Srikant Datar named second Indian-descent dean of Harvard Business School
Srikant M Datar, an alumnus of Mumbai University and IIM Ahmedabad, has been named the new head of Harvard University’s business school.
Datar will succeed Nitin Nohria, another Indian American, and will be the second dean of Indian origin in Harvard University, with Rakesh Khurana, who heads Harvard College, one of the university’s 10 graduate and professional schools.
“Srikant Datar is an innovative educator, a distinguished scholar, and a deeply experienced academic leader,” Harvard University President Lawrence S Bacow said announcing the appointment on Friday, as cited in a post on the Harvard Business School (HBS) website. “He is a leading thinker about the future of business education, and he has recently played an essential role in HBS’s creative response to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Datar will be the 11th dean of the prestigious school that is counted amongst the top business schools in the US and the world. He joined the HBS faculty in 1996 after teaching stints at Carnegie Mellon and Stanford, where he had also studied for his two masters in statistics and economics and PhD. He started higher education at the University of Mumbai (it was then called the University of Bombay) and the next stop was the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
“I am equal measures humbled and honored to take on this role,” said Datar. “Harvard Business School is an institution with a remarkable legacy of impact in research, education, and practice. Yet the events of the past year have hastened our passage to an unforeseen future. I look forward to working with colleagues and friends of the School — including throughout Harvard, in our Boston community, and around the world — to realize our mission in what undoubtedly will be an exciting new era.”
Nohria, who also studied in Mumbai — the Indian Institute of Technology, had been HBS dean for more than 10 years, starting in 2010. Later that year in 2010, Ratan Tata, an HBS alumnus, had donated $50 million to the school — the largest gift in the school’s history — for a residential and academic building which is called Tata Hall. Nohria had announced plans to step down last November but stayed on in view of the pandemic.
“Srikant is an outstanding choice as Harvard Business School’s next dean,” Nohria said, adding, “He has thought deeply about the challenges and opportunities facing management education, and has a proven record of collaboration, innovation, and leadership — not only within HBS, but across Harvard and at other organizations.”
The HBS post called Datar “a prominent thinker and innovator” on the future of business education. He co-authored “Rethinking the MBA: Business Education at a Crossroads”, and has developed new courses on “Developing Mindsets for Innovative Problem Solving” and “Managing with Data Science”.
Datar started by focusing on cost management and control, strategy implementation, and governance, the HBS post added, and has turned in recent years to such areas as “design thinking and innovative problem solving, as well as machine learning and artificial intelligence”.