News & Highlights

  • JANUARY 2019

Entrepreneurs Unplugged - Conversation with Sanjiv Bajaj (MBA 1997)

This January, alumni and a few select entrepreneurs congregated in Pune for a discussion with Sanjiv Bajaj as a part of the India Research Center's Entrepreneurs Unplugged Series. The focus of the series is to forge a deeper understanding of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in South Asia. The series tracks the journeys of entrepreneurs who have attempted to launch new business models as they push scale and manage various stakeholders including investors, employees, customers and regulators. During the conversation, Sanjiv Bajaj (MBA '97), Managing Director of Bajaj Finserv, one of India’s flagship non-bank finance companies, shared insights on business strategy and the use of technology, data mining, AI and machine intelligence to drive innovation and long-term value creation. He also shared his perspective on developing a culture of accountability and entrepreneurship within a corporate set up.

Driving Digital Strategy Discussion with Professor Sunil Gupta

This January and February Professor Sunil Gupta, Edward W. Carter Professor of Business Administration, toured Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai, presenting his research on the use of digital technology and its impact on consumer behavior and firm strategy. Alumni, business leaders, and entrepreneurs attended events where he discussed his recent book “Driving Digital Strategy, A Guide to Reimaging your Business.” His book provides a framework for companies to reimagine their business. Referring to numerous case studies and his own research, Professor Gupta demonstrated how the rules of business have changed and why it is no longer enough for firms to be better or cheaper to gain competitive advantage. He described how these new rules make it essential for companies to re-examine four fundamental aspects of their business to thrive in the digital era – their strategy, value chain, customer engagement, and organization structure.
  • September 2018
  • Club News

Exploring the Future of Work for Women

The HBS India Research Center, the HBS Club of India and the HBS Gender Initiative hosted their first joint conference devoted to exploring what the future holds for working women. The Future of Work: Accelerating Gender Parity Conference, held on September 21, 2018 in Mumbai, was an invitation-only opportunity for 200 CEOs and senior managers to convene with experts and scholars. Professors Robin J. Ely, Diane Doerge Wilson Professor of Business Administration and Faculty Chair of the HBS Gender Initiative and Joseph B. Fuller Professor of General Management who co-leads the School’s Managing the Future of Work project presented their research. Professor Lakshmi Ramarajan, Anna Spangler Nelson and Thomas C. Nelson Associate Professor of Business Administration, gave a presentation on gender identity.

New Research on the Region

  • 2019
  • Working Paper

Throwing the Baby Out with the Drinking Water: Unintended Consequences of Arsenic Mitigation Efforts in Bangladesh

By: Nina Buchmann, Erica Field, Rachel Glennerster and Reshmaan Hussam

The 1994 discovery of arsenic in ground water in Bangladesh prompted a massive public health effort to test all tubewells in the country and convince nearly one-quarter of the population to switch to arsenic-free drinking water sources. According to numerous sources, the campaign was effective in leading the majority of households at risk of arsenic poisoning to abandon backyard wells in favor of more remote tubewells or surface water sources, a switch widely believed to have saved numerous lives. We investigate the possibility of unintended health consequences of the wide-scale abandonment of shallow tubewells due to higher exposure to fecal-oral pathogens in water from arsenic-free sources. Significant small-scale variability of arsenic concentrations in ground water allows us to compare trends in infant and child mortality between otherwise similar households in the same village who did and did not have an incentive to abandon shallow tubewells. While child mortality rates were similar among households with arsenic-contaminated and arsenic-free wells prior to public knowledge of the arsenic problem, post-2000 households living on arsenic-contaminated land have 27% higher rates of infant and child mortality than those not encouraged to switch sources, implying that the campaign doubled mortality from diarrheal disease. These findings provide novel evidence of a strong association between drinking water contamination and child mortality, a question of current scientific debate in settings with high levels of exposure to microbial pathogens through other channels.

  • Article
  • Manuscript Studies

Manuscript Variations of Dabistān-i Maẕāhib and Writing Histories of Religion in Mughal India

A text that has found renewed interest among scholars of early modern India is the Persian compendium of religion called Dabistān-i Ma āhib. Written between 1645 and 1658, the Dabistān presents a lively ethnographic and historical account of customs and habits of various major and minor religious communities in northern India during the heyday of the Mughal Empire (1526–1707). Written like a travelogue, it moves among various modes of description including mythical revelations, storytelling, ethnographic notes, and authorial commentary. The Dabistān-i Ma āhib is also valuable because it is the earliest work outside of the Sikh literary tradition that contains first-hand accounts of the growing Sikh socio-religious movement established in Punjab during the 16th century. Focusing on the section titled "The Nanak Panthis," this article explores what translators, commentators, and historians have variously understood as comprising the original text. Since the early 20th century, scholars have relied on later manuscript and print editions in their English translations and use of this work without necessarily reflecting on how these choices have preconditioned interpretive possibilities. My analysis of a recently discovered and earliest known manuscript copy of the Dabistān-i Ma āhib from 1650 suggests that all of the later hand written and print editions, which have now become standardized through scholarly convention, omit certain details and even entire passages. This has major implications for how we have understood the genesis and transmission of the text and, perhaps more significantly, the social groups and historical moments depicted in this one-of-a-kind work.

  • March 2019
  • Case

Mahindra Finance

By: V.G. Narayanan and Tanvi Deshpande

Mahindra Finance is a non-banking lender operating mainly in the rural and semi-urban areas of India. Set up in 1991, the company had grown to become a market leader with assets of $8.5 billion and a presence in 3,30,000 villages across India. Since most of Mahindra's customers are occupied in farming or allied activities, they are reliant on India's erratic monsoons for their source of livelihood. In order to manage the credit risks associated with lending to such a group, Mahindra Finance has developed ways of diversifying its risks and dealing with bad debt. The case discusses Mahindra Finance's practices of how to manage credit risk, measure this risk, make appropriate provisions for this risk, and finally communicate the risk and its management to the capital markets.

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Mumbai Staff

Anjali Raina
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Saloni Chaturvedi
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Rachna Chawla
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Rachna Tahilyani
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Shreya Ramachandran
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