Meeting C.K.Prahalad

Posted: May 5, 2010 in Published Articles
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  (August8, 1941-April 16, 2010)

Coimbatore Krishnarao Prahalad  was globally known as the ‘Management Guru’ world-wide.  His research mainly focused on ‘Corporate Strategy’ and the role of management in corporations.

 On April 16, 2010, Prahalad died of a previously undiagnosed lung illness in San Diego.

 I had the pleasure of meeting him several times and informally at the Diwali festival here with his wife Gayathrie. He was pleasant and very civil in his talks. Previously I had met him at the Felicitation ceremony they had for the ‘movers and shakers’ in society where Krishnammal was a visiting guest. Prahalad was the guest speaker and talked extensively about the progress in India and how management philosophies could be applied there effectively as well as globally.

 In the evening after the felicitation he gave a very interesting talk on the advent of Mobile Phones in India and how it had effectively let to a communication revolution in India. It was a very engrossing talk indeed and the highlight of the evening.

 At Harvard Business School, Prahalad wrote a doctoral thesis on multinational management in just two and a half years, graduating with a D.B.A. degree in 1975. After graduating from Harvard, Prahalad returned to India. He taught at his alma-mater the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, but soon returned to the United States. He was appointed to position of the Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor of Corporate Strategy at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business in the University of Michigan.


 I managed to corner him and asked a few questions regarding India, development and his opinions. ( I misplaced the notes  (2008) so unable to put up the excerpts here). His answers were usually cryptic and to the point. Unlike the others I interviewed I was unable to break the ice with him for more information.

I met him and his lovely wife Gayathrie again at the Diwali festival for the formal inauguration of the festival with the Counsel General Sushmitha. They are residents of San Diego.

 C. K. Prahalad is the co-author of a number of well known works in corporate strategy including The Core Competence of the Corporation (with Gary Hamel, Harvard Business Review, May–June, 1990). He authored several international bestsellers, including: Competing for the Future (with Gary Hamel), 1994; The Future of Competition (with Venkat Ramaswamy), 2004; and The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits Wharton School Publishing, 2004. His new book with co-author M. S. Krishnan is called The New Age of Innovation.

A brilliant teacher and influential thinker, his students and the management world will definitely miss his presence after the niche he had carved out for himself. He was widely respected by the community and the faculty.


  • In 2009, he was awarded Pravasi Bharatiya Sammaan

In 2009 he was named the world’s most influential business thinker on the [] list, published by The Times

 Photos: Personal Collection

Sources: Wiki



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