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Ross Establishes India Initiatives under Faculty Director M.S. Krishnan

8/12/2011 --

School's rich ties with India set the ideal foundation for global expansion.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Dean Alison Davis-Blake has established the Ross School of Business India Initiatives and appointed M.S. Krishnan as faculty director. Krishnan is the Joseph Handleman Professor of Business Information Technology and a Hallman Research Fellow at Ross. The India Initiatives comprise, but are not limited to, the C.K. Prahalad Initiative and the Center for Global Resource Leverage: India.

As faculty director of India Initiatives, Krishnan will report to Associate Dean for Global Initiatives Bill Lanen. He will help coordinate academic and research activities, as well as alumni and corporate outreach across India. This includes custom executive education, in-country student projects, and new knowledge creation, among other things.

Krishnan also will help Lanen and Davis-Blake identify and evaluate new opportunities that advance the Ross School's global agenda. Current corporate partners in the Ross School's India Initiatives include GVK Power and Infrastructure Ltd., Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., ICICI Group, the Tata Group, and TVS Logistics Services.

"Krishnan is the ideal person for this role," says Davis-Blake. "He has extensive relationships across India. He brings deep knowledge of the culture, the economy, and trends around innovation. He regularly consults with executives in India and understands their needs. He also knows what our faculty are interested in and what our students are interested in."

The Ross School's long history with India is due in large part to the late C.K. Prahalad, who joined the business school faculty in 1977 and remained here until his death in April 2010. In 1994 Prahalad helped establish the school's Global Program for Management Development: India, an open-enrollment executive program that continues to serve the country's business leaders. Widely acknowledged as one of the world's top strategy thinkers, Prahalad worked with Indian firms and Ross faculty and students to develop research around Base of the Pyramid studies, co-creation, and innovation.

The Ross School established the C.K. Prahalad Initiative in 2010 to continue the late scholar's work. In April 2011 the school signed a memorandum of understanding with the Confederation of Indian Industry, India's largest business association, which had a strong bond with Prahalad. That bond continues under Krishnan, a longtime collaborator of Prahalad's and co-author of his final book, The New Age of Innovation.

"It is clear that the locus of growth in the world economy is shifting to emerging markets like India," Krishnan says. "Hence it is important for global business leaders and academic scholars to deeply understand the challenges and opportunities in these markets. C.K.'s foresight enabled Ross to establish an executive education presence in India for the last 17 years. I look forward to building further on this to integrate faculty scholarship and the student experience through action-based projects that enrich our knowledge about this market."

In addition to the India Initiatives, the Ross Global Initiatives portfolio includes the Executive MBA Program, the Global MBA Program, the East Asia Management Development Center, and the Center for International Business Education and Research.

“Thanks to Krishnan's expertise in India, I can explore global opportunities for Ross in other key regions like Latin America, East Asia, Africa, and Europe," Lanen says. "We are focusing on India now, because of the scale that exists already. As we further coordinate our efforts under the India Initiatives, we'll be able to determine the best ways to replicate our success toward new options in other countries."

Krishnan will soon hire a staff director to support the India Initiatives. Paul Gediman, who served as executive director of the C.K. Prahalad Initiative since its establishment, resigned in August 2011; future staff support for the C.K. Prahalad Initiative will be provided by the staff director of India Initiatives.

Krishnan currently serves as faculty director of the Center for Global Resource Leverage: India, a research entity focused on globalization in general and India in particular. He will continue this work as part of the India Initiatives, covering topics that explore next practices of managers, including how they leverage global resources and access new markets.

For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat, (734) 647-1847,