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Rita Gunther McGrath
Rita Gunther McGrath

Faculty Member Columbia Business School


Rita McGrath is a globally recognized thought leader with a focus on developing innovation and growth strategies during times of uncertainty. She works with Boards, CEOs and senior executives to think strategically, which is critical in today’s rapidly changing and volatile environments. McGrath received the #1 achievement award in strategy from the prestigious management rankings group Thinkers50. Her latest book was the best-selling The End of Competitive Advantage. McGrath has written three other books, including Discovery Driven Growth, cited by Clayton Christensen as one of the most important management ideas ever developed. She is a regular speaker at events such as the Global Drucker Forum and various CEO Summits. Currently, she is working on a new book about strategic inflection points.

McGrath founded a new company, Valize, LLC. By embedding an Innovation Operating System across client activities, Valize is focused on taking a structured and pragmatic approach to innovation and growth strategies.

McGrath is often cited in the press, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, and NPR’s Marketplace. She maintains an active social media presence, and has been rated one of the 25 smartest women to follow on Twitter by Fast Company Magazine. She consistently appears in rankings of the top business school professors to follow on Twitter. McGrath was voted HR Magazine’s Most Influential International Thinker, writes regularly for Fortune magazine’s online edition, is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal’s The Experts column and blogs regularly at HBR.org.

McGrath is one of the most widely published authors in the Harvard Business Review, including the best-selling “Discovery Driven Planning” (1995), (along with Ian MacMillan) which was recognized as an early articulation of today’s “lean” startup philosophy. Her related book, Discovery Driven Growth: A Breakthrough Process to Reduce Risk and Seize Opportunity (2009 – also with MacMillan) is a deep dive into how to put the technique to work.

The End of Competitive Advantage: How to Keep Your Strategy Moving as Fast as Your Business, was recognized by Strategy+Business as the #1 business book of the year. She has co-authored two more books with Ian MacMillan: MarketBusters: 40 Strategic Moves that Drive Exceptional Business Growth (2005); and The Entrepreneurial Mindset (2000), all published by Harvard Business Review Press. MarketBusters has been translated into ten languages and was named one of the best business books of 2005 by Strategy+Business.

Rita joined the faculty of Columbia Business School in 1993. Prior to life in academia, she was an IT director, worked in the political arena, and founded two startups. She received her Ph.D. from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and has degrees with honors from Barnard College and the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs. She is married and is proud to be the mother of two delightful grownups.