MBA Required Curriculum (1st Year)
The Entrepreneurial Manager
In order to “educate leaders who make a difference
in the world,” the Harvard Business School has always had general management as
its core educational organizing framework.
The Required Curriculum has historically had a core course in general
management and The Entrepreneurial Manager (TEM) provides a powerful context in
which to learn about general management. TEM seeks to build the knowledge,
skills, and attitudes required to succeed as an entrepreneurial manager. The knowledge, skills, tools, and frameworks
that TEM develops are built upon the foundation of your other RC courses
including TOM, LEAD, LCA, FRC, Marketing, Strategy, and Finance, integrate
those lessons into a overall framework, and help general managers at all types
of organizations (e.g., small companies, large companies, non-profits, and
public servants) become more effective at enhancing the value of those
HBS professor Ken Andrews described three roles for
the general manager:
Setting strategic direction by taking into
account external opportunities and threats, the availability of internal
resources relative to requirements, the aspirations and values of senior
management, and obligations to stakeholders and society. In the context of TEM, this concept permeates
our first module: Defining and Developing
the Business Model.
Designing organizational structures and processes that allocate responsibilities, promote cross-functional integration,
recruit/develop/promote employees, acquire critical resources and financing,
and budget/monitor financial performance.
Andrews’ second core concept sets the stage for our second module: Resourcing the Business Model.
Leading the firm by: 1) making tough tradeoffs
when setting strategy, resolving cross-functional conflict, and making
hiring/firing decisions; and 2) communicating a vision that motivates employees
and secures commitment from other stakeholders.
Properly considered, this final role of general management leads to our
third module: Operating the Business
For many of you, your careers will evolve in the
setting of small, entrepreneurial firms.
More than half of HBS graduates become entrepreneurs at some point in
their careers. Recent surveys spanning HBS MBA indicate that 30% of alumni
currently work in a firm that they founded, 46% have launched at least one
company in their careers, and 31% intend to start a firm in the future. Among
the founders, 36% launched their companies at the school or within four years
of graduation, 34% became founders 5-14 years after leaving HBS, and the
balance started companies 15+ years after graduation.
But studying startups and small firms conveys
powerful lessons about general management for those pursuing careers in other
contexts as well. We will see that
entrepreneurial managers in large companies as well as the public sector
benefit just as much as a small firm’s founder from the lessons we will
explore. Examining small companies
allows us to more fully understand decision-making and incentives at a much
deeper level. Unlike executives in large, established corporations, founders do
not inherit a strategy; they must formulate one. Likewise, a startup has no
organizational structure or processes; its founder must design them. Finally,
startups confront a demanding environment. Uncertainty is high; resources are
constrained. We will find that in TEM, the attitudinal orientation,
decision-frameworks, and actions can help managers at all firms improve the
exploitation of value increasing opportunities.
Entrepreneurial managers typically face an
environment in which the importance of general management is paramount. In the
face of such challenges, entrepreneurial managers must have a bias for action.
TEM teaches you how to decompose such complex situations, identify critical
choices confronting the enterprise, and make high-risk/high reward decisions
with limited data.
MBA Elective Curriculum (2nd Year)