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Lessons India Offers to Harvard Graduates

Binu T Paul
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Binu T Paul
The business leaders of tomorrow in the making at the Harvard Business School are turning their focus on the Indian stories for their case studies. Many Indian stories have been inducted by the school to educate its students on leadership values and responsibilities. Some of the important case studies adopted by the Harvard Business School are detailed below.

Brave staff of Taj during 26/11
The heroic actions by the employees of the Taj Hotel at the hours of high tension and trauma during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks have been chosen as a case study at the Harvard Business School. It focuses on the staff’s selfless service for its customers and how they went beyond their call of duty to save lives. Trying to save the lives of guests at the hotel, a dozen Taj employees had lost their lives during the attacks.

The case study titled ‘Terror at the Taj Bombay: Customer-Centric Leadership’ by HBS professor Rohit Deshpande presents “the bravery and resourcefulness shown by rank-and-file employees” during the attack. The focus is mainly on “why did the Taj employees stay at their posts (during the attacks), jeopardizing their safety in order to save hotel guests” and how can that level of loyalty and dedication be replicated elsewhere.

The action is unexplainable by even the senior managers, has been so surprising that the employees knew the back exits where they could easily escape but chose to stay back to help the guests,”says Deshpande
The study is an attempt to showcase how leadership as a quality is displayed by people at the bottom rank to the top in an organizational ladder that helped in saving lives. The history of Taj, its employee recruitment and training strategies, the Indian culture of ‘Guest is God’ and how Taj would recover, are also a focus of the study.

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