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C. K. Prahalad

C. K. Prahalad

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Coimbatore Krishnarao Prahalad (8 August 1941 – 16 April 2010) was the Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor of Corporate Strategy at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business in the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

.

He is famous as the father of the concepts of Core competency
Core competency
A core competency is a concept in management theory originally advocated by CK Prahalad, and Gary Hamel, two business book writers. In their view a core competency is a specific factor that a business sees as being central to the way it, or its employees, works...

 and BoP - Bottom of the pyramid
Bottom of the pyramid
In economics, the bottom of the pyramid is the largest, but poorest socio-economic group. In global terms, this is the 2.5 billion people who live on less than $2.50 per day. The phrase “bottom of the pyramid” is used in particular by people developing new models of doing business that deliberately...

.

Early life


Prahalad was the ninth of eleven children born in 1941 in to a Kannada speaking family in Coimbatore
Coimbatore
Coimbatore , also known as Kovai , is the second largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a major commercial centre in Tamil Nadu and is known as the "Manchester of South India"....

, Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

. His father was a well-known Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 scholar and judge in Chennai
Chennai
Chennai , formerly known as Madras or Madarasapatinam , is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal. Chennai is the fourth most populous metropolitan area and the sixth most populous city in India...

. At 19, he joined Union Carbide
Union Carbide
Union Carbide Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company. It currently employs more than 2,400 people. Union Carbide primarily produces chemicals and polymers that undergo one or more further conversions by customers before reaching consumers. Some are high-volume...

, he was recruited by the manager of the local Union Carbide battery plant after completing his B.Sc degree in Physics from Loyola College, Chennai
Loyola College, Chennai
Loyola College is a Jesuit institution in Chennai, India. The college admits undergraduates and post-graduates and offers degrees in the liberal arts, sciences and commerce. It is an autonomous institution affiliated with the University of Madras.-History:...

, part of the University of Madras
University of Madras
The University of Madras is a public research university in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the three oldest universities in India...

. He worked there for four years. Prahalad called his Union Carbide experience a major inflection point
Inflection point
In differential calculus, an inflection point, point of inflection, or inflection is a point on a curve at which the curvature or concavity changes sign. The curve changes from being concave upwards to concave downwards , or vice versa...

 in his life. Four years later, he did his post graduate work in management at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
The Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad , better known as IIM Ahmedabad or simply IIM-A, is a business school located in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. It is the second Indian Institute of Management to be established, in 1961.-History:...

.

At Harvard Business School
Harvard Business School
Harvard Business School is the graduate business school of Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts, United States and is widely recognized as one of the top business schools in the world. The school offers the world's largest full-time MBA program, doctoral programs, and many executive...

, Prahalad wrote a doctoral thesis on multinational management in just two and a half years, graduating with a D.B.A.
Doctor of Business Administration
The degree of Doctor of Business Administration, abbreviated, or and equivalent to , is a research doctorate in business administration. The D.B.A...

 degree in 1975.

Professorship and teaching


After graduating from Harvard, Prahalad returned to his master's degree alma mater, the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
The Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad , better known as IIM Ahmedabad or simply IIM-A, is a business school located in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. It is the second Indian Institute of Management to be established, in 1961.-History:...

. But he soon returned to the United States, when in 1977, he was hired by the University of Michigan's School of Business Administration, where he advanced to the top tenured appointment as a full professor. In 2005, Prahalad earned the university's highest distinction, Distinguished University Professor.

On April 16, 2010, Prahalad died of a previously undiagnosed lung illness in San Diego, California
San Diego, California
San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest city in California. The city is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, immediately adjacent to the Mexican border. The birthplace of California, San Diego is known for its mild year-round...

. He was sixty eight years old at the time of his death, but he left a large body of work behind.

