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Harvard Business School

Harvard Business SchoolHBS Culture 

Harvard Business School has been implementing  many new changes that all focus on collaboration.  Every admitted student is given a face-to-face interview with the admission committee to get a better idea who they are as people, and how they work with others.  Collaboration is ultimately the tool to making a difference in the world.

HBS MBA classes are always diverse.  There is no ideal HBS student.  The admissions committee is looking for students from a variety of backgrounds to present a host of perspectives and get students thinking creatively. Sure they will share common traits such as strong analytical skills,and good leadership qualities.  But the important thing is that the students can work well with each other and bring their own unique perspective to the table, ultimately creating a more comprehensive and beneficial program.

New Initiatives at HBS

Harvard is encouraging undergraduate seniors to apply to HBS throughout the year instead of the usual just during the summer now that Harvard 2+2 Program is up and running.  In keeping with these new changes, Harvard has added new course requirements for first year students emphasizing small group collaboration and hands-on application of the material.  The new course series, called The Field Immersion Experience for Leadership Development (FIELD) is detailed in the 3 Modules below.

1) Leadership Module

The Leadership Module emphasizes small group work and close collaboration with the faculty to provide insight into the best leadership qualities.

2) Module 2

Module 2 will place new student in 14 different cities in 11 emerging economy countries to receive hands on experience in product development exercises.  THe 11 countries will include China, South Africa, and Vietnam, among others.

3) Integrative Exercise in Entrepreneurship

In this module, the student start their own companies, focusing on marketing and customer service.

HBS Financial Aid Information

Harvard Business School encourages all undergraduate students to apply no matter their financial standing.  Financial Aid is not applied for until after the acceptance of the student. Further, the Harvard Alumni have been very receptive to supporting new HArvard students and their education.

Some Quick HBS Admissions Facts

  • Harvard looks at their prospective student holistically, never using a point system or structured formula to judge the quality of the student
  • Harvard Business School class is about 39 percent women
  • About one-third of the class members are non-U.S. citizens

For more details, please also read our Harvard Business School Admissions Tips.

According to a recent article by John Lauerman in Bloomberg Businessweek, Harvard University has named Nitin Nohria to be its new Dean of its business school.  Nohira himself is currently a professor of management at Harvard and was chosen by the university’s President Drew Faust to help transform the school by placing a focus on business ethics, emphasizing responsibility as well as the positive role companies can have within a society.

Nohira earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay and received his Ph.D. in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1988.  Part of his appeal is his global perspective and experience, which he will certainly bring to the table as the school’s new Dean.

At a time where business schools are emphasizing a stricter ethics curriculum, Nohira was one of the first to recommend students take a professional oath of conduct in 1996 when he was teaching at the London Business School. 

John Lauerman quotes Nohira as stating: “Throughout history, there has been this notion of the honorable business person.  Business people have taken pride that they can do business on a handshake.  I don’t know where we lost that, and I don’t see why it isn’t recoverable.  I still think business can be done with honor.” 

In terms of the changes on the school’s curriculum, Nohira is looking to experiment with immersion programs and small learning teams, in addition to adding more instruction initiatives. 

Yale University has also chosen a new dean for its School of Management.  According to an article from the Wall Street Journal, Edward Snyder will be coming on as Dean of the school next July. 

Snyder was the former Dean at two notable schools – University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.  He is known for his fundraising capabilities, with soliciting $60 million from a single donor at Virginia and an astounding $300 million for the Booth School from financier David Booth.

At Yale, his challenges will be trying to attract higher caliber recruiters, in addition to raising money for an ambitious $150-million building project. Synder will also focus on catering to the nonprofit sector, as well as soft skills. 

