Immersion in the Middle East

HBS continued its initiative to provide small groups of faculty with in-depth learning experiences in critical areas of the world with a week-long immersion trip to Israel in January 2012. Led by faculty members Arthur Segel and Elie Ofek, the participants included eight HBS faculty members and Dean Nitin Nohria, together with the deans of Harvard's schools of law, education, and design and other guests from across the University.

The purpose of the trip was to understand entrepreneurship in Israel, which has more companies listed on the NASDAQ than any country except the United States—despite its small size, limited natural resources, focus on security, and high level of diversity. The central question was how Israel generates so many startups and attracts so much venture capital and multinational research and development. The search for answers took the group to meetings with business leaders, researchers, the Israeli Defense Forces, the Supreme Court, and President Shimon Peres (AMP 20, 1951). Participants identified contributing factors in Israel's cultural affinity for education, and in the leadership and problem-solving skills that military service inculcates in its citizens.

The trip also examined the current business and economic landscape in the Palestinian territories and the opportunities for bilateral economic, political, and social progress. Discussions are under way about a potential case study on Rawabi, the first planned city in the Palestinian West Bank, the largest private foreign investment in that area.

In June 2012, HBS sponsored its second immersion in China, led by Warren McFarlan and including 11 faculty members.


Global Research Fellows

Global Research Fellowships provide opportunities for small numbers of faculty members to pursue in-depth research or course development outside the United States over a semester or a year. Global Research Fellows complete a substantial project, such as an article or a book chapter, and share their findings and research experience when they return to campus.

Recognizing the time and infrastructure required for an international research trip of this kind, HBS supports Global Research Fellows with language services; travel, housing, and related expenses for the fellow and his or her family; and periodic returns to the School during the research period.

Global Research Fellow Srikant Datar traveled the world extending the research from his 2010 book co-authored with David Garvin and Patrick Cullen, Rethinking the MBA: Business Education at a Crossroads, and searching out innovative thinkers, techniques, and organizations for his new course, Design Thinking and Innovation. For four months, Datar was based in India, which was also his jumping-off point for Asia, Africa, and Australia. During the rest of his 2011–2012 sabbatical, he spent time in Europe and the Americas. Ultimately he completed his course development at HBS, and the course debuted in the fall of 2012 at the Harvard i-lab.

The other two 2012 Global Research Fellows each spent several months in China. Christopher Marquis investigated corporation-society relations and sustainability, and Forest Reinhardt deepened his exposure to Asian and Pacific natural resource and environmental issues.


Supporting Faculty’s Global Research

HBS Knowledge and Library Services (KLS) is innovating on several fronts to provide faculty with information for global research both on the road and on campus. A case in point is the development of resources to support the 2012 faculty immersion in China. A nine-person KLS team evaluated and supplied information via a custom website to provide participants with business and industry context as well as specific information about companies and individuals.

To support on-campus research, KLS is building relationships around the world to make unique business data available to HBS faculty and students—for example, information generated by stock exchanges and chambers of commerce or archival texts. KLS has been concentrating on the priority areas of China, India, and Latin America and began work on Turkey in 2012.