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The Global Initiative

Established in 1996, the Global Initiative builds on a legacy of global engagement by supporting the HBS community of faculty, students, and alumni in their work, encouraging a global outlook in research, study, and practice.

With its rich heritage of global leadership in management education and research, Harvard Business School (HBS) is deeply rooted in the international economy. Working closely with companies, universities, and governments, the School and its faculty help shape the perspective, knowledge, and insight of managers throughout the world.

A History of Global Leadership
Throughout its history, Harvard Business School has been a leader in developing practice-oriented research for management education. Using the case method method of teaching, the School has trained tens of thousands of leaders in business, government, and academia. HBS has also helped guide the establishment of leading business schools in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia.

  • 2000 - present
    2013 Istanbul Research Center established in Turkey.

    34% of the class of 2014 is international, from 68 countries.

    Nearly 30 percent of alumni live overseas, and 106 alumni clubs and associations are flourishing in 39 countries.
    2010 Harvard Center Shanghaiestablished in Shanghai
    2008 The School's Centennial year culminates in the Global Business Summit on October 12-14 2008. The Business Summit features thought-provoking discourse, debate, and insight into the seminal topics facing the global community.

    Throughout 2008 HBS alumni clubs in 30 countries mark the Centennial with events, projects, and leadership initiatives.

