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. The ERC has contributed to more than 260 faculty publications (case studies, research notes, books and articles) and research projects. Research topics range from the challenges of European economic and financial integration, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, international capital flows, investor relations, consumer marketing, to policy-making issues and the impact of new technologies on business.

HBS Europe Research Center (ERC)

Update January - June 2014

In this update:

- New publications on APG, Go Beyond Investing, the Michelin Restaurant Guide, Brainlab, and the Novartis Malaria Initiative.
- New research note on Angel Investments in Europe and Recent Developments in Crowdfunding.
- Ongoing research in General Management; Strategy; Marketing; Business, Government and the International Economy; Technology and Operations Management.
- ERC case interviews and field research in France, Romania, Austria, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and the UK.
- Selected events: Field Immersion, HBR event in Paris, ERC roundtable with Roger Martin, Launch of HBR's French Edition, HBS British Friends Annual Dinner, ED Meetings on campus, HBS New Venture Competition, Career Coach Training, Executive Education Programs, MBA Information Sessions, and Executive Education faculty discussion in Paris.

Also, please welcome our new Research Assistants, Kristina Maslauskaite and Tonia Junker:

A Lithuanian citizen, Kristina holds two Masters degrees: one in European Economics from the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium, and a second one in Economics and Politics from Sciences Po Paris and Ecole Polytechnique Paris, France. Kristina completed her Bachelor's degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Warwick, UK. She previously worked as a research fellow in a Paris-based think-tank.

A German citizen, Tonia holds a Masters degree in International Business from the Graduate School of Business in Grenoble, France, and a Bachelor degree in European Economic Studies from the University of Bamberg, Germany, which included a one year exchange at Grenoble Ecole de Management, France. She previously worked as a product manager for the German market in the marketing department of a French clothing company.

Newly Released Cases

Case study "APG Group: Managing Pensions for the Future"

Co-authored with Professor Luis M. Viceira, FIN, the case examines how in 2013, the Dutch pension fund APG, a spinoff of the investment arm of the Dutch pension scheme ABP, was amongst the largest asset managers in the world with €324 billion in assets under management. APG had opened to other pension schemes and had transformed itself into an organization capable of offering high quality integral investment services to pension funds, attracting new clients to its platform. Nevertheless, ABP was still their main client, as well as their owner. In 2013, Angelien Kemna, APG's CEO, was redefining APG's growth strategy and exploring the possibility of widening their customer base and entering new markets outside of the Netherlands.

Case study "Go Beyond Investing"

Co-authored with Professor Lynda M. Applegate, EM, this case describes how, in 2013, Brigitte Baumann, founder of the Pan-European angel investing provider Go Beyond Investing, reflected on the evolution of her venture and the way forward. Her company, which offered deal flow and training to novice and experienced angel investors and ran investor groups in several European countries, had reached a critical size, and Baumann needed to make a strategic decision to ensure its future growth in an industry that was undergoing rapid competitive and regulatory change. Her options required a decision on whether to keep her venture independent, and use a financing round to grow and scale it to a European leader in early stage investing, or whether to cash out and/or have it evolve more quickly through a partnership or sale. Possibilities included a future sale to a private bank that was looking for ways to expand their investment offerings for high net worth individuals, or joining forces with one of the emerging crowdfunding networks that targeted small investors. All of these options would require adjustments to Go Beyond Investing's strategy, capabilities, financing, and organizational structure.

Case study "The Michelin Restaurant Guide: Charting a New Course"

Co-authored with Professor Mukti Khaire, EM, this case describes how the Michelin Restaurant Guide, which was created in 1900 by the tire manufacturer Michelin, boasted paper editions in 23 countries, and had expanded to the United States and Asia. Paper sales had dropped, following the emergence of free, online guides, global players, and more broadly, the wider diffusion of the Internet. In 2012, the Guide had launched a new range of services targeting restaurateurs. The Director of the Guide was now contemplating developing the Guide even more internationally and on digital formats, but also knew he needed to limit costs.

