2016 Faculty Pioneer Award Recipient


Gaurab Bhardwaj

Associate Professor of Strategy and Management
Babson College

Winning Course: Solving Big Problems

“We are surrounded by big problems that if solved even partly will transform industries and societies and make better the lives of many.  We typically don’t think of these settings as the province of business, but we should.  Business education imparts knowledge, skills, and a mindset that are urgently needed in solving big societal problems.  We have one life.  Why not play even a small part in something truly consequential? “


I am an associate professor of strategy and management at Babson where I teach required courses in strategy and an elective “Solving Big Problems” to undergraduates and MBAs.  I also teach in executive education programs.  My research is on decision making processes for solving big problems. 

My interest in big societal problems goes back decades to growing up in India.  Watching some positive changes take shape, I concluded that business contributed greatly to improving the lives of many.  To learn more, I completed an MBA at Northeastern University in Boston.  Then, realizing that there was even more to learn, I joined the PhD program in business at the University of Pittsburgh.  There, I investigated how businesses make long term decisions when the payoffs are uncertain and in the far future.  I thought it would help me understand a piece of the big problems puzzle.  I specialized in field research, historical methods, qualitative analysis, and theory building.  After joining Babson’s faculty, I continued on to study the creation of two women’s hospitals in India, a medical diagnostics company that transformed cervical cancer testing, and a business that provides economic independence to women rescued from sex trafficking.  My latest project is a book on the recent Ebola epidemic studied from a decision making and organizational perspectives.

Through my teaching, research, and writing I am trying to play a small, even though indirect, part in solving big problems.



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