    On April 8, 2008, the HBS community celebrates the Centennial anniversary of the School - 100 years to the day the Harvard University Board of Overseers voted to establish the business school and appointed its first dean - with a day-long event for the immediate HBS community, including students, faculty and staff.
    The School expands its global impact by establishing research centers in key regions to help faculty enrich the global curriculum.
    2006 India Research Centerestablished in Mumbai.
    2004 Gayle and Robert F. Greenhill (MBA Class of 1962) establish the Gayle and Robert F. Greenhill Family Endowment for Global Research. The first major gift of its kind, it provides permanent funding to support the School's international research and course development activities.
    2003 Europe Research Centerestablished in Paris.
    2002 Japan Research Centerestablished in Tokyo.
    2000 Latin America Research Centerestablished in Buenos Aires.
  • 1975 - 99
    1999 Asia-Pacific Research Centerestablished in Hong Kong.
    1997 California Research Centerestablished in Silicon Valley.
    1996 Established in 1996, the Global Initiative builds on the School's legacy of global engagement by supporting the HBS community of faculty, students, and alumni in their work, encouraging a global perspective in research, study and practice.
    1991 Four students from Soviet republics are admitted to the MBA program. The students were to work for five months in an American firm as an introduction to a market economy, and were to take courses at Harvard University Summer School to become acquainted with the American university system before attending Harvard Business School. After completing the MBA program, the students were to return to the U.S.S.R. to complete a five-year to a Soviet State enterprise.
    1990 Professor Paul Lawrence and Research Fellow Charalambos Vlachoutsicos conduct a senior management seminar on the topic of U.S.-U.S.S.R. joint ventures in Moscow.
    1990 Vast growth in international representation is noted in the MBA program - a jump to 21 percent of the First-Year class, with over 58 countries represented in both MBA classes. This prompts the MBA Admissions office to assign members of its staff as "global managers". Assistant directors of Admissions become familiar with the customs, cultures and educational systems of a particular country or region, and act as HBS liaison with that region for MBA recruiting and admissions.
    1986 A research colloquium jointly organized by Professors George Lodge and Ezra Vogel (Harvard University Department of Sociology) brings together 50 corporate managers, government officials, and academics from around the world, to discuss Comparative Ideology in five developed countries-the US, Japan, the UK, France and the Federal Republic of Germany-and in four developing countries-Taiwan, South Korea, Mexico and Brazil.
    1985 Professors Thomas McCraw and M. Colyer Crum lead a colloquium comparing business-government relations in the United States with those in Japan. McCraw draws on research he has conducted while spending his summers in Japan teaching at the Nomura Research Institute's School for Advanced Management. He also presents a yearlong doctoral seminar in business history: "Development of the Modern Corporation in International Perspective."
    1983 Among the topics discussed at a series of HBS 75th Anniversary Research Colloquia are United States Competitiveness in the World Economy, presented by Bruce Scott and George Lodge; World Food Policy Issues, presented by Ray Goldberg and Peter Timmer; and Competition in Global Industries, presented by Michael Porter.
    1981 Prof. Louis Wells, Jr. is named the Herbert F. Johnson Professor of International Business. At the time of the appointment, Wells' responsibilities at the School include teaching a research seminar on international business in the doctoral program, serving as a special field coordinator for international business, sitting on the admissions committee and the policy committee, and chairing a subcommittee which was formed to make recommendations for changes in the requirements of the program, as well as sitting on the faculty council of the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID).
  • 1950 - 74
    1973 The International Teachers Program (ITP) moves to Fontainebleau, France, to be managed by a consortium of business schools that includes: CESA (Centre d'Enseignement Supérieur des Affaires in Jouy-en-Josas, France), CEI (Centre d'Etudes Industrielles, Geneva, Switzerland), IMEDE (Lausanne, Switzerland), INSEAD (Fontainebleau, France), London Business School (London, United Kingdom), Manchester Business School (Manchester, United Kingdom), and HBS (Boston, MA, United States).
    1971 The MBA catalogue lists 15 courses dealing with international business; international students comprise 16% of the MBA student body.
    1966 The Division of International Activities, with help from the USAID, establishes a program to provide MBA graduates with action-oriented jobs in developing countries. Seven members of the class of 1966 take specially created positions overseas which are "highly diversified, two-year non-career assignments".
    1964 George Baker writes that HBS wants to increase applications from women and minorities
    1964 The faculty accepts the Smith Committee report, which recognizes the desirability of foreign experience for faculty and limits formal HBS/foreign affiliations (involving up to eight faculty members) to three at any given time. No limit is set on leaves for faculty who are independently helping foreign schools.
    1963 At the request of President John F. Kennedy, and with the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the School participates in establishing INCAE (Instituto Centroamericano de Administración de Empresas), the Central American business school. Originally located in Antigua, Guatemala, INCAE relocates to Managua, Nicaragua. A faculty team, which includes Professors Henry Arthur, George Lodge, and Thomas Raymond, makes an initial visit to Central America and Panama to investigate possibilities, and Lodge ultimately helps establish the program.
    1962With Harvard's permission, HBS enters into formal agreement in July to help develop an "Institute of Management" in Ahmedabad, India; effort is supported by a Ford Foundation grant and headed by Harry Hansen.
    1961 C. Roland Christensen spends the year teaching at IMEDE (Lausanne, Switzerland).
    1960 An international section is added to the Intercollegiate Bibliography of Cases, the chief publication of the Intercollegiate Case Clearing House (ICH). Established in 1954, the ICH is a collaboration of the Executive Committee of the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business, the Ford Foundation, and the staff of HBS, to centralize the rapidly growing library of business cases. By 1960, more than 235 HBS cases have been translated into one or more of nine foreign languages, and more than 360 cases have been received from foreign institutions all over the globe, many written by former HBS students and/or faculty.
    1958 The Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa (IESE) is established in Barcelona, Spain, and guided by an HBS team including Professor Ralph Hower. Affiliated with the University of Pamplona, IESE offers the first AMP-type program in Spain.
    1957 MBA students develop the International Business Club, a student-managed organization developed to stimulate interest in international business and affairs. The club runs a student career program that arranges summer positions for American students, as well as U.S. jobs for foreign students at HBS and at certain non-U.S. schools, between the first and second years.
    1956 Fifty teachers are sent to the United States - cosponsored by the European Productivity Agency (EPA) and the International Cooperation Administration (ICA) of the U.S. Department of State - to study business administration at five graduate schools (10 teachers per school): Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California, University of Illinois, and University of Indiana.
    1955 The Office of International Relations is established at HBS to coordinate activities of faculty abroad and to ensure that foreigners' visits to HBS more meaningful.
    1954 The Ford Foundation awards a grant to help HBS found the Turkish Institute of Business Administration, to be taught by a predominantly Turkish faculty and examine Turkish business. Over the following 10 year period, 17 Turkish teachers receive special training at HBS, and 12 HBS faculty members are released for periods of months to years to assist the Turkish faculty. The program includes a year of instruction in the United States, followed by a year of research and casewriting on Turkish firms. After this preparation period, the Turkish Institute of Business Administration offers its first class of instruction.
    1952 Professor Charles Williams, as a consultant, advises co-sponsors Fiat and Olivetti on the opening of IPSOA (Istituto per lo Studio dell'Organizzazione Aziendale) in Turino, Italy, and begins teaching there. He is one of the first faculty members to engage in this kind of overseas assistance. There is no official connection with HBS, many of the IPSOA faculty are graduates of the HBS programs.
    1951 Harvard Business School joins with several other institutions to found the American Universities Field Staff (AUFS), a nonprofit organization that sends correspondents around the world to research and write reports on the political, economic, and social conditions of the country; give lectures to students at sponsor schools; interview students; and hold seminar lunches with interested faculty members.
    1950 The Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA), an agency of the U.S. government, sponsors groups of Europeans, under the auspices of the Marshall Plan to come to the United States and study U.S. productivity. The program includes a two-week session at the Harvard Business School.
  • 1925 - 49
    1948 The "Management Training Course" at the University of Western Ontario, an executive program based on the Advanced Management Program, runs for its first 5-week session. HBS professors teach in the initial programs, but gradually turn over the teaching responsibility to the faculty of the University of Western Ontario School of Business Administration. Most of the participants are from Ontario, but other Canadians attend as well.
    1946 Harvey Bishop leaves his position as managing director of Royal Banking Powder Proprietary Ltd in Cape Town, South Africa, to direct the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program (AMP), which he transforms from a "tentative wartime course geared to Army and Navy needs" into a "solid, all-industry management development course".
    1946 The number and quality of foreign MBA students increases, while international enrollment in the Advanced Management Program (AMP) skyrockets.
    1942 J. Anton de Haas, professor of International Relations, goes to Bogotá, Colombia, to assist in planning a college of business administration in that country. The future school will "prepare young South American men in American business methods, and serve as a center where American young men may study South American commerce."
    1940 The profile of the incoming MBA class notes representatives of seven regions: Alaska, Canada, China, Hawaii, India, Switzerland, and Venezuela.
    1934 The faculty approves three new courses: "International Commercial Relations" by Professor de Haas; "Economic and Business Analysis of Foreign Countries" by Prof de. Haas and "Management Problems of Export and Import Trade" by Professor Tosdal.
    1933 In its third year, the Harvard Business School Alumni inaugurates clubs in London, Paris and Shanghai.
    1930 Dean Wallace B. Donham and Professor Georges Doriot participate in the opening ceremonies in Paris for the first European Center for advanced training in business management, the CPA (Centre de Perfectionnement dans l'Administration des Affaires), which Doriot established.
    1930 In the seventh volume of the Harvard Business School Bulletin, Dean Wallace B. Donham reports on newly developed English and French business schools.
  • 1900 - 24
    1920 The HBS faculty undertakes a complete resurvey of the curriculum and divides it into eight "study groups-"to permit specialization with direction"-among them is Foreign Trade.
    1910 One of the first HBS instructors, Selden O. Martin travels to Latin America to gather information to augment existing courses.
    1908 The first international MBA students - Ting-chi Chu of Shanghai and Charles Le Deuc of Paris - enroll.
    1908 The original MBA curriculum includes courses in French, German and Spanish correspondence, in anticipation that students will require foreign languages in their business and personal dealings.
    1908 Professor Cherington's course, Economic Resources of the United States, "[gives] consideration to foreign trade of the country and the relative position of the US in international trade," and Professor Sprague's course in "Banking" begins by examining the London banking system against New York, and moves on to look comparatively at France and Germany.

