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The Harvard Business School (HBS), earlier known as the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, was created in 1908 to impart management education during America's managerial revolution. HBS focused on general management and in 1924 adopted a unique pedagogy called the case method as the primary method of instruction. IIMA began a five-year partnership with HBS in 1962. HBS sent some faculty members to IIMA to teach in programmes and also trained over twenty Indian faculty members through its International Teachers' Programme. Prof. Harry Hansen (1911-1992, marketing specialist and the Director of HBS's Division of International Programmes) was a key figure in formulating the partnership with IIMA. Prof. George P. Baker, an expert on transportation and Dean of HBS from 1962 to 1970, oversaw the partnership with IIMA. Prof. Warren Haynes (1921-1972), Faculty of Managerial Economics, who served as the Project Director of the HBS team (1963-1965) to IIMA, wrote the first case to be registered at IIMA, and served on the faculty evaluation committee at IIMA. Several other HBS faculty members visited IIMA in the 1960s. They were warmly appreciated by IIMA students for their teaching styles and the music and movies that they would occasionally share with the students. Some IIMA alumni went on to pursue doctoral studies at HBS, most famously C. K. Prahalad (PGP 1966). Ashish Nanda (PGP 1983) became a faculty member at HBS, and was later the Director of IIMA (2013-17). Srikant Datar (PGP 1978) was appointed as the Dean of HBS in 2020. At IIMA, the 'visible hand' of Harvard today lies at the entrance of the redbrick academic complex, where the steps are called the 'Harvard Steps'.
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