BY RAYZA GOLDMSITH
Daily Staff Reporter
Published April 6, 2011
In an effort to take lesson plans about the international market outside the classroom, the Ross School of Business is expanding its partnerships with companies on the other side of the globe.
The school intends to create programs in which Business students and faculty work with organizations in India and learn firsthand about global business, according to a University press release issued last week. As part of the initiative, the school will create a partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry, a leading Indian business association.
The partnership, which will involve the Business School’s C.K. Prahalad Initiative, is also aimed at expanding the Business School’s global presence and helping CII’s India@75 organization achieve its goals. India@75 is a project based on a speech given by late Business School Prof. C.K. Prahalad in 2008. In his speech, Prahalad laid out a series of economic and development goals for India by 2022, which will mark India’s 75th anniversary of independence, according to Paul Gediman, executive director of the C.K. Prahalad Initiative.
Business School Dean Bob Dolan traveled to Dehli, India last week to sign a memorandum in support of the collaboration and was joined by Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of CII, who also gave his signature for the partnership, the press release states. Dolan wrote in the press release that these experiences will be invaluable for University students and faculty.
“We are extremely pleased to develop this natural affinity between our own C.K. Prahalad Initiative and India@75,” Dolan wrote. “We think it is a great foundation from which to advance a global understanding of how innovative next practices can shape the relationship between business and society in many parts of the world."
Banerjee wrote in the press release that the partnership will help India@75 reach its goals by 2022.
"The partnership with the Business School and University which Professor Prahalad made his academic home for so many years is therefore very special,” Banerjee said.
The initiative’s primary goal is to “address the intersection of business activity and social responsibility,” Gediman wrote.
The Business School began the initiative this past fall in an effort to honor Prahalad, who died last April, and to carry on his vision of business and his unique way of thinking about the field, Gediman said.
“I think it’s important to say that when you have somebody like C.K. Prahalad, it’s nice to embrace the ambition of carrying on his work as the best way to honor his memory,” Gediman said.
The initiative — which will be officially announced in the coming weeks — will focus on implementing the terms of the memorandum between the Business School and the CII. The first step is starting a conversation, Gediman said.
“India@75 is partnering with us because we bring a certain level of expertise … and we’re partnering with them because they will help us find projects that offer the best educational opportunities and research opportunities to our faculty,” he said.
While this specific partnership is new, the Business School has already been engaged with India for some time, Gediman said.
“We have six or seven student teams in India right now doing projects,” he said.
Dolan wrote in the press release that Indian citizens comprise 8 percent of the school’s MBA class of 2012.
Though this collaboration focuses on India, the Business School also plans to pursue similar programs in other countries to expand its work abroad. Working with about 725 organizations in more than 30 nations, the Business School has orchestrated more than 1,500 programs, the press release states.
Gediman said the partnership is also an example of what the Business School sees as its strength — combining business with social and environmental responsibility. He added that not just the Business School, but the University as a whole, will benefit from the agreement.
“The kinds of organizations you might be working with aren’t limited to business,” Gediman said. “The most interesting problems of the world aren’t just business problems, so ultimately, I could easily imagine that you could have Ross students with students from Public Policy and Public Health and any of the other schools … working on field projects that are Prahalad Initiative field projects.”