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Nirmalya Kumar


Nirmalya Kumar is Professor of Marketing at Lee Kong Chian School of Business, Singapore Management University and Distinguished Fellow at INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute. Previously, he was Member-Group Executive Council at Tata Sons.  At Tata Sons, responsible for group strategy, he reported to the Chairman Cyrus Mistry.

As an academic, he has also taught at Columbia University, Harvard Business School, IMD (Switzerland), London Business School, and Northwestern University (Kellogg School of Management) besides being a Distinguished Fellow at INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute. Nirmalya has written seven books, five of which are published by Harvard Business Press: Marketing as Strategy (2004), Private Label Strategy (2007), Value Merchants (2007), India’s Global Powerhouses (2009), and India Inside (2012). Brand Breakout: How Emerging Market Brands Will Go Global is his latest book.

Nirmalya is widely published with six articles in the Journal of Marketing Research (the premier journal for marketing academics) and nine appearances in the Harvard Business Review (the premier journal for business practice). His publications have attracted more than 17,000 citations on Google Scholar.

As a consultant, coach, and conference speaker, Nirmalya has worked with over 50 Fortune 500 companies in 60 different countries. He has served on several boards of directors including ACC, Ambuja Cement, Bata India, Tata Capital, Tata Chemicals, Ultratech, and Zensar, all with billion dollars plus in capitalization.

Nirmalya received his B.Com. from Calcutta University (graduating first in a class of 5,251 students), his MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago (scoring a perfect 5.0 grade point average), and his PhD in marketing from Kellogg Graduate School of Management (winning the Marketing Science Institute's Alden G. Clayton Award for his PhD dissertation).

The above has led to 1,000+ press appearances, six European case (ECCH) adoption awards, as well as several teaching, research, and lifetime achievement honors. In 2010, voted Nirmalya amongst the top 5 marketing speakers worldwide; the Economic Times placed him 6th on the list of Global Indian Thought Leaders; whilst the Economist referred to him as a “rising superstar” in their cover story “The New Masters of Management.” In 2011, he was included in Thinkers50 (the biannual listing of the top 50 management thinkers in the world) and received their “Global Village Award” (for the person who contributed most to the business community's understanding of globalization and the new frontiers established by the emerging markets).  In 2012, he was named among the 50 Best B-School professors in the world and among the 50 most influential Business School professors in 2013.

In his personal life, Nirmalya is a passionate supporter of the arts and charitable causes. He is the custodian of amongst the largest known private collection of paintings by Jamini Roy (1887-1972; the father of Indian modern art). He has served on the South Asian Acquisition Committee of Tate Modern. In recognition of his patronage and promotion of South Asian Art, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, awarded him an Honorary Fellowship in 2012.

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Leadership & Organisations

Four Ways to Handle Multicultural Differences in a Team

Working across cultures can sometimes be frustrating, but the results are well worth the learning journey.


Three Crucial Advantages of Multicultural Management Teams

International experience and insight matter far more than what it says on your passport.

Leadership & Organisations

To Accomplish Difficult Tasks, Combine Discipline With Cheating

Setting stretch goals that incorporate wiggle room is the best way to ensure actual results.

Economics & Finance

Forget the Stereotypes About Conglomerates

Nirmalya Kumar

Not all diversified groups deserve the “conglomerate discount”. Some types are more likely to add value than others.


How “India Inc.” Can Own Frugal Innovation

India’s homegrown innovation culture has the potential to become a globally relevant business methodology.


Elon Musk, Frugal Engineer

Tesla’s game-changing batteries for the home are a page straight out of India’s frugal engineering playbook.