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Harvard research centre in Mumbai

The research centre would be the latest addition to the school's network of global arms, writes Shalini Narang.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2006 19:43 IST
Shalini Narang
Shalini Narang

To extend its global presence and aid the varied research projects of its faculty, Harvard Business School (HBS) of the prestigious Harvard University will open the India Research Centre (IRC) in Mumbai next month.

The formal inception of the centre will include a one-day colloquium to bring together the Harvard alumni in India and a keynote by Harvard President, Lawrence Summers.

"The new Mumbai centre will help us expand our ties with prominent business leaders, universities, and researchers throughout India," said Professor Krishna Palepu, the School's Senior Associate Dean for International Development.

"Our presence in the region will not only increase the breadth and depth of our faculty's research and case studies and thereby enhance the learning experience for our management programme students and executive education participants, but also cultivate a constructive dialogue between India and other business leaders within the global network," he added.

Research is expected to mostly focus on Indian companies pursuing new opportunities to excel in a globalised economy, on international companies and investors seeking opportunities in India and on policy makers working towards a milieu that facilitates national competitiveness and economic growth in India.

"The India Centre will enable the myriad HBS faculties to study one of the world's most important economic regions during a time of significant transformation. I would like to see about 30 to 40 faculty members engage in some sort of long or short term case studies or project work pertaining to India." Says Richard Vietor, Senior Associate Dean and Faculty Chair for Asia.

Some of the current projects in progress by HBS faculty on Indian businesses includes Professor Palepu's research on strategy and governance focusing on the globalisation of emerging markets, particularly India and China, and the resulting opportunities and challenges for western multinationals and local companies with global aspirations in these countries and the research on entrepreneurship in creative industries by associate professor Mukti Khaire.

She is studying the evolution of the fashion industry in India to provide insights into how entrepreneurs individually and collectively deal with the multiple levels of uncertainty inherent in being entrepreneurs in a new industry, with little socio-cognitive acceptance and no established norms of behaviour. It will also enable an understanding of how industries evolve by borrowing institutional norms from other contexts and adapting them to suit their specific needs.

The India Research Centre would be the latest addition to the School's network of international research centres in Latin America (Buenos Aires), Asia-Pacific (Hong Kong, Tokyo), and Europe (Paris). Besides coordinating research within these regions, the centres also form a global network for comparing businesses and business practices from around the world.

"As an increasingly important player in the global economy, India will continue to drive the social and capital markets that shape our world," says Ajay Mookerjee, an alumnus of the Harvard Business School and the Executive Director of the India Research Center.

"The region's burgeoning population has a high proportion of educated workers who will significantly impact important developments in many enterprises. Beyond that, the mere size of this skilled workforce will have substantial buying power in tomorrow's economy. Therefore, it is essential for Harvard Business School to have a presence in India and contribute to increased understanding of key issues in the area," he opines.

Launched in 1996, the Global Initiative is a major effort by the University to enrich the Harvard Business School's long tradition of international research activity and course development by building closer ties with companies, academic institutions, alumni, and other resources worldwide to expand its ongoing commitment to creating intellectual capital.

First Published: Feb 25, 2006 19:43 IST