01 Dec 2018
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From Das’s Desk

by Das Narayandas

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In previous columns, I have talked about our ongoing efforts to pilot lifelong learning opportunities for our alumni. Now I would like to report on some initial outcomes. In June, 73 members of the MBA Classes of 1995 to 2005 came to campus for an intensive three-day residential pilot program, The Reflective Leader. Led by HBS professors Tom DeLong and Scott Snook, participants delved into case discussions about authentic leadership, explored their personal strengths and weaknesses, and began to put perspective on their true purpose as they look ahead at their careers and their lives. The results of their time together were, in the words of more than one participant, “transformative.” Many spoke of the thrill of reimmersing themselves in the experience they remembered as students, living and working among trusted friends and guided by insightful faculty members. Here is what a few of them said about the experience:

“Wow, what an amazing 72-hour ride! I have never been moved like that before. This might have been the best three days of my life (and I will use the lessons to improve the rest of it).”
—Tom Shaffer (MBA 2005)

“It was absolutely awesome. An incredibly rewarding, amazing, profound experience.”
—Stephanie Crimmins (MBA 2000)

“I’ve been reflecting for some time on my core purpose and how that translates into a vision for the next phase of my professional and personal journey. As such, The Reflective Leader experience was timely and valuable.”
—Anshul Arora (MBA 2004)

While The Reflective Leader is a unique program tailored to its target audience, we are now piloting a second wave of offerings––existing Executive Education programs––for defined subsets of our alumni community. Since one of the hypotheses we’re testing is whether MBA alumni see the benefit of attending advanced learning programs alongside other experienced business leaders, we chose a diverse set of programs aimed at distinct cohorts.

It is, perhaps, the greatest proof of the power of HBS lifelong learning that these alumni now say they want the experience to continue throughout their lives and careers.

It is, perhaps, the greatest proof of the power of HBS lifelong learning that these alumni now say they want the experience to continue throughout their lives and careers.

 
  • Women on Boards: Succeeding as a Corporate Director. This program addresses the barriers facing female senior executives as they navigate the board selection process and provides resources to effectively govern as a corporate director.
  • Making Corporate Boards More Effective. The newly expanded program gives senior executives the latest thinking on board governance while allowing them to share experiences and insights with each other.
  • Leading Professional Service Firms. This program is for senior managers of law firms, VC firms, hospitals, consultancies, and other service organizations. Participants will look at new ways to manage global talent, meet client demands, and drive performance across an enterprise.

We are very encouraged by the interest and enthusiastic feedback we’ve received about our pilots. We are planning a second session of The Reflective Leader for next year, and we are also working with the first cohort to find ways for them to stay connected with each other and with the faculty. It is, perhaps, the greatest proof of the power of HBS lifelong learning that these alumni now say they want the experience to continue throughout their lives and careers. We are committed to leveraging our faculty’s thought leadership and the power of the HBS network to fulfill this mission.


Das Narayandas is Senior Associate Dean, External Relations and Harvard Business Publishing, and the Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration.

(illustration by Scott Chambers)

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Class of MBA 2005, Section H
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Class of MBA 2000, Section D
Class of MBA 2004, Section D

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