A group of some 79 students recently took part in a lively case discussion in a Harvard Business School classroom about Hulu, the online video service that provides access to TV shows and movies. "The company is using a 100% ad model, but the CEO is thinking about a subscription model or a combination of ads and subscriptions. Why?" asks Associate Professor Anita Elberse, coauthor of the case and an expert on strategic marketing in creative industries. A flurry of hands goes up. The professor continues with more questions, back and forth for 80 minutes. And when it's over, many of the students gather round Professor Elberse to continue the discussion. A scene, it appears, straight out of the Harvard MBA program.
But these are not Harvard MBA students. Rather, they are all college seniors-to-be, from schools around the country, and at HBS for a week as participants in the School's Summer Venture in Management Program (SVMP). Founded more than two decades ago, SVMP is a one-week management training program for "rising" college seniors designed to increase diversity and opportunity in business education and leadership.
All students live on the School's campus in Boston, analyze HBS cases that present them with real management situations and decisions, work together in study groups, and attend classes taught by HBS professors. This year's curriculum included cases on IKEA, restaurant chain Benihana of Tokyo, basketball star LeBron James, car-sharing service Zipcar, and T-shirt maker Threadless. A number of activities also take place outside the classroom, including social events and panel discussions with current HBS students and SVMP alumni.
"SVMP students learn firsthand that an MBA degree opens the way to a wide range of opportunities in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors," said Professor Benjamin Esty, faculty chair of the program. "The mission of Harvard Business School is to educate leaders who make a difference in the world, and these young men and women are eager to do that as they finish college and embark on the next stage of their lives. SVMP provides them with another lens through which they can view their future."
Watch the interview below with Naisha Silva, an information systems technology and management major at American University.
Watch the interview below with Cathy Yu, an electrical engineering major at Penn. State.
Watch the interview below with Evan Huddleson, a philosophy and political science major at Ohio Wesleyan University.