Europe Research Center

The Europe Research Center in Paris (ERC) opened in 2003, and plays an important role in helping HBS develop and strengthen relationships with European business and academic leaders. The ERC enables Harvard Business School faculty to study more effectively one of the world's most important economic regions during a time of significant transformation. To date the Europe Research Center has cooperated with over 125 HBS faculty members on more than 300 research and course development projects in 24 countries. Research topics range from the challenges of European economic and financial integration, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, international capital flows, investor relations, and consumer marketing to policy-making issues and the impact of new technologies on business.

HBS Europe Research Center (ERC)

Update July - December 2014

In this update:

- New publications on IKEA, Teckentrup, Sanofi Pasteur, the Noma Restaurant, and Morocco.
- Support for an exhibition at the Baker Library on General Georges F. Doriot, a Harvard Business School professor and a founder of the modern venture capital industry.
- Ongoing research in Finance, Marketing, and Accounting.
- ERC case interviews and field research in the UK, Switzerland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, and Spain.
- And selected events such as the ERC Roundtable with Professor Dante Roscini; Glocoll in Boston; European Advisory Board Meeting in Boston; International Research Symposium and Executive Director's meeting on Campus; MBA Information Session and Yield Event in Paris; Breakfast discussion with Josh Lerner in Paris; and a Lunch discussion on LEGO in London.

We were very fortunate to welcome two outstanding Harvard College students to the ERC team for a two-month summer internship: Ms. Cristina Cornejo and Mr. Alpkaan Celik. We would like to thank them for their great work and we wish them the very best of luck and the greatest of success in their future careers!

Happy Holidays from the HBS Europe Research Center. At the close of another year, we gratefully pause to wish you a warm and happy holiday season!

Newly Released Cases

Case study "Sustainability at IKEA Group"

Co-authored with Professor V. Kasturi Rangan, MKT, and Professor Michael W. Toffel, TOM, the case explores how by 2014, IKEA Group was the largest home furnishing company, with EUR28.5 billion of sales, and planned to reach EUR50 billion by 2020, mainly from emerging markets. IKEA Group had adopted in 2012 a new sustainability strategy that focused the company's efforts on its entire value chain from its raw materials sourcing to the lifestyle of its end consumers. The plan especially centered on wood, which represented 60% of IKEA Group's total procurement in volume and constituted a key lever for the company to increase its positive impact on sustainability. IKEA Group Management had to decide how to manage its portfolio of wood sustainability initiatives, especially in the context of the company's aggressive growth plan.

Case study "Teckentrup: A Door to Managing Difference"

Co-authored with Professor Clayton S. Rose, GM, the case describes how for Kai Teckentrup, the owner and co-CEO of the German "Mittelstand" door manufacturer Teckentrup, balancing competitive pressures, demographic realities and values were at the heart of the diversity program that he had started and championed at the company. Attracting skilled workers to Germany was a national imperative; as the native population aged and its numbers in the workforce shrank, it was critical to find new workers to fund and maintain the retirement and social service programs provided by the government. The company had made significant progress, and Kai was a recognized leader in German business for his attention to and success in managing diversity, but he knew there was much more to do.

Case study "Sanofi Pasteur: The Dengue Vaccine Dilemma"

Co-authored with Professor V. Kasturi Rangan, MKT, and Professor David E. Bloom, from the Harvard School of Public Health, the case examines how in 2012 Sanofi Pasteur was racing to develop a vaccine against dengue, a mosquito-borne disease, and was evaluating this product in a Phase IIb trial conducted with school children in Thailand. While the candidate vaccine met the high safety expectations and had a good balanced immune answer, it had a proof of efficacy of only 30%, far below the 70% mark the company had targeted. Guillaume Leroy, vice president of the Dengue Company at Sanofi Pasteur, reflected on the Phase IIb trial's surprising outcome and the way forward. He had to decide whether to go ahead with the vaccine trials and production, and if so, he needed to develop a strategic plan on how to price and deliver the vaccine for a rapid roll-out.

