Harvard Business School has received its largest gift ever from a non-US donor - from the Indian Tata Group. The $50m donation will be a personal triumph for Indian-born dean Nitin Nohria, who took up the job early this year.

Ratan Tata, who has been chairman of Tata Sons Ltd. since 1991, was a participant on Harvard’s Advanced Management Program (AMP) in 1975 and 20 years later, in 1995, received the Alumni Achievement Award, Harvard’s highest honour. “The Harvard Business School is the pre-eminent place to be exposed to the world’s best thinking on management and leadership, and we are pleased that this gift will support the School’s educational mission,” says Mr Tata.

The money, which will come from the Tata Companies, the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Tata Education and Development Trust, will fund the construction of an academic and residential building for executive education participants, to be know as Tata Hall. A conglomerate founded in 1868, the Tata Group owns 28 publicly listed enterprises across seven business sectors that have a combined market capitalisation of $80bn.

Separately, Harvard University has announced its first lab for innovation and entrepreneurship, to be funded and developed by Harvard Business School. The centre has the goal of spurring innovative ventures across the whole university.

Dean Nitin Nohria says the lab will be different from others in the Boston area. “(It will) leverage Harvard’s people and resources in new and exciting ways. Our goal is to drive innovation by connecting entrepreneurial teams, not only across the Charles River, but nationally and internationally, in an interdisciplinary approach to creating viable business ventures and social initiatives.”


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