Business School Classroom Opens Doors in Mumbai

Harvard Business School opened the doors of a new classroom last week—but instead of being located across the river, this time the classroom happens to be in Mumbai, India.

The new amphitheater-style classroom, which can seat up to 82 students, was modeled on the classrooms Business School students find in Boston. It will house the executive education programs the Business School already runs in India and replace the various temporary spaces the school has used previously.

“We wanted to create a historic space that maximized interaction, as opposed to conventional spaces that are more conductive to the lecture format that is more typical in India,” said Business School professor Tarun Khanna. “It’s been difficult to find the kind of space that facilitates interactive learning, of the sort we try to promote at HBS, so the new classroom is welcome.”

Khanna will be teaching in the classroom for the first time on Monday. His course is part of the executive education program and is entitled, “Building a Global Enterprise in India.”

The new center in Mumbai is the latest of the Business School’s international endeavors. The Business School has already opened regional centers in Europe, Latin America, India, China and Japan. According to Khanna, the new facility in Mumbai was a “natural evolution” following the creation of the Harvard Center Shanghai in  2008 to provide research support for faculty and to house similar executive education programming.

The Business School opened its India Research Center in Mumbai in 2005 and has run executive education programs in India for approximately six years.

“There’s incredible value in the expansion of business internationally, especially in emerging markets like India along with China,” Khanna said.

The classroom is located in a hotel owned by the Tata Group, a company headed by well-known Indian tycoon Ratan N. Tata, who is also a graduate of the Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

Tata donated $50 million to the Business School in 2010 to help fund the construction of Tata Hall. Tata’s donation was the largest gift from an international donor in the Business School’s history.

“India is capable of great things but we will only be able to realize our potential by continually studying and learning about what has succeeded here and elsewhere in the world,” said Tata in a statement. “Harvard Business School and Harvard University more broadly have a tremendous amount of knowledge to share in that endeavor.”

Dean of the Business School Nitin Nohria has repeatedly emphasized the importance of India to the Business School’s global strategy.

“Our aspiration is to expand our intellectual footprint by working with business, government and academic leaders from across the country, all the while contributing to important discussions about India’s long-term economic growth,” Nohria said in a statement.

—Staff writer Michael C. George can be reached at mgeorge@college.harvard.edu.

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