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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  January 24, 2015 12:00am-1:01am EST

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>> charlie: welcome to the program. we begin this evening with the dean of the harvard business school, nitin nohria. >> we have gone back in the 2008 crisis and written every example and asked the question what can we learn from these experiences? we have had more cases of failure that are part of our curriculum than ever before, because we want to make sure students don't feet so enamored by the prospects of success and feel everything they do will lead to positive outcomes that they need to understand what can cause failure and what can we learn from these cases of failure, what is the personal accountability they need to have, how can they create systems which -- like inceptive systems that can run ahead and run amok. so i think we've learned a lot from that moment. can we promise ourselves nothing
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like that will ever happen again? i'm not sure but we've learned a lot. >> charlie: we close with stella mccartney daughter of paul mccartney and famous fashion designer in her own right. >> i'm really intrigued by fashion but also really interested in this sort of psychological side. i want to know why women choose to wear what they want to wear and how it makes them feel. that excites me. >> charlie: you want to understand the people who buy your clothes. >> yes, and i want to give them something that really makes their life better that makes them feel better and something they can turn to. as a woman wearing my clothes, i don't buy something and throw it away. i'm consistent in how i navigate through my wardrobe a reflection of how i feel. >> charlie: the dean of the harvard business school and stella mccartney, coming up.
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captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> charlie: nitin nohria is here. he has been dean of the harvard business school since 2010, an institution whose mission statement is to educate leaders who will make a difference. under his leadership the school has met the demands of the 21st century, world war training across the globe is an increasing part of the curriculum and the school is taking steps to create a more inclusive environment for women. pleased to have the dean of the harvard business school at this
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table for the first time, welcome. >> thanks charlie. >> charlie: tell me in your own words how the harvard's business school has changed since you have been the dean whether you've brought about that change or not. >> i was very important i became dean of the harvard business school when we began our second century and you were there for the bisenthe bicentennial. >> yes i was. we were known for the case method. it has has been the heart of of business school. i asked the question what can we do to strengthen this wonderful curriculum. we added an opportunity not to just, in the case method we brought the world to our students and through the field method we're sending the students into the world. it's learning by doing instead of imagining what you might do. this is a powerful addition to the curriculum. we've embraced online education and ran a series of experiments there. in terms of the intellectual business of our school we
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thought about big projects. we've done a project on major competitiveness, tackling the healthcare crisis and looking at energy and the environment. so we're asking ourselves how can the school be relevant. we're celebrating our 50th 50th year of women being in the school. so we're increasing numerically the number of women in school and want to make sure they drive thrive at schools and their careers after. we push internationalization of our business school. the education we're giving our students is to prepare them for what i think will be a global century in business. finally, we're taking advantage of the fact we're part of a great university. we're trying to do things to make sure harvard business
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school is a part of the university. >> charlie: is the purpose to make sure the students will make a difference. >> our purpose is to make sure they make the difference. our curriculum design is to prepare leaders to make a difference in the world. >> charlie: your expertise is management and leadership correct? >> yes. >> charlie: tell me about leadership. let's assume that a political heard came to you -- political leader came to you who had some skills a good education, but have come to a position of trust and accountability and difference. what would you say to them that's essential to know to maximize their impact? >> so i think the first thing the leaders have to know is society will hold them accountable for will they make society a better place. if the difference they make
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don't allow people's lives to be better they will not be judged as leaders. in the end you can't decrair yourself a leader, the other person says you're a leader. usually a person will call a person a leader if what that person did left their lives improved. so leadership in the end is about making people's lives better. >> charlie: what's the art of inspiration so that people want to follow? >> people want to know that you're authentic, that you come from a place where what you are saying is something you deeply believe in. i think people will follow someone who is authentic, who has a clear moral compass. they want to know that what drives you is not just your own personal ambition but a greater purpose. people expect of leaders that they have a way of simplifying the complexity in the world and finding a way to head true north. they want to know what true north looks like.
