01 Mar 2013

Commitment to Leadership


At its core, HBS is committed to educating leaders who make a difference in the world. In the early 1990s, I had the privilege of leading the development of an MBA course on leadership which was introduced into the required curriculum after a multi-year study and discussions with alumni and employers. As we approached the end of the 20th century we began to question whether the course content was right for the new millennium. Were we developing the kind of leaders needed for our increasingly dynamic global knowledge economy?

The Leadership Initiative was created in 1999 to ensure that HBS remains at the forefront of leadership research and development. We are committed to preparing future leaders for the new realities of leadership—leaders with the character and competence required to build organizations that can execute and innovate to meet the growing expectations of diverse stakeholders.

Our group is very excited to be helping fine-tune the new required Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development (FIELD) course, which gives students an opportunity to test what they are learning in the classroom in the "real world." And in Executive Education, we helped to create the School's first program with a major e-learning component and to train one-on-one coaches to support a more individualized approach to learning.

In my own research and writing, I am currently working on two topics: what it takes to lead and manage talent in emerging markets and what it takes to lead innovation. What I am finding is that time and again people who have built organizations that innovate see leadership as less about providing vision and more about shaping context—as one leader put it, "building a world to which people want to belong." These leaders focus on creating a sense of community and a set of organizational capabilities so that talented individuals can collaborate and engage in discovery-driven learning and integrative decision-making.

At HBS, we see our alumni as partners in all we do. Our graduates are living models of leaders who provide a constant flow of practical experience and informed perspectives to the study and practice of leadership at HBS. Through ongoing financial support and engagement, alumni are contributing to our shared ambition to make this world one in which people can improve their livelihoods and the lives of others.

Linda A. Hill, Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration, Faculty Chair of the Leadership Initiative

Connections that Last

Susan Roth Katzke (MBA 1990)
Shared connections to HBS, to classmates, and to future alumni is what Class of 1990 Fund Chair Susan Roth Katzke believes makes being an HBS graduate so special, and she says it's one of the main reasons alumni should support the School every year—not just during reunion years. Katzke has shown her passion for HBS by participating each year in a letter-writing campaign to classmates encouraging support for the Dean's Fund and personalizing each letter with a handwritten note.

Stacey B. Case (MBA 1988)
Stacey Case is inspiring when she talks about the inherent bond between HBS alumni. Case recently hosted a get-together at her home in San Francisco for 1987 and 1988 alumni to meet Dean Nitin Nohria, where she spoke about how HBS is like a family-run business. "HBS exists because of the generosity of families who have come before us, and it will continue to thrive because of our commitment and support. Together we can ensure that a transformational experience awaits all students who come after us."

Donor Spotlight

Miyoung E. Lee and Neil P. Simpkins (both MBA 1992)
Miyoung Lee and Neil Simpkins stepped up early in their class's 20th Reunion Campaign with a generous gift to establish a fellowship fund for students involved in the nonprofit sector. As members of the Leadership Gifts Steering Committee, the couple felt they should lead by example. This strategy seems to have gotten results since their class raised over $7 million with a record-breaking level of participation for a 20th Reunion Campaign.

Ashley Garrett and Alan K. Jones (both MBA 1987)
In honor of their 25th Reunion, Ashley Garrett and Alan Jones made a significant gift to the HBS Dean's Fund. "In a world with no shortage of daunting challenges, we believe in HBS's ability to prepare leaders to meet these challenges," says Jones. Seeing their gift as a way to leverage their philanthropic investment, the couple is particularly interested in empowering the next generations of leaders.


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