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MBA News: HBS Student (Diplomatically?) Critiques Program

As we just noted, HBS has been taking its shots from outsiders these days. More diplomatically at least, an HBS second-year student and Associate Editor of student newspaper Harbus, Jimmy Tran, offers the school some thoughtful but nonetheless “tough love” feedback. Note, however, that this is just one student’s opinion and that a critique is always more sensational than a student lauding his/her MBA program. (Quite logically, we never publish those.)

In a Harbus article entitled “Where the HBS Learning Model Falls Short,” Tran asserts that “HBS has been a phenomenal experience” and then offers an in-depth critique of a few perceived shortcomings. In short, Tran argues as follows:

  • The HBS education is focused on business disciplines and is not intellectually connected to the school’s mission statement (“To educate leaders who make a difference in the world”).
  • HBS has been slow to embrace global initiatives. Tran cites McCombs and Kellogg as schools that are better at integrating international travels into their curricula (calling HBS treks and immersions “haphazard” and suggesting that student-driven trips are not linked to coursework).
  • HBS could facilitate student interactions with the Executive Education program to the benefit of both parties.
  • HBS is a “one size fits all experience,” critiquing the first-year required curriculum, which is as the word “required” would suggest, mandatory for all students, as a system that “evolve(s) into a ‘lowest common denominator’ [situation] whereby some students struggle while other students are bored.”



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