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my sense is people in the world want someone who has a simple believable, authentic view of the world which they feel will allow their lives to have get better. >> charlie: always seemed to me the leaders i've admired the most, they were able to articulate the mission. >> yep. >> charlie: and what your significance was to it and what your success meant to it. >> yes. >> charlie: so you were there for purpose and ownership. >> and your work matters. one of the things i have learned is we teach our students to recognize that, in the end, you will be experienced as a leader if people feel you are accountable for everything you do and that through your work they can find meaning in their work, that together you will accomplish something that neither you or the other purpose will accomplish individually that there's something about working together that allows the whole to be greater than the
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parts. i think leaders create that experience in others and that makes them powerful. >> charlie: 2007 and 2008 were a difficult time for america and its economy and its businesses. what's changed? did it affect the way -- did it impact the way you felt the responsibility of the university and the business school? >> i think people realized then and i hope that that lesson will be taken very seriously that effective business is about the display of both competence and character. >> charlie: right. and that we can get ahead of ourselves, that if we're not careful we can take on too much risk that systemic risk when it collapses can collapse in very damaging ways. >> charlie: which is exactly what happened. >> which is exactly what happened. so we have gone back after the 2008 crisis and written cases on every example. we teach by the case method and
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asked ourselves the question what can we learn from the experiences? we've had more cases of failure that are part of our curriculum thane ever before because we want to make sure students don't get so enamored by the prospects of success and feel everything they do will lead to positive outcomes, that they need to understand what causes failure and what can we learn from the cases of failure, what is the personal accountability they need to have, how can they create systems like incentive systems that can run ahead and run amok. so i think we've learned a lot from that moment. can we promise ourselves something like that will never happen again? i'm not sure but have we learned a lot? certainly yes. >> charlie: and you've learned something about creating the mba oath as just one consequence of it. tell me what that is. >> it was inspired by the idea of the hippocratic oath which is to say what should business leaders believe in as a set of
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true moral views that they should have that, just like doctors say do no harm is one of the first things and patients' interests come before anyone else's interests and in the same way we've tried to articulate the mba oath and business leaders should start off with a dictate that says do no harm and deeply concerned about the long-term well fair of companies rather than short term. we've tried to ask them to make sure that when they think about a business they ask themselves that beyond the profits of the business businesses have externalities, they can harm the environment, they have labor or customers and to think harvard about these externalities and business leaders are accountable for them as much as for what the firm does directly.
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so teaching people about the broader set of responsibilities is one of the things that we hope the mba would encourage us to think harder about. >> charlie: was there some resistance to it? >> we couldn't get people to say that the mba oath would be something that all our students should sign on to so it's taken voluntarily by the students but the deal behind the oath, we have a course in leadership and the accountability which encourages us to think through an ethical economic and legal lens and to recognize sound business judgment actually meets all three lenses. so at least the oath, even though it was something notify one was willing to sign, the underlying views are part of our curriculum. >> charlie: when the president of harvard asked you to become dean of the business school, did she tell you why she wanted you? >> i think all she told me was
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you are someone the faculty trusts, you're someone who comes from a background in leadership. the mission of the school is to educate leaders to make a difference in the world. i hope you will stay true to that idea and remain committed to developing the best leaders the school can. >> charlie: do you think because you've had diversity in your life that you are better doing this job in 2015? >> i would think that i do believe my background helps. the fact that, in many ways i didn't grow up in the united states. i bring inherently a more global perspective. if you think about the future of the world, it certainly lies in emerging markets as much as it uh lies in the developed economy. i just came from a trip to india, china tokyo, japan. when i was in india, you're always reminded about the extraordinary opportunity that lie there. in many ways irvelings more comfortable in places like that.
