Learning From the Financial Crisis

Earlier this week, the Financial Times reported that B-school programs everywhere are making curriculum adjustments–from tweaking their course content to introducing new classes and seminars and even new degrees–in an effort to convey the lessons of the economic crisis to their students.

The legacy of this economic crisis is that the public and private sectors will be much more closely tied and business schools must prepare students for this economic reality, says Jake Cohen, dean of the MBA program at INSEAD.

“This crisis has bridged the two sectors,” he says. “I don’t see it as a fad. This will be with us for a while. It’s very important for MBA students to understand the public sector, to understand how government creates laws and how that impacts the ability of companies to do well, or not to do well.”

Meanwhile, Harvard Business School has added new courses about the financial crisis, and some schools, including Cass Business School in London, are revamping their curricula around the study of ethics. But some other schools are not yet ready to make any big changes in light of the crisis, FT has found.

Officials at UNC’s KenanFlagler School of Business, for instance, are reviewing the school’s curriculum but admit they are unlikely to make any dramatic modifications. The addition of new courses often means taking others away, says James Dean, dean of the school.

“We don’t want to make knee-jerk changes, we want to be thoughtful about it,” he says. “It would be a bad mistake to throw out some of the fundamentals for something that looks important now but will not be as important three or four years from now.”

To read more about how schools are learning from the financial crisis and switching tracks, visit the Financial Times.

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