At Harvard Business School, everything from section life and case studies to field-based learning and Immersion Program Experiences culminates in one larger lesson - what it means to assume leadership within an ever-growing, ever-changing world.

In cases, classrooms, learning teams and more, students exercise the leadership skills they will practice in business and beyond, and leave HBS with lessons in leadership that are practical, priceless and most importantly, real.


MBA students benefit directly from the work of the Leadership Initiative across their two years at HBS.

Required Curriculum (First Year)

During the first year at HBS, all students pursue the same course of study: the Required Curriculum and FIELD. By studying under a common curriculum, students build a solid, broad foundation of general management concepts and skills across all the key disciplines:

Leadership and Organizational Behavior (LEAD)

This course focuses on how managers become effective leaders by addressing the human side of enterprise. The first modules examine teams, individuals, and networks in the context of:
  • The determinants of group culture.
  • Managing the performance of individual subordinates.
  • Establishing productive relationships with peers and seniors over whom the manager has no formal authority.

  • The intermediate modules look at successful leaders in action to see how they:
  • Develop a vision of the future.
  • Align the organization behind that vision.
  • Motivate people to achieve the vision.
  • Design effective organizations and change them to achieve superior performance.
  • The final module introduces a model for strategic career management.
  • Leadership and Corporate Accountability

    In this course, students learn about the complex responsibilities facing business leaders today. Through cases about difficult managerial decisions, the course examines the legal, ethical, and economic responsibilities of corporate leaders. It also teaches students about management and governance systems leaders can use to promote responsible conduct by companies and their employees, and shows how personal values can play a critical role in effective leadership.

Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development (FIELD)

FIELD is a year-long, three-part course that gives first-year students meaningful and numerous opportunities to act like leaders, while translating their ideas into practice.

Elective Curriculum (Second Year)

Students can pursue specific leadership interests in courses like: