In this talk, Partha Mohanram, John H. Watson Chair in Value Investing and Director of the India Innovation Institute at the University of Toronto, discussed his India Innovation Journey and shared some thoughts on the role of academics centres in fostering development, peace and prosperity in South Asia.

The talk was part of the Center for Emerging Markets‘ Nardone Family Seminar Series.


South Asian Academics in North America – What role can we play to foster development, peace and prosperity in South Asia?

In this short essay, I outline my own journey which started as a professor whose only connection with India was annual trips to meet family and occasional trips to attend conferences and seminars or short teaching stints at places like the Indian School of Business. Over the past twelve years, since I moved to Canada, this has evolved considerably. It started with me leading a group of MBA students on a study tour of India. I then started to appear on local television shows on channels like TV Ontario (an Ontario equivalent of PBS) discussing the Indian economy, Indian elections, etc. I was (and still am) hardly an expert, but I was able to provide an educated and informed Indian perspective. Since 2016, I have been leading a research center/think-tank called the India Innovation Institute at the University of Toronto. I have tried to hold a variety of interesting events and conferences. I have started an annual student-led conference in conjunction with our South Asian Business Association. I have held book events with leading academics, economists, and business leaders—people like Raghuram Rajan and Sam Pitroda for instance. I have also been closely involved in the University's growing involvement in India.

In this essay, I attempt to do two things. One—I outline the journey I have described above in detail. Two—I offer on thoughts on what role we can play as academics leading centers such as the institute I lead right now. I try to answer many questions. How can we advance India's economic advancement and development? How can we foster the two-way spread of innovation—what can India learn from the west, and what can the west learn from India's successes and failures? What challenges does India face in ensuring that its so-called demographic dividend does not become a demographic disaster? Can we play a role in ensuring that there is greater cooperation among the countries in South Asia? Finally, I offer my thoughts on recent geopolitical developments and how they will affect India's relationship with North America's academic institutions.

Some major caveats are in order. One—these are my thoughts and opinions, and not all of them are necessarily backed by hard facts. Two—I am hardly an expert; I consider myself a reasonably well read and well-informed dilettante. Three—my opinions may have been colored by being in Canada for the past twelve years, and hence some of my observations may not necessarily translate perfectly to the US context.

About the Speaker

Partha Mohanram
John H. Watson Chair in Value Investing Director, India Innovation Institute

Partha Mohanram is the John H. Watson Chair in Value Investing and Area Coordinator of Accounting at Rotman. He has published extensively in the areas of financial statement analysis, valuation of growth firms, implied cost of capital and executive compensation. He is a Deputy Editor-in-chief of Contemporary Accounting Research and serves on the editorial board of The Accounting Review and Review of Accounting Studies. His research work has won numerous awards including the Haim Falk award from the CAAA (2017) and the Rotman research impact award (2018).

Professor Mohanram teaches advanced electives on business analysis and valuation. He joined Rotman after serving on the faculty of Columbia and New York University. He obtained his PhD from Harvard, MBA from IIM – Ahmedabad, and B.Tech from IIT-Madras.

Professor Mohanram is the director of the India Innovation Institute at the University of Toronto