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HBS Opens Global Center In Mumbai

Research center part of effort to globalize school’s scope

By Paras D. Bhayani, Contributing Writer

Harvard Business School (HBS) announced the opening of the India Research Center (IRC) in Mumbai last Friday as an extension of its Global Initiative, the centerpiece of HBS’ efforts to make the school more globally focused.

The IRC will focus its research on Indian companies that are active in the global economy, foreign investors with an interest in India, and the role policymaking plays on economic growth, according to a statement released by HBS last week.

HBS selected India as the location for its next research center on account of the nation’s burgeoning population and rapid economic growth. Mumbai is often considered the nation’s financial and media capital.

Ajay S. Mookerjee, who earned a doctorate in business administration from HBS in 1988, will serve as the Center’s executive director. He has also held positions at several financial firms, including GE Capital, the American International Group, and Capital One.

A native of India, Mookerjee said that he has high hopes for the nation’s future and that studying the region is essential to expanding HBS’ international focus.

“An increasingly important player in the global economy, India will continue to drive the social and capital markets that shape our world,” he said. “It is essential for Harvard Business School to have a presence in India.”

Since the inception of the Global Initiative in 1996, HBS has opened research centers in Buenos Aires, Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, as well as one in Silicon Valley, Calif.

India, Asia’s third largest economy, has grown at an average rate of 6.8 percent since 1994. The nation has been noted for the rapid growth of its service sector, fueled by a young population in fields as diverse as software development, telemarketing, and tax preparation, according to an International Monetary Fund study.

Walker Professor of Business Administration Krishna G. Palepu, the HBS Dean for International Development, said that while the IRC’s faculty will be entirely from HBS, he envisions a center that can contribute to India while giving HBS professors an opportunity to conduct research about it.

“We see ourselves as bringing value to the local institutions instead of competing with them,” Palepu said. “We try to offer programs that are more research driven.”

In addition to the research aspect of the IRC, Palepu said that HBS plans to have an educational side to the Center as well. Though no degree-granting programs will be offered, the school will have executive education programs, with its first courses on negotiation and family-owned businesses.

HBS is also currently in the process of selecting a new dean, following the departure of Kim B. Clark ’74 who left last summer to head Brigham Young University-Idaho.

Two of the six prospective deans on University President Lawrence H. Summers’ short-list—Dickinson Professor of Accounting Srikant M. Datar and Chapman Professor of Business Administration Nitin Nohria—are natives of India. Most consider Datar to be the frontrunner in the search.

Neither Datar nor Nohria responded to requests for comment yesterday.

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