01 Dec 2017

Pencils Up: Taking Note of New Courses

Taking note of new HBS courses
by Julia Hanna


When MBA students returned to Soldiers Field in the fall, they had nine new second-year courses to choose from, four with an emphasis on fieldwork. For faculty, developing a course affords the opportunity to draw on research and address what they see as some of the business world’s emerging demands on MBAs. Here’s a closer look at three of this year’s offerings.

Investing for Impact
Professor Shawn Cole, Finance, and Senior Lecturer Vikram Gandhi, General Management

A rapidly growing share of asset owners and managers are making investment choices targeting not just return, but also sustainability, values alignment, and impact, creating a market that has grown almost 25 percent since 2014; it now represents $23 trillion in assets globally. “The potential to deploy capital to obtain financial returns while also doing good has attracted a tremendous amount of attention,” Cole and Gandhi say. “We saw an opportunity to explore this rapidly evolving practice and develop new material that is both exciting for our students and relevant for practitioners.”

Leadership: Execution & Action Planning (LEAP)
Assistant Professor Ryan Raffaelli and Senior Lecturer David Fubini, Organizational Behavior

“We’ve thought deeply about creating a course that not only looks at different types of management challenges, but also suggests how to deal with those challenges based on your seniority in an organization,” Raffaelli says. “What does it mean to lead a change effort when you’re just a couple of years out of business school?” Management challenges include turnarounds, transactions, global expansion, reinvention, scaling growth, and career management.

Field Course: US Behavioral Insights
Professor Max Bazerman, Negotiation, Organizations & Markets

In addition to classroom sessions, students will work on-site with a nonprofit or government client in Boston, New York, or Washington, DC, to analyze a problem and develop recommendations based on behavioral decision research and economics—the idea that we can build behavioral “nudges” into the system that will result in better decisions and overall outcomes. Projects will include improving New York’s system to match middle school students to their preferred school and prompting doctors to respond more effectively to the opioid crisis, among others.


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