New Cabot Masters Strive to Motivate

Cabot House Masters
Keren E. Rohe

Cabot House masters Rakesh and Stephanie Khurana and their children speak to Crimson reporters about their family, life, and what they hope to accomplish during their time as House masters.

As Harvard Business School Professor Rakesh Khurana and Tobin Project Acting Executive Director Stephanie R. Khurana chat on the patio alongside the Cabot dining hall, their three children play catch in the Quad.

Repeated and vigorous throws by Jai—the couple’s 7-year-old son—constantly elude his two sisters’ grasps. Later, he makes his way to the ramp leading up to the residences at Cabot. Energetically jumping over the banister, he accidentally bites his tongue, and Nalini and Sonia—Jai’s 11-year-old and 13-year-old sisters, respectively—escort him to their parents.

For all intents and purposes, the Khuranas already seem at home.

But the incoming Cabot House Masters say they seek to make this home even better. Guided by their entrepreneurial spirit, the couple strives to create what Rakesh Khurana calls a “generative community,” one that allows people to develop as individuals while remaining part of a broader group of undergraduates, alumni, and Harvard affiliates in the House.

VISION FOR CABOT

The HBS professor and his wife, both of whom have helped establish a range of companies, have already brought business acumen to their new leadership roles in Cabot, as they rattle off phrases like “growth opportunities,” “win-win situation,” and “potential possibilities” to describe their vision for Cabot House. But entrepreneurial skills are only one of many traits the couple say they will bring to the helm of Cabot House.

Their goal, forming a “generative community,” stems from Rakesh Khurana’s training as a sociologist and his research on leadership in business.

“We’re going to spend a lot of time listening to the students and understanding what their hopes and goals and potential possibilities are, and support them as best as we can,” Rakesh Khurana says.

The Khuranas say their backgrounds will allow them to address challenges in innovative ways. A co-founder of companies in industries ranging from technology to health care, Stephanie Khurana says she is always “trying to create something new.”

“There’s always a lot of potential with any new situation,” Stephanie Khurana says. “The excitement comes from what could be or what should be, and then making it happen.”

Speaking in the abstract, Stephanie Khurana says the transformation from potential to reality is reflected strongly in the college experience—where undergraduates enter with aspirations and leave with a diploma and a sense of their place in the world, she adds.

And the two say they believe that the Houses are the place to make that happen.

“That’s what I think the college experience is about,” Rakesh Khurana says. “Part of it is in the classroom—a really important part—but part of it is outside of what happens in the classroom, and I think a lot of that happens at the House level.”

IVY LEAGUERS FOR LIFE

“I love being surrounded by people smarter than we are,” says Rakesh Khurana about living in Cabot.

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