Rajiv Ball

Rajiv Ball
My pronouns are: he/him/his
My experience and deep interests:
THNK connection: Author, Faculty, Partner, Staff

I am a historian by training and as I look across the arc of history, I believe that the world is at a crossroads today. The dominant socio-economic paradigm that I grew up with and which gave me so much opportunity – neo-liberalism – is proving unsustainable. On the one hand, it is unsustainable from a societal perspective as large swathes of society feel increasingly alienated. It is also unsustainable from a planetary perspective. In this context, I believe that leadership can make a difference in building a better and more sustainable future for us all. And I aim to make a contribution to building those leaders through my work as a Partner at THNK and Lecturer at the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley.

I am a relatively recent convert to the world of leadership development. My professional life before that was shaped by more than a decade working as a Management Consultant at McKinsey & Company. For most of that time, I worked in oil and gas and retail – I used to travel the world, turning around gas station networks – before I found my passion and purpose in leadership development. As you can imagine, that was a major pivot in my life. Buy me a coffee one day and I’d be happy to tell you the full story!

My parents are Indian, I grew up in a small town in northern Zambia, I went to school in the UK and have lived since that time in Ghana, Switzerland, and now The Netherlands. My wife is German and my two teenage daughters consider themselves to be citizens of the world. I truly cherish what my international upbringing has given me and I thrive in international environments where I can celebrate both what we have in common as inhabitants of this earth but also our wonderful differences. Outside work, I enjoy gardening and cooking. Few things bring me more joy than picking some fresh, organic vegetables from our garden and getting them onto the family dinner table the same day. I also love running (any distance from 5K to ultra-marathons) and flying my home flight simulator (a Boeing 767-300 ER).

I left university with a BA in History from the University of Cambridge and an MSc and Ph.D. in Economic History/Development Economics from the London School of Economics. Furthermore, I sit on the Board of Achmea Foundation which looks to make a difference to the lives of the most vulnerable populations in Africa through investments in agriculture, finance, and health.

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