Case study "Noma: A Lot on the Plate"

Co-authored with Professor Mukti Khaire, EM, the case describes how in 2014, the Danish restaurant Noma in Copenhagen was considered to be amongst the best restaurants in the world, and its co-founder, co-owner and chef René Redzepi among the most influential chefs. Since 2013 Noma had a new investor, the American Marc Blazer, who joined to help Redzepi increase the restaurant's margins to make it a more sustainable business. But the question was: how? What options were really available?

Case study "Doing Business in Morocco"

Co-authored with Professor Jill J. Avery, GM, this case examines the challenges and opportunities of doing business in Morocco. It highlights Morocco's ongoing economic transformation in the decades leading up to 2014 in the context of its historical, political, and cultural background. The case then summarizes some of the main obstacles faced by businesses- changing regulations and insufficient access to credit, infrastructure and talent constraints, and a large informal sector - contrasting these with the benefits of operating in a market that provides access to the African continent and proximity to Europe, has relatively low labor costs, and has created a series of investment incentives. Some of these challenges are illustrated through the discussion of an investment decision by French car maker Renault, which opened a new manufacturing facility in Morocco's free trade zone near Tangier. Now a few years into operating the facility, the case zooms in on some obstacles that Renault encountered, such as scarcity of trained staff and local suppliers, and on the progress that was made, in order to evaluate the potential of the investment going forward.

"General Georges F. Doriot - Exhibition at the Baker Library"

Baker Library Historical Collections at Harvard Business School is organizing an exhibition on the career and influence of General Georges F. Doriot, a charismatic Harvard Business School professor and a founder of the modern venture capital industry. During his 40-year tenure at HBS, Doriot taught business and leadership in his celebrated Manufacturing course to nearly 7,000 students. He also realized his dream of establishing the first MBA program in Europe by helping establish INSEAD. Finally, as president of the American Research & Development Corporation (ARD), an early venture capital firm founded in 1946, Doriot played a pioneering role in the emergence of the postwar entrepreneurial economy. The exhibition opened in the North Lobby of Baker Library | Bloomberg Center on October 30, 2014 and will run through the summer of 2015. The ERC participated in this project by gathering materials to illustrate the founding of INSEAD and by organizing interviews with alumni Claude Janssen (MBA 1955) and Olivier Giscard d'Estaing (MBA 1951).

Sample Research in Progress

The ERC is currently working on several cases and research projects such as:

- A case study on endowment investing and management at one of the oldest endowed universities in the world, with Professor Luis M. Viceira, FIN.
- A case study on the innovation strategy of a global chemical company, with Professor V. Kasturi Rangan, MKT.
- A case study on how a global retail banking group is reviewing its strategy and presence in core markets, with Professor David S. Scharfstein and Professor Luis M. Viceira, FIN.
- A case study on a famous Italian fashion blogger and shoe designer, with Professor Anat Keinan, MKT.

The ERC is also exploring a case on a Scandinavian energy company and its financial disclosure policy, with Professor Paul M. Healy, ACCT, Senior Associate Dean for Research, and Professor George Serafeim, ACCT.

Visits Involving the Center

Research activities in July 2014 through December 2014 involved case site interviews in:

• The UK, for a case on a British publishing and education company, with Professor Michael Chu, GM.
• Switzerland for a case with Professor Forest L. Reinhardt, BGIE, on a global agribusiness that markets seeds and agrochemicals.
• Europe, for a research project on new ways to execute workforce reductions and restructuring actions, with Professor Sandra J. Sucher, GM.
• Italy, for case on an Italian bank that runs a cash-for-cheese loan scheme, with Professor Nikolaos Trichakis, TOM.
• The Netherlands, for a case on a global brewing company, with Professors Forest L. Reinhardt, BGIE, and José B. Alvarez, MKT.
• Germany, for a case on the innovation strategy of a global chemical company, with Professor V. Kasturi Rangan, MKT.
• France/India, for a case with Professor Tarun Khanna, and Visiting Professor Gautam Ahuja, STRAT, on how a French multinational company deals with the challenges of water resource management in emerging markets.
• Spain, for a case on a Spanish retail banking group, with Professor David S. Scharfstein and Professor Luis M. Viceira, FIN.
• France: support for an exhibition on the life and career of General Georges F. Doriot, with Laura Linard, Director, Baker Special Collections.
• The UK, for a case on an Italian fashion blogger, with Professor Anat Keinan, MKT.

