Tag Archives: top-10 MBA

New HBS Dean talks of competence, character, internationalism, and dirty boots. Adcom will follow suit

The soul-searching at Harvard Business School over business ethics and the relationship between business and society has been widely documented. From Anderson to Enron to Lehman Bros., risktaking, dodgy, and sometimes outright criminal companies have been loaded with HBS alumni (as well as many from other schools as well, let’s not forget.) But somehow, of all business schools, perhaps because of its self-proclaimed “leadership and influence” focus, Harvard sees itself as needing to lead a new era in business-society relations.

With this as background, a recent Economist piece views the appointment on July 1st of new dean Nitin Nohria as part of a general HBS ethics-focused shake-up.

“Mr Nohria is the first HBS dean who was not born in North America. He is also the first who has come to the job having said that business faces a ‘crisis of legitimacy’ and that business education is at an ‘inflection point’…

“Mr Nohria’s first task is to try to restore faith in business in general and in business schools in particular. This means improving two things, he reckons: “competence” and “character”. He wants the faculty to focus more on the risks of clever financial techniques; they will have plenty of case studies to choose from. He also wants HBS to renew its commitment to shaping its students’ characters as well as their intellects. He has long argued that business people should regard themselves as members of a profession. He supports a movement by students to adopt a business equivalent of the Hippocratic oath… (For more on the MBA Oath see here.)

“Mr Nohria’s other great passion is for super-charging innovation at HBS. This will involve making the school even more globally connected than it already is: one of Mr Nohria’s first acts as dean was to embark on a whistle-stop tour of the world’s business hot-spots. More ambitiously, he wants to rethink the school’s hallowed teaching methods. Since the 1920s, HBS students have pored over case studies of business decisions. The new dean wants them to take part in live case studies—to take themselves to the Midwest or Mumbai and spend time working for real companies. This answers one of the most persistent criticisms of business education: that it is too abstract. Mr Nohria wants his students to get their boots dirty.”

So there is clearly a manifesto from the top of HBS to (1) address character issues and define competence more broadly, that is, to exclude absurd risk-taking; (2) to increase the school’s active global connections, including in emerging markets, in the spirit of innovation, and; (3) to extend the case-method to include “do-it-don’t-just-think-about-it” immersion.

Nobody is suggesting that the Dean makes admissions decisions directly. But HBS Adcom as a whole can hardly be immune to the strong winds of this new directive either. Therefore, applicants who (while staying true to themselves!) show evidence of good character, a measured risk-taking profile, global-innovative intent, and readiness to go beyond the ivory tower during their studies and afterwards, will be doing themselves a favor.

‘Ivy League East’ MBAs unite to brand themselves as ‘Top 4 Asia B-schools’

Many industries have seen a shift from the US / Europe to Asia, yet, somehow, education has been one of the slowest sectors to make this transition. Certainly at the elite level there has always been, and remains, a significant migration westward to attend brand-name universities. Institutions such as Harvard and Oxford have unbelievable prestige across the Orient and this is not going away any time soon.

But there are straws in the wind, and the wind is blowing the other way.

As an admissions advisor I’ve started to hear Americans and Germans and Canadians and Italian nationals saying this kind of thing: “My target schools are Harvard, MIT, LBS, and HKUST, and Nanyank.”
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Now four Asian schools have gotten themselves together under the banner “Top 4 Asia B-Schools” to solicit applicants from North America and Europe. The Top 4 are the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST), China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), and Nanyang Technological University (NTU, Singapore). The programs are all well-ranked, all accredited by AACSB (US) or EQUIS (Europe) or both, and feature prominent Western faculty.

The admissions implications: First, none of these schools are easy to get into. Part of their growing exclusiveness, part of reaching the top-tier and staying there, is having admissions policies that turn away similar percentages as those dinged by top US / EU schools (about 85% on average.) So there won’t be any “gimmee’s”. But, having said that, the Asian programs are very keen to balance their intake between East and West, so for now a foreigner stands a much greater chance of admissions than a local, all other things being equal.

Second, these four (and other) Asian schools are going to grow further in prestige. This is similar to what I said about the new Johns Hopkins Carey School MBA here. Look ahead and realize that while CEIBS et al does not sound as good as UCLA now, during the span of your career it no doubt will, and the MBA branding, alumni network etc., will be just a strong.

Footnote: According to the CEIBS site, teams from the Top 4 Asia B-schools will attend QS MBA fairs this fall as a group. The dates are:

North America
• Los Angeles: September 11th, Wilshire Grand Los Angeles
• San Francisco: September 12th, The Fairmont San Francisco
• Toronto: September 19th, Metro Toronto Convention Centre
• New York: September 25th, Hilton New York

Europe
• Paris: October 9th, Palais des Congres
• London: October 23rd, QEII Conference Centre
• Madrid: October 26th, Husa Princesa

Look ahead and count the Carey School among the top-10 MBA programs

The Carey School? Never heard of it? It is Johns Hopkins University’s school of business, as renamed in 2006 when the university received a $50 million endowment from banker William Polk Carey.

It’s well known that JHU has been a bit of an oddity — a top-tier university with relatively little offering in business management. It has had a part-time program available at its Washington, D.C., campus, but nothing that attracted serious attention. Now that’s all changed. As reported in BusinessWeek, Johns Hopkins University is launching a new MBA program in August, in Baltimore, and it intends to become one of the world’s best.

The admissions implications are this: for a while — a few years — Carey will be relatively easy to get into. It will quickly move up the ranking based on the stellar JHU brand (it is particularly renown medical and public health schools) and soon will be as hard to gain admission as at any top program. If you’re prepared to think a little creatively, and move quickly, you can have a top-tier MBA ticket even if you’re likely to face a lot of dings from the established schools.

As BW reports, the Carey School is seeking to distinguish itself by designing a curriculum that will capitalize on Johns Hopkins’ strength in medicine and public health, have a focus on emerging markets and ethics, and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.

Yes, there will be challenges. As a prospective student you should be aware that the Carey alumni network will be nascent at best, and career services won’t have a lot of clout in the market. The school’s inaugural dean, Yash Gupta, is busy recruiting top faculty and still working on AACSB accreditation, and this could all fail. But, brand capital in the bank says chances are it will succeed. And, as with Oxford-Said and Cambridge-Judge in the early days, top-tier admissions is currently there to be had even if you’re a long-shot applicant.
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