South Asia

South Asia photo

Path-Breakers: How Does Women's Political Participation Respond to Electoral Success?

Many explanations have been put forward to explain the gender gap in executive positions in finance, business, and politics. However, scholars know surprisingly little about the effects of exposure to women who are competitively selected into leadership positions. Focusing on India, the world's largest democracy, the authors obtained data on elections to state legislative assemblies in 3,473 constituencies from the Election Commission of India over the period 1980-2007 in which most states had six elections.

Executive Education

Maximizing Your Leadership Potential - India
14-17 December, 2015 (Mumbai, India)
This new program helps companies build visionary leaders who can manage disruptive change and exploit emerging opportunities in a shifting global economy. By exploring diverse approaches to complex leadership challenges, you will learn how to adapt your management style to the situation at hand, build more productive teams, and lead your organization to greater success across India and the globe.

Featured Research

Eko: Mobile Banking and Payments in India
Gupta, Sunil, and Rachna Tahilyani
November 2013

Amul Dairy
Goldberg, Ray A., and Ian McKown Cornell
October 2013

Diasporas and Outsourcing: Evidence from oDesk and India
Ghani, Ejaz, William R. Kerr, and Christopher Stanton
September 2013

Religion, Politician Identity and Development Outcomes: Evidence from India
Bhalotra, Sonia, Guilhem Cassan, Irma Clots-Figueras, and Lakshmi Iyer
September 2013

BMS-Biocon Research Center: Growing a Joint Research Venture in India
Sato, Vicki L., Sen Chai, Rich Ballenger, Christine Chi, Alexander Down, and Ross Leimberg
August 2013

Growing Financial Services in India: Aditya Birla Financial Services Group
Healy, Paul M., and Rachna Tahilyani
July 2013


Asia Pacific photo

The Fantastic Horizon: How to Invest in a New City

Rapid urbanization and resource scarcity pose problems-and opportunities-for businesses and governments all over the world. Senior Lecturer John Macomber writes about his recent investigative visits to nascent privately-funded municipalities in Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.

