Business schools take heat for turning out graduates with no practical knowledge of business. But some, like Harvard, are changing their ways. Nitin Nohria, dean of the Harvard Business School, has reformed the curriculum in just two years to “get better at translating knowing into doing.” To narrow the gap between theory and practice, MBA candidates in the class of 2013 will spend 15 weeks planning, creating, launching, and leading a new enterprise. (See the blog by Warren Bennis “Minding the Gap: Nohria’s MBA Reforms at Harvard”.
The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business offers Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAP), a program which assigns MBA students to respond to proposals from corporate and non-profit sponsors around the world looking to solve problems, identify new processes, and target opportunities for growth. A MAP team consists of four to six Ross MBA students, advised by faculty, who share findings and recommendations with the sponsor organization.
Babson College’s Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP) is a one-year Master of Science in Management degree program with a concentration in global entrepreneurship. Offered with partner institutions, EMLYON Business School (Europe), and Zhejiang University’s School of Management (China), it prepares students to become global entrepreneurs. Students work on a semester-long consulting project for a local company with students from other countries, reinforcing teamwork on a global level.
On the fast track toward learning by doing is the Founder Institute, a for-profit entrepreneurship school which requires students to start a company and incorporate it before they can graduate. Based in Mountain View, CA, it also has chapters in 14 countries. Chapter leaders are local entrepreneurs who find sponsors to cover the operating costs of programs in their areas. They acquire a stake in the companies they help nurture.