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i try to get our students through the global field experiences they have. all 900 of our first year students now go out as part of their first year experience and go to emerging markets around the world. i don't think this would have been as easy for someone who didn't have the perspective as i did. i also think in many ways i've personsed the life as an example of the american dream. i was a member of a minority and sit hearing as dean of harvard business school. only in america are these stories possible. >> charlie: when you left india, did you ever think i'm never coming back? i'm going to america and i'm going to hitch my star to the great american dream? >> to be honest i didn't leave india and think i would try to find a career in the united states. would i imagine the career would lead me to dean of the harvard business school? no. >> charlie: but in terms of the academy? >> yes, a professor with tenure
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that was my dream. >> charlie: and the world changed. a lot of kids coming out of india think about coming back more so than ever because we've seen -- >> the economic opportunities. >> charlie: -- the economic opportunities and intellectual opportunities change. >> i think the intellectual understand the have to catch up but the economic opportunities certainly have changed dramatically. we see in our own programs many people apply to ph.d. programs, now many international students applying to our mba programs. several stay, many go back. sometimes if not immediately but we start to see in five years of our students graduating many people go back to the emerging markets. so you're right the world changed. >> charlie: some them go back because the immigration policy to have the united states does not work as it should. >> i wish we could staple a green card to every diploma i give. that will be a wonderful thing
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for this country. i'm an example of one of the reasons why it was great to become an academic. it was very easy to get a green card by becoming an academic. it made it easy for me to stay here. i have a great career. i wish we would create that opportunity for more international students who come to the united states. >> charlie: tell me about online education as it applies to the harvard business school. >> so we think that online education represents a remarkable opportunity for the future of education. i must confess when i first became dean i was not sure online education would be that important to the school. we've always believed in the intimacy of the case method. we have been lucky that we attract the most remarkable students and that is usually small scale so 900 students. it's not easy to imagine you can attract the remarkable students if you attracted 10,000. we have great markers that
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attracted great students in the classroom. we've built a very unique online platform called hbx. we're trying to do case method online, trying to make it engaging and interactive. you can't spend three minutes on h.b.x. without having to do something to interact with the other pierce who are online. so once we put our mind to it, we learn that actually there are many things that we can bring to an online setting that's taught to aperture at least some of the magic of the case method we have been known for. >> charlie: do you believe it might lead to some kind of degree qualification? >> as of now we are very committed to not having it compete with our degree programs. so we're doing our online education as pre-mba and we're doing our online education as something that will provide life-long education but we don't think that it needs to replace the mba which we still think is a degree that stands for judgment, it stands for a deep investment in learning a set of things.
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so as of now i don't think our online programs or in fact any online program will easily rival the degree programs we have. >> charlie: so what happens? you do it for your own edification? >> no. so the first product we created is something called h.b.x. core, a suite of three introductory courses, the basics of accounting the base six of economic, base six of analytics, and we offer it to undergraduates. we're trying to say if you're a liberal arts or science major, you can continue to be a liberal arts mainly but you want a head start in business, then this gives you the basic vocabulary of business, and you can start a career and you don't have to do an undergraduate degree in business. some day you might consiéeu doing an mba. but we think there are hundreds of thousands of liberal arts majors ail across the united states and in other parts of the world who should do in undergraduate degrees what their heart tells them, whether
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history or biology or science or engineering. but then if they want a career in business, we can give them through h.b.x. core 100 hours of great foundation to at least learn the language so they can begin their business careers and then if they have a further appetite for business education, we would say to them come spend two years at harvard business school and we'll prepare you for a lifetime of leadership. >> charlie: do you prefer they have time between undergraduate and the business school? >> i would like people to spend at least three years before they come to the business school. we have begun to admit some people in their senior year in something called two plus two before business school so that two years later they know they can come to the school. >> charlie: that would be great to go now and take all the advantages from a different kind of experience from the academy.
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>> we found the two plus two, we introduced it because we wanted more people who were scientists, more people who in the two years between undergraduate and business school would do things closer to their passions instead of feeling like they had to do work building towards the resume. we have people take chances with entrepreneurship. we have people who go out and make a movie work in nonprofits, so we end up creating many more opportunity so people spend the two years quite differently than just going to work for a consulting firm or investment firm. >> charlie: do you think the business community has done a good job in explaining the role and the possibilities of creating viable sustainable enterprises? >> right now to my mind one to have the great challenges is the business has is the role of business in society is being questioned, and we as people
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who -- >> charlie: and it's integrity and morality and values and culture. >> i think people are beginning to tout that businesses in the end are great for the prosperity of society. i think that is such a tragic state to find ourselves in because to my mind if you think about the world and you ask yourself what is the best mechanism for creating prosperity in society? in the 20th century, about a billion and a half people were brought into the circle of economic prosperity by business. there is nothing more powerful than business creating a sustainable way for people to have jobs, for customers to have product and services they care about, for investment to flow into enterprise which only lives as long as it creates values, and dice when it stops creating value. it's one of the most robust, organic adaptive meek initials we know for creating value in society. we have 9 billion in the people
