Forbes Crowns 10 Most Innovative B-School Courses

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, MBA programs have had to fine-tune their offerings to appeal to a broader pool of applicants, many of whom are just as interested in doing good as doing well.

Earlier this week, highlighted the 10 most innovative business school classes around. These specialty courses offer hands-on experience solving real problems for real companies–and countries–Forbes’s Terra Stanley writes.

Below you’ll find five of the B-school classes highlighted in the piece; follow the link to the original article for the other half of the list.

Carey Business School, Johns Hopkins University
“Innovation for Humanity”
When it launches in January, this program will send students to a developing nation such as Rwanda, Peru, Kenya and India, where they will study infrastructural weakness in water, energy and health systems, and work with scientists and the locals to develop solutions. The goal: to understand how to build sustainable businesses in developing markets.

McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University
“Business, Government and the Global Economy”
This course examines how politics interacts with market forces. Introductory topics include regional trade agreements and obligations under the World Trade Organization.

Later students independently research various topics to debate, interviewing company representatives and diplomats.
Previous debates have covered the U.S.-Vietnamese catfish trade dispute, and how less stringent copyright and patent rules on pharmaceuticals would enable more Africans with HIV and AIDS to access health care.

Foster School of Business, University of Washington
“Women at the Top”
Women are populating upper management ranks more than ever. Students meet women leaders–like Wendy Collie, senior vice president of Starbucks, and Joanne Harrell, chief of staff of the OEM division of Microsoft–and learn what helps them succeed. Students (both male and female) write a “Ten Year Difference Plan” at the end of the course, in which they present their values and aspirations involving family, career and legacy.

Olin Graduate School of Business, Babson College
“The Gig Economy and the New Entrepreneurial Imperative”
“No one I know has a job anymore; everyone has gigs.” So said Tina Brown, founder of the Daily Beast. In this class students learn how to navigate the “gig” life of sequential jobs and temporary consulting work–a smart hedge at a time when full-time corporate jobs are increasingly tenuous.

Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame
“Business on the Frontlines”
There’s sprucing up a languishing company, and then there’s dropping into war zones and helping to rebuild entire economies. Here students study peace-through-commerce efforts, and then spend 10 days on a field visit to map out rebuilding strategies, from farming to tourism. Past destinations have included Bosnia, Lebanon and Uganda.

“It’s not just about getting the experience; that’s for field trips,” says Keith Flatley, MBA, class of 2009, on the school’s website. “This is about getting something done.”

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