A day after Indian-American Nitin Nohria was named the 10th Dean of Harvard Business School (HBS), the 48-year-old professor said he was indebted to his alma mater, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay.
Addressing the media from the US, Nohria said, "It's a great privilege and I feel honoured, humbled and excited to become the next HBS dean. I have fond memories of my time spent at IIT Bombay. It taught me I can survive anything. I feel very indebted to my alma mater and it has prepared me to be where I am today."
The first person of Indian origin to achieve this honour, Nohria will succeed Jay Light and assume charge of his office on July 1.
In December 2009, Light had announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2009-10 academic year after five years as dean and four decades of "distinguished service" at HBS ranked as the world's third best B-school in 2010 by the Financial Times.
On HBS' India plans, Nohria said, "The institute has been committed to expanding its international presence across the world for almost a decade. While there are some schools which have chased demand, our focus is on chasing knowledge."
HBS opened its India Research Center in 2006 and has since written 50 cases in India and is beginning to teach courses in India. "Our effort is to be in India in an intense way and play an important part in understanding and learning from the businesses happening there. We are very committed to doing something in executive education in India."
HBS has decided to have a classroom of its own in India for its executive education programmes. Nohria however, declined to comment on the time period given to set up the facility.
Nohria said HBS, which has been the pioneer of case study method, is also experimenting actively with many other pedagogical methods. "Case studies are one of the most powerful ways to diagnose and take action. But we have been experimenting with other methods that can complement the case study method."
Nohria joined the HBS faculty as an assistant professor in 1988, and was appointed associate professor in 1993. He was promoted in tenure in 1997, and became the Richard P Chapman Professor of Business Administration two years later.
Nohria earned his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in 1984 from IIT-B, and a PhD in management from the Sloan School of Management at MIT in 1988. He has written, with his colleague Rakesh Khurana, 12 books. Most recently he authored the Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice.