Finance & Economy

Harvard Professor Fritz Foley on tax, trade, business, academia and more

June 2, 2021

Harvard Professor Fritz Foley on tax, trade, business, academia and more

Fritz Foley

Harvard Business School professor and corporate finance expert

Harvard Business School professor and corporate finance expert Fritz Foley discusses tax policy implications and the future of business education.

From the rise of multinational corporations and potential tax policy implications to the role of CFOs and the importance of investor relations, Harvard Business School professor and corporate finance expert Fritz Foley has researched and taught it all. On the latest Walker Webcast, Professor Foley discusses all of these topics, as well as the future of business education.


The episode begins as Willy introduces today's guest, Fritz Foley, André R. Jakurski Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He has authored and co-authored over 34  academic papers and 40 case studies. As the conversation begins, Willy asks Fritz to discuss why he chose a career in academia. Fritz said it was an easy choice for him, explaining his long-standing interest in academics. He goes on to discuss his role at HBS, the day-to-day case study methodology, and how he aims to serve more as a guide for discussion rather than teach a strict curriculum. 

Fritz has taught students from a huge array of different backgrounds and tries to live his life by not stereotyping. He describes the MBA classroom as a place that encourages speculations and the creation of hypotheses and the joy he finds in seeing medical students embrace this environment. 

The discussion then shifts to discussing the topic of Fritz’s upcoming book release, which will document his research into multinational corporations. Willy asks Fritz if he believes such corporations are on the decline. Over the last few decades, Fritz explains, the data reveals their presence has been constant in the U.S. economy, providing a large fraction of economic activity. He believes they will always play a large presence in the market. Then, they discuss the emergence of China and the inevitability of companies coming and going on the market. China is simply growing at a much faster rate than any other country therefore taking up a larger fraction of global economic activity. 

Discussing tax havens, Fritz says there are many unfair accusations and in fact, the presence of such havens could actually be a positive thing for the U.S. and Europe. However, there is a need for corporations to follow the rules and be morally just. Then, Willy asks whether multinational corporations have the responsibility to continue investing in research and development. Fritz explains the incentives in place for performing R&D and the U.S. is overall in a good place in this area. 

Next, they discuss the emergence of HBS Online, which Fritz considers a platform business with content and formats that can serve all types of learners. He predicts different teaching methods will be combined on the platform in new ways to make it a compelling experience. The business has taken off considerably and is predicted to continue growing in that way. 

On average, HBS publishing makes around $200 million each year in revenue. Fritz explains case writing to be much like doing research and admits he has never focused much on the overall expenses they entail. Cases are an invaluable way to study business and tend to be a great way to ignite discussion and exhibit points. 

Finally, they discuss what the pandemic has done for the world of MBA and executive education. Overall, there continues to be a strong demand for the MBA program and virtual programming. 


Learn more about Fritz Foley.
Learn more about HBS Online

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