Tata Group gifts $50 mn to Harvard Business School



Tata Group gifts $50 mn to Harvard Business School Boston: India's Tata Group has given a whopping USD 50 million to the prestigious Harvard Business School here to fund a new academic and residential building on its campus, the largest gift received by the institute from an international donor in its 102-year-old history.

The gift comes from Tata Companies, the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Tata Education and Development Trust, the philanthropic entities of the Group.

It comes days after Anand Mahindra, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Mahindra and Mahindra Group, gave USD 10 million to the Humanities Centre at Harvard. A Harvard alumnus, Mahindra gave the gift, the "largest" in the Centre's history, in honour of his mother Indira Mahindra.

Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Sons, attended Harvard's Advanced Management Programme -- one of three comprehensive leadership programmes offered by the Harvard Business School's (HBS') Executive Education - in 1975.

He had also received the School's highest honour, the Alumni Achievement Award, in 1995.

The School said it will use the USD 50 million gift from the Tata Group to fund a new academic and residential building on its campus for participants in its broad portfolio of Executive Education programmes.

HBS hopes to break ground for the building, which will be named Tata Hall, next spring. It is expected to be open for use by late 2013.

Calling it a privilege and a pleasure to "give back to Harvard a little bit of what it gave to me," Tata said he hoped the new facility would encourage and inspire future leaders to take advantage of the executive education offerings at HBS.

"The Harvard Business School is the preeminent 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 to mold the next generation of global business leaders," Tata said.

Expressing "deep appreciation" for Tata's "generosity," Harvard Business School's Indian-origin Dean Nitin Nohria said the "historic" gift comes from an organisation "revered" for its significant economic, civic and philanthropic impact.

"The Tata Group is widely respected for integrity and innovation, not just in India - where it produced both the first indigenous car and the 2,000 dollar Tata Nano automobile - but in a variety of business lines across several continents, from cars to hotels and from tea to information technology," Nohria said.

Harvard University President Drew Faust said Tata knows "firsthand the transformative educational opportunities" offered through the School's Executive Education programmes.

"Thanks to this generous gift, HBS will be able to expand its already robust offerings in Executive Education, deepening ties with leaders across the country and around the globe."

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who joined Tata and Nohria for the announcement today, said the 50 million dollar gift will help create jobs in the city.

HBS launched the Advanced Management Programme, the world's first Executive Education programme, in 1945.

More than 9,000 business leaders from around the world enroll in the Executive Education programmes at HBS as well as in off-campus locations each year, participating in a range of comprehensive and custom programmes.

Currently, more than 50 per cent of participants are from outside the US and enroll in over 75 open enrolment Executive Education programmes and more than 60 custom programmes.

Tata earned a degree in architecture from Cornell University in 1962. He had given an endowment of USD 50 million to Cornell in 2008 for agriculture and nutrition programmes and for the education of Indian students at Cornell.

He was named one of the 30 most respected CEOs in the world by Barron's magazine in 2007, the same year the Tata Group was awarded the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.

In 2008, he was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People.

PTI