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December 25, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

Comparing the leadership development programs at the Stanford and Harvard Business Schools

I think you need to clearly define three to four key issues:
• What is good leadership?
• What does a good leadership MBA program do to create good leaders?
• How can you compare the results from Stanford versus Harvard? What are key metrics for data (presumably qualitative) to help determine which program has a better leadership program?
• Optional: what are the intangibles of leadership that a person gets at each respective program? (ie not in the formal leadership education, but in other courses, mini-courses, and seminars) What opportunities do people have at each program? (groups, experiences, etc…) What might be the ideological, experiential, or approach based gaps in either approach to leadership?

I studied the reforms in the HBS program recently. I know they moved to a team based/experiential based program. This seems to be a step in the right direction. To be fair, Stanford seems to also have adopted an experiential approach (at least that seems to be the change touted in their online marketing materials). To the extent they are using working groups throughout the program I don’t know. I’m curious about the ways in which they may have integrated emotional intelligence into the curriculum at both Harvard and Stanford, as this is a key component of the overall leadership package.

One other question might be helpful….
• What kinds of leaders are these schools churning out now? (what characterizes them)
• Is that a sustainable model or rather the best sustainable model over one’s career? (I think the optional list of questions above better gets to the heart of this question–now that I revised it.)

See also:
• Harvard Business School revises M.B.A. curriculum (Harvard Magazine)
• Harvard’s Curriculum Overhaul Part of a Push to Reform Elite B-School Culture (WSJ)

The first link is from Harvard Magazine, the second is from the Wall Street Journal. You can also watch video of the Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria explaining the new programs (on YouTube its rather long although they might have snippets also available). And I’m sure there are a number of articles on this which summarize the core changes.

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