HBS Curriculum Responds to Crisis

Harvard Business School faculty members are introducing new courses and updating existing ones to respond to the gaps in management education revealed by the global economic crisis, The Harvard Crimson‘s William M. White reported earlier this week.  According to HBS Dean Jay O. Light, a number of classes have added new case studies in response to the financial meltdown.

The article cites the required first-year course “Business, Government, and the International Economy,” which plans to add cases on the sudden demise of the Icelandic banking system and on the effect of this recent economic crisis in the developing world, according to course head Rawi E. Abdelal.

But White says several professors are making more significant changes of their own accord, with the addition of several new second-year elective classes focusing on various aspects of the financial crisis have been introduced since 2008.

Clayton S. Rose, a senior lecturer at the Business School, introduced the course “Managing the Financial Firm” this semester. The class exposes students to many of the new challenges affecting financial organizations in today’s economic environment, including increased regulation and public scrutiny. Rose also added cases on Citigroup and Lehman Brothers, symbols of the current crisis which the professor says fundamentally shaped the course.

“Creating the Modern Financial System,” a course taught by Professor David A. Moss, debuted in the Spring of 2008 just as the sub-prime mortgage crisis was evolving into a larger economic meltdown. The course enrolls a maximum of 90 students and was substantially oversubscribed when offered in 2009.

Business School Professor Peter Tufano will offer a new joint class on consumer finance with Law School Professor Howell E. Jackson in spring 2010. Tufano says the course attempts to fill an educational void by introducing business students to consumer banking. Though the idea for the class came before the downturn, the lack of educational resources on the topic became more evident during the banking crisis, he says.

Through its collaboration with the Law School, the course addresses the heavy regulation of the industry, an issue that the two professors often differed on, Tufano and Jackson say.

Professors at top programs all around the country are proactively using the current crisis as a teaching tool in the classroom. For a longer look at the issue, check out BusinessWeek’s July article on post-crisis curriculum.

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