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Rajiv Agarwal Becomes First Indian Professor To Design, Develop And Teach Simulation On Family Businesses At HBS

Dr Rajiv Agarwal is the Subject Matter Expert on Family Business, and he had developed the concept, design, and teaching pedagogy.

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Dr Rajiv Agarwal, Professor of Family Business, Strategy and Entrepreneurship, SPJIMR, has authored for the first time a unique simulation on Family Businesses which will be marketed by Harvard Business Publishing (HBP), the publishing arm of Harvard Business School (HBS). This is the first time that an Indian professor from an Indian B-school has created a simulation which will be marketed by HBP.

The family business simulation titled “Honey Heritage” is designed around a family business, where the player has to take decisions based on the challenges that the typical business family faces, over three generations. The learnings from the simulation are far more impactful and the participants have reportedly been more engaged and have had greater involvement in understanding the challenges that family businesses would face. These simulations are superior to case studies and videos which are currently being used in B-school classrooms because simulations are interactive and the participants have to make decisions and face the implications which result from their earlier decisions. 

This family business simulation has been designed in such a manner, which enables it to be used as a base for the entire course on the family business. This now means that business schools all over the world can use this in their family business courses. This would also mean, that an Indian faculty from SPJIMR, Dr Agarwal’s simulation influences how the subject of a family business is taught all over the world.

Speaking on this remarkable feat, Rajiv says “Simulations are becoming a new pedagogical tool for B-schools. These offer an interactive way of ensuring learning and better outcomes in classrooms as compared to cases. While there are many vendors offering simulations, the simulations offered by the Harvard Business School Publishing, are quite popular and renowned for their academic rigour. These have been authored by HBS faculty and are quite popular all around the world since these represent state of the art technology being used in classrooms. These are usually based on some prior paper-based games or are an electronic version of some paper-based games. However, for the first time, this simulation on Family Businesses which has been tested at HBS has been developed, conceptualised, designed and developed from scratch. There was no precedent or paper-based game, prior to this. This simulation represents an interactive method of training the next generation family members and current founder/entrepreneurs, a safe environment to test their management practices on. This simulation has had very positive reviews from both faculty and participants and we are excited to offer this new tool for training family businesses.”

Dr Rajiv Agarwal is the Subject Matter Expert on Family Business, and he had developed the concept, design, and teaching pedagogy. This was a clean sim built from the ground up on a concept which was also developed and thought of by him as there was no precedence or paper-based game to copy from. The simulation is based on the three-circle model (by Davis and Tagiuri) which is the basic model underlying all family business studies all over the world. This is the first time that anything of this kind has been developed anywhere in the world and will help educators all over the world improve their family business courses. The simulation is based on the family business course, taught by Dr Agarwal at SPJIMR and based on his extensive experience as a family business advisor and a faculty.

Rajiv further explains, “This simulation on Family business has been class-tested in the Harvard Business School and in different colleges worldwide and was very well received. It is adaptable to different cultures and hence has learnings for family businesses worldwide.” The simulation is being currently also used in Dr Agarwal’s courses.  

This accomplishment represents an intellectual creation of global standards, which showcases the intellectual competence of the highest order, by an Indian B-School professor. The impact of this intellectual creation is far-reaching and global in nature, heralding a new phase in B-school education where an Indian faculty is being recognised internationally, by the mecca of learning, the Harvard Business School, who invited Dr Agarwal and gave him full freedom to conceptualise, create and provide the academic expertise for this simulation on Family Business.

This simulation represents a new era in Indian B-school education, that of Indian b-school faculty providing thought leadership and academic expertise of global standards and being recognised for our expertise of our Professors by the best b-school in the world.

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