In regards to raising money, The Wall Street Journal quotes Synder with: “There are not many alumni with deep pockets; I’d say there are very few.  But, on the other hand, a lot of Yale alums outside of the business school are very successful. “

Posted on July 7, 2010 by Manhattan Review

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Recommendations for College Students Eager to Enroll in Business School

If you are in college and interested in entering an MBA program immediately after graduation, getting accepted is not likely to be easy. Since the weak economy has put many young professionals with work experience out of jobs and many of those more mature students are applying to MBA programs, schools are less likely to be filling their classes with the less experienced. Yet, hope is not lost. This may be precisely the time to consider some alternative ways to achieve your MBA goals and bide time in school while the markets recover.

For current undergraduates as well as business school bound high school juniors and seniors, looking into various MBA options early may pay off. Universities as diverse as Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Rochester and Indiana University offer ways for students to complement their undergraduate degrees with an early MBA.

HARVARD

Harvard Business School allows juniors to apply to a program in which they are guaranteed a spot at HBS after they complete 2 years of work. During their junior year, applicants take the GMAT and complete an application. Applicants are notified of acceptance in the fall of their senior year. After completion of their undergraduate degree, accepted 2+2 students enter the work force. The jobs they take need to be approved by the business school. Though the HBS program does not shorten the length of time a student spends in school, both students and HBS are ultimately well served by the 2+2 program. It allows students to be able to focus on gaining work experience and enjoy the comfort of already being admitted to a top-MBA program, and the school is guaranteed a committed and experienced student.

INDIANA UNIVERSITY

The Kelley School of Business offers an Accounting program in which undergraduates can earn both an undergraduate degree and an MBA in just five years. This opportunity, open to juniors majoring in Accounting or Finance at Indiana, gives students the possibility of earning an MBA with an Accounting concentration in just one extra year and also relieves them of the GMAT requirement. Indiana has excellent job placement statistics and consistently pumps out solid MBAs with the high level Accounting skills valued by businesses.

UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER

The William E. Simon School of Business Administration at the University of Rochester offers another 5 year option for undergraduates of the University of Rochester. Interested students apply early in the spring semester of the junior year and begin MBA level coursework as seniors. Students will still need to take the GMAT in order to apply. This program is a great option for Rochester students as the University currently does not offer an undergraduate business degree. The University also offers several fellowships geared toward the more youthful aspiring MBAs, those with less than 3 years work experience interested in an MBA at Rochester.

CARNEGIE MELLON

Tepper School of Business also has opened its doors to Carnegie Mellon Computer Science majors that are interested in applying to business school and gaining an MBA and Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science in just 5 years. Applicants still will need to gain admission by submitting an application, resume, GMAT, essays, interview and recommendations, but they are offered the bonus of gaining an MBA from a top school with just one additional year of schooling. Though ultimately the Department of Computer Science determines eligibility, good grades, high scores, internships and maturity go a long way toward gaining acceptance.

Other schools too offer similar 5 year or early acceptance programs for undergraduates. So young applicants, take a closer look at alternative programs that are out there!

Many schools do recruit and encourage younger applicants to apply. Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, Stanford Business School and Harvard Business School are among those with a reputation for accepting younger applicants, but many schools admit almost no young applicants (even though they claim to be interested in them). Even those schools that do accept large numbers of young applicants are quite selective in their choices. In both the application process and the experience of business school itself the younger applicant faces special hardships, which are important to be aware of.

Application Process

Young applicants face several challenges in the MBA application process. They have to compensate for a lack of work experience with leadership roles, higher than average GMAT scores, higher than average GPA, even more focused career goals, recommendations showing maturity and preparedness, and uniqueness (in some manner).

Leadership experience is especially important. In essays as well as during the interview process, it is important that younger applicants show admissions officers or interviewers what leadership roles they have taken on, what they have learned in those roles, and explain with concrete examples. Younger applicants will especially want to highlight larger roles, which help to display their unique knack for leadership. Successful younger candidates can show that their uncommon leadership abilities exceed the average college student, through experiences such as being elected College President, internships in fields that recruit few undergraduates, or entrepreneurial experiences.