Writings, interests, and business experience


In the earlier days of Prahalad's fame as established management guru, in the beginning of the 90's, he advised Philips' Jan Timmer on the restructuring of this electronic corporation, then on the brink of collapse. With the resulting, successful, 2–3 year long Operation Centurion he also frequently stood for the Philips
Philips
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. , more commonly known as Philips, is a multinational Dutch electronics company....

 management troops.

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
Gary Hamel
Dr. Gary P. Hamel is an American management expert. He is a founder of Strategos, an international management consulting firm based in Chicago.-Early life:...

, Harvard Business Review, May–June 1990) which continues to be one of the most frequently re-printed articles published by the Harvard Business Review. 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
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid is a book by C. K. Prahalad that discusses new business models targeted at providing goods and services to the poorest people in the world. It makes a case for the fastest growing new markets and entrepreneurial opportunities being found among the billions...

: Eradicating Poverty through Profits
Wharton School Publishing
Wharton School Publishing
Wharton School Publishing is a publishing house, a division of The Wharton School and Pearson Education. The imprint brings together a variety of business educators and corporate executives on a list that features works in many formats, including print, audio, electronic documents, CD-ROM and video...

, 2004. His last book, co-authored by M. S. Krishnan
M. S. Krishnan
M. S. Krishnan is the Michael R. and Mary Kay Hallman Fellow & Professor of Business Information Technology; Chair of Business Information Technology at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.- Education :...

 and published in April 2008, is called The New Age of Innovation
The New Age of Innovation
The New Age of Innovation: Driving Cocreated Value Through Global Networks is a book by University of Michigan Ross School of Business Professors C.K. Prahalad and M.S. Krishnan published in April 2008...

.

Prahalad was co-founder and became CEO of Praja Inc. ("Praja" from a Sanskrit word "Praja" which means "citizen" or "common people"). The goals of the company ranged from allowing common people to access information without restriction (this theme is related to the "bottom of pyramid" or BOP philosophy) to providing a testbed for various management ideas. The company eventually laid off 1/3 of its workforce and was sold to TIBCO. At the time of his passing, he was still on the board of TiE
TiE
TiE is a global nonprofit dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship. TiE has 54 chapters in 13 countries, with a total membership exceeding 13,000. TiE is most closely affiliated with the South Asian business community, and is recognized as an important networking forum for entrepreneurs and investors...

, The Indus Entrepreneurs.

Prahalad has been among top ten management thinkers in every major survey for over ten years. Business Week said of him: "a brilliant teacher at the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

, he may well be the most influential thinker on business strategy today." He was a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 on Private Sector and Development. He was the first recipient of the Lal Bahadur Shastri
Lal Bahadur Shastri
Lal Bahadur Srivastava Shastri was the second Prime Minister of the Republic of India and a significant figure in the Indian independence movement.-Early life:...

 Award for contributions to Management and Public Administration presented by the President of India in 2000.

Honors and awards

  • In 2009, he was awarded Pravasi Bharatiya Sammaan

  • In 2009 he was conferred Padma Bhushan
    Padma Bhushan
    The Padma Bhushan is the third highest civilian award in the Republic of India, after the Bharat Ratna and the Padma Vibhushan, but comes before the Padma Shri. It is awarded by the Government of India.-History:...

     'third in the hierarchy of civilian awards' by the Government of India
    Government of India
    The Government of India, officially known as the Union Government, and also known as the Central Government, was established by the Constitution of India, and is the governing authority of the union of 28 states and seven union territories, collectively called the Republic of India...

    .

  • In 2009 he was named the world's most influential business thinker on the [Thinkers50.com] list, published by The Times .

  • In 2009, he was awarded the Herbert Simon Award by the Rajk László College for Advanced Studies ( Corvinus University of Budapest
    Corvinus University of Budapest
    The Corvinus University of Budapest is one of the most prestigious Hungarian universities located in Budapest, Hungary. The university offers degrees in multiple disciplines, but it is characterised by its programmes in economics and management. -History:...

    ).

External links