Boston University to host new Ravi K. Mehrotra Institute for Business, Markets and Society


In an era when it says many young people are questioning the value of capitalism in society, Boston University’s Questrom School of Business is to launch an institute to specifically study the role that business plays—both real and ideal—in advancing and solving real-world issues.

The Ravi K. Mehrotra Institute for Business, Markets, and Society (IBMS) “will help others understand and appreciate the role business and markets do, can, and should play in creating lasting prosperity, advancing societal goals, and solving global challenges,” its mission statement reads.

Robert A. Brown, BU president emeritus, and Susan Fournier, the dean of Questrom, secured the gift last year that will endow the institute from Ravi Mehrotra, the founder and executive chairman of the Foresight Group. Between previously raised donations to the institute, plus the latest gift from Mehrotra (the largest of the donations), the institute has raised a total of $51 million, according to Fournier.

Foresight is a London- and Dubai-based global shipping, drilling, and private equity firm with a commitment to environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG). Its investment arm weighs companies’ comportment with United Nations sustainability goals on climate change and other environmental concerns, in addition to financial considerations. It also runs a foundation to train underprivileged students to work both in merchant marines and on drilling rigs.

“Questrom School of Business is among the world’s top-ranking [schools] for business administration and management programs,” Mehrotra says. “Questrom makes the ideal home for the institute, he says, due to “the innovative curriculum, distinguished faculty, the diverse and global perspective it offers to students, and above all, its strategic location in Boston, the world’s most innovative finance, legal, and technology hub.”

Kenneth Freeman, BU president ad interim and dean emeritus of Questrom, says the gift fits both the University’s mission and the benefactor’s goal: “The focus of the new Institute on understanding the important role of business in our society embraces the vision and spirit of its benefactor, Ravi Mehrotra, and builds on his philosophy that knowledge is powerful. We are pleased and honoured that the Mehrotra Institute will become a vitally important part of Boston University’s research and teaching mission.”

Besides helping business and academia, Mehrotra says, the institute will promote public understanding of market dynamics and economics. “An institute dedicated to exploring the intersections of business, markets, and society plays a pivotal role in bridging gaps in understanding and collaboration between these crucial domains,” Mehrotra says, “fostering a more informed, ethical, and sustainable approach to commerce and economics.”

Fournier, who is also the business school’s Allen Questrom Professor, says: “This will be the signature institute for Questrom School of Business,” and that the mission of the school aligns strategically with the mission of IBMS. “It deals fundamentally with forces that allow business to be powerful and have an effect and a powerful influence,” Fournier says. The new institute will join other research institutes at Questrom that cover a range of topics, from digital business to business ethics to human resources policy.