Tata Hall, a facility completed in December 2013, enhances and expands the School’s Executive Education portfolio. The arc-shaped, seven-story, glass and brick building includes residential space, classrooms, and common areas for Executive Education participants. As designed by William Rawn Associates, Tata Hall has two floors with glass walls, providing panoramic views of the Charles River. The 150,000-square-foot building is part of a complex of state-of-the-art residential, administrative, and classroom facilities dedicated to Executive Education in the northeast corner of the HBS campus. Residential life is an integral aspect of the learning experience at HBS, and Tata Hall’s layout and amenities encourage intellectual and social engagement both in and beyond the classroom.
Tata Hall is named in honor of Ratan N. Tata (AMP 71, 1975), who served as chairman of the Tata Sons Ltd., one of India’s largest business conglomerates, from 1991 until his retirement in 2012. Funds for the building have been donated by the philanthropic subsidiaries of the Tata Group: Tata Companies, the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, and the Tata Education and Development Trust. Commenting on the gift in 2011, Tata noted, “I am so proud to give back to an institution that has done so much for me and for many other people.”
Tata, the great-grandson of Tata Group founder Jamsetji Tata, began working at the century-old company in 1962, after graduating from Cornell University with a degree in architecture and structural engineering. Starting his career as a laborer on the shop floor of Tata Steel, he progressed through the ranks, learning about the company’s diverse operations along the way. In 1991 he became the group’s fifth chairman, succeeding his uncle, J.R.D. Tata, who had headed the business since 1938.
Described by Bloomberg View as representing “Indian capitalism at its best,” the Tata Group comprises dozens of companies and employs more than 400,000 people. During Ratan Tata’s tenure, the business became globally focused, acquiring international brands such as Tetley, Jaguar Land Rover, a string of well-known luxury hotels, and Corus Group Plc, an Anglo-Dutch steel producer. Tata’s successful growth strategy involved integrating the group’s disparate businesses under a common brand while pushing into emerging sectors, such as information technology. When he announced his retirement, the Tata Group had annual revenues of over US$100 billion.
Speaking at the groundbreaking for Tata Hall in December 2011, former Dean Jay O. Light called Tata, who serves on the HBS Dean’s Board of Advisors, “an amazing leader with vision and focus.” Dean Nitin Nohria underscored the new building’s role in creating more opportunities for global business leaders to study at HBS: “We look forward to welcoming remarkable leaders, investing in their education, and contributing to their ability to make a profound difference in the world.”
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