Mihir A. Desai

Mihir A. Desai

Professor of Finance and Law


Harvard University

San Francisco, CA USA


We underestimate the significance of geography. Go to where you want to be as fast as you can. You’re going to meet people, you’re going to be around things. Opportunities will open up.

Milestones

Milestones

My road in life has taken me all over.
Was born in Bombay (now Mumbai), India, raised in Hong Kong, and later moved to New Jersey as a teenager.
Attended Brown University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history.
After graduation, he “fell into the job market” and interviewed for a wide variety of positions—ended up working for an investment bank in New York for two years.
Decided to go to Harvard University for business school and earned an MBA.
While trying to decide whether to pursue consulting or banking for his career, he had an epiphany that told him neither was the right choice.
Moved to India for a year to figure things out—when he returned to the U.S., he went back to Harvard University to get his Ph.D. in political economy.
He’s now a professor of finance and law at Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School, respectively.
He’s also a renowned economist with expertise in tax policy, international finance, and corporate finance, and has authored publications on topics like tax policy and globalization.
Keep following my journey
Education

Education

highschool
High School
undergrad
Bachelor
History, General
Brown University
undergrad
Bachelor
Economics, General
Brown University
graduate
Graduate
Business Administration and Management, General
Harvard University
doctorate
Doctorate
Political Economy
Harvard University
Career

Career

Professor of Finance and Law

I am a professor, researcher, and thinker specializing in finance and tax policy.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Business
Business
Law
Law
Teaching / Mentoring
Teaching / Mentoring

Day to Day

I typically teach classes at either the Law School or Business School. I have a lot of interesting conversations with colleagues and spend hours writing and attending conference calls with coauthors.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

You need to have perseverance, a positive attitude, and limitless curiosity.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

Start getting exposed to and used to conducting a large amount of research. The research you do as a student and as a teacher is very similar. Find great mentors who will tell you the truth and keep you focused on the goal no matter what.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

undergrad
Bachelor
History, General
undergrad
Bachelor
Economics, General
graduate
Graduate
Business Administration and Management, General
doctorate
Doctorate
Political Economy
Hurdles

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Myself:

"I'm spending so much money on higher education. This will never be of benefit to me."

When I finally left school, I had so much debt it was definitely concerning. I have always believed that investments in education are hugely important. At the time, I wasn't just focused on what the degrees could do for me financially, but what they could do for me personally. Luckily, I also had personal safety nets where I wasn't really worried about financial ruin. I just had to accept that I wouldn't always have debt and push forward.

Challenges I Overcame

Financial
Financial

I had to work hard and borrow my way through graduate school - but it was worth it to me. My parents always instilled in me that money was never an excuse not to do something.

First-Generation Immigrant
First-Generation Immigrant

I moved around a lot as a kid and grew up in wildly different areas. It was a challenge, but gave me a unique lens through which to view the world.