Annual Report 2011

Innovation in our educational programs.

Introducing FIELD

Moving with both deliberation and speed, in 2011 HBS planned and launched a major innovation in the MBA curriculum: Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development, or FIELD. A new yearlong course in the Required Curriculum, FIELD builds on the case method and the 10 RC core courses, bridging the gap between knowing and doing. Taught in three modules (see sidebar), it focuses on experiential, immersive, and field-based small-group experiences to push MBA learning beyond management principles to inspired, active leadership.

Design Process & Team

The faculty voted to approve FIELD in January 2011 and it launched eight months later. The intense months of preparation involved the construction of specialized classrooms and the creation of a range of custom software tools, such as one to capture peer feedback. HBS was able to develop such a complex course so quickly because it drew on the expertise of faculty members from across the School. Under the direction of Youngme Moon, senior associate dean and chair of the MBA Program, lead designers, who also serve as FIELD faculty, were:


Frances Frei (Technology & Operations Management; Chair, FIELD), Joshua Margolis (Organizational Behavior), Tony Mayo (Organizational Behavior)


Rawi Abdelal (Business, Government & the International Economy), Fritz Foley (Finance), Felix Oberholzer-Gee (Strategy)


Joshua Coval (Finance), Alan MacCormack (Technology & Operations Management), Clayton Rose (General Management)

Andy Zelleke (General Management) later joined the teaching group.

Each Module of FIELD Cultivates a Different Type of Intelligence

Leadership Intelligence

FIELD 1 engages small teams of students in interactive workshops that reshape how they think, act, and see themselves. Through feedback and self-reflection, students deepen their emotional intelligence and develop a growing awareness of their own leadership styles.

Global Intelligence

FIELD 2 immerses student teams in emerging markets, requiring them to create a new product or service concept for one of 140 global partner organizations in 11 countries.

Integrative Intelligence

FIELD 3 brings the entire first-year experience together by challenging students to synthesize the knowledge, skills, and tools acquired in the RC with real microbusinesses that teams design and launch.

Breaking New Ground

An intense learning experience on a planned residential campus is a fundamental part of an HBS education—including that of business leaders who gather from around the world to take advantage of Executive Education programs. During fiscal 2011, the School planned a new state-of-the-art building for the Executive Education quad at the northeast corner of the campus.

The design of Tata Hall incorporates the best insights and practices in management learning, and it represents the School’s investment in longer-form programs for senior executives, such as the eight-week Advanced Management Program. The new building is funded in part by a $50 million gift from Tata Trusts and Companies, a philanthropic arm of India’s Tata Group, headed by Ratan Tata, a 1975 graduate of AMP. Tata was honored at the December 2011 groundbreaking ceremony for the building, which is scheduled for completion in December 2013.

Tata Hall will be arc-shaped, rising seven stories, including two with glass walls to capture views of the Charles River. It will enable Executive Education to house an additional 180 program participants. The building also features a welcoming entryway, two advanced classrooms, and comfortable common spaces that are so vital to the exchange of ideas among participants.

Eight open enrollment programs were launched in 2011, including:

Building Businesses in Emerging Markets Research-based guidance for companies in many industries looking to tap the vast potential of emerging markets—with the realization that they cannot succeed by simply transplanting business models, products, and services developed for mature economies.

Leading Complex Capital Projects
Aimed at providing executives of businesses and government agencies with the leadership expertise, broad vision, and strategic skills to successfully oversee complex development initiatives—whether skyscrapers, highways, or information technology systems.

Immersing Doctoral Students in Chinese Business

January Term immersion programs have become a key component of the MBA curriculum, and they are now institutionalized in FIELD. But these rich, field-based learning experiences can be equally valuable for doctoral students, particularly when they focus on case research and writing.

In January 2011, doctoral students Sen Chai and Howard Yu joined faculty members Vicki Sato and Willy Shih and seven MBA students for a 15-day research trip investigating science and technology companies in China, which was generously supported by the President’s January Innovation Fund for Faculty. The immersion, Assembling Global Innovation Strategies, provided the basis for six cases coauthored by the faculty members and students.

Sato and Shih organized the immersion as though it were a laboratory course, offering a much deeper and more substantive exposure than a typical company visit and designed to yield a network of connections into multinational science-based companies. The case research served as a means to get students deeply involved in the questions with which senior managers are constantly grappling. To make the most of limited time and to facilitate research, the companies were clustered in or near Shanghai’s Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park. The trip began with plenary visits to companies, followed by in-depth interviewing sessions for case development.

Student Reflections

“Overall it was a great learning experience. I gained a topical understanding of global innovation processes from a Chinese viewpoint and also exposure to the teaching aspects that are so important to a doctoral student.”
- Sen Chai
Doctoral student studying scientific breakthroughs, particularly at the intersection of innovation and social networks

“Interacting with business executives and officers from governmental agencies, I was confronted with an environment that did not fit well with many dominant descriptions of extant theories. Such an exposure is essential to stimulate one’s thinking in generating new theories.”
- Howard Yu
Doctoral student focusing on the management of strategic change in large, complex organizations

Companies Visited

China Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research
GE Aviation
GE China Technology Center
IBM China Development Lab
Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, Ltd.
Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences
WuXi AppTec