Case | HBS Case Collection | September 2013 (Revised June 2017)

IBM and the Reinvention of High School (A): Proving the P-TECH Concept

by Rosabeth Moss Kanter and Ai-Ling Jamila Malone


IBM's Corporate Citizenship office created a social and organizational innovation in public education through a business-school partnership. IBM's Stanley Litow was the key architect in designing Pathways in Technology Early College High School, known as P-TECH. The open enrollment high school located in New York City's Brooklyn was launched in 2011 through a joint partnership between IBM, City University of New York (CUNY), and the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE). The innovative design incorporated Career and Technical Education (CTE), STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), and early college. Students could graduate with an associate's degree (essentially two free years of college) and be "first in line" for jobs at IBM. The school was already seeing remarkable results; one third of the inaugural class entered P-TECH below grade level and nearly all students were promoted to the 10th grade and more than half of them took college courses before the end of their sophomore year. This case explores the motivation behind P-TECH (a growing skills gap), how it was developed along with the challenges, and the attention generated by the unique school design.

Keywords: leadership; education; innovation; partnerships; Leadership; Partners and Partnerships; Education; Business and Community Relations; Change; Innovation and Invention; Education Industry;


Kanter, Rosabeth Moss, and Ai-Ling Jamila Malone. "IBM and the Reinvention of High School (A): Proving the P-TECH Concept." Harvard Business School Case 314-049, September 2013. (Revised June 2017.)