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Harvard Faculty Votes ‘Bold’ Changes To MBA Program

“Second, FIELD will address the need to develop HBS students’ global intelligence, specifically a better understanding of which practices,strategies, and behaviors are universal and which are contingent. This will be executed by increasing global business education through both new course materials and requiring a global immersion experience of all students over the J-Term.

“Finally, the new FIELD course enhances the school’s commitment to developing leaders by providing a structured, hands-on experience ­ in other words, to expand from “knowing” to also include “doing.” This focal point is an activity that will integrate all parts of the current RC coursework.”

“Those were the three key areas–authentic leadership, leading in a global context, and taking theory and applying it–that came out of the work by Garvin and Datar,” said Kenny. A 10-person faculty team will mold and shape the FIELD course, with extensive input from students, faculty, and alumni, among others. Kenny added that the course would be taught to teams of six to eight students, with students assigned to a different team for each of the three pilots. “That helps to keep the dynamics interesting for the groups,” he said.

Meantime, the Student Association told Harvard MBAs that the changes in the EC curriculum are meant to encourage structural agility. “The faculty agreed that in order to present more opportunities to ECs, the current restriction of 20-30 class sessions in 80-minute time slots was prohibiting innovation,” it reported. “Thus, the new EC schedule will be presented in a modular format, with the existing two terms being split into four half-terms of 14 sessions each and some class slots extending to 120 minutes. This means that although an EC student can take the traditional class schedule, there will also be ample opportunity for a 14-session case-based course followed by a 14-session field-based course, for example, or a class that lasts two hours. Not only does this open up creativity for professors, but it also gives students more control over the amount of time and effort they want to expend on certain topics.”

The officers of the Student Association said they were grateful for the opportunity to announce the news to students.  “It is clear to us that the administration and faculty have worked tirelessly and closely together with students and alumni to create bold, new ideas to increase the value of our MBA education,” the group said in its memo to students. “The Dean and his team have built consensus among faculty and staff and are enthusiastic about involving students in the experimentation phase over the coming months and years.”

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