Professor at HBS
Tarun Khanna is the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at the Harvard Business School (HBS), where he has sought for two decades to study the drivers of entrepreneurship in emerging markets as a means of economic and social development. At HBS since 1993, after obtaining degrees from Princeton and Harvard, he has taught courses on strategy, corporate governance and international business to MBA and Ph.D. students and senior executives. For many years, he has served as the Faculty Chair for HBS activities in India and South Asia. He was named the first director of the university-wide The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute at Harvard in the fall of 2010.
Outside HBS, he serves on numerous for-profit and not-for-profit boards in the US and India, including AES, a Washington DC headquartered global power company, and India-based Bharat Financial Inclusion Limited (BFIL), one of the world’s largest firms dedicated to financial inclusion for the poor. He is a co-founder of several entrepreneurial ventures in the developing world, spanning India, China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Recently, he co-founded Axilor, a vibrant incubator in Bangalore. In 2015, he was appointed a Trustee of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.
He has recently Co-Authored the book - Leadership to Last with Geoffrey Jones. In the book, Geoffrey Jones and Tarun Khanna interview iconic leaders in India who have demonstrated leadership to last. There are leaders from South Asia and other emerging markets as well to illustrate that the ideas Indian entrepreneurs speak about are echoed by their counterparts in the Global South. All these magnates–Ratan Tata, Anu Aga, Adi Godrej, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Devi Shetty and Rahul Bajaj, to name a few–have built, to general acclaim and acknowledgement, organizations that are seen as forward-looking and innovative. In our conversation, we unpack some of these insights around leadership required to build such institutions.
This conversation is likely to be relevant to anyone who is keen to understand what it takes to build an institution that outlives them.
Published in Sept 2022.