Finance is a featured research topic at Harvard Business School.
Our intellectual roots are based in a long line of scholars from Robert Merton whose collaborative work on risk management and option pricing won him the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1997, to John Lintner who co-created the Capital Asset Pricing Model and made significant contributions to dividend policy, and Gordon Donaldson whose work helped shape the field of corporate finance. We strive to understand how managers and firms make value-enhancing decisions; and how financial institutions, markets, and instruments contribute to this process. Our approach to research is distinguished by its unique combination of theory, empirical analysis, mathematical modeling, and field observations at companies. 
  1. PharmAccess and the M-TIBA Platform: Leveraging Digital Technology in the Developing World

    Kevin Schulman, Sashidaran Moodley and Anant Vasudevan

    PharmAccess is an Amsterdam based NGO working to support the development of the private health care market in Africa. This work is critical as over 50% of care is delivered through the private sector, but well-intentioned efforts to address global health through the public sector have the unintended consequence of crowding-out capital formation in the private sector. PharmaAccess is working to crowd-in funding instead through the development of a three-pronged effort in Kenya. They are working to address supply through efforts to improve the quality of health care facilities through education and through a micro-lending program. At the same time, they are working to address demand through the development of the M-TIBA mobile health wallet. The critical question for this case is whether these efforts, in essence the development of a novel platform simultaneously addressing supply and demand, will be enough to change the dynamics of the private health care market.
    The case provides a background on private health care in Africa and in Kenya.

    Keywords: Finance; Entrepreneurship; Health Care and Treatment; Online Technology; Health Industry; Africa; Kenya;


    Schulman, Kevin, Sashidaran Moodley, and Anant Vasudevan. "PharmAccess and the M-TIBA Platform: Leveraging Digital Technology in the Developing World." Harvard Business School Case 317-103, March 2017. View Details
  2. The Financial Regulatory Reform Agenda in 2017

    Robin Greenwood, Samuel G. Hanson, Jeremy C. Stein and Adi Sunderam

    We take stock of the post-crisis financial regulatory reform agenda. We highlight and summarize areas of clear progress, where post-crisis reforms should either be maintained or built upon. We then identify several areas where the new regulations could be streamlined or rolled back in an effort to reduce the burden on the financial sector, particularly on smaller banks.

    Keywords: Finance; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; United States;


    Greenwood, Robin, Samuel G. Hanson, Jeremy C. Stein, and Adi Sunderam. "The Financial Regulatory Reform Agenda in 2017." Working Paper, February 2017. View Details
  3. Royal DSM: From Continuous Transformation to Organic Growth

    William W. George, Carin-Isabel Knoop and Amram Migdal

    Royal DSM CEO Feike Sijbesma was pondering the challenges of shifting DSM’s global organization from the constant transformations of the past 100 years to creating organic growth. When Sijbesma took the helm as CEO in 2007, he further pushed and completed the company’s final moves away from commodity chemicals and toward more sustainable businesses whereby DSM could create value with differentiated offerings. Sijbesma emphasized innovation and moving into “sunrise” businesses that would fuel future growth by playing a positive role in the broader society. Sijbesma asked himself, did DSM’s current portfolio in life sciences and materials sciences provide sufficient growth opportunities to sustain consistent and superior performance? Would DSM’s 21,000 employees worldwide embrace the DSM Strategy 2018: “Driving profitable growth through science-based sustainable solutions,” anchored via the Lead & Grow support and development program for key managers of the company? Should DSM continue making moves in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to complement organic growth, or could its growth goals be achieved by focusing on organic growth for now, followed later by M&A activities again? What new markets should it look to in order to ensure sustainable growth? Sijbesma felt that after a decade of transformations (divestments and acquisitions), it would be healthy for the company to focus fully on organic growth for several years. During that period the company had already indicated it would divest three of its major holdings in joint venture (JV) companies, which would generate the financial capacity for M&A activities again in later years. In the meantime, Sijbesma wanted the company to prove it could grow organically as well.

