HBS Highlights of 2023
We take a look back at some of our favorite stories and other highlights of 2023.
20 Dec 2023  
Rituals of Case Method Teaching

Pre-performance rituals are the stuff of legend for musicians and athletes—Keith Richards eats Shepherd’s pie before every Rolling Stones concert (and must be the one to break the crust); Beyoncé prays and stretches with her band members; Tiger Woods wears red on the course. And while leading a case discussion in an MBA classroom might not be the same as singing to thousands in an arena or teeing up at the Masters, it is a practice that often inspires anxiety. Four professors at HBS discuss how they use rituals in their teaching. Read more.

BiGS Debuts New MBA Course Exploring the Purpose of the Firm

In a milestone for the School’s mission to educate leaders who make a difference in the world, all first year students last month completed a short new course on the Social Purpose of the Firm (SPF), organized by the Institute for the Study of Business in Global Society (BiGS). Over two days, 11 faculty members from across the School taught five new cases involving companies ranging from Microsoft to Sweden’s Northvolt electric battery maker, raising questions about the role business plays in addressing environmental and societal issues. Read more.

Honoring the Life and Legacy of Dean Jay O. Light

The HBS community of current and former faculty and staff, students, alumni, and family and friends gathered to celebrate the life and legacy of Dean Jay O. Light, who died on October 15, 2022, with panel discussions and video tributes. Light, who served as the ninth Dean of the School from 2005-2010, joined the faculty of HBS in 1970 after earning his doctorate from the joint HBS-FAS program in decision and control theory. Read more.

200 Episodes of Cold Call

Cold Call, named after the famously nerve-racking question asked at the beginning of class to open a case discussion, launched in 2015 with a focus on the case method, which anchors the HBS pedagogy. Each episode features a different faculty member discussing the lessons behind a case they’d written, frequently accompanied by the case protagonist. Eight years and 200 episodes later, Cold Call has a monthly audience of more than 160,000 and ranks in the top 3 percent of management podcasts. Read more.

Harvard Climate Action Week at HBS

As part of Harvard Climate Action Week, with 14 events demonstrating the climate research, education, and engagement across Harvard University, centered around the Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability, the alumni conference convened HBS faculty, alumni, and other business leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs for a day of discussions about what it takes to discover, develop, scale, and achieve meaningful progress on climate solutions. Read more.

My One Case

How many cases do MBA students read over their two years at Harvard Business School (HBS)? 500. Ranging in topics from finance to entertainment to sustainability, cases share the story of a business leader (the case protagonist) making a key decision in a difficult situation. In the classroom, students discuss and debate potential solutions with fellow classmates, bringing their personal, cultural, and professional backgrounds to bear. While all cases help broaden the perspectives of future leaders, students find some to be more meaningful than others. Members of the MBA Class of 2023 shared a case they read that made an impact on them, how the lessons will help them become leaders who make a difference, and more. Read more.

First RISE Career Fellow Named

Malcolm McClain (MBA/MPP 2023) has been named the first recipient of the HBS RISE (Recognizing Individuals Seeking Equity) Career Fellow, with his income supplemented for one year following graduation so he can work with, learn from, and make a difference in a growing business that is creating economic opportunity for marginalized communities in the United States. McClain, who also completed a master’s in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, will serve as chief of staff at BrightUp, a seed-stage Boston-based fintech company focused on democratizing wealth building and well-being. Read more.

New Head of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid Named

HBS announced that Rupal Gadhia (MBA 2004) will serve as managing director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid. In her role, Gadhia will partner with a variety of internal and external stakeholders including current HBS students, alumni, faculty, and administrators. She will oversee an admissions process that aims to deliver a high-quality, MBA class with wide-ranging talents and experiences. Read more.

New Pilot Program: Weekend Sprints

HBS launched a new pilot program for MBA and doctoral students: Weekend Sprints. Inspired by the highly-successful January SIPs program, Sprints are an opportunity to engage in smaller, subject-focused classes—but in one day, flanked by social community-building events. And, unlike any other academic programs at HBS, Weekend Sprints are open to students’ partners. Read more.

New Leadership Role and Structure

Effective January 1, 2024, Jana Kierstead will become Executive Director, MBA and Doctoral Programs and External Relations. Read more.


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