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by tend to have century 7 billion more that have to be brought into economic prosperity and i don't think we'll do it without business. business leaders need to remind people business is the greatest force for good in the society but as any powerful instrument not used properly can cause harm as well. so emphasizing the positive role in business and making sure that we embrace and are opened-minded about the resaints that need to be put so we can't say all regulation is bad we can't say business should not be conducted morally, we have to recognize corruption is something that is in the end bad for business. >> charlie: most business executives i know would say i agree with all of that but the question for me is, you know they say i agree with that but are they doing things in a proactive way to see that those things are true? >> i think we're beginning to see examples of business leaders who are stepping up to make that
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case. paul pullman is a great example. here's someone who says i'm going to expand the revenue by twice but half the environmental footprint at the same time i do that. i think people who challenge themselves and their organizations to continue to create economic value while thinking hard about the negative externalities of business and making sure they minimize the negative externalities, those are the kind of leaders who will set the example of what business need to be. we are fortunate we have examples of business leaders showing the way. we're studying the examples. we're making sure we inspire our students to think about that. we're also lucky that one of the great surprises i've had as dean of the harvard business school is i know our graduates have done very well in business but what's been amazing to me is to see how many of our graduates are so devoted to social
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enterprises -- if you think about the great hospitals, the great universities, k-12 charter schools -- we're seeing business leaders devoting themselves to making sure these institutions of society are better as well by brig management and leadership and insight into these fields. this is another thing business leaders will have to do to restore their confidence in society is to say we have an interest in these other institutions as well and make sure they function effectively. >> charlie: larry page has given this a lot of thought. the role of the corporation which he thinks just as you did and articulates it as well, the idea of what is possible within this institution. >> it's a remarkable institution. if you just think about the great inventions of humanity. i think the corporation is one of the great inventions of humanity and yet, as in so many great inventions it's a power
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that can be a force for good but if wielded badly as we saw in the economic crisis, can cause great harm, too. good leadership is about husbanding this force which can be an extraordinary power for good and make sure we realize that. i think institutions like ours that have the responsibility of educating the leaders need to show people how to think about them. >> charlie: on the question of women -- >> yep. >> charlie: did you think harvard was doing a good job both in terms of women as professors women as graduates and women participating in the academic life of the business school? >> we had been -- we started admitting women at harvard business school in 1963 and took great comfort in the fact that each year of the eight women we admitted in the first class, we
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were admitting more each year and many went on to have great careers, so we were satisfied we had an increasing number of women. but when we looked harder at the numbers we realized even though we had been increasing participation of women not all were driving at harvard business school. we give people first year and second year honors and found women were about half as represented in these honors as they should be by the percentage that we admitted. so for example when we had 30% of the women who were a part of the class, only 15% were getting honors. so that made us at least pause and ask ourselves the question why. why would it be the case that we believe we're admitting equally qualified women, we're not putting the thumb on the scale to admit women who are not as
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qualified as men, so why would they not do as well as harvard business school? it's hard to believe women don't aspire to get honors at the same rate as men do. what we learned is there was nothing deliberate that was going on in our classrooms so we found for example that some people suspected maybe male professors were more hostile to women and sense we have class participation as 50% of the grade, they were undervaluing the comments of women. but we learned that, no, women were as likely to underperform in classes taught by women professors -- >> charlie: why were they underperforming in classroom participation? >> we learned very subtle things. women were a little more tentative sometimes to get into the classroom discussion. as a result they might not get called upon at the same rate as men. we learned that women's comments were not as likely to be remembered as men who spoke out. so i was far more likely to, if
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charlie spoke, to say charlie had a great comment. on the other hand, if a woman spoke, i might just ignore that comment and not give it as much attention. >> charlie: but why? i think we've learned through lots and lots of research that's been done in gender that we're all socialized, all of us, both men and women and turns out women are as likely to underrepresent, undervalue overlook not pay as much attention to the comments of a woman who speaks as a man but once you become conscious of that and this is all we have to do, we actually made people mindful of that, once you become conscious of that, you can correct yourself quite quickly, but you actually have to know that's a bias we all have and these forms of bias we think is actually getting in the way of women succeeding not just in harvard business school but in all organizations. >> charlie: as you know, there are a series of articles
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written, one written by harvard business school as you know, and did you think about this issue because people wrote articles about it or did you come to it on your own? >> we came came to it on our own because we had to confront the data which is the first data that i think anybody who's committed to being a mer tock meritocracy and could not be for others was disturbing to us. we started with an inconvenient truth and said lte get to the bottom of it. the simplest lesson i learned is from a great legal theorist who said sunshine is the best disa$oqnt and that's the
