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Vikram  Mansharamani

Vikram Mansharamani

Lecturer, Harvard John Paulson School of Engineering & Applied Science Author, Boombustology: Spotting Financial Bubbles Before They Burst

Biography

Dr. Vikram Mansharamani is a global trend-watcher who shows audiences how to anticipate the future, manage risk, and spot opportunities. He first gained widespread attention with the release of his book Boombustology: Spotting Financial Bubbles Before They Burst. Since then he’s gone on to show corporate leaders and investors how to look at the world differently in order to navigate today’s radical uncertainty. His strategies help them peer into the future on crucial areas like China, food, the global economy, Africa, housing, investing, financial cycles, energy, and much more. So valuable are his insights that LinkedIn named Vikram #1 on their 10 Top Voices for Money, Global Economics, and Finance for both 2015 and 2016. Worth magazine listed him on their “Power 100” list for 2017 – one of the 100 most powerful people in global finance. Read More >

Vikram believes that the future doesn’t have to surprise us – and won’t – if we regularly step away from our expertise and look at the world through multiple lenses. He calls this the generalist’s mindset. When encountering information that seems irrelevant most people think, “So what?!” Generalists think instead, “Isn’t that interesting,” and look to connect disparate dots. When they do, the conclusions they draw and decisions they make may be very different from the more narrow-focused “experts.” Vikram shows audiences practical ways to use this approach to spot opportunities and reduce risk.

From 2009 until 2017, Vikram was a Lecturer at Yale University where he taught three popular classes: “Financial Booms and Busts,” “Economic Inequality,” and “Adventures in Business Ethics.” He is now a Lecturer at Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences where he teaches a course called “Humanity and Its Challenges.” His research is focused on navigating complex uncertainties and risk.

Vikram is also global equity investor with more than 20 years’ experience investing in public and private markets. He served as Managing Director of SDK Capital (and its predecessors) and today manages the Kelan Global Opportunities Fund, a global thematic investment partnership founded to exploit his generalist approach to developing market insights.

Vikram’s ideas and analysis has appeared in numerous online and offline media, including the PBS Newshour, Bloomberg, MarketWatch, CNBC, Forbes, Fortune, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, YaleGlobal, The South China Morning Post, The Korea Times, The Khaleej Times, and The Daily Beast, among others. He also contributed the summary chapter for the book A Force for Good (2015) synthesizing lessons drawn from the collection of essays written by the world’s most prominent thinkers on the role of finance and capitalism in today’s increasingly interconnected and unequal world.

He is a frequently sought-after speaker by a wide range of organizations. And while corporations from virtually every industry have sought his insights, he continues to have a very strong following in the investment community. He regularly speaks with those focused on allocating large pools of capital. Audiences of sovereign wealth funds, family offices, endowments, foundations, and registered investment advisors have found tremendous value in his unconventional thinking.

As a consultant, Vikram helps clients analyze the business impact of global trends, with an emphasis on economic, political, and social risks that might generate instability and risk. He conducts many executive education seminars for senior leadership teams on how to integrate disparate (and seemingly contradictory) information into actionable analysis to drive business decisions. His thematic analysis and risk management is always focused on identifying opportunities within the risks.

He earned a Ph.D. and MS from the Sloan School of Management at MIT, an MS in Political Science from MIT, and a BA from Yale University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He currently lives in Lexington, MA with his wife, daughter, son, 2 cats, and a golden retriever. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Highlight Reel

A Video Profile: Preview of Speech Topics

Bubble Dynamic in China

Social Dynamics: Global Demographics

China's Broken Contract

Generalist Advantage: Generalists vs. Specialists

Global Consumption Book: Why it Matters

End of Cheap Food: Global Demand for Protein & Grain

Predicting Bubbles: Summing up Navigating Uncertainty

Global Economy: Learning to See the World Differently

Speech Topics

The Generalist Advantage: Zoom Out To Anticipate The Future

Blinded by expertise and single-minded focus? It happens. But in a fast-paced world driven by complex and diverse factors, connecting the dots is often more important than developing the dots. “The future doesn’t have to surprise you,” so says Vikram Mansharamani, global trend-watcher, Harvard Lecturer, author, and investor. Mansharamani shows audiences how to look differently at their industry and business with the goal of helping them spot risk and capture opportunities others miss. The overwhelming flood of political, economic, technological, social, and market forces that bombard us every day is distracting. It prevents us from paying attention to what really matters. Our usual response to the noise is to focus narrowly or turn to specialists for help. But is that the right path? Have we been blinded by focus? Has the mantra of expertise and specialization misled us? Vikram thinks the pendulum has swung too far. He offers scores of compelling real-life examples that show how a narrow lens can lead us to miss the most important signals – the ones we’re least primed to see. The advice he offers is counter-intuitive. He advocates opening up to get a broader view; to zoom out. He calls the logic the generalist’s approach. Breadth, Vikram argues, is as important as depth. Generalists win by paying attention to more than their area of expertise. Vikram’s generalist framework for looking at the world differently is at the center of what he delivers in his speeches and can be focused on just about any subject.

Global Prosperity: Why Everything Is About To Change

As the middle-class in emerging nations explodes into the billions, a global consumption boom is likely to have an unprecedented impact on a wide range of commodities – food, fuel, precious metals – that will impact the global standard of living. The result will be geopolitical and economic uncertainty. Vikram Mansharamani untangles these dynamics through easy-to-understand, entertaining, and engaging analysis that evaluates the effect of a billion new consumers on an unlikely collection of industries — from education and entertainment to defense, finance and healthcare. Mansharamani’s insights help audiences look differently at the nature of global prosperity and how it may shape their business and their future. 

The Global Economy: An Unconventional Look

Europe falling apart? China collapsing? Treasury bubble popping? Japan economic implosion? Social networking bubble? Alternative energy dynamics creating geopolitical unrest? Vikram Mansharamani applies a unique combination of practitioner experience and academic perspective to help audiences navigate the seemingly unending cross-currents of global economic, financial and political developments. While audiences often find themselves agreeing with Mansharamani each step of the way, they’re frequently surprised by what turn out to be unconventional conclusions.

Spotting Bubbles Before They Burst

In a globally dynamic environment, boom and bust cycles are more frequent than in the past. It seems there’s always something that has reached unsustainable levels. The trick, of course, is recognizing it and taking action before the bubble bursts. In direct contrast to the views espoused by most academics, Vikram Mansharamani makes a persuasive case that it is possible to identify financial (and other) bubbles before they burst. He draws on entertaining and engaging examples from art markets, architecture, and popular culture – as well as economics and politics – and powerfully demonstrates that you do not need to be an expert to effectively anticipate the future. Audiences walk away empowered to think independently and to connect obvious dots to generate not-so-obvious conclusions.

The End Of Cheap Food: A Global Forecast

Food is emerging as one of the future’s most volatile assets. Shifting political, economic, climatic and societal change all factor into the equation. Vikram Mansharamani applies his multi-lens bubble-spotting approach to the key drivers of food prices in a global marketplace. He suggests that the era of cheap food is over and describes the geo-political and geo-economic ramifications of such developments – from Wall St. to Pudong. Audiences will leave with an understanding of the dynamics of land grabs, water scarcity, and the implications of food (in)security for national defense.

Connect with Vikram Mansharamani