Gautam Mukunda is Assistant Professor of Business Administration in the Organizational Behavior Unit of Harvard Business School. In his book, “Indispensable: When Leaders Really Matter” (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012), he takes a hard look at the age-old question, “Does history make the man, or does the man make history?”

From historic icons like Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill, to high-impact contemporary leaders like Jamie Dimon and Judah Folkman, Mukunda identifies the unique circumstances when individual leaders really do make a difference. By illuminating the “filtration” processes undergone by all potential leaders, he expertly illustrates which leaders matter, when and why they do, and what we can learn from both their successes and their failures. In addition to his new release, Mukunda has previously been published in The Washington Post, Security Studies, Parameters, Politics and the Life Sciences, and Systems and Synthetic Biology. His past articles focus on leadership, military innovation, network-centric warfare and the security and economic implications of synthetic biology.

An accomplished academic, Mukunda is a member of both the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Security Studies Program and Program on Emerging Technologies. He is a Paul & Daisy Soros New American Fellow, an NSF IGERT Fellow and a Next Generation Fellow of The American Assembly.

Before joining Harvard Business School, Mukunda was the National Science Foundation Synthetic Biology ERC Postdoctoral Fellow resident at MIT’s Center for International Studies. He received his PhD from MIT in Political Science and an AB in Government from Harvard, graduating magna cum laude. Prior to his graduate career, Mukunda served as a consultant with McKinsey & Company, where he focused on the pharmaceutical sector.

In addition to his current work as author and assistant professor, Mukunda serves as Founding Managing Director of The Two Rivers Group and is a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Mentorship Committee of The Upakar Foundation, a national non-profit devoted to providing college scholarships to underprivileged students of South Asian descent.


Harvard Business Review Press (September 2012)

Gautam Mukunda’s Website

Harvard Business School Faculty Page

Twitter: @gmukunda