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Business education

Field of dreams

Harvard Business School reinvents its MBA course
哈佛商学院改良其工商管理硕士 (MBA) 课程

YOUNG mums shopping in the Copley Mall in downtown Boston last month found themselves being questioned about their use of soap by students from Harvard Business School. The students were not doing odd jobs to earn beer money. They were preparing to help a firm in Brazil launch an antibacterial cleanser.

上月,年轻的妈妈们在波士顿市区的科普利商场 (Copley Mall) 购物时,发现有来自哈佛商学院的学生询问她们使用肥皂的情况。这些学生并不在打临时工赚取啤酒钱。他们在帮助一家巴西公司发布一款抗病菌洁面乳做准备工作。

Fieldwork—ie, going out and talking to people—is a big change for HBS. Its students used to sit in a classroom and discuss case studies written by professors. Now they may also work in a developing country and launch a start-up. “Learning by doing” will become the norm, if a radical overhaul of the MBA curriculum succeeds.

实地工作——走出教室,与人交谈——是哈佛商学院的一项大变革。哈佛商学院的学生过去常常坐在教室里讨论教授们写的研究案例。现在,他们也可能在一个发展中国家工作,并且建立一家新兴企业。如果这项对 MBA 课程的重大改革成功,那么,“做中学”将变为常规。

The 900 students arriving in Boston this summer for their two-year course were told they would be guinea pigs. The new practical addition to HBS’s curriculum is known as “FIELD” (Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development). Not all the staff and students are overjoyed to be experimented on. But the man responsible, Nitin Nohria, who became dean of HBS in July 2010, says that “if it works, the FIELD method could become an equal partner to the case method.”

今年夏季哈佛商学院通知接受其两年制课程的 900 名新生:他们将是试验对象。哈佛商学院实际新增课程称为"FIELD" (Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development)(实地浸入式体验的领导力开发)。并非所有的员工和学生都对成为这次实验的对象而感到欣喜若狂。但于2010 年 7 月就任哈佛商学院院长的项目负责人尼廷•诺里亚 (Nitin Nohria) 称,“如果成功,实地教学法(FIELD 法)将与案例教学法并驾齐驱。”

Long before he became dean, Mr Nohria lamented the failure of business schools to fulfil their mission of turning management into a profession similar to law or medicine. Asked what should be expected from someone with an MBA, he replies that “obviously, they should master a body of knowledge. But we should also expect them to apply that knowledge with some measure of judgment.” MBA students have long been sent on summer internships with prospective employers, but HBS, like most business schools, did little else to help them with the practical application of management studies.


What happens in the second year of the new course is still being worked out. But the first year has three elements. First, team-building exercises. Students take turns to lead a group engaged in a project such as designing an “eco-friendly sculpture”. They learn to collaborate and to give and take feedback. These exercises are loosely based on ones used in the US army.


Second, students will be sent to work for a week with one of more than 140 firms in 11 countries. Already the new intake have had conference calls with these companies, ranging from the Brazilian soapmaker to a Chinese property firm, and gone off-campus to conduct product-development “dashes” like the one in Copley Mall. This sort of structured learning-by-doing is a world away from HBS’s traditional encouragement of students to “go on an adventure” outside of classes.

第二,把学生派往 11 国家里逾 140 家公司之一工作一周。这些新生已经同这些公司(范围涉及巴西的肥皂厂到中国的房地产公司)举行了电话会议,走出学校,为产品开发在附近“四处奔波”,例如去科普利超市。此类有组织的“做中学”不同于哈佛商学院鼓励学生到教室外“去冒险”的传统做法。

In the third novel part of the course, students will be given eight weeks, and seed money of $3,000 each, to launch a small company. The most successful, as voted by their fellow students, will get more funding. It remains to be seen if this amounts to much more than a souped-up business-plan competition, though Mr Nohria says he hopes some real businesses will be created. (If only HBS had thought of this when Bill Gates was thinking of starting Microsoft, or Mark Zuckerberg was creating Facebook—perhaps the school would have received shares in those firms.)

