The HBS Advantage
Preparing Students for a Lifetime of Leadership
is a community of people engaged in many activities focused on one purpose developing leaders. Our MBA graduates use the skills they develop here to inspire change and innovation throughout their lives-- in business and in other organizations, in their communities, and in society.
Admission to Harvard Business School is really an invitation. We ask you to engage the sum of your talents, your experience, and your dedication in an intensive, two-year program of transformation. Here, we encourage you to challenge your assumptions, acquire new skills, examine unfamiliar possibilities, imagine unexpected opportunities and, most of all, to assume responsibility for yourself and for our world.
In short, we invite you to turn your potential into a real capacity for leadership. At HBS, we stimulate your growth in a number of distinctive ways:
- General management focus
- The case method
- A community experience
- Global reach
- The HBS network
- An exceptional campus
- Interdisciplinary approach
The Virtues of Active Learning
Lectures may inspire interest, but leadership demands direct engagement. That's why the MBA Program's entire approach to academics is rooted in active, participatory learning. Through the case method our courses force students to grapple with complex situations that touch upon the full spectrum of issues and ideas any manager can expect to face. By assuming the role of the protagonist or "hero" of their assigned cases, students apply a range of analytical, social, and communication skills focused on the most important questions every leader must confront: What would you do? Why would you do it? And what consequences can you reasonably expect from your actions?
Of course, classes are just one part of the academic experience. Formal Learning Teams, field-based learning opportunities, informal group discussions, career treks and immersion experiences, club events, speaking engagements, and conferences all contribute pieces to one larger goal: engaging students and faculty in the practice of leadership.
The MBA Program curriculum is split into two different yet complementary learning experiences:
The Required Curriculum (RC) forms the first year of study and establishes a common foundation in the fundamental practices of business including finance, marketing, leadership, negotiation, operations, strategy, and more. All students participate in the same set of classes within their section of 90 colleagues. In addition to acquiring specific analytical and quantitative skills, students become acclimated to MBA Program standards of communication and collaboration, and develop strong, lasting relationships among themselves.
The Elective Curriculum (EC) follows the RC's breadth of experience with an opportunity for depth, breadth, or both: students choose from among 96 courses in ten subject areas as well as field-based learning opportunities to gain a more concentrated expertise in the industries, functions, and ideas that interest them most. Additionally, cross registration enables students to take classes at other select graduate programs during their EC year.
To expand case material and encourage research and field study in targeted business areas, HBS supports a number of interdisciplinary initiatives that coordinate multiple efforts and resources:
- The Entrepreneurship Initiative fulfills our conviction that a top business school must be an "incubator of ideas." We encourage students with the resources and support they need to explore new ideas and learn how to take a new company boldly into the future.
- The Global Initiative expands the School's long history of international involvement. Our unprecedented global research centers-- in Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Paris, and Tokyo--assist faculty in case writing and research, and deepen relationships with companies, universities, and governments worldwide to address the rapidly evolving demands of an increasingly global marketplace.
- The Healthcare Initiative integrates the extensive research, thought leadership, and interest in the business and management of healthcare that thrives at HBS.
- The Leadership Initiative drives the School's mission of educating leaders who make a difference in the world by ensuring that HBS remains at the forefront of leadership research and development for the 21st century and beyond.
- The Social Enterprise Initiative plays a critical role in the School's mission by integrating social enterprise-related research, teaching, and activities into HBS daily life, and by offering students from all sectors opportunities to prepare for leadership roles in social enterprise and cross-sector careers.