Case study "Reinventing Brainlab (B)"

Co-authored with Professor Regina E. Herzlinger, GM, the case explores how the management of Germany's Brainlab AG, a leading provider of software-driven oncology and surgery solutions, needs to evaluate strategic options for proceeding without an exclusive hardware partner in its most profitable business segment.

Case study "The Novartis Malaria Initiative"

Co-authored with Professor Michael Chu, GM, the case examines how the Novartis Malaria Initiative was designed, as a result of a precedent-setting agreement with the World Health Organization in 2001, to provide a breakthrough treatment for malaria "at no profit" for public health systems. What had begun as an exemplary act of corporate responsibility had succeeded beyond any expectations. In 2012, for the second year in a row, Novartis had manufactured and distributed over 100 million units of the anti-malarial drug Coartem®. But with the significantly increased volumes came increased costs, bringing into question the sustainability of the program. In 2013, Dr. Linus Igwemezie, executive vice president and head of the Novartis Malaria Initiative, reflected on the evolution of the program and the way forward. His goal was to expand access to Coartem in the private sector through a low-margin, high-volume social business model to eventually enable the Malaria Initiative to break even and become financially sustainable. Was this the right strategy?

Research note "Angel Investments in Europe and Recent Developments in Crowdfunding"

Co-authored with Professor Lynda M. Applegate, EM, this technical note provides information on the evolution and current state of angel investing in Europe. The note first describes the role and types of angel investors, focusing on their investment preferences and practices. It then details the new trends in the market, including the development of policy tools and the proliferation of incubators/accelerators to support angel investors. Finally, the note explores salient issues in angel investing for the future and pays particular attention to the recent developments in crowdfunding.

Sample Research in Progress

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

- A case study on how a British publishing and education company invested in private education for low cost private schools in developing countries, with Professor Michael Chu, GM.
- A case study on how two Swedish founders hired a professional CEO to run and scale their startup, with Professor Joseph B. Fuller, GM.
- A case study on building a Danish bakery chain, with Professor Krishna G. Palepu, GM.
- A case study on a Norwegian telecommunications company's mobile financial services business, with Professor Tarun Khanna, STRAT.

The ERC is also exploring a case on a European brewing company, with Professors Jose B. Alvarez, MKT, and Forest L. Reinhardt, BGIE, and a case on an Italian bank that runs a cash-for-cheese loan scheme, with Professor Nikolaos Trichakis, TOM.

Visits Involving the Center

Research activities in January 2014 through June 2014 involved case site interviews in:

• France, for a research project on how the automation of a Parisian metro line came with a professional adjustment for certain employees, from driving trains to service work, with Professor Michel Anteby, OB.
• Romania and Austria, for a case study on an oil and gas company, with Professor Dante Roscini, BGIE.
• Germany, for a case study on a German medium-sized manufacturer's efforts in diversity management, particularly regarding workers with immigrant backgrounds, with Professor Clayton S. Rose, GM.
• Norway, for a case study on a Norwegian telecommunications company's mobile financial services business, with Professor Tarun Khanna, STRAT.
• Sweden and Denmark, for a case study on two Swedish woman entrepreneurs who successfully developed an innovative, highly engineered bicycle helmet, with Professor Joseph B. Fuller, GM.
• The UK, for a case study on endowment investing and management at one of the oldest endowed institutions in the world, with Professor Luis M. Viceira, FIN.

In addition, we were happy to see here in Paris:

HBS/HU Faculty:

• Prof. Michel Anteby, OB
• Prof. George Serafeim, ACCT
• Prof. Amy C. Edmondson, TOM
• Prof. Richard M.J. Bohmer, TOM

HBS/HU Staff:

• Ms. Victoria Winston, Executive Director, Global Initiative
• Mr. Richard P. Melnick, Chief Financial Officer, Financial Office
• Ms. Mary Ann O'Loughlin, Director, Corporate Relations and Market Development, Exec.Ed.
• Mr. Bill Shea, Director, Corporate Relations & Market Development, Exec.Ed.
• Ms. Sarah MacElroy, Executive Education Alumni Reunions Manager, Exec.Ed.
• Ms. Jill Fadule, Senior Member HBS Admissions Board, MBA Admissions
• Ms. Becky Miller, MBA Program
• Ms. Carin Knoop, Executive Director, Case Research and Writing Group
• Ms. Lauren Alviti, Assistant Director, Alumni Relations, External Relations


