News & Highlights

  • February 2021

HBS New Venture Competition Alumni Track Asia-Pacific Final

On February 20, HBS Club of Shanghai hosted the virtual 2021 HBS New Venture Competition Alumni Track Asia-Pacific Final. Eight new venture teams from China, South Korea, India, and Singapore pitched their business ideas to HBS Asia-Pacific panel of judges and ran for the championship of NVC Asia-Pacific. TagHive Inc., an education technology company headquartered in South Korea, was selected to represent the region for the Global Finals. The New Venture Competition Alumni Track serves as a launch pad for innovative new ventures from HBS alumni, providing access and exposure to potential investors, mentors and advisors. The annual event is sponsored by the Harvard Business School’s Rock Center for Entrepreneurship and Alumni Clubs & Associations. The competition is open to alumni with early-stage ventures, and the winner receives an invitation to the Global Finals Round and the NVC Finale.
  • December 2020 - January 2021

The Future of Digital Leadership Executive Roundtable Series, Hosted by Professor Linda Hill

The APRC organized 3 rounds of virtual roundtable sessions on the Future of Digital Leadership, hosted by Professor Linda Hill and her team as part of their research to develop courses and programs to prepare leaders for the digital era. The APRC ran two sessions with participants from Greater China and one session with participants from Southeast Asia, South Korea, and Australia, hailing from industries such as banking, telecom, e-commerce, healthcare and agriculture. With participants bringing their extensive experience and expertise in the digital space and in digital transformation, the discussion addressed questions such as: What are the essential mindsets, behaviors and competencies required for leading in the digital age? What developmental opportunities do executives need to become exceptional leaders in the digital age? This effort set the stage for other Global Research Centers to host similar sessions in their respective regions.
  • JANUARY 2021

Virtual Case Discussion with Professor Elie Ofek

On January 14th, Harvard Center Shanghai organized a virtual teaching event featuring a newly-published HBS case, “Tencent: Combining Technology and Culture,” authored by Professor Elie Ofek. Professor Ofek led the discussion, soliciting differing views from participants to explore the key questions in the case. Participants discussed how Tencent, one of the largest internet technology conglomerates in China, created a new initiative to expand into the cultural content business, and how it faced the challenge of developing a blockbuster media franchise akin to Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe. More than 110 people attended the event including HBS alumni, faculty from business schools in China, and practitioners from the cultural sector.
  • October 2020

24 Hours of Harvard

Worldwide Week at Harvard showcases the breadth of Harvard’s global engagement through academic and cultural events with global or international themes. On October 7th-8th, 2020, Harvard broadcasted 24 Hours of Harvard, which featured 24 consecutive hours of around-the-clock and around-the-world events and activities. As a part of the event, Harvard Center Shanghai founding faculty and management team unveiled the century-long engagement between Harvard and China over a 45 minutes video. The program starts with an early history of Harvard’ relationship with China from 1879 with Ge Kun-hua’s journey to Harvard, as the first Chinese teacher at Harvard. It continues to describe the programs and activities of Harvard Center Shanghai in the first decade after its opening in 2010, marking an important step in Harvard’s long engagement with China and Asia.

New Research on the Region

  • 2021
  • Working Paper

Companies' Responses to Social Activism: A Resource Reconfiguration Perspective

By: Yanhua Bird, Jodi L. Short and Michael W. Toffel

Private politics scholarship portrays companies’ organizational vulnerabilities as opportunities for social activists because they signal openness to change. But meaningful organizational change requires not only openness to change, but capacity to mobilize resources to implement it. We develop a resource reconfiguration perspective that posits companies’ capacity to reconfigure organizational resources is an important determinant of their responses to private political activism. Furthermore, we highlight the possible trade-offs when organizations respond to activist demands by reallocating resources from other social performance priorities. We test our theory in the context of global supply chain factories by investigating which are more likely to improve wage practices in response to local labor activism demanding better compensation, and whether they do so by trading off commitments to other practices. Analyzing 3,495 social audit reports of 2,352 suppliers in 114 cities in China from 2012 to 2015, we find support for our resource reconfiguration perspective. Worker activism demanding better compensation led local supplier factories to improve compliance with wage and benefits standards, but came with slower improvement in compliance with health and safety standards. Organizational structures that facilitate resource reconfiguration—piece-rate payment and unions—amplify both effects.

  • April 2021
  • Case

The Incentive for Legacy: Tsinghua University Education Foundation

By: Lauren Cohen, Hao Gao and Spencer C.N. Hagist

Vivian Yuan seeks to bolster the Tsinghua University Education Foundation's fundraising efforts and investment goals in a new era of Chinese higher education. Competing with elite members of China's C9 League of top universities, she must develop a set of incentives and deliverables for alumni and non-affiliated donors which can bridge the gaps in their own investment and philanthropic prospects. To do so, she must specify what makes the university unique as a donation opportunity, and highlight the things TUEF can accomplish that no one else can.

  • April 2021
  • Case

The Mahindra Group: Leading with Purpose

By: Ranjay Gulati and Rachna Tahilyani

India headquartered Mahindra Group is a multibillion-dollar federation of companies operating across the globe. It is ahead of its time in articulating its purpose and mapping its values, something it had first done at inception and then refreshed yet again as ‘Rise’ in 2011. Over the past decade, it has cascaded the essence of ‘Rise’ as a purpose through the organization. The idea was to “challenge conventional thinking and innovatively use all their resources to drive positive change in the lives of stakeholders and communities across the world to enable them to Rise.” As its senior leadership team contemplate Mahindra’s future, they wonder how they should balance the ‘Rise’ philosophy with a focus on financial returns that is critical for the group, especially in the aftermath of the health and economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic and a leadership transition at the group.

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Managing Director and Executive Director, Harvard Center Shanghai
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