A commitment to lifelong learning for its MBA alumni is just part of the curriculum overhaul planned for the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania to be partially rolled out in fall 2011 and fully executed in fall 2012. The school intends to offer an executive education course free of charge to MBA graduates once every seven years as a sign of a commitment to students after their two years in business school ends. The new curriculum will also give students more flexibility in course selection, more global experiences and increased expertise in areas such as ethics and analytics. The curriculum will place greater emphasis on “soft” skills, such as oral and written communication, and all students will participate in a two-year leadership coaching program to focus on self-evaluation.
This kind of overhaul may be a trend—several top business schools have either recently updated their curriculum or have plans to do so in the future. In 2006, Stanford changed its curriculum to allow students to tailor the MBA program according to their education, work experience and career goals, and in the same year, Yale introduced a new MBA curriculum that focuses on multidisciplinary courses. As recently as May, Haas revamped its curriculum to focus on analytical thinking, flexibility and creativity. Darden has started to make changes to its first-year courses after reviewing its full-time program over the past 18 months. Time will tell if other MBA programs will follow suit.