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In FY10, HBS identified new opportunities for learning experiences that complement and enhance the MBA curriculum.
MBA Program faculty and students took advantage of the new January Term to experiment and innovate, pursuing options made possible by the longer break between the fall and winter terms resulting from the University’s move to a common academic calendar in the 2009–2010 academic year.
During the first January Term, the School piloted or expanded a variety of programs, each designed to enhance the learning that takes place in HBS classrooms. The “J-Term” is expected to grow and evolve over time, offering students opportunities for small-group, in-depth, and cross-School activities.
More than 300 MBA students enrolled in 11 faculty-led seminars in areas such as leadership, global trends, and healthcare. One seminar, Integrating Business and Design for Sustainable Development, was a joint effort of HBS and the Harvard Graduate School of Design and was taught by HBS faculty members Amy Edmondson and Robert Eccles.
The Immersion Experience Program, a staple of winter break since 2007, expanded in 2010 to encompass more than 400 MBA students participating in eight faculty-led IXPs in Asia, the Middle East, Central America, South America, and Africa, together with U.S.-based programs in Boston, New Orleans, and Silicon Valley.
Students were free to choose from less structured options, including field studies, career coaching, and student-led Career Treks in North America, Europe, and Asia.
In 2010, Immersion Experience Programs (IXPs) took place for the first time in South America and sub-Saharan Africa.
Is the natural resource curse inevitable in developing nations? This was the central question professor Diego Comin posed to the 49 MBA students on the Peru IXP. The students met with local entrepreneurs, created a business plan for tourism at an historic site, explored developing a world market for undervalued agricultural products, and pondered the sustainability of a resort hotel’s business model. They also conducted a field study, surveying small business owners with local students in the city of Cuzco.
Led by professor Louis Wells, 35 students devoted one of their two weeks in Rwanda to consulting projects with local organizations, with the goal of providing concrete solutions to management problems. Small teams worked with a variety of NGOs, small businesses, and a government agency with common interests in social enterprise and business development. A high point of the program was a wide-ranging two-hour discussion with Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
Developed marketing plans for this cooperative, which empowers women to rise out of poverty by selling their own crafts.
Karisimbi Business Partners
Helped the organization’s client Manumetal, a local furniture manufacturer, align its operations with its new business strategy.
Worked on a Millennium-funded cassava processing plant for a farmers’ cooperative; implemented feed-mix trials to help chicken farmers apply the most cost-effective approaches to raising marketable poultry.