News & Highlights

  • FEBRUARY 2021

We the Possibility: A talk by Professor Mitchell Weiss

In a talk moderated by founder and CEO of Your Story Media, Shradha Sharma, Professor Mitchell Weiss discussed the tenets of a new way of governing, including involving citizens in designing solutions and testing and experimentation as a regular part of solving public problems. He shared findings from his recent book, We the Possibility: Harnessing Public Entrepreneurship to Solve Our Most Urgent Problems. Many in society might feel as though we have come to accept that government cannot solve problems like climate change, crumbling infrastructure, declining public education and social services. It's too big, too slow, and mired in bureaucracy. Not so, says former public official, now Harvard Business School professor, Mitchell Weiss. Entrepreneurial spirit and savvy in government are transforming the public sector's response to big problems at all levels. The key, Professor Weiss argues, is a shift from a mindset of Probability Government to Possibility Government - public leadership and management that's willing to boldly imagine new possibilities and to experiment.
  • DECEMBER 2021

Roundtable: Leadership in the Digital Era with Professor Linda Hill

On December 16, 2020, the IRC organized a virtual research roundtable on Leadership in the Digital Era with Linda Hill, Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration. This was one of a series of five roundtables conducted by Harvard Center Shanghai, the Japan Research Center, and the India Research Center. The goal was to bring together the diverse perspectives of large traditional companies and smaller, newer start-ups. The participants included founders of tech start-ups, and leaders from mid-sized organizations, large banks and FMCG and media conglomerates. Key insights were that in a world of fast-evolving technologies, the paradigms of leadership do not change, but leaders now need to be more comfortable with uncertainty and more accepting of experimentation and mistakes.
  • DECEMBER 2020

South Asia: MBA New Admits Event

This January the IRC organized a virtual event for newly admitted students from South Asia. Attendees had the opportunity to ask HBS alumni about career paths, recruiting opportunities on campus, and the resources and support that HBS and the HBS community provides during the MBA program and after graduation. Alumni shared glimpses into the HBS MBA experience, student life, their academic and career journeys post the MBA program, and alumni benefits.
  • October 2020

24 Hours of Harvard

Worldwide Week at Harvard showcases the breadth of Harvard’s global engagement through academic and cultural events with global or international themes. On October 7th-8th, Harvard broadcasted 24 Hours of Harvard, which featured 24 consecutive hours of around-the-clock and around-the-world events and activities. The HBS India Research Center, in collaboration with the India Center of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health , Harvard Business Publishing and the India Office of The Lakshmi Mittal and Family, South Asia Institute, curated “Dastaan è South Asia” (Narratives from South Asia, Part 2, Time stamp: 06:00:00). The presentation showcased the range of work Harvard has done in South Asia. This includes efforts to drive public health communication & policy translation, influence management practice and capability building in education, and adopting smart business models, leveraging technology and using business as a force for good. Using the visual story telling medium, “Dastaan e South Asia” shared stories from front line workers, leaders in business, academia, government, HBS alumni, donors and other stakeholders to showcase the diversity, development challenges and cultural context of the region.

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  • June 2020

Science, Business & Vaccine Development to Combat the Pandemic

On June 10, 2020 the India Research Center hosted a webinar in partnership with Harvard Business Publishing and The Lakshmi Mittal & Family South Asia Institute, Harvard University titled, “Science Business, and Vaccine Development to Combat the Pandemic.” Through the lens of a contemporary case study, Professor Tarun Khanna shared the geopolitics of how vaccines are developed, the funding and distribution that is critical to the effort, and the global alliances that facilitate this today. He also engaged Dr. Gagandeep Kang, Executive Director, Translational Health Science and Technology Institute & Vice Chairperson of The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations; Umang Vohra, Managing Director & Global Chief Executive Officer, Cipla Ltd and Dr. David E. Bloom, Clarence James Gamble Professor of Economics & Demography, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in a discussion on the South Asia context. A recording of the webinar can be viewed here.

New Research on the Region

  • July 2021
  • Case


By: Ranjay Gulati, Kairavi Dey and Rachna Tahilyani

Fynd is a fast-growing venture that in 7 years since its founding has become India's largest omnichannel retail company with real-time access to over 9,000 stores' offline inventory. It started as a B2B business supporting retailers who didn’t have an online business, but pivoted to a B2C platform that allowed customers to shop directly from nearby retail stores through its website and app. Over time, Fynd continued with its B2C platform, scaled up its organization, and added new B2B platforms. But funding this was difficult, with investors raising questions about the business model and growth. In its next phase of growth it sought and failed to receive funding from venture capitalists. In 2018, the founders took a strategic investment from Google. But the subsequent departure of their sponsor from Google meant they needed to look at other avenues for funding. As they were poised for their next phase of growth, the founders were faced with a series of decisions about the pace of scaling, the business model, and how to fund the expansion.  In 2019, Reliance Retail, a subsidiary of one of India's largest private conglomerates, and one of their key customers offered to invest $42 million for an 87% stake in the company, and is willing to negotiate terms of the deal. Should the founders accept the offer? What should the terms of the agreement be? How will this impact their business model, their growth trajectory, and also the future of the founders at the firm?

  • Summer 2021
  • Article
  • Business History Review

The Cost and Evolution of Quality at Cipla Ltd, 1935–2016

By: Muhammad H. Zaman and Tarun Khanna

This article examines the evolution of Indian pharmaceutical manufacturer Cipla towards producing drugs that met the quality standards of European and U.S. regulators. It employs new research in Cipla’s corporate archives, the Creating Emerging Markets database, and interviews with Cipla employees, government regulators, and public health professionals in Africa, India, Latin America, and the United States. The article argues that, along with a longstanding corporate culture of self-reliance rooted in nationalism starting from its inception in 1935, major factors in Cipla’s strategy from the 1960s through the early 2000s included the early adoption and continued use of quality control technology, along with efforts to create global goodwill for affordable, high quality generic drugs during the HIV/ AIDS epidemic of early 2000s.

  • June 2021
  • Case

Nissan's Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

By: Ananth Raman, William Schmidt and Ann Winslow

In January 2020, Ashwani Gupta took over as COO at Nissan Motor Corporation, and several weeks later, the COVID-19 pandemic began. Nissan’s Business Continuity Plan (BCP) had been key to the resilience of Nissan’s supply chain. It had enabled Nissan to recover from past supply chain disruptions, mainly natural disasters, sooner than its competitors. This case describes the BCP, within the context of Nissan’s production methods, organizational principles and current financial position. It relates how Gupta managed the rapidly-evolving restrictions that the coronavirus pandemic required as it spread from China to other countries where Nissan’s assembly plants and suppliers were located. Based on his experience with the COVID-19 pandemic, Gupta considers how to improve the BCP. This case also covers a specific situation in India, where Nissan had to quickly find an alternate supplier for a unit of dashboard gauges. The team in India developed four options that can be evaluated by students.

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Mumbai Staff

Anjali Raina
Executive Director
Rachna Chawla
Assistant Director, Research Services
Anthea D’Souza
Associate Director, Financial and Business Administration
Kairavi Dey
Research Associate
Kalpesh Hedulkar
Rashmi Patel
Research Assistant and Educational Coordinator
Shreya Ramachandran
Research Associate
Malini Sen
Sanjivani Shedge
Executive Assistant
Rachna Tahilyani
Senior Associate Director, Research