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policy we adopt at harvard's business school. we're going to bring everything we know, pour sunlight on this issue, we let people discover and discuss any hypothesis they have, we'll try to bring the best data and analysis to the topic and that helped us. we made the issue discussible to try whatever experiment we could to address the issues that we saw and in three years we were able to close the gap. so it's a pretty remarkable thing. >> charlie: silicon valley has the same problem, as you know. >> every organization has this problem. it exists in wall street. i would hazard to guess it exists in your industry. this is not a problem -- >> charlie: i'm sure it does in my industry. >> this is not a problem that's just restricted to business schools. the advice i would have for anybody is to do the same thing. look at your data carefully and ask your own organization to say what is it about the microculture of your organization. because it's not the big macroculture. i think we're past the days when anybody is deliberately and
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overtly trying to be discriminatory against women. i think this is much more set. >> me too. i'm fascinated by this notion because it's a much more subtle thing. take this particular -- bringing it home we constantly ask ourselves why are there more men than women as guestons this television program. we have to say are you doing everything in a pro active way have you examined that in a proactive way and ask yourself how can you change. >> it's interesting, we saw this thing with boards right. of course, correctly in america we have aversion to doing things by legal fear, you know, requirement of. but in europe, for example, in norway finland and other parts of europe, there has now been a mandate for a certain purge of women to serve on corporate
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boards. when this mandate was first announced, a lot of people said there aren't enough qualified women to serve on these boards. but very rapidly the mandate forced them to look and lo and behold, there were actually plenty of qualified women who were being ignored or not looked at seriously who people could find to serve on these boards and, when they served on these boards people found they were plenty competent and capable. so i do think that we have to all collectively realize that there have been many, many years in which theoztalents and achievements of women not for any deliberate reasons but for very subtle reasons tend to be underestimated just by a little bit. and in a competitive world all it takes is to be underestimated by a little bit for discrimination to take root and that's what we discovered at harvard business school.
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and we found ways of correcting that. like a simple thing. we make sure that there's an independent person who is in our classrooms who takes note of who said. what it makes faculty member of the class easier to recognize women who make great comments aren't being ignored. that one simple intervention. >> charlie: i honestly believe -- and this has to do sometimes with religion as well in the stheapts rering makes sure that that can affect the life of a culture, a different culture -- i firmly believe if you take an institution competing against another institution and one institution does not fully use all the skills and talents of women and the other does, the other is going to be better and win. >> absolutely. because, look, we are in the end a place that -- whose success depends on attracting the very
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best people. so if you think of what harvard business school is, our very success depends on saying we're the kind of place that should attract the best people, men or women, whatever nationality or religion, and if they come to harvard business school, they must feel they're given an equal chance to succeed. if we can be an institution to make that promise, it will be easy for us to attract the best people whether men or women and in the long run make us more competitive. we're doing this because we believe as an academic institution committed to excellence, this is a way for us to be better and outcompete others. this is true of any other organization. >> charlie: absolutely. president obama's first state dinner was for the prime minister of india. >> yep. >> charlie: he's going to india. you recently returned from
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india. tell me what he will find there under the new prime minister that you believe suggests change for the future? >> we have a new prime minister who very much like when president obama was first elected has created a real feeling of hope in india. my hope is that -- >> charlie: why is that? what has he done to do that? >> first, he is an example of a person who wasn't a part of a dynastic family. his father was a humble tea seller. that was a big deal. he also in u.s. parlance be equivalent of a governor, was chief minister of his state and had an extraordinary track record. very pragmatic very clear
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commitment to economic development someone who puts the administrative functioning of the government paramount is not as enamoured by policy as he is by making sure government is efficient and well functioning. i had the great opportunity of spending time with him when he visited new york, and i asked him this question, i said some people have been disappointed that there haven't been bigger policy pronouncements from you especially since you now won this rare mandate of an absolutely majority in parliament which would give you the ability to enact the laws that are much more coalitioniary governments. he says what's the point of having policy if no one tactics to enact the policy. he's a pragmatist, he believes in effective leadership. i think he are do a lot to get the country moving again. it's also time i think when
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relationships between india and america could be as positive as in a long time. i think this is a very promising moment for india-u.s. relationships and prime minister modi, president obama will find someone who can be a very pragmatic and effective friend. >> charlie: you don't believe any particular region of the world will own the 21st 21st century. >> i have said that often. some people have, in fact, chastised me thinking i'm from asia, they have often hoped i would say that the 21st 21st century would be an asian century or a chinese century. i think it truly will be a global century in which the world will not be unipolar but have multiple areas of strength. the united states i think so will continue to be for the 21st century the strongest nation and region in the world but it will not be alone, there will be other strong nations and regions.
