On Thursday October 14th, Dean Nitin Nohria held a press conference with Boston Mayor Thomas Manino and Mr. Ratan Tata, chairman of the international conglomerate Tata Sons Ltd. The mayor was present to support two important initiatives at HBS: (1) A new executive education building named Tata Hall after the $50M gift from the Tata Group (2) Harvard Innovation Lab, a building at 125 Western Avenue formerly housing WGBH studios – expected to spur innovative ventures through collaborations between HBS and the rest of Harvard University.
Mayor Manino believes these initiatives will be important to Boston’s economy. They will in the short term create much needed employment, and in the long term continue to attract the world’s brightest minds to Boston through the expanding Executive Education program. The innovation lab will also keep Boston at the forefront of science and technology innovation by spawning promising new ventures.
Mr. Tata, an alumnus of the school’s Executive Education program (AMP ’71) reminisced about the learning and wisdom he received from HBS when he came here as a much younger and less confident individual. He insisted that his generous gift was a token of appreciation, and a privilege to give back to a place that has helped him through many important decisions in his life. Mr. Tata is not a newcomer to the Boston community: as the owner of the city’s oldest hotel, Taj Boston, he he has a love and longing for the city that he says he is eager to share through this grant.
From gaining recognition as the maker of the world’s cheapest car, the Nano, to being the donor of the single largest gift from an international source in the School’s 102-year old history, the Tata Group is fast becoming a global business icon.
I asked Dean Nohria to address how these new initiatives will impact the school’s MBA students. The Dean is enthusiastic about the potential an expanding executive education program will have to enriching case studies, future employer relationships and increased interactions for the MBA students. He hopes that the Innovation Lab will help bring together exciting science and technology research with bright business minds towards commercialization opportunities, creating more entrepreneurs out of HBS graduates.
This is all welcome news. However, for those of us accustomed to flag football or wonderful lunches on the McArthur patio watching kids play on the lawn will soon be a thing of the past.