World’s Best B-School Professors: Vijay Govindarajan

by Andrea Carter on

A leading thinker on business innovation and strategy, Vijay Govindarajan of the Tuck School is one of the world’s best B-school profs

Vijay Govindarajan
Tuck School of Business

Claim to Fame: Business Innovation

Age: 61

Education:

Harvard Business School, PhD, Business Administration
Harvard Business School, MA, Business Administration
Annamalai University, Bachelor of Commerce

At Tuck Since: 1985

Before Tuck: Harvard Business School, the Ohio State University, Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad

Fun Fact: I’ve travelled to over 90 countries in six continents

If I wasn’t teaching, my dream job would be: I was built for teaching

Best part of the job: When alumni call and say, “I just made a million dollars based on the insights from your class.”

Worst part of the job: Grading

According to Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, the research produced by Vijay Govindarajan is, “A great addition to a manager’s toolkit.” Professor Govindarajan’s work hones in on strategy and innovation. He stands firm on the idea that the only way companies can grow is through innovation. “Companies that are capable of strategic innovation delight investors with sustained growth and surprise competitors by changing the rules of the game,” he says on his website for “VG’s Innovation Quarterly,” his quarterly newsletter.

“VG”—as he’s known throughout the business world—worked with GE’s CEO Jeff Immelt to write “How GE is Disrupting Itself,” a Harvard Business Review article that introduced the concept of reverse innovation – any innovation that is adopted first in the developing world. Harvard Business Review has rated reverse innovation as one of the ten big ideas of the decade.

VG’s influence in business is evident having worked–and continues to work–with CEOs and top management teams in global Fortune 500 firms to discuss, challenge, and escalate their thinking about strategy. He has worked with more than 25% of the Fortune 500 corporations and he was the first Professor in Residence and Chief Innovation Consultant at General Electric. He has published nine books, including two best sellers Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators and The Other Side of Innovation.

More recently the professor has created a buzz for his proposed $300 house project, global effort to rebuild slums and impoverished communities across the world.

Students Say:

“VG has a talent to push each individual’s thinking into a new realm. His preparation, breadth of experience, and classroom execution are truly unique.  Nearly 20 years later, I still use the lessons from his class.” – Anil Chitkara, T’94

“I came into contact with Professor VG through the $300 house project. Professor VG’s vision and his courage to execute on that vision has led to a significant movement behind an idea like affordable housing for millions of fellow human beings around the world. He is a thought leader who has inspired several people around the world to contribute towards this vision.” – MBA Student – Tuck 2012

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  • http://twitter.com/innovationator Charlie Garland

    VG is a master of many things, but among the most valuable is his ability to communicate the importance of acknowledging and challenging our assumptions…for unchallenged assumptions are the nemesis of innovation.

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