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and greater parity in the world that within good for the world. there will be 9 billion people in the world by the end of the 21st century and they will be all the over the world. >> charlie: with respect to america and what you said, do you believe in something some people like to call american exceptionalism? >> so maybe this is the bias of someone who didn't grow up in this country and has benefited so much from the coming american -- from becoming american. i deeply believe in america. i believe america has some unique properties and capabilities that do make it an exceptional nation. the commitment to freedom of thought, the commitment to innovation, the commitment to confronting a problem when you see it and making sure you address it head on not hiding from the problems that we have the ability to be self-critical, to have debate. these are features that you might think, you know well many other nations can have these features, too, but i
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actually think that they're very special and very rare and they're not that easy to imitate. i've seen other countries try and imitate some of these things, but they're not so easy. so i think america, for all these reasons, even though it has its ups and downs, and we certainly saw its downs after 2008, is still an extraordinary nation with a great future. >> charlie: but it's also important at every step to understand how important it is to make sure that you don't take anything for granted, who you are and where you're going. >> this is even why at our business school, we have this u.s. competitiveness project. it was a project we looked at hard and said here are features of the u.s. economy that are becoming uncompetitive. our infrastructure is falling behind, we have government that seems more polarized than ever before. we have an educational system that isn't functioning.
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we have a middle skills gap in the country. we named it and when we named it people didn't say no, no, that's not really what's going on. that doesn't mean we have answers to all the problems today but at least we're confronting them we're vigorous in asking our question how might we change these things and that gives me optimism that we will find changes to improve these things because america has consistently been able to do that. it's an adaptive nation. it's an inventive nation. it's a nation in which we don't hide from our problems. i think these are great strengths to have the country. >> charlie: great to have you here. a pleasure to talk about the role of corporations in america. harvard business school women and values and competition and immigration and all of those things that are sort of part of the conversation today. >> thank you, charlie. >> charlie: thank you for joining us. back in a moment. stay with us. >> charlie: stella mccartney
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is here, her fashion house has become synonymous with elegance and functionality, she was only 25 years old when she became creative director at chloe. in 2001 she started her own label. perhaps only a strong female designer can associate visible flesh with freedom rather than seduction. she is committed to animal rights and sustainable production methods. she's the only fashion house not to use leather or fur in its products. i am pleased to have her for the first time even though i've known her forever. it has about forever. >> yes. >> charlie: are you about where you want to be? >> i don't think i knew what i wanted to be. i always knew i wanted a path. i'm definitely just kind of going with the flow. i'm quite instinctive in the way i do design and business.
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so i'm getting there. i feel like i'm still at the beginning even though i'm really not. >> charlie: you know what you want and you want to be independent and you want to define yourself and you're willing to stand your ground. >> yeah, you know i think it's funny, i was brought up in a way that i think i was afforded to feel like i could be myself that i didn't have to be too afraid. you know i was afforded the greatness of being able to be myself. >> charlie: because you knew in the end you had a fall-back position. >> yeah, i have to say, a lot of people say to me oh, you know, having the parents that you had, do you think that opened doors closed doors? i think it's a bit of both but i think the thing that really mostly helped me is it let me really not be too afraid of -- you know, i can take risks. >> charlie: it's a quality to be able to risk.
