I was born in Rajasthan, India, came to the U.S. when I was
very young, and grew
up in New Hampshire, Delaware, and Massachusetts. I attended Harvard College, Harvard Law
School, and Harvard Business School, and then went to McKinsey & Company in
New York City. I was at McKinsey for
only a few months when Mike Wheeler, who was a professor and mentor of mine at
HBS, called to see if I wanted to teach Negotiations on a two-year appointment
at HBS. I left McKinsey on a
leave-of-absence, fully intending to go back, but the excitement of the
classroom, the platform for influencing the world, and the sheer energy of the
place have kept me here for 16 years.
I teach courses on negotiations, deal making, corporate law,and corporate governance, to JD, MBA, and executive education students at both HLS and HBS. I also chair our JD/MBA program, which is a four-year joint degree between HLS and HBS. As a dual professor at HBS and HLS, I love
the different perspectives that the two schools offer: the policy-orientation
and institutional design perspective of HLS, combined with the practicality and
global reach of HBS. I urge students at
both schools to take advantage of these different perspectives, and indeed all
the resources and opportunities available across Harvard University.
What I love about the HBS classroom is the give-and-take of
the case study method. The problems that
we tackle rarely have right or wrong answers, but there are certainly better
and worse answers. Each day we
challenge each other’s' thinking, and over the course of a semester and over
the course of two years we try to develop judgment --- in my opinion the
scarcest but most important managerial talent.
It's a fun environment and I feel very privileged to be part of it.
Nearly a quarter-century of being at Harvard (8 years as a
student and 16 on the faculty) generates lots of special memories. One of my favorite occurred on my first day
of teaching, back in September 1999. I
don't think I have ever been as prepared for class as I was that day. Afterwards I went straight to Professor
Wheeler's office to report back on how class went. In all my enthusiasm I hadn't noticed that my
blue suit was covered almost entirely with yellow chalk dust.
When I walked in to Mike's office, he didn't
miss a beat: "It looks like you've been pollinated!" The next day Mike arranged to have painters'
overalls waiting for me when I arrived at my desk. I still keep them to this day, unopened, in
my HBS office. It is a small symbol of
how supportive, high-energy, and special this place is.