Tag Archives: Haas

HBS augments case method teaching: a call to ‘doers’

Harvard Business School this week announced first moves toward its long-awaited curriculum reform in an email from Dean Nitin Nohria and Senior Associate Dean Youngme Moon to incoming students. The essence of it is: HBS is creating a new required first-year course called “Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development” (FIELD), and will provide greater modularity and student choice in the second year.

By all accounts the reforms are not huge, and not as extensive as those undertaken by Wharton, Stanford, Yale, Haas, and other major programs recently. It appears that HBS’s strategy is to introduce reforms in a incremental, rolling way.

But there is a radical kernel in the FIELD program, something HBS applicants should note. According to the deans’ statement, the course will focus on developing substantively meaningful small-group learning experiences that are “experiential, immersive, and field-based.”

Elaborating on this, Brian Kenny, chief marketing and communications officer for Harvard Business School, was quoted as saying: “For most of the last 100 years, we have been exclusively using a case study pedagogy. We’re recognizing that the case method needs to be supplemented with experiential things that allow students to balance knowing with doing.”

In other words, “doing” is moving up the list of what’s crucial at HBS. They are looking to graduate “doers” rather than merely “knowers.” Of course Harvard will claim they have been doing this all along, but part of the enduring criticism leveled against business schools, particularly in the wake of the Credit Crunch, is that “book learning” is not enough to make a good business leader.

The case method is in itself a hybrid between a straight textbook learning and the real world, and this is what made it powerful in a world where some other b-schools taught more rote style. But the world has moved on, and “experience” and “immersion-fieldwork” have become central to what all serious b-schools consider valuable in formative management education. Of course, the case method will still be at the heart of the Harvard’s teaching. But there is a clear manifesto to nudge the case method further towards the real world by augmenting it with immersion.

How does this affect admissions? Quite simply, HBS is looking, more than ever, to turn out graduates who are ready, willing, and able to roll up their sleeves and immerse themselves in their leadership projects. So you-the-applicant should look to show where and how you have successfully navigated “immersion” projects in your past, what learning experiences you will immerse yourself in while at HBS and in your near-term future, and how the FIELD experience will help you do it better.

Haas’ ad for a new Executive Director of Full-Time MBA Admissions shines a light on Adcom’s roles and processes

Do you remember when you were in grade school and you suddenly came across your teacher out of school, in the supermarket or at a ball game, and you were completely tongue-tied, not fully realizing until that moment that they had lives out of the schoolroom?

Well, admissions officers also have lives and careers to manage, and sometimes they have to competitive apply for stuff too, as this advertisement for the post of Executive Director of Full-Time MBA Admissions at the University of California Berkeley shows.

The job spec opens an interesting window on what is seen as required to lead an Admissions office at a top business school, and is therefore worth a read by MBA applicants to Haas and beyond. The demands of the position are a bit more varied than the uninitiated might have guessed, and the competitive pressure is clear.

Key takeaway: These are busy people juggling important, multifaceted responsibilities. They are working in teams all the time. They are better at marketing and communication than you might think. So apply cogently. Make your value clear. Don’t try BS them or waste their time with trivia. Help them to help you.

Here are the key excerpts:

The Executive Director, Full-Time MBA Admissions manages the admissions, recruitment and financial aid functions for the Haas School of Business Full-Time MBA Program. The overall purpose of the position is to develop long-term strategic plans and to oversee the successful implementation of all efforts related to admissions and marketing of the school’s Full-Time MBA program. The Executive Director’s role is to enroll approximately 240 bright, diverse, and innovative business leaders. The successful candidate provides leadership with forecasts, analyses, strategic options, advice and recommendations regarding admissions strategy and enrollment planning.

Within the Full-Time MBA Admissions office, the incumbent has direct management responsibility for administration, budgeting, personnel, and works closely with our Marketing & Communications unit on media and publications, public relations and marketing strategy. S/He meets regularly with the dean, faculty, staff, students, and other Haas School constituents in developing strategies for these areas. The Executive Director represents the School to campus administrative units, serves on campus-level policy setting and advisory committees as needed and acts as liaison for the Haas School with central campus administrative units.

