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Photo of Dean Srikant Datar

The global pandemic we've endured over these many months has challenged Harvard Business School on many levels, but I could not be prouder of how our faculty, students, and staff have responded. In this FY21 Annual Report, you will see evidence of their resilience on both the balance sheet and in the vignettes that mark notable milestones of our academic calendar.

Since transitioning to my role as the School's 11th dean on January 1, 2021, I engaged in over 1,000 in-depth conversations with members of our community, listening to their hopes and dreams for our future. I believe in the power of data, and so I poured my notes from those conversations into a natural language processor to organize and analyze the themes. What rose to the surface are three powerful aspirations for HBS and three engines that will propel us toward them.

The first aspiration is to have Harvard Business School be a driving force in defining and enhancing the role of business in global society. Whether that means addressing issues of inequality, thinking about the impact of climate change, or reimagining the role of capitalism, we must demonstrate the ways businesses create positive change, and bring our influence to bear on future generations of business leaders.

The second aspiration is research in action. As scholars, we strive for impact in the academy, yet we also want our research to enhance the practice of management. Our research agenda must reflect the shifts that are occurring in the world of business, such as digitization and data science. But this must not come at the expense of the human element, designing business and operating models that demonstrate empathy and understanding and how to make the most of differences.

Because everything we do is in service to our mission of educating leaders who make a difference in the world, the third aspiration is transformation in our educational programs. This includes both what we teach and how we deliver that content. We must continue to innovate in all of our programs, equipping future leaders with the judgement and skills to manage an ever more global and diverse workforce. And we must push ourselves with the same urgency we've demonstrated during the pandemic, to find new ways of engaging learners throughout their lives with meaningful, relevant ideas.

Equally important as the aspirations are the engines that will help us achieve them. The first of these is racial equity, diversity, and inclusion. We have to work harder to attract diverse talent to the School and help every member of our community be the best they can be. The second engine is digital transformation, which means creating a digital research infrastructure and a delivery platform where we can scale our impact exponentially. The third engine is leveraging the power of Harvard University, building bridges to the humanities that will round out our partnerships with the sciences and engineering.

I look forward to keeping you informed on our progress in the coming year.

All the best and kindest regards,

Signature of Dean Srikant Datar

Srikant Datar
Dean of the Faculty