In addition, we were happy to see here in Paris (and for some of them in other European locations):

HBS/HU Faculty:

• Prof. Michael Chu, GM
• Prof. Dante Roscini, BGIE
• Prof. Nikolaos Trichakis, TOM
• Prof. José B. Alvarez, MKT
• Prof. Forest L. Reinhardt, BGIE
• Prof. V. Kasturi Rangan, MKT
• Prof. Gautam Ahuja, STRAT
• Prof. David S. Scharfstein, FIN
• Prof. Josh Lerner, EM/FIN

HBS/HU Staff:

• Ms. Carin Knoop, Executive Director, Case Research and Writing Group
• Ms. Mary Louise Shelman, Director, Agribusiness Program and Senior Researcher
• Ms. Mary Ann O'Loughlin, Director, Corporate Relations and Market Development, Exec.Ed.
• Ms. Rachel Frankenfield, Assistant Director, MBA Admissions Outreach
• Ms. Becky Miller, MBA Program
• Ms. Kim Keelan, Assistant Director, Global Human Resources
• Ms. Joan Haggerty-Hiltz, Assistant Controller, Global Operations


• Ms. Caroline Sim, European Director Harvard Business Publishing - Corporate Learning

Other Visitors:

• Prof. Gerry Tsoukalas, Wharton
• Mr. Edouard Delvaux, new MBA admit
• Mr. Camille Tyan (MBA 2012)
• Mr. Karol Misztal, former ERC Research Associate
• Mr. Thierry Virol (Senior Adviser, Alixio)
• Ms. Anne Anquetil-Lelièvre (Manager, Alixio)
• Mr. Philippe Colombé, accountant
• Ms. Peibei He, former GI staff at the Harvard Center in Shanghai
• Ms. Catherine Conte, ERC Payroll accountant
• Mr. Olivier Giscard d'Estaing (MBA 1951)
• Mr. Claude Janssen (MBA 1955)
• Ms. Delphine Galezowski (MBA 2011)
• Mr. Philippe Vivien (COO & General Manager, Alixio)


Roundtable Discussion with Professor Dante Roscini, Paris - July: The breakfast discussion was hosted at the Europe Research Center (ERC) by Nida Januskis, Specialist Alumni Development, HBS External Relations, and Vincent Dessain, ERC Executive Director, and gathered 10 participants. Keynote speaker Professor Dante Roscini, BGIE, facilitated a discussion on "The road to normalization: a safe passage?" He shared his thoughts on the apparent euphoria in various asset markets that seems to point towards renewed confidence that the world is progressing towards economic normalization. After seven years of crisis the recovery seems to be in reach - even though at different speeds in various areas of the world. Will it be a smooth path? What are the critical risks? The following discussion with the participants was also moderated by the faculty.

Visit on Campus for the sixth edition of HBS' Glocoll Program, Boston - July: The program "Global Colloquium on Participant Centered Learning" is designed for professors from Business Schools in Europe, Asia, and Latin America and focuses on how to teach using the case method. The ERC collaborates in the outreach to and recruitment of European faculty. Vincent Dessain and Jan Pianca, Educational Programs Assistant Director Europe, attend the event every year. This year's edition was another success with 132 faculty members attending from 24 different countries. Vincent and Jan's trip also included meetings with faculty members to scope and pitch new projects, and with staff members, particularly of executive education, human resources, and global operations.