Responsibilities
Develops, interprets, and administers admissions and recruitment programs, as well as the financial aid program supporting Haas graduate degree programs.
· Develop annual admissions plan for the Full-time MBA program.
· Oversee admissions processes and procedures.
· Develop overall strategy and oversee implementation of all recruitment, marketing, and financial aid activities.
· Deliver presentations about the program and represent the School at domestic & international admissions events.
· Evaluate and select students for Haas program, including reading/reviewing applications for admission, interviewing MBA candidates, providing a written assessment of each applicant, making final admissions decisions, and determining the composition of the MBA classes.
· Analyze and report on admissions statistics throughout admissions cycle and in annual reports to the administration, faculty, and Haas Advisory Board.

Provides direction to subordinate managers and/or supervisors.

Responsible for developing and implementing budgets for managed functions.

Develop and maintain relationships with students and alumni.

Stay closely connected with campus units such as the Graduate Division and related Berkeley and other UC MBA programs to share leads, ideas, and best practices.

Required Qualifications
· Masters degree in related area or equivalent experience
· 3-5 years of significant management experience in higher education or related field
· Advanced knowledge of education theory, policy, practice, and evaluation.
· Significant knowledge of evaluation methodologies, data analysis procedures, and systems necessary for working with technical staff to develop effective data management and evaluation systems.
· Advanced knowledge of fiscal management policies and practices and University personnel management policies and practices.
· Strong leadership and supervisory experience.
· Strong background in marketing including knowledge in both traditional marketing functions as well as social media.
· Demonstrated commitment to outstanding customer service and professionalism.
· Excellent interpersonal, organizational, public relations and written and oral communication skills.
· Demonstrated ability to work with diverse groups in a busy environment and manage multiple tasks simultaneously
· Experience in recruiting, marketing, financial aid, outreach and/or career services.
· Knowledge of academic business programs.

Preferred Qualifications
· Significant knowledge of the goals and mission of the University and the Haas School of Business as they relate to academic preparation, recruitment, and advanced-standing admission.
· Significant knowledge of UC Berkeley Colleges and schools.
· Significant knowledge regarding UC Berkeley’s graduate admissions policies.

Other Information
This position requires 35% domestic and international travel.

Equal Employment Opportunity
The University of California, Berkeley is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

12 minutes of solid gold MBA admissions podcast advice from Haas – Berkeley

There’s a little gem of a podcast from the Haas-Berkeley admissions committee, “Admissions and Application Information for Prospective Full-time MBA Students,” answering the question: “What are we looking for as we evaluate candidates?” It’s only 12 minutes long and really worth listening to. It’s up on this link at iTunes (item 10) or click here.

Haas adcom aims to dispel a few mysteries and shibboleths from MBA admissions. The podcast is from 2007, but that’s no matter. Everything they say is still current, and valid for other top b-schools too. The highlights:

Haas looks at three key areas. (1) academic readiness; (2) professional accomplishments and leadership experience; (3) personal attributes

(1) They consider college GPA + GMAT (+ post-grad scores, if applicable.) They also put value on the caliber of undergraduate institution, difficulty of major, trend in your grades, and level of quantitative preparation. There is no preference for any type of major.

(2) Work experience is about quantity (most have 3- 7 years) and, more importantly, quality. They focus on your career progression, why you have made the transitions you have made, how your role has progressed and responsibility increased. Quick advancement and significant progress reflects well. Leadership can be demonstrated on many ways, and closely correlates with how much of an impact you have made in your organization(s).

(3) The Haas admissions committee, like all adcoms, wants to enroll a class with diverse attributes and backgrounds (there is no right or wrong personal or professional past.) The question is “What can you uniquely contribute? They glean this by what you reflect as important to you — what you are passionate about. High extracurricular activity suggests you will be active on campus too, but they do understand and forgive where work and travel issues prevent meaningful extra-mural or community involvement.

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Generally, it’s worth keeping up with b-school podcasts, which are coming online all the time. Some are admissions-related. Others give worthwhile insight and information about the school and its culture, which can feed into essays about fit (“Why this school particularly?”) See for example:

Haas: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/uc-berkeley-haas-school-business/id84968687
Darden: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/podcasts-darden-the-darden/id201480998
Tuck: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/radio-tuck/id154782876
Kelley: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/kelley-school-business-mba/id206525433