Even before the Harvard Business School was formally founded in 1908, Harvard faculty members were wondering how the proposed new school might have an impact on the world of business.
But what about the the actual mechanics of teaching?
What kind of teachers should stand in the front of the classroom? Where do they come from? What kind of training and knowledge should they have before they arrive? What kinds of further development will they need once in place?
How will they teach? Do they lecture, or engage in a more student-centered kind of instruction? Does the content of business education suggest any answers about pedagogy? Are the students somehow different from college students or other kinds of graduate-school and professional-school students, and does that suggest anything about teaching styles and techniques?
Based on the answers to all of these questions, what should the classroom look like? Are there certain kinds of technologies that will make the teaching easier (or harder)?
Are there other contexts beside the classroom in which significant educational experiences can and should take place? To what extent does architecture dictate the learning experience? To what extent does professionalism, and a sense of belonging to something larger than one's self, grow out of a physical context?
At HBS, these questions were first asked and answered to address near-term, practical challenges: how to attract students, how to keep them focused on the subjects at hand, and how to graduate "products" who would prove valuable to businesses, reflect well on the School, and perhaps support the School in future years.
Within a few decade of the School's founding, however—based on clear signs of success—the faculty raised their sights. Increasingly, they sought to create a transformational educational experience.
How do you educate to transform? The answers—which continue to be refined and elaborated upon, as times change—can be considered in four categories: