Nirmalya Kumar Company Guru

Nirmalya Kumar is Lee Kong Chian Professor of Marketing at Singapore Management University and Distinguished Executive Fellow at INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute. Previously, he was Member-Group Executive Council at Tata Sons.  As an academic, he has previously taught at Columbia University, Harvard Business School, IMD (Switzerland), London Business School, and Northwestern University (Kellogg School of Management). Nirmalya has written seven books, five of which were published by Harvard Business Press. Nirmalya holds a PhD in marketing from Northwestern University. 

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Does Parenting Matter?

Fifteen years ago, with the arrival of Maya, I became a father. As all parents feel, it was a transformational event. Sometimes, as new parents, we forget that becoming a parent is something that has happened billions of times before. Yes, it is a unique event, but only for us as individuals, not for humanity.


Brand Mission, Vision or Illusion?

A great brand needs direction. The brand’s mission statement, which in the case of the corporate brand is the company’s mission statement, helps articulate “why the brand exists?”


Five Lessons from 2017, with Questions for 2018 and Beyond

Let me start by wishing everyone Happy New Year! I was delighted at the traction that my articles have gained over the year. During 2017, I wrote thirty posts. The four most popular were:


What is Strategy?

My first teaching assignment at SMU (Singapore Management University) was teaching the core strategy course in the DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) program. This was an interesting assignment. Despite a thirty-year teaching career, I had previously never taught a strategy course.


Are Independent Directors Independent?

The separation of control from ownership in publicly listed companies requires effective corporate governance. As investors have limited visibility, it gives rise to the “agency problem”, where managers, as agents, may not run the company in the best interests of the shareholders.


How Cyrus Mistry was Fired as Tata Chairman

On 24 October 2016, Cyrus was in his Bombay House 4th floor office examining what seemed like a routine agenda for the Tata Sons board meeting that was scheduled to start in five minutes at 14:00 hours. Through the grapevine, Cyrus had heard that some of the board members had an unscheduled informal meeting earlier that morning. However, what they had discussed was unknown, and as such, he did not give it much further thought. The previous week had been business as usual with trips to China and Singapore to meet partners and investors.


Is Sustainability a Business Challenge?

The world population is expected to grow from the 7.5 billion currently (5 billion in 1987) to 10 billion by 2050. This increase is driven by a combination of enhanced life expectancy and high birth rates. While the former has been a global phenomenon, the latter is restricted to the Asian and African continents. Projections beyond 2050 are more varied. Some projections see declining, while others seeing increasing world population. Regardless of the longer-term picture, the anticipated near-term growth in population will put considerable stress on the planet in the coming three decades.