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>> it's not often people cannot be afraid of taking risks especially when you're slightly in the public eye or creating things. >> charlie: actors will read a script and if it scares them they're more likely to accept it than not. >> yeah. definitely. i mean, i find that when you have no limitations -- like when i saw a collection and i have no limitations i'm a little overwhevmentd i like constraints and constrictions, so i think that's quite scary. for me -- i've never worked with leather or fur which is unheard of in my industry and kind of very laughable for a lot of people especially at the beginning. i think it's interesting, i have an accessories business which sun heard of, but i have more of a responsible approach, i guess. it's not easy the constraints of that are what excites me. >> charlie: why not a musician? >> because it would have been
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too easy and i never wanted to give anyone -- i mean, hey, that makes me sound like i'm extraordinarily talented in music which i'm not. >> charlie: it would have been automatic, wouldn't it? >> it would have been a bit of a no-brainer. i never wanted to give people an easy kind of summary of me. you know, i grew up with watching people's perception of my parents. i have sort of an onlooker in a lot of ways and i never wanted to make it too easy for people to sum me up. >> charlie: your mother was a profound influence. >> yes. >> charlie: by her values, her presence, her -- >> yeah, you know, i think a lot of people have -- you know, a lot of people are inspired by their parents, by their moms, you know. i think in that i'm very similar. but my mom was special. she was a new yorker. >> charlie: linda eastman. linda eastman. she had an approach that was just so natural and genuine and
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effortless and just truly beautiful, her approach, you know. not only did she sort of on the outside to me, she was a great beauty. she didn't wear makeup, she didn't shave her legs. she was very unconventional as in her role as a very famous man's wife you know, it's kind of unheard of. more than that for me it was just this approach. we go to parties with the most famous people in the world and she would be in the kitchen chatting to the people who were serving the food. that interested her and she felt more at home in that environment. >> charlie: he once told me a great story about her in which it was a notion where he was thinking about doing something and he was a little reluctant and she just said, just do it why not? >> that sense of it's allowed. >> charlie: it's allowed was the word. it's allowed to want to do that. you don't have to shave it's allowed. >> it's allowed to make
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mistakes. you're allowed to mess up and get it right. they used to do this thing where they'd drive in the car in the country and they'd be, like, let's get lost. it's not easy to get lost. >> charlie: so the first big job was where, chloe? >> yeah, that was my big gig. i went to st. martins in london and i had a degree slow. when i left, the store wanted to buy it. that was a shocker. it was a very unconventional fashion school and breeds really some great talent just for being artistic and crazy. it doesn't celebrate the commercial side of the industry too much. so when i left, people wanted to buy it and i really didn't know how to make it. i thought, this is quite unsustainable. tenthen a year of selling collections. i sold here and there little
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bits and bumps. it started to get a little overwhelming then chloe is what i identified with because i knew the brand my mom used to wear it. >> charlie: you had a partnership, too didn't you? >> yes, i had a partnership at chloe. i brought my designs with me. >> charlie: if you could define sort of the evolution in stella, how would you define it? >> i think there's one approach, really. i think the thing that maybe places us aside from the rest of the fashion houses in luxury is we have a different approach. we are asking questions, kind of challenging the system a little bit. >> charlie: what does that mean? >> it means nonconvention in manufacturing questioning, a lot of questions on sourcing and questioning the fact over 50 million animals a year get killed in the name of fashion.