Business School Experience

At school, younger students sometimes experience difficulties relating to fellow students. Other business school students, who tend to be older and more experienced, come to school with different interests and home lives, as they sometimes have families and different backgrounds. These differences can cause mutual misunderstanding and ultimately limit the forming of lasting relationships and networks that many people go to business school to create.

In the classroom, younger applicants need to continue to show that they do have legitimate and interesting experiences to share and make this clear to professors. Overall, it is important that younger students keep their self-confidence in the face of older students. Younger students must respect older students for the greater breadth of experience that comes from spending time in the “real world,” but remember too that they were accepted because of exceptional ability (however young) and do indeed have things to offer the class and the professional world.

In the job application process, younger students may have difficulties with certain career paths. Venture capital firms, for example, often seek MBAs with greater professional experience. However, consulting firms and banks are happy to recruit younger, more energetic MBAs, though they may hesitate at first to put younger MBAs in management positions.

Overall Pros and Cons

Overall the MBA experience for younger students is not an easy one. Yet despite the difficulties experienced in the application process and in study, the young applicant does have the advantage of completing the degree early—especially important to women, who later, for personal reasons, may want to take time out from the professional world. Also, it is a good path for the over achiever who is used to being among older people. Young applicants who are not so used to it should carefully select the schools they apply to according to their percentages of younger admits. Younger applicants will find themselves jump starting their careers early and may possibly be spending more of their professional lives in unique, exciting roles where they can make a greater impact.

The claim among certain individuals that business school produces graduates well-equipped to succeed in the classroom but ill-prepared to think outside it deserves greater attention. In the classroom, students learn tools of data analysis that are extremely useful in business, but are removed from real life business dilemmas.

The Crux of MBA Education
This critique of business management education calls into question the fundamental curriculum choices made by MBA programs. For example, the case method developed at Harvard Business School (HBS) may be partly to blame for lingering sentiments among those that hire MBAs that they lack in the practical experience essential to decision making in the corporate world.

The case method used not only at HBS but throughout the world incorporates the world of real business decisions to the extent that actual cases are discussed and analyzed in the classroom. In a case method analysis, students have the complete picture; they know the beginning, middle and, very often, outcome of each case. Yet, a classroom discussion or debate on an actual case seen in hindsight is not the same as business decision in which some pieces of the puzzle may not be so apparent.

Columbia’s Innovation
It is with this in mind that Columbia Business School veered from the case method in its fall curriculum, employing a new approach to management education known as decision brief. Dean Glen Hubbard developed the decision brief method in reaction to some of the weaknesses of the case method. It approaches a case with less information and does not reveal the solution to the problem until after a full discussion. In an effort to make discussion more like the real business world, the decision brief seeks to a more plausible real world simulation, a view from the ground rather than from the air in a certain sense.

The Case Study vs. Decision Brief debate may be just part of the larger issue of MBA curricula and the changes needed to make the degree up to date with the current needs of businesses. The ability to solve problems from many different business perspectives, be it finance, operations or marketing, is necessary for a future business leader. Many schools, including Yale, Stanford, and UCLA, are addressing their curricula to keep an MBA from their school in high demand.

Too Much Information, Shortcuts, and other Criticisms
The criticism of the case method includes other aspects: There is too much information in a case study – much of the information is irrelevant or unimportant to the main points. In some cases, a large portion of the 10 page single-spaced document may be “skimable” by the student. Also, there is no macro-level recap of the information in the study; the key facts and issues are often times not salient.

Revising the Classroom Experience
Ultimately, much can be learned in the classroom, but not everything. Thus, Columbia and many other business schools around the world are seeking to stretch what the classroom can do by incorporating a revision of the case method into its curriculum. In many cases, schools are requiring students to work with companies, often abroad, on problems those companies are currently dealing with. It will be interesting to see the reaction of students and the corporate world to this adjustment in their management curriculum.

Posted on March 3, 2008 by Manhattan Review

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