News & Highlights

  • 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.
  • April 2020

Navigating the Crisis & Beyond: Perspectives for Leaders in South Asia

On April 11, 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the India Research Center, in partnership with Harvard Business Publishing hosted a webinar on navigating the crisis. HBS Professors Amy C. Edmondson, Ananth Raman, Herman B. ("Dutch") Leonard, and Robert S. Kaplan shared a vocabulary, framework and toolkit for business leaders as they navigate the COVID-19 crisis in South Asia. Professor Das Narayandas facilitated a conversation with Amit Chandra, Managing Director of Bain Capital; Sanjiv Mehta (AMP ’04), Chairman & MD Hindustan Unilever Ltd; Ravi Venkatesan (MBA ’92), Founder, Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship and Suneeta Reddy (OPM 28, 1999), Managing Director Apollo Hospitals. Over 4,000 participants attended virtually, including a mix of business leaders, alumni, HBR readers, and professionals from over 58 countries. A video recording of the event can be viewed here.
  • JANUARY 2020

The Global Classroom: Student Immersion in China, Hong Kong, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka

As part of the elective curriculum within the MBA program, students have the opportunity in their second year to enrol in an Immersive Field Course – or “IFC.” These courses are driven by faculty research and industry connections, and provide students with an opportunity to get out of the classroom and put the skills they have learned to practice in the field. Typically, about 200 students participate in IFCs annually. In January 2020, Professors Willy Shih and Meg Rithmire led 45 students through China, Myanmar and Sri Lanka for 10 days. The course looked to understand the dynamics of international trade through a study of the China Belt Road Initiative. During their stay in Sri Lanka, students visited the Colombo and Hambantota Ports, a logistics factory, and participated in a symposium with government officials, think tanks, and business leaders to discuss Chinese investments in Sri Lanka.

New Research on the Region

  • 2021
  • Working Paper

Auditor Independence and Outsourcing: Aligning Incentives to Mitigate Shilling and Shirking

By: Ashley Palmarozzo, Jodi L. Short and Michael W. Toffel

Multinational corporations (MNCs) hire auditors to assess their business partners’ compliance with quality, working conditions, and environmental standards. Independent third-party auditors are widely assumed to outperform second-party auditors employed and thus controlled by MNCs. Synthesizing literatures on auditor independence and outsourcing decisions, we compare how independence and control can affect auditor performance. Using proprietary data from a global apparel brand, we find that second-party auditors outperform independent third-party auditors, and that third-party auditors’ performance improves when MNCs concurrent source audits, using both second- and third-party auditors. However, both second- and third-party auditors perform better with more independence from the entities they audit—specifically, when auditing factories most recently audited by a different firm. These findings yield important insights for more effective monitoring of business partners.

  • January 2021
  • Case

TCS: From Physical Offices to Borderless Work

By: Prithwiraj Choudhury and Malini Sen

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a multinational IT services company headquartered in Mumbai, is a subsidiary of one of India’s most reputed conglomerates, the Tata Group. In 2020, TCS was valued at $144.7 billion, the highest for any company in the IT sector, globally. In the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, like many companies around the world, TCS moved to remote working. The leadership of the company saw the myriad benefits of remote work. As the company planned for the future roadmap in the post-COVID world, it decided on a blended model. By 2025, only 25% of TCS employees would need to work in company facilities and no employee would need to spend more than 25% of their work hours in a physical office for the company to be productive. For this work model to be successful, the TCS management team had to brainstorm four key areas: What should the norms be for 25% in-person and who should determine them—senior managers, associates, clients, government regulators? How should the company convince veterans that virtual mentoring was as effective—if not more so—in preserving and further enriching the culture of mentorship? How should TCS deal with labor regulations around the world, if ‘Talent on the Cloud’ led to workers relocating and living in different geographies? Finally, how should TCS pitch this new model of work to clients once the pandemic eased?

  • December 2020
  • Case

Urban Company

Urban Company is an India based market platform that helps customers book home services and at home beauty services. The company differentiated itself by investing heavily in building customer trust. Rather than merely positioning itself as a lead generating platform, like many other marketplace platforms such as Uber, Airbnb, and Trip Advisor have done, the company invested in training and supporting the service providers, thus getting significantly involved in the service delivery process itself. While this approach increased the company’s costs and slowed down its growth, the company’s founders believed that its strategy will ultimately lead to a more sustainable business model. During the COVID pandemic, while the company’s business was under significant pressure, the founders proposed to double down on this approach even further to build differentiation, and to strengthen customer trust even more. Is this strategy viable? How should the company leverage its current market position as it examines expansion into new verticals, new customer segments, and new geographies?

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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