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it's a by-product all the time. >> charlie: how did you come to that sensitivity? >> i grew up in that way. i grew up on an orb bank farm in england, a vegetarian from an early age from an ethical point of view. not for health or the environment, really, just because i didn't believe in killing animals to eat them. so that was brought to my attention at an early age. so i had a good insight to that. and then i didn't want to be a hypocrite. i didn't think i could not eat it and come from a family that was so vocal about it and then go it's okay because it's a handbag and pair of shoes. (laughter) and then slowlieth become a really exciting part of what we coand for meth the most modern and contemporary thing we do, because fashion can be old fashioned when it comes to stuff like that. >> charlie: that's not what you represent. >> no, we represent a new approach, i think. but not sort of putting aside the fact i'm a fashion designer. my job is to design the most
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luxurious and desirable objects for you to buy all the beautiful women in your life. that's the aim of my game. but at the same time i want to question it and modernize it. >> charlie: you also design athletic waimplet didn't you do something for the olympics? >> yes. i did team g.b. and opinion did the pure performance stuff. so i did absolute a to z of everything both in the village, women like hanging out with their friends interesting projects. soy worked with -- so i worked with thousands of athletes and it was amazing. but i do a collaboration as a sports performance and we've actually just launched a new stellar sport together which is a young around bigger des biewtion and lower price point. so a big -- distribution and
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lower price point. it's women designing for women. there aren't many of us. i'm opposite, the masculine and feminine in everything. i have a fragrance for stellar and it's rose and amber. it's total opposites the feminine and masculine. one side of my lingerie is delegate and beautiful and the other is sporty. and my clothes very much. i did men's tailoring at st. martins. >> charlie: you had influence with this guy. >> edward sexton. tommy was a famous british tailor, he did all of the beatles and edward was his pattern cutter when he passed away and i worked with edward. >> charlie: he taught you how to cut fabric or what? >> he taught me another side to
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fashion as well. it is this paradox. i'm not girlie girlie, fashion, fashion, i'm not that type of person. i'm really intrigued by fashion but i'm interested in the psychological side. i want to know why women choose to wear what they wear and how it makes them feel. that's what excites me. >> charlie: you want to understand the people who buy your clothes. >> yeah, and i want to give them something that really works for them, that really makes their life better, that makes them feel better, something they can turn to. as a woman wearing my clothes, i don't wear the same thing every season i don't like buy something and throw it away. i'm consistent in how i navigate through my wardrobe and it's a reflection of how i feel. i want to solve those issues for the women. >> charlie: what influences your creative side most of all? is it art? is it street? is it whatever? >> it's a bit of everything. it's life, you know. women influence me a lot. i want to sort of -- i don't know.
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i feel like i'm inspired by the challenges that they have o every age, of every size. i'm interested in that. i'm interested in globally now how information is so open and how so many people have access to fashion and -- >> charlie: are you doing business in china and asia? >> yeah, we are. >> charlie: is that market different or are they buying what people in europe buy or latin america? >> it's funny for us in asian because we're a small brand. asia they know the big brands and we're a small brand. what's really interesting for me is going in there -- i've always felt a little like asian market fashion brands come in and take advantage and make a ton of money. that's not really where i'm coming from. i think what's interesting for us is we're kind of appealing to those women out there that are looking at sustainability, that are look at more responsible fashion houses. so we have a story to tell and that's quite rare out there.
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>> charlie: you mean they'd rather buy from someone who shares their values. >> the ones i've met but i'm meeting probably a different girl out there. but i think we have a nice relationship and i'm appealing to the type person who wants tore a little more informed about what they're buying. >> reporter: you're a hard worker but that comes from your family. >> i've always had working parents. >> charlie: they're hard workers. >> yeah, i've never seen people not work around me. >> charlie: you started with women's wear. >> yeah. >> charlie: and sportsware and accessories. >> we did a lot quickly. so we did lingerie kids' clothes, perfume, beauty, ready-to-wear bags and shoes sports -- sportswear, a lot in denim. we've refined and let the babies grow and have the right foundations and schooling.
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i think we're opening a lot of stores around the world so that's kind of what we're looking at now is really representing our house. >> charlie: i'm going to show you a clip before we go of your father and me talking about and experiencing what you were involved in. roll tape. >> and i took stella my daughter and james my son with me and i said, would it be okay if we all came to see you? they said yeah okay. so we went in for a meeting with him. they said we don't know how long you will have, you know. it could be over quite quickly. you will get tired quickly whatever. in the end, it was four hours we just sat chatting for four hours. we just had a good old time. but before we went in stella said to me, said, dad, i've got my video camera, do you think i can shoot a little video? i said, i don't know. i don't know what the scene is here. i said, give it to me and i'll put it in my pocket and at the
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end and ask him if it's okay. so the end came and i said, would it be okay if we just shot a little bit of video and he giggled and said, yes, of course, you know. so i gave stel the cam rand she says, okay, maurice! what have you got to say for the camera! >> charlie: the very fine director she is. >> and he looks right in the camera and he says enjoy. (laughter) 30 years later, pretty consistent. >> charlie: how was that? there was a time he and i were doing a program together when john lennon was alive and we both said let's call him and see if we can find him. >> charlie: did you? no -- did you? >> charlie: no. we could call dad and see where he is. (laughter) >> charlie: great to see you. much success with your collection and the introduction of stella the perfume. >> thank you.
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>> charlie: stella mccartney, thank you for joining us. for this and more episodes visit us online at pbs.org and charlierose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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>> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide.
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