The mission of the HBS MBA Program is to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. The education of these leaders occurs in a community environment that values integrity, respect, and responsibility in all aspects of conduct and interaction. These values apply both in educational and extracurricular activities.

The HBS MBA Program educates leaders through a process of active participation and shared learning. Its goal is to create an environment in which students learn how to tackle difficult, complex problems by probing issues, expressing and challenging ideas, and integrating information from a range of perspectives. Through this process, students work together to build an understanding far deeper than they could ever achieve individually. Students learn to exercise sound judgment, make thoughtful decisions, and take responsibility for their actions—vital skills that they (and those around them) will rely on at HBS and throughout their careers.

The HBS Learning Model is supported by the MBA Honor Code—a commitment that students and faculty make as members of the community to participate in, foster, and uphold this learning model.

Case Method

The primary form of instruction at HBS is the Case Method, an interactive process in which students and faculty teach and learn from each other. HBS cases are firsthand accounts of actual management problems that stem from a variety of interdependent factors and span all aspects of business. Each case is bounded by the constraints and incomplete information available when the decision in the case had to be made. Placing themselves in the role of the case protagonists (managers), students perform analyses and recommend a course of action—without knowing the outcome of the decision at hand.

Rooted in an understanding of how managers learn, the Case Method requires students to engage in action in order to learn from experience. The facts and figures in a case are only the beginning of this process—the starting point for dynamic discussion in the classroom. The Case Method relies on the active intellectual and emotional involvement of every student. Students derive and test generalizations across multiple analyses, using evidence from specific cases. This method strengthens each student's ability to address any number of specific issues, which is the true value of this learning method.

Rather than teaching "to" students, HBS faculty facilitates shared learning by helping students teach themselves and each other. As a result, HBS students have a dual responsibility to both learn and teach, with the faculty's guidance and support.

Rewards and Responsibilities

The benefits and obligations of the HBS Learning Model are clear, significant, and fully intertwined. The Case Method cannot work without the active participation of every student—in individual analyses, small-group discussions, class participation, and reflection and integration.

Faculty set the stage for learning by creating a supportive and challenging environment and by facilitating and directing discussion. However, the discussion itself doesn't exist without the knowledge, expertise, insight, and effort of each individual student.

These characteristics combine in the classroom to form a singular, transforming educational experience that imparts far more than functional knowledge. Students emerge from this process with the skills to analyze, lead, and learn throughout their lives.