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. Contemporary South Asia: A Survey of Intractable Problems and Innovative Solutions

    by Tarun Khanna

    This survey course focuses on several categories of social and economic problems faced by the countries of South Asia, specifically, in the realms of Education, Health, Financial Inclusion, and Telecommunications. Each problem category will be dealt with through a survey lecture, supplemented by assigned and recommended readings for those wishing to explore the topic further, and an in-depth look at one or more organizations, companies, non-profits, or regulatory interventions that have attempted to address some of the problems within that category. The primary objective of the course is to immerse students – in an inter-disciplinary and university-wide setting – to the problems of our generation in South Asia, and also to a range of entrepreneurial attempts to solve these, warts and all.

  2. Globalization of Emerging Markets

    by Tarun Khanna

    A comprehensive look at emerging markets, including the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China), as they integrate with today's world economy. We will offer a conceptual framework to analyze emerging markets from multiple lenses - that of indigenous entrepreneurs struggling to overcome constraints to build world-class businesses, that of multinationals from the developed triad countries tapping into emerging markets for their next growth spurt, that of investors in the developed world seeking to profit from investment opportunities, and that of policymakers in developed and developing countries seeking to understand this new wave of globalization. The course is an experimental half-course that builds on our past decade of research in emerging markets, and draws on foundational material from first-year Strategy, Finance, and BGIE.

  3. Strategy

    by Tarun Khanna

    The objective of this course is to help students develop the skills for formulating strategy. It provides an understanding of: (1)A firm's operative environment and how to sustain competitive advantage (2)How to generate superior value for customers by designing the optimum configuration of the product mix and functional activities (3) How to balance the opportunities and risks associated with dynamic and uncertain changes in industry attractiveness and competitive position. Students learn to: Develop a mastery of a body of analytical tools and the ability to take an integrative point of view. Use these tools to perform in-depth analyses of industries and competitors, predict competitive behavior, and analyze how firms develop and sustain competitive advantage over time. Particular attention is paid to competitive positioning; understanding comparative costs; and addressing issues such as cannibalization, network externalities, and globalization.