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Nitin Nohria

Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust sent an unmistakable message by choosing Nitin Nohria as the new dean of the Harvard Business School, said Stefan Stern in the Financial Times. Nohria, who teaches ethics and leadership at Harvard, is “the first HBS dean in living memory not to emerge from the fields of economics and finance.” His promotion signals that Harvard takes seriously the criticism that “this elite MBA factory has produced selfish and amoral operators who seek mainly to maximize their personal wealth at the expense of their organizations.”

Nohria, 48, takes charge “at a tense time for management education,” said Diana Middleton in The Wall Street Journal. Business schools were “chastised publicly during the financial crisis,” and indeed, Nohria did some of the chastising. “An outspoken critic of management,” he has pushed hard for B-schools to adopt the MBA oath, a sort of Hippocratic oath for business. His appointment raises hopes among some educators that ethics will be more than “an add-on” to the MBA curriculum. But veteran professors are skeptical. “Business schools,” says Noel Tichy of the University of Michigan, “can be a tough culture to change.” 

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