此门课程的第三个创新之处是,给予学生八周时间以及每人 3,000 美元基金来创办一家小型公司。按照同学投票,最成功的公司将给予更丰厚的资金。仅管诺利亚称,他希望创造出一些真正的企业,但是,它是否不仅仅是一个花哨的商业计划比赛尚待观察。(当比尔•盖茨 (Bill Gates) 开始创办微软,马克•扎克伯格 (Mark Zuckerberg) 打造脸谱 (Facebook) 时,哈佛商学院就已想到这个主意该多好——或许哈佛商学院可能已经收到了这两家公司的股份。)

It is unclear how much the one-week working assignments will achieve. Pankaj Ghemawat, a management guru, says “the literature suggests that an immersion experience needs to be at least 2-3 weeks and be backed up with time in the classroom.” The HBS students’ classroom preparation will have to be pretty thorough, then, to make up for the brevity of their field trips. Moreover, some of the HBS alumni who have agreed to offer work experience at their firms say they are unsure what meaningful work they can offer the students.

一周的工作任务有多大成效还不得而知。管理大师潘卡基•格玛沃特(Pankaj Ghemawat)称“文献资料显示,浸入式体验至少需要 2-3 周的时间且需要课堂时间的配合。”这样,哈佛商学院学生的课堂准备将必须非常充分,以弥补他们实地体验期的短暂。还有,已经同意提供工作经历的哈佛商学院校友们称,对提供给学生们何种有意义的工作他们并不确定。

Privately, some faculty members are sceptical that all this change will be worthwhile. In January, the vote in favour of trying the field method was “as enthusiastic as you could get from a faculty,” says Mr Nohria, wryly. He wisely ensured that ownership of the idea was widely spread by delegating design of the new curriculum to several faculty committees. The vote gave the go-ahead to run a “delicate experiment for 3-5 years to see if we can move the needle”, he says, compared with the 13 years it took to develop the case method into more or less what it is today.

私下里,某些教职员工对是否值得进行所有这些变革持怀疑态度。1 月份,“你能从教职员工那里得到的顶多”也就是支持实地教学法的投票而已,诺利亚嘲讽地说道。通过将设计新课程的权力下放到几个教职员工委员会,他明智地确保了更广泛的教职员工能参与到这项变革中来。教职工投票同意进行“3-5 年的谨慎试验,看下能否产生显著影响”,诺利亚称。而案例教学法整整用了13年才走到今天这一步。

The experiment does not come cheap, adding 10-15% to the course’s cost (students pay at least $84,000 a year), which HBS will bear while it figures out what works. A lot is at stake. For where Harvard leads, other universities may follow.

这试验并不便宜,课程成本由此增加了10-15%(学生一年至少支付 84,000 美元)。在弄清弄什么是有效的之前,这笔费用将由哈佛商学院承担。太多吉凶未卜。因为哈佛领先之处,可能就是他校追随的地方。 downtown n. 城市商业区, 闹市区 practical adj.实际的 fulfill vt. 履行,实现 collaborate v. 合作 assignment n. 作业; 工作 enthusiastic adj. 热烈的, 热心的

重点单词   查看全部解释    
needle ['ni:dl]


n. 针
vt. 用针缝,激怒,嘲弄

enthusiastic [in.θju:zi'æstik]


adj. 热情的,热心的

sculpture ['skʌlptʃə]


n. 雕塑
vt. 雕刻,雕塑

traditional [trə'diʃənəl]


adj. 传统的

addition [ə'diʃən]


n. 增加,附加物,加法

thorough ['θʌrə]


adj. 彻底的,完全的,详尽的,精心的

assignment [ə'sainmənt]


n. 分配,功课,任务,被指定的(课外)作业;(分派的)

radical ['rædikəl]


adj. 激进的,基本的,彻底的
n. 激进分

application [.æpli'keiʃən]


n. 应用; 申请; 专心
n. 应用软件程序

conduct [kən'dʌkt]


n. 行为,举动,品行
v. 引导,指挥,管理




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