Harvard Business School Online (originally known as HBX), the School’s digital learning platform, was founded in 2014 under Nohria’s leadership. Its initial offering, CORe—a primer on the fundamentals of business with modules on business analytics, economics for managers, and financial accounting—has been taken by more than 20,000 learners, spanning college students to mid-career professionals. More than 10 additional courses are now offered, including a number using the HBX Live virtual classroom. All incorporate the School’s engaged learning model, as evident in average completion rates of 87% that far exceed those for other online offerings.
Nohria has also spurred Harvard Business School’s deeper engagement with Harvard’s other graduate and professional schools. During his tenure, the DBA degree evolved into to a PhD in Business Administration, offered in collaboration with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, reflecting the rigor of HBS’s doctoral programs and the outstanding academic placement record of its graduates. Two joint degree programs, the MS/MBA in Engineering Sciences and the MS/MBA in Biotechnology: Life Sciences, were approved in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Both draw faculty together in building an integrated curriculum so that students can complete their study over three years.
Mark Nunnelly (MBA 1984), Chair of the School’s Board of Dean’s Advisors who, with wife Denise Dupré, created an endowment to provide financial aid for students in the MS/MBA in Engineering Sciences, said Nohria has been adept at anticipating trends in management education. “The innovations he has instituted across the School reflect a keen understanding of what will be required to address and solve society’s most pressing challenges in the future,” Nunnelly noted. “It’s been a delight to see the initiatives he has spearheaded take root and flourish at the School. Our faculty, alumni, students of today and tomorrow owe Nitin an enormous debt of gratitude: he has changed the institution in important and powerful ways.”
Nohria successfully led the Campaign for Harvard Business School, a $1.4 billion fundraising effort that deepened alumni engagement and strengthened the School’s financial health. Gifts to HBS supported faculty development, student financial aid, and additions and enhancements to the School’s residential campus, including Tata Hall, Esteves Hall, the Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center, Klarman Hall, and the Schwartz Common. During his deanship, the HBS endowment grew from $2.1 to $3.8 billion as of June 30, 2019, and the School’s annual revenues have grown from $509 million to nearly $1 billion. This has enabled investments in activities such as the Harvard Innovation Labs—a University-wide ecosystem comprising the i-lab, the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab, and Launch Lab X—which foster innovation and entrepreneurship across the Harvard community.
Finally, Nohria has worked on many fronts to build and strengthen the HBS faculty. Thirty-one faculty members have been appointed or promoted to Professor during his tenure, and nearly 200 tenure-track and practitioner faculty members have been recruited to the School. Annual investment in research has increased from $97 million to $151 million, and projects and initiatives have been launched on US Competitiveness, Behavioral Finance and Financial Stability, Digital, and Business History. Global Research Centers, which support research and course development, were added in Istanbul (Middle East and North Africa), Singapore, Israel, and Johannesburg (Africa).
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