in South Asia last month when an underwater earthquake triggered a series of deadly tsunamis throughout the region.
Jain told the Associated Press (AP) he first knew something was wrong when his sofa trembled as he enjoyed morning tea at a Thailand beach resort. On his way back to his hotel hours later, he said, he was stopped by the sight of a massive wall of water — carrying broken boats and furniture — as it rushed toward the building. The wave missed the hotel when it hit a large lagoon.
"When the wave started pouring into the lagoon, it reminded me of Niagara Falls," he said.
Jain traveled to Thailand last month to teach at Kellogg's partner school, the Sasin Graduate Institute of Business at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. When the tsunami hit, Jain, his wife and three children were in Phuket for a weekend getaway.
According to AP reports, Jain said that Sunday was to be a day at the beach with friends. His family was less than 100 yards from the wave, but was protected by the lagoon.
"We are very fortunate," he said. "When you see things like that, you get a very different perspective on life, you see how short life can be."
Jain's hotel was later evacuated and he and his family flew back to safety in Bangkok. He plans to remain there until he completes his visit at Sasin later this month.
Jain maintains close ties with Thailand. In 2003 he accepted an appointment as foreign affairs adviser to the Prime Minister. He also has conducted research for the country.
On Dec. 19, he served as guest speaker at the Ceo Retreat Program for top government officials and provincial governors, organized by the Thai Office of the Public-Sector Development Commission and held at the United Nations convention hall. During his speech, he stated that Thailand has ample opportunities to make an impact on the global economy.
He tied together the growth of aging populations in developed countries, the commercial opportunities for healthcare products and services and the fact that Thailand is now positioning itself as a medical hub.
Based upon an AP story, newspapers, television stations and radio stations throughout the United States have reported Jain's account of the disaster. In the days immediately following the tsunami, he appeared on Fox News' "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" and CNN. He also appeared on local ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox News television stations, as well as WLS, WGN and WBBM radio.