The Leading Independent
Resource for Top-tier MBA
Home » Blog » MBA Feature » HBS Dean Nitin Nohria to Step Down

HBS Dean Nitin Nohria to Step Down

Image for HBS Dean Nitin Nohria to Step Down

After 10 years of service, Dean Nitin Nohria will be stepping down from his post at Harvard Business School in June 2020.

Nohria shared the following in a message to the HBS community:

“I am writing to let you know that I will step down as Dean of Harvard Business School on June 30, 2020, after a decade in this role. Serving as Dean has been a privilege for which I am immeasurably grateful. Little could I have imagined this opportunity when I joined the School’s faculty in 1988. As I know is true for so many of you, HBS changed the arc of my life.

“I love this School and University and have tried to serve both as best I could. Early in my tenure, a colleague shared a maxim that I adopted as a daily reminder of my job’s purpose. It is from the Hebrew text Pirkei Avot, and its essence is, ‘You can never complete the work, nor must you abandon it.’ In the same vein, former Dean John McArthur often reminded me that even today HBS remains a ‘delicate experiment.’ Although I became Dean after we marked the School’s centennial, I have seen my role as continuing this delicate but enduring experiment. Our mission of educating leaders who make a difference in the world has always been and continues to be ever so important. The work of educating leaders will never be complete, nor can we abandon it.

“Yet the time feels right to transition to new leadership. Ten years gave us a good run to make progress on our Five I priorities. A decade for HBS’s tenth dean seems an appropriate duration for this chapter in the School’s history.

“I will take a sabbatical when I step down to reflect on what I may do next. I look forward to supporting our next Dean, as my predecessors supported me. I will always remain devoted to this most extraordinary institution that I have been so lucky to call not just my place of work, but my family’s home.

“I am deeply grateful for your extraordinary support. It has been a blessing to partner with faculty, staff, students, and alumni who care so much about HBS and are willing to give so much of themselves to it. And it has been inspiring, every day, to witness the many ways in which our community acts to solve society’s most pressing problems.

“I hope to personally thank as many of you as I can in the months ahead for all you have done for me and the School.

“For now, though, onward!”

Under Nohria’s leadership, the HBS MBA program introduced the field method to the curriculum, ensuring students would gain hands-on leadership skills. More than 900 students each year participate in the Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development (FIELD), working abroad on a new product or process delivery project. Moreover, more than two dozen elective courses incorporate the field method as well.  The evolution of Harvard Business School Online (formerly known as HBX), which launched in 2014, is also a credit to his leadership.  Two joint degree programs, the MS/MBA in Engineering Sciences and the MS/MBA in Biotechnology: Life Sciences also came to life in 2018 and 2019.  These are just a few of several credits to his legacy.

When it comes to the search for a new dean, President Larry Bacow explained:

“I plan to seek broad input in seeking Nitin’s successor, and I will be reaching out to the HBS community for advice on the School’s opportunities and challenges and on the deanship. For today, all of us owe Nitin our admiration and thanks for his outstanding service to HBS and to Harvard.”

To read more about Nohria’s leadership and accomplishments, see the press release.

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.