Now in its second year, Short Intensive Programs (SIPs) are no credit, no fee elective courses for MBA students. SIPs are open to first and second year MBA students. They offer a great opportunity for students to think about career choices, gain practical skills, and explore topics they might not otherwise get to study. SIPs run all day over the course of the four days and will typically include programming over dinner on one of the evenings. Here are brief descriptions of this year’s SIPs. 

Africa Rising: Understanding Business, Entrepreneurship, and the Complexities of a Continent 

This course is designed to introduce HBS students to the complexities of Africa – economic, sociological, and historical – and the ways in which these Africa-specific trends impact the opportunities and challenges in undertaking business and entrepreneurship ventures on the continent today. Drawing upon the active participation of prominent African alumni, including Hakeem Belo-Osagie (HBS ’80), as well as others with expertise in the field, "Africa Rising" will offer big picture understandings of the continent, and the ways in which its past informs the present.  

Building Sports Businesses 

This SIP is designed for students who are focused on the rapidly changing world of sports media and sports technology. It will be focused on topics of interest to students who are considering careers in entrepreneurial companies of all kinds or who intend to invest in private equity. The sessions will be a combination of case discussions, guests, panels, and workshops. 

Fintech: Disruptions in Credit, Payments and Real Estate 

The advent of new technologies and big data promise to revolutionize the finance world by disintermediate financial transactions. In this short intensive program, we will evaluate innovative strategies to create new marketplaces and opportunities, we will examine the key challenges in competing with large incumbent firms, and how incumbents can defend their market shares. We are going to discuss innovations across different segments of financial markets: from lending to payments, from investments to real estate. 

HBS Startup Bootcamp 

HBS Startup Bootcamp is a 9-day program for RC students that uses a learning-by-doing approach to build skills required to succeed as an early-stage entrepreneur. The Bootcamp is designed for three types of students: 

  • Aspiring founders whose startup concept is selected as a team project will accelerate their concept’s development. 
  • Students committed to joining a startup upon graduation will gain practice with a range of relevant skills. 
  • Students debating whether to pursue an entrepreneurial path will experience first-hand what it’s like to work on a startup, which should help them assess career fit. 

How to Talk Gooder in Business and Life 

This SIP focuses on a pervasive, unavoidable, and profoundly important part of the human experience: conversation. Humans have to converse effectively to achieve success in every aspect of business, and life – from pitching to giving feedback, from brainstorming to making group decisions, from interviewing to firing. 

Creating Value Through Activist Investing 

This course will expose students to the conceptual and practical aspects of how investors can influence corporate strategies and business execution, as well as what CEOs and boards can learn from successful and unsuccessful activist interventions. Using a mix of cases, guest lectures, and discussions with activist investors and corporate executives, the course will bring together ideas from strategy, accounting, finance, and corporate governance and tie them together in framework for value creation. 

Personal Financial Planning 

Many life events require financial decisions (e.g., getting married, buying a house, having a baby, taking a new job, etc).  Each of these decisions involves making tough choices. Sometimes, even financially savvy HBS graduates overlook important opportunities to reduce risks during these life events or they make poor choices that are hard to unwind.  Other financial decisions such as protecting assets from creditors, buying disability and long-term care insurance, and setting up trusts are easy to postpone.  In this course, alumni will talk about the choices they made and what they would do differently if they were to do it all over again and industry experts will share advice as well. 

Pricing the Priceless: BioPharma Innovation in an Age of Precision Medicine 

Advances in precision medicine will soon generate therapies that are genuinely curative. In our lifetimes, we could be in world with not just one or two or three cures, but 30, and quite possibly, 300. These are not just treatments that reduce suffering, but cures that eliminate it. These innovations will force us to price the priceless– our lives and what we’re willing to pay for them. 

The Business of Artificial Intelligence 

Steam, combustion engines, PCs. Each of these disruptive forces not only upended entire industries but sent shock-waves through the economy as a whole. Today, rapid developments in artificial intelligence are creating similar shocks to the economy – from new perspectives on value creation and value capture, to radical transformations of business and operating models. This shift not only impacts automation, differentiation and cost; it also changes basic firm-level variables like the economies of scale and scope that it can generate and the drivers of learning and innovation. Despite the explosion of media coverage of the latest AI technologies, however, the fundamentals of AI and its potential value to companies remains a “black box” for most managers and executives. Those who are unprepared – or unwilling – to understand and adapt to this new paradigm run the risk of being left behind. How can one effectively manage an AI-integrated company without truly understanding the technology and its implications? 

The Life and Role of the CEO 

Dean Nitin Nohria and Professor Kevin Sharer will draw on Sharer’s experience as CEO of Amgen and Nohria's two-decade involvement with an HBS workshop for new CEOs to explore the paths to the C-suite and the reality of the CEO role. What does the CEO actually do? What constraints does the CEO face and what unique forms of leverage does the CEO possess? How do CEOs manage the relentless demands of the job alongside commitments to their families and personal interests? What makes CEOs more or less effective? Students will participate in case discussions and workshops with current and past CEOs aimed at uncovering the reality of how to best prepare to become CEO and how to function effectively in the role.