EAB Meeting on Campus, Boston - October: The European Advisory Board Meeting, which was held on the HBS campus in Boston on October 1st, 2014, was the first board meeting since the merger of the European Advisory Board and the European Leadership Council. The merger, which had been implemented earlier this year, was designed to harmonize the structure within the School. Board Chairman Mark Schneider, CEO of Fresenius, and Professor Ramon Casadesus-Masanell welcomed the 20 participants. They especially thanked Claire Cronin, Christine Funck, Karen Wilson, George Veltchev, and Jean-Marc Daillance for their service and advice, as they did not transition to the European Advisory Board. They then introduced Professor Luis M. Viceira, George E. Bates Professor and new Senior Associate Dean for International Development. The meeting continued with a presentation of the latest developments of the School, including the new HBX CORe certificate program, the first university-wide Capital Campaign, and the MBA Career and Professional Development's work in Europe. Vincent Dessain provided an update on the latest activities of the Center.

International Research Symposium and Meeting of Executive Directors of the Asia-Pacific, India, Japan, Latin America, Istanbul, and Europe Research Centers, in Boston - October: Vincent Dessain attended the 2014 International Research Symposium and board meeting of the Harvard Business School Global Advisors on September 30, 2014, as well as the Executive Director's meeting on October 2, 2014. He also met with several faculty members across all units to discuss ongoing cases and pitch new European case leads. His trip also included meetings with staff members from HBR and from HBX, as well as several coaching sessions with MBA students.

MBA Information Session and Yield Event in Paris - October: The information session, kindly hosted by Bain in Paris, was organized to present the Harvard Business School MBA program and its admission process, curriculum and funding to potential future MBA applicants. The presentation, which gathered over 100 participants, was led by Rachel Frankenfield, Assistant Director, MBA Admissions Outreach. After the presentation, the potential applicants could interact with a panel composed of HBS alumni. Jan Pianca participated in the organization and attended the event. For the first time in Paris, the ERC, together with MBA Admissions, also organized a yield event for potential MBA applicants. The event, which was hosted on the 1st floor of the ERC offices, gathered approximately 10 potential applicants. The participants had the opportunity to interact with an MBA alumna and ask questions about the MBA. Jan Pianca, and Jérôme Lenhardt, ERC Research Assistant, attended the event.

Breakfast discussion with Josh Lerner in Paris - November: On November 20, 2014, HBS External Relations hosted a roundtable discussion and breakfast with Professor Josh Lerner, Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Investment Banking. The event at the Hôtel de Vendôme gathered about 30 participants. Professor Lerner discussed the challenges faced by both the buyout and venture capital industries. After an orgy of investments in the mid-2000s, private equity funds suffered a hangover of epic proportions. In recent quarters, however, the portfolios of private equity funds have recovered in a manner that has surprised even the most optimistic observers. Meanwhile, venture capital, after a prolonged drought, has experienced new life-and even the repeat of bubble-like behavior, according to some observers. But all is not rosy: many of the investors on which these funds have traditionally depended, such as endowments and pensions, have increasingly looked to bypass funds and to instead pursue direct investments in private firms. The talk explored this unsettled and often mysterious territory and offered some surprising predictions about the future of these sectors. Group discussion with participants was moderated by the faculty.

Roundtable Discussion with Vincent Dessain in London - December: On December 9, 2014, Nida Januskis from External Relations organized another roundtable lunch discussion in London with Vincent Dessain as a keynote speaker. The discussion focused on some of the current research at the ERC including the recent LEGO case. Vincent also reviewed the life of a case from idea to publication, and opened it up for feedback. The event gathered approximately ten participants.


We welcome all suggestions and comments. Please contact us:

Vincent Dessain, Executive Director,
Daniela Beyersdorfer, Assistant Director,
Elena Corsi, Senior Researcher,
Jan Pianca, Educational Programs Manager Europe,
Emilie Billaud, Research Assistant,
Emer Moloney, Research Assistant,
Jérôme Lenhardt, Research Assistant,
Kristina Maslauskaite, Research Assistant,
Tonia Junker, Research Assistant,
Oksana Sichi, Office Administrator,

More information about the ERC:

Best regards,
The staff of the HBS Europe Research Center

Past Editions













A&M Accounting and Management
MKT Marketing
BGIE Business, Government and the International Economy
NOM Negotiation, Organizations & Markets
EM Entrepreneurial Management
OB Organizational Behavior
FIN Finance
STRAT Strategy
GM General Management
TOM Technology and Operations Management