    Keywords: organic growth; Organizational change; M&A; mergers and acquisitions; divestment; Business Ventures; Business Divisions; Business Growth and Maturation; Restructuring; Change; Change Management; Transformation; Transition; Engineering; Chemicals; Mining; Ethics; Values and Beliefs; Finance; Capital Markets; Financial Markets; Food; Globalization; Global Strategy; Globalized Firms and Management; Globalized Markets and Industries; Health; Nutrition; History; Leadership; Leadership Development; Leadership Style; Leading Change; Management; Business or Company Management; Growth and Development Strategy; Growth Management; Management Practices and Processes; Management Style; Organizations; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Mission and Purpose; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Organizational Culture; Organizational Design; Ownership; Public Ownership; Performance; Strategy; Adaptation; Consolidation; Corporate Strategy; Value; Value Creation; Biotechnology Industry; Chemical Industry; Food and Beverage Industry; Mining Industry; Pharmaceutical Industry; Europe; Netherlands;


    George, William W., Carin-Isabel Knoop, and Amram Migdal. "Royal DSM: From Continuous Transformation to Organic Growth." Harvard Business School Case 317-063, January 2017. (Revised March 2017.) View Details
  4. Shisong Cardiac Center: Kumbo, Cameroon

    Kevin Schulman and Nelly-Ange Konthcou

    Shisong Cardiac Center in Kumbo, Cameroon, is a regional cardiac referral center in central Africa. As the continent transitions from communicable to non-communicable diseases, there is a critical shortage of surgical care required to treat these conditions. This case describes an innovation solution to the shortage of professional skills, an international collaboration between a hospital in Milan and a hospital in Cameroon. The case highlights the challenges of building and staffing the facility, and then discusses the ongoing operational and financial challenges of operating a heart center in Africa. Can this model be sustained? Can Cameroon develop their own capability to deliver advanced cardiac services domestically? These are critical questions to consider. In spite of these challenges, Co-Founder Sr. Alphonsa finds hope in her favorite African proverb, “Your heart can take you where your feet cannot.”

    Keywords: Finance; Operations; Health Care and Treatment; Health Industry; Africa;


    Schulman, Kevin, and Nelly-Ange Konthcou. "Shisong Cardiac Center: Kumbo, Cameroon." Harvard Business School Case 317-085, January 2017. (Revised March 2017.) View Details
  5. The Six CEOs of Tyco International Ltd.

    John R. Wells and Gabriel Ellsworth

    In September 2016, Johnson Controls, Inc., completed the acquisition of Tyco International PLC, a $9.9 billion business with operating profits of $884 million. The purchase consideration was $14.4 billion. Although the deal was billed as a merger, Ireland-based Tyco effectively acquired U.S.-based Johnson Controls in a tax inversion deal that saved $150 million a year in taxes. Operating synergies were estimated at $500 million over three years. Tyco International was all that remained of what 15 years earlier, in 2001, had been a $36.4 billion conglomerate with a market capitalization of $120 billion. It took the charismatic CEO, Dennis Kozlowski, 10 years to grow the business from $3 billion to $36 billion, increasing its value by more than 60 times along the way. But Kozlowski went to prison on fraud charges in 2005, and the portfolio was slowly unwound under his successor. Now in 2016, Tyco was to disappear.

    Keywords: Tyco; Dennis Kozlowski; Edward Breen; fire safety; fire protection; Security; packaging; Securities and Exchange Commission; fraud; Accounting; Accounting Audits; Earnings Management; Financial Statements; Goodwill Accounting; Acquisition; Mergers and Acquisitions; Business Conglomerates; Business Divisions; Business Exit or Shutdown; Business Growth and Maturation; Business Headquarters; Business Model; Business Organization; For-Profit Firms; Restructuring; Crime and Corruption; Engineering; Applied Optics; Chemicals; Construction; Metals and Minerals; Ethics; Finance; Cash Flow; Public Equity; Stock Options; Financing and Loans; Initial Public Offering; Profit; Revenue; Geographic Location; Geographic Scope; Global Range; Globalized Firms and Management; Multinational Firms and Management; Corporate Accountability; Corporate Disclosure; Health Care and Treatment; Business History; Executive Compensation; Selection and Staffing; Courts and Trials; Lawfulness; Lawsuits and Litigation; Business or Company Management; Goals and Objectives; Growth and Development Strategy; Market Entry and Exit; Public Ownership; Problems and Challenges; Strategy; Business Strategy; Competition; Competitive Strategy; Competitive Advantage; Consolidation; Corporate Strategy; Diversification; Expansion; Horizontal Integration; Value; Chemical Industry; Construction Industry; Consumer Products Industry; Electronics Industry; Energy Industry; Industrial Products Industry; Manufacturing Industry; Medical Devices and Supplies Industry; Mining Industry; Pharmaceutical Industry; Semiconductor Industry; Telecommunications Industry; Utilities Industry; Republic of Ireland; Switzerland; Bermuda; United States; New Hampshire;


