With more emerging MBAs eyeing careers in Silicon Valley, with digital start-ups, and at tech giants, Harvard Business School (HBS) may not be able to rely simply on the prestige of its brand to remain a top program choice. An article in the Wall Street Journal this week [Note: Subscription required to view entire article.] asks whether HBS may be too traditional in its approach.
Many faculty, students, and administrators at HBS worry that the program’s curriculum no longer adequately prepares its graduates for a rapidly changing business landscape that values tech-savvy managers. According to the article, prospective MBAs with an interest in tech are turning to such other top-ranked schools as the Stanford Graduate School of Business and MIT Sloan, which in recent years have staked a claim as “pre-eminent tech-industry feeders.”
The WSJ asked mbaMission President and Founder Jeremy Shinewald for his thoughts on the trend. “As more M.B.A.s seek careers in tech, applicants with such aspirations are now thinking Silicon Valley rather than Boston,” Shinewald commented. “Of the small number of people who win admission to both HBS and Stanford, tech-minded candidates generally opt for Stanford.”
Meanwhile, many in the HBS community complain that the program’s reliance on the case method means students are working with outdated business problems and consequently falling behind emergent issues in tech-related business. There seems to be “less tech in the air” at HBS, admits Dean Nitin Nohria.
Whether HBS’s long-standing reputation will suffice in maintaining the program’s appeal to aspiring MBAs remains to be seen. The economic pressure of the tech industry may one day force the school to reevaluate its efforts to stay current.