Executive Education

Senior Executive Program for China
16-22 August 2015
(Beijing, Shanghai & Boston)

Offering the latest thinking on China and the global marketplace, this leadership development program helps you build competitive advantage. Jointly developed by Harvard Business School; the School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University; and China Europe International Business School, the program helps executives renew their perspectives, rethink their role, and manage more effectively.

Featured Research

Hubei Lantian (A)
Hawkins, David F., Michael Shih-ta Chen, and Nancy Hua Dai
November 2013

The Organization of Enterprise in Japan
Nicholas, Tom
November 2013

Talent Recruitment at frog design Shanghai (B)
Eccles, Robert G., and Nancy Hua Dai
October 2013

Shanghai Pharmaceuticals
Herzlinger, Regina E., and Natalie Kindred
September 2013

Beijing's Terminal 3: Building a New Gateway to China
Fearing, Douglas, Ananth Raman, and G.A. Donovan
September 2013

Singapore Metals Limited
Gourville, John
August 2013

Africa / Middle East

Africa/Middle East photo

The Curse of Double-Digit Growth

Liberia wants fast growth in order to solidify its social and political advances. Problem is, says Eric D. Werker, countries growing that quickly "are not unequivocally a club that one should strive to join."

Executive Education

Global Colloquium on Participant-Centered Learning (GloColl)
July 24-30, 2016
The Global Colloquium on Participant-Centered Learning (GloColl) is a two-session program that seeks to build a global community of faculty members who are committed to participant-centered learning through innovative teaching and course design. Developed by Harvard Business School (HBS) senior faculty members, the program aims to help management educators improve their effectiveness by learning from their teaching.

Featured Research

Ofek, Elie, and Matthew Preble
October 2013

Ibrahim Dabdoub at the National Bank of Kuwait
Hill, Linda A., and Dana M. Teppert
July 2013

Information and Subsidies: Complements or Substitutes?
Ashraf, Nava, B. Kelsey Jack, and Emir Kamenica
July 2013

Rx: Human Nature: How Behavioral Economics Is Promoting Better Health Around the World
Ashraf, Nava
July 2013

SCMS: Battling HIV/AIDS in Africa
Raman, Ananth, Noel Watson, Santiago Kraiselburd, and Emmanuel Akili
November 2012

Angola and the Resource Curse
Werker, Eric D. and Ian Cornell
November 2012


Europe Pacific photo


LEGO toys have captivated children and their parents for 80 years. But managing the enterprise has not always been fun and games. Professor Stefan H. Thomke explains the lessons behind a new case on the company.

Executive Education

Leading With Impact
July 2016
(London, England)

Emphasizing introspection and personal discovery, this program enables you to fulfill and expand your emerging leadership potential. Through self-assessment tools and experiential learning, you examine your strengths and weaknesses while exploring best practices of extraordinary leaders. Delivering proven techniques and greater confidence, the program helps you manage your team more effectively and lead in the midst of adversity and change.

Featured Research

Estonia: From Transition to EU Membership
Porter, Michael E., Christian H.M. Ketels, and Orjan Solvell
September 2013

NHS and Social Care Workforce: Meeting Our Needs Now and in the Future?
Imison, Candace, and Richard Bohmer
August 2013

The Kashagan Production Sharing Agreement (PSA)
Esty, Benjamin C., and Florian Bitsch
August 2013

Germany's Green Energy Revolution
Maurer, Noel, Elena Corsi, Emilie Billaud, and Emer Moloney
August 2013

Luca de Meo at Volkswagen Group
Hill, Linda A., and Dana M. Teppert
July 2013

Clusters and the New Growth Path for Europe
Ketels, Christian, and Sergiy Protsiv
July 2013

Latin America

Latin America photo

No Taxation without Information: Deterrence and Self-Enforcement in the Value Added Tax

This research investigates the effectiveness of the Value Added Tax in facilitating tax enforcement and sheds light on the role of information and third-party reporting for taxation. Drawing on results from two field experiments with over 400,000 Chilean firms, it provides evidence for the self-enforcing power of the paper trail in the VAT and for spillovers in tax enforcement through firms' trading networks more generally.

Executive Education

Featured Research

Día Día Practimercados: Meeting the Daily Needs at the Base of the Pyramid (A)
Chu, Michael, Regina Garcia-Cuellar, and Rosa Amelia Gonzalez
November 2013

Kim, John J-H, Alejandra Meraz Velasco, and Christine An
August 2013

YPF-The Argentine Oil Nationalization of 2012
Maurer, Noel, and Gustavo A. Herrero
August 2013

Leadership Lessons from the Chilean Mine Rescue
Rashid, Faaiza, Amy C. Edmondson, and Herman B. Leonard
July 2013

SaferTaxi: Connecting Taxis and Passengers in South America
Coles, Peter A., and Benjamin Edelman
June 2013