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TARUN KHANA

Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at the Harvard Business School

Tarun Khanna is the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at the Harvard Business School. For over two decades, he has studied entrepreneurship as a means to social and economic development in emerging markets. 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.

A summary of his work on emerging markets appeared in his 2010 co-authored book, Winning in Emerging Markets, and an example of his comparative work on entrepreneurship appears in his 2008 first-person analysis of China and India, Billions of Entrepreneurs, both published by Harvard Business Press and translated into many languages. In 2014, his piece, Contextual Intelligence, was a runner-up for the McKinsey Prize for the year’s best article in the Harvard Business Review. His latest book, Trust: Creating the foundations for Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries, was released in 2018 and articulates why entrepreneurship has both higher reward and risk in emerging markets than in mature economies.

He was named the first director of Harvard’s university-wide Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute in the fall of 2010. The institute rapidly grew to engage over 150 faculty from across Harvard in projects embracing the pure sciences, social sciences and the humanities, and spanning the region from Afghanistan to Myanmar. A centerpiece of the Institute’s strategy is a deep local presence, anchored through offices in New Delhi and Lahore. During the past decade, he also oversaw HBS activities across South Asia, anchored in Mumbai.

In this role, he currently teaches a popular university-wide elective course, Contemporary Developing Countries, where students work in multi-disciplinary teams to devise practical solutions to complex social problems. The course is part of Harvard’s undergraduate general education core curriculum, and is rare in that it also attracts graduate students from across the university, engaging ‘sophomores to surgeons.’ A free online version on the edX platform, Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, has been taken by over half a million students in 200 countries.

In 2007, he was nominated Young Global Leader (under 40) by the World Economic Forum; in 2009, elected as a Fellow of the Academy of International Business; in 2016, recognized by the Academy of Management as Eminent Scholar for Lifetime Achievement in the field of International Management.

Between 2015 and 2019, he was appointed to several national commissions by the Government of India, first to chair the effort to frame policies for entrepreneurship in India. More recently, he has been part of the commission to help select India’s Institutes of Eminence, an attempt to enhance India’s leading Universities for the future, and a new commission to enhance scientific literacy in the country.

Outside HBS, he serves on numerous for-profit and not-for-profit boards in the US and India. In the past decade, this included 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. Recently, he joined the board of inMobi, India’s first ‘unicorn,’ a global technology provider of enterprise platforms for marketers. 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.