• Mr. David Wan, CEO, Harvard Business Publishing
• Mr. Adi Ignatius, Editor-in-Chief, Harvard Business Review
• Mr. Matthew Prisco, HBSP Senior Strategic Relationship Manager
• Ms. Caroline Sim, European Director Harvard Business Publishing - Corporate Learning
• Ms. Michele McMahon, Senior Director, Learning Solutions, HBSP
• Mr. Eric Le Braz, Editor-in-Chief HBR France
• Mr. Gabriel Joseph-Dezaize, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, HBR France
• Ms. Claire Derville, HBR France
• Ms. Sandrine Chauvin, HBR France

Other Visitors:

• Mr. Eric Deram (MBA 1998), Euro Private Equity SA
• Mr. Pierre Gadonneix (DBA 1974), EDF Honorary President, HBS Club de France President
• Mr. Mourad Bahri, new MBA admit
• Ms. Mary Falvey (MBA 1967)
• Mr. Xavier Morin, potential MBA applicant
• Ms. Nishani Siriwardane, DBA Program, HBS
• Ms. Muse Bertoli, former HBS staff
• Mr. Morgan Franc (MBA 2014)
• Mr. Michael Zaoui (MBA 1983)


Field Immersion in Istanbul, Turkey, and Chengdu, China, January: Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development (FIELD), a curricular innovation, is a required first-year course that focuses on developing small-group learning experiences that are immersive, field-based, and action-oriented. The course requires a global immersion experience - an 8-day team-based project - in January. In this year's third edition, the MBA students participated in 150 different projects around the world, mostly in developing countries, helping local organizations implement specific projects. In Europe, 86 students were sent on 16 different projects in Istanbul with the help and support of the ERC. The European cohorts were led by faculty members Prof. Amy C. Edmondson, TOM, and Prof. Tom Nicholas, EM. Jérôme Lenhardt, ERC Research Assistant, and Jan Pianca, Educational Programs Assistant Director Europe, travelled respectively to Istanbul, Turkey, and Chengdu, China, to support the program as program managers.

HBR Event sponsored by Steelcase in Paris, France, January: Design thinking expert Roger L. Martin joined Harvard Business Review editor in chief Adi Ignatius at an HBR event, sponsored by Steelcase, to talk about innovation to a select audience comprising top minds in the Paris worlds of design, architecture, product development, consulting, and fashion. Victoria Winston (Executive Director of the Global Initiative), Matthew Prisco (HBSP Senior Strategic Relationship Manager), Caroline Sim (European Director Harvard Business Publishing - Corporate Learning), Mary Ann O'Loughlin (Director, Corporate Relations and Market Development, Executive Education), Bill Shea (Director, Corporate Relations & Market Development, Executive Education), David Wan (CEO, Harvard Business Publishing), Vincent Dessain (ERC Executive Director), and the ERC team attended the event.

Roundtable Discussion with Roger L. Martin in Paris, France, January: The breakfast discussion was hosted at the Europe Research Center by David Wan, CEO of Harvard Business Publishing, and Vincent Dessain, and gathered approximately 20 participants. Roger L. Martin, named the No. 3 Management Thinker in the World by The Thinkers50, shared the key strategy methods, featured in his book 'Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works'. A group discussion with peers around these approaches was moderated by the author. 'Playing to Win' was recently awarded the distinguished 2013 Thinkers50 Best Book Award.

Launch of HBR's French edition in Paris, France, January: On January 16, 2014, HBR celebrated the launch of HBR's French edition with their partner Prisma Media. The Paris event featured two panel discussions, including one on accelerating change with Accenture Global Chairman & CEO Pierre Nanterne, and culminated with a cocktail reception. Media and influencers from the elite business community in Paris attended the event. The event was welcomed with great enthusiasm by Vincent Dessain and the ERC team.

