HBS Announces New Dean
Srikant Datar, the Arthur Lowes Dickinson Professor of Business Administration and the senior associate dean for University affairs at Harvard Business School (HBS), will become the School’s next dean, President Larry Bacow announced today. Datar will begin his service on Jan. 1.
“Srikant Datar is an innovative educator, a distinguished scholar, and a deeply experienced academic leader,” said Bacow in announcing the appointment. “He is a leading thinker about the future of business education, and he has recently played an essential role in HBS’s creative response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. He has served with distinction in a range of leadership positions over his nearly 25 years at HBS, while also forging novel collaborations with other Harvard Schools.
Since joining the HBS faculty in 1996, Datar has held a series of key positions, as the School’s senior associate dean responsible for faculty recruiting, for faculty development, for executive education, for research, and currently for University affairs. He has served since 2015 as faculty chair of the Harvard Innovation Labs, or i-lab. He has written and spoken extensively on the future of business education, and his wide-ranging academic interests encompass design thinking, data science, artificial intelligence, innovative problem solving, strategy implementation, and cost management. Most recently, he has been intensively engaged in envisioning and implementing the innovative hybrid teaching and learning model that HBS has adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Datar received his bachelor’s degree, with distinction, from the University of Bombay in 1973. A chartered accountant, he went on to receive a postgraduate diploma in business management from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, before completing master’s degrees in statistics (1983) and economics (1984) and a Ph.D. in business (1985), all from Stanford University. From 1984 to 1989, he was an assistant professor and then associate professor at the Carnegie Mellon Graduate School of Industrial Administration, where he was honored with the George Leland Bach Teaching Award. From 1989 to 1996, he served on the faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he rose to become the Littlefield Professor of Accounting and Management and was recognized with the school’s Distinguished Teaching Award.
Over more than a decade, Datar has emerged as a prominent thinker and innovator on the future of business education and in strengthening HBS’s educational ties with other parts of Harvard. He was co-author, with David Garvin and Patrick Cullen, of “Rethinking the MBA: Business Education at a Crossroads” (2010). More recently, he has developed new courses on “Developing Mindsets for Innovative Problem Solving” and “Managing with Data Science,” both of which have included students from other Harvard Schools as well as HBS. He had a guiding hand in launching both the M.S.-M.B.A. in biotechnology and life sciences (with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Medical School) and the M.S.-M.B.A. in engineering sciences (with the Harvard Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences) joint degree programs. He helped shape the Harvard Business Analytics Program, a collaborative certificate program (jointly taught by HBS, FAS, and SEAS faculty) designed for professionals interested in better analyzing, understanding, and using data.
Datar’s own research interests cover a wide terrain. His initial areas of focus included cost management and control, strategy implementation, and governance. In more recent times, beyond his work on the future of business education, he has turned his attention to such areas as design thinking and innovative problem solving, as well as machine learning and artificial intelligence. He has published numerous articles in scholarly journals on such topics as activity-based management, quality, productivity, time-based competition, new product development, bottleneck management, incentives, and performance evaluation. He has also served on several editorial boards.
He has a record of distinguished service on various corporate boards, and in August the National Association of Corporate Directors honored him as its Public Company Director of the Year. He currently serves on the boards of ICF International, Novartis AG, Stryker Corporation, and T-Mobile US.