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HBS and the Kennedy School of Government have announced the creation of an integrated joint-degree program, the first of its kind.

Its mission is to develop outstanding leaders who are skilled in both managing complex organizations and shaping innovative public policy. The three-year program, recently endorsed by the faculties of both schools and approved by the Harvard Corporation, will admit its first students in the fall of 2008. Upon graduation, they will earn degrees from both schools.

“Students in this new program will benefit from this remarkable collaboration as they embark on careers dedicated to making a difference in the world by taking leadership roles that will have a significant impact on corporate policy and public affairs,” commented HBS Dean Jay Light.

The culmination of a multiyear effort by faculty and administrative task forces from both HBS and KSG, the program will include offerings not only from the current required and elective curricula of both schools but new, specially designed courses and seminars.

Students will have two degree options — the Master in Public Policy/Master in Business Administration (MPP/MBA) and the Master in Public Administration–International Development/Master in Business Administration (MPA-ID/MBA). These will replace the existing “concurrent” degree programs at HBS and KSG, an arrangement that has enabled students to earn degrees in four years by completing each school’s requirements separately. To pursue either of the new joint degrees, students must be admitted independently to both HBS and KSG.

“Graduates of this new program will be able to address some of the world’s most pressing issues that call for collaboration between the public and the private sectors and that require leaders who can effectively operate in both,” said Kennedy School Dean David Ellwood. “It will provide graduates with the skills and knowledge necessary for them to fulfill important roles throughout the world.”

The joint program will require all students to complete two separate summer internships: the first, between the first and second years of the program, in a public service or policy-based position; the second, between the third and fourth years, in a private sector or for-profit organization.

“There is no academic program in the world that can match the theoretical, analytical, and practical elements offered in this new program,” said KSG professor Robert Stavins, who cochaired the Joint-Degree Faculty Task Force with HBS professor Carl Kester, deputy dean for Academic Affairs.

“In developing a truly integrated joint-degree program such as this,” Kester added, “students will be able to synthesize the lessons they learn in each school to become professionals skilled at devising innovative approaches to a broad range of complex challenges in society. There is also a wealth of increased opportunities for faculty collaboration in research, course development, and teaching.”

Harvard Business School also offers joint-degree programs with Harvard Law School and Harvard Medical School. The MBA/JD program was launched in 1969, and the MD/MBA program began in 2005.

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