Victoria Winston is Executive Director of the HBS Global Initiative and has a long history with the school. She joined in her current capacity more than 10 years ago and worked as a research associate at HBS with Professor Myra Hart before that. Under her leadership, the school has opened 7 new global offices.
Winston is a Wharton graduate, and has held senior marketing and strategy positions at a number of high-tech firms. She grew up in Pakistan, where her father was a development economist.
To learn more about the global research and activities of HBS – visit www.hbs.edu/global.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE GLOBAL INITIATIVE AT HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL?
The Global Initiative is anchored by a five person team based in Boston with over 50 staff sitting in key regions around the world. The centers contribute to the school’s global strategy, work with faculty on their research and support student programming. We play a critical role in the School’s efforts to build a deep understanding of and expertise in global business practice and innovation. We like to think of ourselves as HBS’ eyes and ears on the ground in the 12 countries in which we operate.
December 2015: The Europe Research Center team helping MBA to welcome new admits to the Class of 2018 along the Champs-Élysées, just steps from the ERC office.
WHERE ARE THE GLOBAL RESEARCH CENTERS LOCATED? WHAT WAS THE FIRST? WHAT IS THE MOST RECENT?
HBS has nine global research centers and four regional offices around the world – plus we expect to open an Africa office by the end of 2016. The first “global” research center opened in Silicon Valley in 1997 – the California Research Center. This was followed by our Asia-Pacific Research Center in Hong Kong just two years later. In the last year, to support faculty research interest in a broadening geography, we have opened offices in Singapore, Dubai and Tel Aviv.
Today we are in 13 cities worldwide: Menlo Park, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Paris, Mumbai, Shanghai, Istanbul, São Paulo, Singapore, Dubai, Tel Aviv, and Mexico City – using these locations to cover most areas of the globe.
In fact, we are celebrating our 20th Anniversary this year – the initiative was officially established in 1996.
WHERE WAS THE LAST PLACE YOU TRAVELED? WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THE TRIP?
In March I traveled to Tokyo to visit the Japan Research Center and join the annual HBS Japan Advisory Board meeting. In each region where we have a Center, there is an HBS advisory board made up of leaders from business, academia and government, many of them our alums. They provide the School with invaluable support for the research, student, and alumni facing activities happening in their regions. They serve to counsel the center Executive Directors as they manage the growth and activities directed from their centers. For example, many of our board members have connected HBS to FIELD Global Immersion (FGI) project partners in the countries where our RCs will be heading in May!
HOW MANY DEPARTMENTS AND OFFICES AROUND CAMPUS DO YOU COLLABORATE WITH?
What’s great about working on global activities here at HBS is that we probably touch every single department around campus! We recently worked with the Division of Research and Faculty Development (DRFD) to organize a symposium and faculty immersion to Germany, and are currently working with External Relations to pull off our 6th Biennial International Research Symposium, which will take place here on campus in October with over 100 of our Global Advisory Board members. In 2010, as we established a center and classroom in Shanghai, we couldn’t have done it without partnering with Operations, IT and Media Services who ensured that the set up in China looked just like our classrooms in Hawes or Aldrich. Additionally Admissions, Career and Professional Development, and Executive Education are other departments we often collaborate with for in-country programming and advice.
June 2016: HBS Campaign Event in Istanbul - Istanbul Research Center team with Dean Nohria.
WHAT ROLE DO THE GLOBAL INITIATIVE AND THE GLOBAL RESEARCH CENTERS PLAY IN GEO’S PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT?
Many of our Global Research Centers help to support GEO in the development of immersion programs around the world. As I mentioned earlier, we help to identify and recruit local companies to serve as Global Partners for RCs traveling on the FIELD Global Immersion (FGI). Given our local knowledge, we might have suggestions about logistics, cultural activities, company visits, alumni interaction and more.
On the EC front, our Japan Research Center has been so integral to Professor Takeuchi’s Japan Immersive Field Course (IFC) that they just published a book on the experience describing how the program (now 6 years running!) ties into curriculum innovation at HBS, and student learnings from their experience in the Tohoku region working with local entrepreneurs.
WHERE ELSE DURING THEIR TIME AT HBS MIGHT STUDENTS COME IN CONTACT WITH THE GLOBAL INITIATIVE?
That contact might take place right at the beginning of your relationship with HBS. Prospective students from abroad may have met our center staff at an Admissions event in their region, or been interviewed at one of our centers. When accepted, it is not unusual for the Executive Director of a center to reach out to ensure that you have all the information you need to make this important decision. Additionally students interested in interning or working in some of our regions might meet with a career coach from our centers.
Most importantly students come across our work products every day! Our research centers have partnered with faculty to produce hundreds of the global case studies used by MBA students both at HBS and elsewhere. For example, if you’re an EC taking Professor Reinert’s GEM class, the East Timor case in late September was written with our Asia-Pacific Research Center; or if you’re taking Professor Roscini’s MITI class, you’ll be reading cases about Japan, Argentina and Mynamar, all developed with the support of our global centers.
For the RCs and ECs participating in global immersions this year – be on the lookout for our research center staff around the world while you’re in country!
ANY OTHER FUN FACTS ABOUT THE GLOBAL INITIATIVE AND RESEARCH CENTERS?
- We have seven HBS MBA graduates currently working for our team!
- International students have been a part of the MBA program since the school’s founding in 1908 – the first class had international students from both Paris and Shanghai.
- The HBS Global Research Centers in Mumbai and Shanghai are home to the only two HBS-style classrooms located outside of Boston. Local architects used floor plans from campus to recreate the same exact classroom setup – and today they are utilized for global Executive Education programs.