Poor focus on research affecting Indian management schools: Harvard dean

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on January 24, 2018

Nitin Nohria, Dean, HarvardBusiness School

The biggest weakness of Indian management schools is their lack of commitment to research and development, Nitin Nohria, the dean of Harvard Business School (HBS), said.

On being asked about the poor show in global B-school rankings of premier Indian management schools , Nohria said that their “uneven” commitment to research needs improvement.

Nohria, is the first Indian dean of the HBS and currently serves as a non-executive director of Tata Sons. He said that at the Harvard , professors spend 50 per cent of their time on teaching and research respectively.

“If you look at management practice today it is very hard to find any arena which has not been influenced by research,” he said.

Nohria said that, Chinese business schools have begun to focus research but Indian business schools have lagged behind, which reflects in their rankings. He emphasised on research for its own sake and said that around 90 per cent of research may not be constructive but academic institutions need to make the commitment to get research which is useful.

Business environment

He said the success of entrepreneurs in India is despite the system. “If an entrepreneur spends so much time on the mechanics of starting a business then it is not a good use of the entrepreneurs fund revenue.

“So when people say why America continues to be a great innovator, it is because the ecosystem is much more friendly to entrepreneurship in areas from venture capital, regulations which make it easy to do business and customers who are willing to try out products from new companies. So we need to think improvement on all these fronts,” he said.

Nohria also said that countries such as India, which have passed a legislation mandating women representation on their boards, have not found it difficult to bring in talented women on boards.

“On the question that are these boards better because of having women on their board, research indicates that at least it’s not worse so it’s already better by the virtue of being more inclusive,” he said. Admitting that female students have fallen behind their male peers in HBS, Nohria said the institute has taken steps to address biases and is on a “long march” in increasing female representation in its Honours programme. He said that the institute is launching a programme to do research on the area of improving representation of women in companies.

Published on January 06, 2015

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