    Wells, John R., and Gabriel Ellsworth. "The Six CEOs of Tyco International Ltd." Harvard Business School Case 717-459, January 2017. View Details
  6. Deutsche Bank: Structured Retail Products

    Boris Vallée and Jérôme Lenhardt

    Describes how Deutsche Bank, a leading European bank, is deciding whether or not to launch a new structured retail product in Germany: an autocallable note. Will this product find a market and how does it fit into the bank’s product portfolio? The case investigates how Deutsche Bank manufactures and distributes its structured retail products and more broadly explores the opportunities and challenges of offering financial products to households. The case also dwells on the scale and scope of the business of retail banking in an increasingly regulated environment.

    Keywords: structured products; structured retail products; Germany; commercial banking; Financial Markets; asset management; asset pricing; auto callable note; financial product; financial product development; financial product marketing; financial product launch; financial product positioning; Finance; Assets; Asset Pricing; Asset Management; Capital Markets; Financial Institutions; Banks and Banking; Commercial Banking; Financial Instruments; Annuities; Bonds; Stocks; Financial Management; Financial Markets; Financial Strategy; Interest Rates; Investment;


    Vallée, Boris, and Jérôme Lenhardt. "Deutsche Bank: Structured Retail Products." Harvard Business School Case 217-037, November 2016. View Details
  7. Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal

    Eugene F. Soltes

    From the financial fraudsters of Enron, to the embezzlers at Tyco, to the Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, the failings of corporate titans are regular fixtures in the news. But what drives wealthy and powerful people to white-collar crime? I draw from extensive personal interaction and correspondence with nearly fifty former executives as well as research in psychology, criminology, and economics to investigate how once-celebrated executives become white-collar criminals.

    Keywords: Crime and Corruption; Corporate Finance;


    Soltes, Eugene F. Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal. New York: PublicAffairs, 2016. View Details
  8. Sovereign Risk, Currency Risk, and Corporate Balance Sheets

    Wenxin Du and Jesse Schreger

    Nominal debt provides consumption-smoothing benefits if it can be inflated away during recessions. However, we document empirically that countries with more countercyclical inflation, where nominal debt provides better consumption smoothing, issue more foreign-currency debt. We propose that monetary policy credibility explains the currency composition of sovereign debt and nominal bond risks in the presence of risk-averse investors. In our model, low credibility governments inflate during recessions, generating excessively countercyclical inflation in addition to the standard inflationary bias. With countercyclical inflation, investors require risk premia on nominal debt, making nominal debt issuance costly for low credibility governments. We provide empirical support for this mechanism, showing that countries with higher nominal bond-stock betas have significantly larger nominal bond risk premia and borrow less in local currency.

    Keywords: Sovereign Finance; Business Cycles; Currency;


    Du, Wenxin, and Jesse Schreger. "Sovereign Risk, Currency Risk, and Corporate Balance Sheets." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 17-024, September 2016. View Details
  9. Western Technology Investment

    Ramana Nanda, William A. Sahlman and Nicole Keller

    Based in Portola Valley, California, Western Technology Investment (WTI) specialized in a hybrid form of debt and equity financing for early-stage companies. Like traditional venture capital and private equity firms, WTI raised funds from institutional investors and evaluated deals. However, instead of making initial investments in the form of equity, WTI focused primarily on lending money to start-ups, charging them interest and receiving warrants that could later be converted to stock in the case of a liquidity event. Most initial investments—usually in the range of $3–$5 million—were made in tandem with or following a company’s early rounds of venture capital equity financing. In addition, like more traditional venture capital investors, WTI hoped to participate in follow-on debt and equity investments in its successful portfolio companies.

    Keywords: entrepreneurial finance; venture capital; entrepreneurship; finance; Equity; Finance; California;


    Nanda, Ramana, William A. Sahlman, and Nicole Keller. "Western Technology Investment." Harvard Business School Case 817-019, September 2016. (Revised November 2016.) View Details
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