Feb 5, 2011

Harvard's New Curriculum

Harvard Business School is spicing up its curriculum with few new features. Check out these stories on the changes that HBS is planning for the coming classes, starting coming fall -

HBS take on HBS
Wall Street Journal on HBS
Bloomberg's BusinessWeek on HBS
P&Q on HBS

So let's cut the crap and see what are the main changes that are being proposed at HBS, and our take on these-

1. Compulsory Course in FIELD (Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development)
So where is it coming from? While HBS is famed for it's leadership theme, it is clear that it is adding some more focus on teamwork as well. This course, FIELD, is going to be a team based course where the students will not just have to collaborate with the team members but also have might have to spend some time together in an international setting. However different it may be for HBS, most of the other top schools already have similar kind of courses to kickstart their respective MBA curriculum. Wharton has Learning Teams and core course in "Foundation of Leadership and Teamwork", Chicago Booth has LEAD, Tuck has FYP while London Business School has "Global Leadership Development Program" in its first year curriculum. Harvard is just going to start doing what others have been doing for a long time now. Nothing innovative!

2. Revamping 2nd year structure
Instead of 2 semesters there will be four quarters. The idea is to allow for more flexibility. Again, this is nothing new and most of the schools have a quarterly term system forming an academic year instead of just two long semesters. Good that HBS finally realized the benefit of small bursts over sustained pressure.

3. Intellectual Ambition
Without doubt, Harvard University and HBS has always been the pioneer in this area, pretty evident just from the tens of million of case studies it sells every year! Hence, it is nothing new that HBS will identify intellectual knowledge as a focus area going forward.

4. Globalization
With more outside - US being the focus of new cases, and experiential learning component in FIELD which takes students into a global setting, it is pretty clear that HBS is has learnt a lesson or two of "internationalism" from schools such as LBS.

5. Inclusion - In terms of diversity and closer ties with Harvard.
Nothing substantial to talk about.

Overall, there are few changes but nothing so big that could change the MBA education landscape the way HBS Dean earlier proclaimed.


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