HBS British Friends Annual Dinner 2014, London, UK, January: On January 22, 2014, the HBS British Friends annual dinner was held at the Carlton Hotel in London, UK. Guest speaker Professor Richard M.J. Bohmer, TOM, gave a presentation on the politics of healthcare. Vincent Dessain attended the event.

Meeting of Executive Directors of the Asia-Pacific, India, Japan, Latin America and Europe Research Centers, in Boston, U.S., February and May: In addition to the meetings and working session with his peers from the other global HBS research centers, Vincent Dessain also met with several faculty members across all units to discuss ongoing cases and pitch new European case leads. The trip also included meetings with staff members and coaching sessions with MBA students.

HBS New Venture Competition in Paris, France, March: On March 19, 2014, the HBS Club of France hosted the Regional Final of the New Venture Competition for Europe & Israel. The panel of judges was composed of experienced venture capitalists coming from Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Spain, Switzerland and the UK and investing in all the high growth areas of Internet, IT, Cleantech, MedTech and Life Sciences. In addition to the selection event, networking sessions took place at France Amériques to share experiences with serial entrepreneurs. Lauren Alviti, Assistant Director, Alumni Relations, External Relations, and Vincent Dessain attended the event.

2014 MBA and Alumni Career Coach Training in Boston, U.S., May: The Annual Career Coaching Training is attended by all HBS Career Coaches worldwide. It represents a great occasion to learn about the latest coaching techniques, to better understand the latest trends in terms of student's career choices, and to take the pulse of the different industries in terms of hiring. It is also a very good occasion for the Coaches to share best practices, questions, and suggestions. Earlier this year, Alumni Career Coaching was merged with MBA students coaching. This year's training was paying particular attention to alumni coaching, focusing on what this entails in terms of alumni expectations and coaching techniques. Jan Pianca attended the training.

Executive Education program "Intellectual Property Strategy", in London, June: This executive education program, which is offered in London, exposes senior executives and lawyers to tools and techniques that enable their organizations to protect innovative products, creative works, novel designs, and promising brands. This unique program brings together leading faculty from Harvard Business School (HBS) and Harvard Law School (HLS) to examine how recent trends in European and international IP law have influenced global IP management. The ERC provided support during the global outreach to potential participants ahead of the program.

MBA Information Sessions in Milan, Italy, Madrid, Spain, and Berlin, Germany, June: These information sessions, kindly hosted by Assolombarda in Milan, Fundación Rafael del Pino in Madrid, and the Hilton Hotel in Berlin, were organized to present the Harvard Business School MBA program, including admission process, curriculum and funding, to potential candidates in these three major European cities. The events, which gathered over 120 participants in total, were co-organized by Rachel Frankenfield, Assistant Director, MBA Admissions Outreach, Tasha Stone, Staff Assistant, Vincent Dessain, and Jan Pianca. In each presentation, the potential applicants could interact with a panel composed of HBS alumni.

Executive Education Program "Leading High-Performance Health Care Organizations", in Paris, France, June: Led by HBS faculty members Richard M.J. Bohmer, TOM, and Amy C. Edmondson, TOM, the executive education program "Leading High-Performance Healthcare Organizations" exposes senior healthcare leaders to new models and strategies for enhancing the performance of their organization. Presented by HBS Executive Education in partnership with the HBS Healthcare Initiative, this leadership development program examines and compares organizational practices both within and outside the healthcare industry and offers insights into how leaders can maximize effectiveness and improve value within a dynamic and competitive healthcare environment. The ERC staff attended some of the sessions.

Executive Education Event: Faculty Case Discussion with Professor Amy C. Edmondson, TOM, in Paris, France, June: Professor Amy C. Edmondson, TOM, facilitated a case discussion for selected contacts of the school and alumni on the Chilean Mining Rescue case to illuminate the principles of "teaming," and to demonstrate how cross-disciplinary collaboration and innovation contributed to the rescue's success. This interactive case discussion, practiced every day in HBS classrooms, provided an example of the HBS Executive Education experience and was followed by a networking event at Hotel du Collectionneur, in Paris, France. The event, which was organized by Mary Ann O'Loughlin, Director, Corporate Relations and Market Development, gathered approximately 70 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