Tarun Khanna

Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor

Tarun Khanna is the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at the Harvard Business School, where he has studied and worked with multinational and indigenous companies and investors in emerging markets worldwide. He was named Harvard University's Director of the South Asia Institute in the fall of 2010. He joined the HBS faculty in 1993, after obtaining an engineering degree from Princeton University (1988) and a Ph.D. from Harvard (1993), and an interim stint on Wall Street.  During this time, he has served as the head of several courses on strategy, corporate governance, and international business targeted to MBA students and senior executives at Harvard. He currently teaches in Harvard’s College's General Education core curriculum in a university wide elective course on entrepreneurship in South Asia. He is also the Faculty Chair for HBS activities in India.

Tarun Khanna is the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at the Harvard Business School, where he has studied and worked with multinational and indigenous companies and investors in emerging markets worldwide. He was named Harvard University's Director of the South Asia Institute in the fall of 2010. He joined the HBS faculty in 1993, after obtaining an engineering degree from Princeton University (1988) and a Ph.D. from Harvard (1993), and an interim stint on Wall Street.  During this time, he has served as the head of several courses on strategy, corporate governance, and international business targeted to MBA students and senior executives at Harvard. He currently teaches in Harvard’s College's General Education core curriculum in a university wide elective course on entrepreneurship in South Asia. He is also the Faculty Chair for HBS activities in India.

His book, Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India are Reshaping Their Futures and Yours, was published in February 2008 by Harvard Business Press (Penguin in South Asia), and has been translated into several languages. It focuses on the drivers of entrepreneurship in China and India and builds on over a decade of work with companies, investors and non-profits in developing countries worldwide.

His most recent co-authored book, Winning in Emerging Markets: A Roadmap for Strategy and Execution, was published by Harvard Business Press in March 2010.

His scholarly work has been published in a range of economics and management journals, several of which he also serves in an editorial capacity.  Articles in the Harvard Business Review (e.g. China + India: The Power of Two, 2007; Emerging Giants: Building World Class Companies in Emerging Markets, 2006) and Foreign Policy (e.g. Can India Overtake China?, 2003) distil the implications of this research for practicing managers.  His work is frequently featured in global newsmagazines as well as on TV and radio.

Outside HBS, he serves on the boards of the global power company, AES Corporation, and India's largest microfinance firm, SKS Microfinance, along with several others in the financial services, energy, automotive, and life sciences sectors, and actively invests in and mentors startups in Asia. He also serves on the advisory boards of Parliamentary Research Services, an NGO dedicated to providing non-partisan research input to India's Members of Parliament to enhance the quality of democratic discourse and that of Primary Source, a Boston-based NGO dedicated to helping US schools, from K-12 grades, adopt curricular material reflecting global societies.

In 2007, he was nominated to be a Young Global Leader (under 40) by the World Economic Forum. In 2009, he was elected a Fellow of the Academy of International Business.

He lives in Newton, MA, with his wife, daughter and son.
  1. Winning in Emerging Markets: A Roadmap for Strategy and Execution

    Most books thus far on emerging markets are either investing-oriented, or country - or market-specific, or descriptive. No book has definitively targeted the corporate strategists who need a practical framework and assessment tools for analyzing emerging markets, identifying new business opportunities, and planning strategy and execution. This book does just that. Rather than defining emerging markets by particular size or growth qualifications, Palepu and Khanna argue that the primary exploitable characteristic of these markets is their lack of developed infrastructures and institutions that might enable efficient business operations. Credit card systems, intellectual property adjudication, and data research firms are all market intermediaries taken for granted in advanced economies, for example, and operating without them poses specific challenges - as well as major opportunities. Building upon of the authors' series of popular HBR articles on the topic, the book gives managers a systematic framework for assessing the institutional context of any emerging market so that they can spot institutional voids, position themselves in the market, and finally build execution strategies that factor in an informed prognosis of that market's future. Translation available in Chinese.

  2. Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India Are Reshaping Their Futures and Yours

    Translations available in Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Indonesian, Korean, Portuguese, Turkish, Vietnamese.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Western concerns about the rise of China and India are raising alarms today, much as they were fifty years ago. China and India currently operate in the global economy as mirror images of each other—one favors multinationals over indigenous private companies, the other advantages its locals and shuns foreigners. In a book published by Harvard Business School Publishing, HBS Professor Tarun Khanna explores the likely evolution of the Chinese and Indian models and the implications for the world in four settings—China and the world, India and the world, Chinese and Indian mutual relations, and the view from the developed world. And just as hysteria and protectionism proved unwarranted half a century ago, Khanna argues that the rise of China and India is again an opportunity for profit and hope.

  3. Business Groups in Emerging Markets: Paragons or Parasites?

    Diversified business groups, consisting of legally independent firms operating across diverse industries, are ubiquitous in emerging markets. Groups around the world share certain attributes but also vary substantially in structure, ownership, and other dimensions. This paper proposes a business group taxonomy, which is used to formulate hypotheses and present evidence about the reasons for the formation, prevalence, and evolution of groups in different environments. In interpreting the evidence, the authors pay particular attention to two aspects neglected in much of the literature: the circumstances under which groups emerge and the historical evidence on some of the questions addressed by recent studies. They argue that business groups are responses to different economic conditions and that, from a welfare standpoint, they can sometimes be "paragons" and, at other times, "parasites." The authors conclude with an agenda for future research.

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  4. Can India Overtake China?

    What’s the fastest route to economic development? Welcome foreign direct investment (FDI), says China, and most policy experts agree. But a comparison with long-time laggard India suggests that FDI is not the only path to prosperity. Indeed, India’s homegrown entrepreneurs may give it a long-term advantage over a China hamstrung by inefficient banks and capital markets. 

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