Rakesh Khurana

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Rakesh Khurana (born November 22, 1967) is an American organizational theorist, and the Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development in organizational behavior at Harvard Business School. He is also a professor of Sociology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences,[1] and the co-Master of Cabot House at Harvard University along with his wife, Stephanie. He also has a son named Jai and two daughters named Sonia and Nalini. [2] Rakesh Khurana became Dean of Harvard College, effective July 1, 2014.[3]


Rakesh received his bachelor's degree from Cornell University in 1990, his A.M (Sociology) from Harvard in 1997 and his PhD in organizational behavior from Harvard's Ph.D. program in 1998.

He worked for three years as a founding team member of Cambridge Technology Partners before starting graduate school in 1994. After finishing his doctorate, Rakesh taught at the MIT Sloan School of Management. In 2000, Rakesh accepted an appointment at the Harvard Business School. His research focuses on managerial labor markets and the processes by which elites are selected and socialized.


Khurana has researched and written articles and books on executive labor markets, the institutional and intellectual history of business schools, and the conceptual foundations for leadership as an academic field.

He is the author of the book, Searching for a Corporate Savior: The Irrational Quest for Charismatic CEOs and related academic and managerial articles on the pitfalls of charismatic leadership. His work in this area is regularly featured by the general media, and he has also published opinion-editorials in some of these outlets.

In 2007 he published his second book From Higher Aims to Hired Hands: The Social Transformation of American Business Schools and the Unfulfilled Promise of Management as a Profession (Princeton University Press). It addresses development of American business education. The book received the Max Weber prize from the American Sociological Association's Organizations, Occupations, and Work Section. It also was the Winner of the 2009 Gold Medal Axiom Business Book Award in Career, Jenkins Group, Inc. and the Winner of the 2007 Best Professional/Scholarly Publishing Book in Business, Finance and Management, Association of American Publishers and the Finalist for the George R. Terry Award from the Academy of Management.

He is known for interviewing GE CEO Jack Welch at a Harvard Business School forum.[4]

On January 22, 2014, he was officially appointed as the next dean of Harvard College. He succeeded Evelynn M. Hammonds, professor of history of science and of African and African American studies at Harvard, and assumed his new role on July 1, 2014. Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Dean Michael Smith announced the appointment in an email to the FAS community and praised Khurana as a scholar and teacher with deep experience in working with undergraduates and a strong commitment to the College.

World Economic Forum[edit]

He and Nitin Nohria are working with the World Economic Forum and the Aspen Institute to create a business oath, like the MBA Oath, that might be used globally.[5] In a Harvard Business Review piece published in October 2008, Khurana and Nohria linked the connection between professionalism of a profession and the profession's ability to deliver value to society.[6] Nohria and Khurana also are the co-editors of the Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice (2010),published by Harvard Business School Press[7] and the The Handbook for Teaching Leadership: Knowing, Doing and Being, (2012), published by Sage Publications.[8]