Think of Harvard Medical School. It has incoming classes of students and 10, faculty! It's an astonishing number that makes sense only after you realize Harvard has 17 affiliated hospitals and many of the doctors in those hospitals teach tutorials and lead clinical rotations, and in that sense are considered faculty. The same notion of an extended faculty could apply to business schools, where the 10, might include alumni such as local business leaders, who with suitable oversight and training by core faculty could help with team projects and experiential learning.
Training might come initially through the collective work of multiple business schools, with cohorts of alumni who receive a short dose of either functional knowledge or research skills or teaching training, or some combination of the three. Schools need to experiment to see what works best for them.
We also believe that it is important for schools to broaden the types of research that faculty conduct at business schools. The discipline-based research of the last 50 years has certainly advanced our understanding of management, and needs to continue. At the same time, as a recent report by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business points out, we need research that is more practice-oriented and interdisciplinary.
The single strongest theme we heard in our interviews was the need for MBA students to cultivate greater self-awareness. Executives said, "The more an MBA understands his or her impact on others and vice-versa, the more effective he or she will be. The second theme we heard was the need for practical skills: The third theme was the need for MBAs to develop a better sense of the realities of organizations within which leaders operate.
Politics—issues of power, coalitions, and hidden agendas—are part of that reality. Yet MBAs, with their analytical focus, always try to find the "right" answer. Organizations often prefer a "good enough" answer, providing it can be implemented effectively.
Future leaders need to better understand the nuances of how to get things done and what they can actually accomplish in organizational settings. The landscape of business is shifting from leaders who had high authority and faced low conflict to leaders who have lower authority and face greater conflict. Leadership skills that worked in the old model are unlikely to work today. MBAs need to understand how to work "through" people, how to motivate and inspire.
That takes skill and practice. MBAs need to ask themselves, "How do I engage people to accomplish a task while I remain in the background? In addition, the required course Leadership and Corporate Accountability includes personal development exercises. Students discuss examples from their own past when they failed to rise to a moral challenge, as well as examples when someone led them to be their very best selves. As a class we try to draw general lessons from these discussions.
Another gap you identified was that MBA students were not developing a global mindset. How can MBA programs better prepare students for an increasingly globalized business world?
Executives and deans told us that MBAs need to develop cultural intelligence, specifically a better understanding of which practices, strategies, and behaviors are universal and which are contingent.
When an MBA works with a person or group from another culture, how can he or she be most effective? Students need to develop a skill set rather than just knowledge about a country's economics and political system. MBAs need to understand what it means to be a general manager in a global world and the differences in institutions, norms, cultures, and legal frameworks.
It would be fascinating, for example, to have student teams work on an issue such as global branding in different countries; and share their learning with the class when they return.
The reflection piece is crucial. It is important to build leadership skills in the context of a global world. I am on sabbatical and have been travelling to interview general managers in countries such as India, Japan, China, and Mexico, to ask about the distinctive challenges of their markets and organizations. I am developing several cases based on this research for my second-year course General Management: I certainly think differently about leadership and management than I did since we began researching and writing this book.
I am looking at how implementation and execution strategies vary across countries. I'm also continuing my research in microfinance. I am particularly interested in understanding how microfinance helps alleviate poverty.
I am also looking at how incentive systems can be designed to promote long-run performance. Immediately after graduation, a significant majority of the graduates of the leading two-year, full-time MBA programs take jobs in financial services and consulting, driven in part by financial rewards that make it very difficult for companies in other sectors to compete for graduates. The numbers—at least before the recent financial crisis—have remained consistently high.
In , for example, 52 percent of Chicago Booth graduates took jobs in financial services and 22 percent took jobs in consulting; 42 percent of Harvard graduates took jobs in financial services and 22 percent took jobs in consulting; and 46 percent of Yale graduates took jobs in financial services and 15 percent took jobs in consulting.
Even if one had previously worked in the industry, an MBA from a high-ranking school was, for many years, a de facto requirement for climbing the ladder. The deans we interviewed from higher-ranking schools were clear on the value that they believed accrued to those armed with an MBA: In their eyes—as well as those of many students—the full-time MBA is increasingly aimed at "career switchers.
One dean, for example, noted that nearly 80 percent of students at his prior institution had switched careers upon graduation. The problem for the higher-ranking business schools is that there are a number of forces at work that threaten to undermine or reduce the opportunities for employment in financial services and consulting. Post-crisis, many lucrative jobs in financial services, and to a lesser extent in consulting, have simply disappeared. Each day brings new reports of hedge fund closings and the scaling back of private equity investments.
Not surprisingly, the enormously high compensation packages in these fields are shrinking as well, making jobs in these sectors far less attractive. These changes threaten one of the key selling points of the top U. A further challenge comes from the fact that companies in these industries have increasingly been promoting from within.
Consequently, many companies are actively discouraging their best young people from leaving lower-level positions for business school, arguing that their odds of success are actually better if they stay at the firm. This theme can be heard, with minor variations, from executives at two financial services firms:. The same point was made by a senior partner in a consulting firm, who, when asked pointedly if he would advise a highly successful junior person with several years at the firm who was intent on a career in consulting whether an MBA would be valuable for his future, answered, "Definitely not.
The numbers are small but growing. Before the crisis, a managing director at one large investment bank noted that his firm still hired to MBAs per year but only about fifty technical experts with PhDs or comparable degrees, even though it set out each year to hire twice as many. These latter individuals are viewed as essential because the fields of finance and strategy have become increasingly analytical and because leading financial services firms are, as one experienced financial executive put it, "increasingly dominated by traders, who believe business school is a waste of time.
In the past, deans and business school faculty had a ready response to questions about the value of the MBA degree: MBAs, the argument ran, were a breed apart and were more likely to be placed on the fast track.
They might not be the best technicians, but their breadth of training and skills would win out over the long haul. Although this may still be true in some fields, it appears to be less true in others. At least before the crisis, for those in financial services wishing to accelerate their careers i. Both the head of a leading hedge fund and a senior executive at a leading investment bank made much the same point:. Taken together, the threats identified throughout this chapter suggest challenges for all MBA programs, including the most highly ranked programs.
Enrollments are under pressure, and questions are being raised about the value-added of the degree, especially the two-year, full-time version, when compared with alternatives. Contact Send an email. Fritz 9 Fox, J. Ronald 1 Frei, Frances X. Warren 14 McGee, Henry W.
Kasturi 19 Rayport, Jeffrey F. Saturday, September 15, , Saturday, September 15, , 7: Saturday, September 15, First generation graduate hopes to impact and better lives in marginalized communities Raised by immigrant parents, Yesenia Ortiz was their second child to attend Harvard, and is using the opportunity to help others overcome the obstacles her parents faced.
A new study finds financial incentives for cholesterol management may help contain the costs associated with cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death and health care costs in the U. The fall semester is off to a busy start, with Harvard students scrambling to sample a variety of classes before settling on their course load. September 14, Siding with Science.
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